If you want to be successful in business, you need to know this one thing:

Nobody, ever, gets it perfectly right in the beginning.

Here’s a hypothetical:

Say you have a new product or service you think is totally capable of disrupting the market. You have an entire marketing campaign built out, ready to target the demographic that is (seemingly) most likely to become your customer. You roll out the campaign, start to tear through your marketing dollars while you wait for the sales to start picking up…

But what if you had it all wrong?

What if the consumer you thought would be interested in your product isn’t responding to your messaging? Sure, you will have learned something from that swing and miss, but if you aren’t careful, that lesson might cost you your entire budget.

It’s not enough to offer a potential consumer something they could buy, or might wantto buy. It’s about need. It’s about providing them with solutions, and offering the thing (or things) they can’t live without.

And what’s the best way to peel back the curtain and reveal this type of information?

Testing.

Why deliver an entire campaign or ad strategy based on the assumption that you have the right approach, for the right audience? Assumptions can be costly.

Instead, break up your campaign into small segments or split-tests to roll out and gauge response. Some will fall flat, some will have a mediocre return, and some will be a huge success. That is the information you need, because this is how you’re then able to narrow down the perfect customer and approach for a truly targeted strategy. This is where Facebook mini-campaigns come into play. Facebook is a goldmine of valuable information regarding consumer behavior.

This strategy is called Agile Marketing.

One of our first case studies using this approach was with a dentist.

When we spoke to him about the Agile Marketing approach, he understood what we were getting at, but he also thought it wouldn’t work for him based on the assumption that most of his ideal clients weren’t reachable online.

But we had piqued his interest, so he handed over some creative slack and let us test out a handful of mini-campaigns on Facebook.

Guess what? His first campaign brought him over $30,000 in sales

So many people think to themselves, “There’s no way I can reach my customer here, my customer is definitely [X],” but the truth is you won’t actually know until you try.

Another client we worked with came to me once and said, “Maria, this doesn’t work. I ran a campaign, but I didn’t get any sales.”

What she didn’t realize at the time was that you can’t just do one iteration and claim success or failure. In fact, in the world of Agile, failure is a good thing because we learn when we fail. We learn fast because we don’t let a lot of time pass before the next iteration where we try again.

This is why we keep our campaigns and iterations small. Then, if they do fail, it doesn’t actually mean failure. It means we’ve learned something—at a very low cost.

When we use Facebook mini-campaigns (say 3 or 4 at a time) to run short split tests, those analytics help us match our messaging with the appropriate consumer profile, and the appropriate channel. In some cases, you’ll keep the channel constant and test different customer profiles and different messaging. In other scenarios, you can apply different messaging to the same customer profile. Either way, you’re constantly refining and getting closer to capitalizing on the 80/20 rule. Basically, 20% of your effort will often yield 80% of the results, you just have to figure out the right 20% to target.

And that requires testing.

If you run one Agile Marketing campaign and stop because you didn’t see the results you expected… well that isn’t Agile at all. Agile is really just another word for “iteration.” You’re shifting your eggs out of one expensive and presumptuous basket into many, smaller baskets. You’re learning as you go, not putting all your chips on one big bet.

As soon as you can shift your mindset from recognizing failure as a negative, to seeing it as an opportunity to learn and refine your approach, you’re going to find your most profitable campaign.

You have to be Agile.