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Move Fast, Break Things and Get Rejected: Day 2 of the Call to Action Conference

Day two of the Call to Action Conference was stacked with a lineup of some of the brightest minds in marketing, including the wizard of MOZ, Rand Fishkin, copywriter and comedy-sketch genius Amy Harrison and our very own CRO viking, Michael Aagaard — just to name a few.

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And there were sparkles.

It can be easy to forget that even the smartest people can make mistakes. Many of our humble speakers today had their own stories of failure.

But they also made it clear that mistakes aren’t game over.

They’re opportunities to change your perspective, test new ideas and even turn a disastrous situation into a delightful one.

Disappointment is an opportunity for delight

Stefanie Grieser, Unbounce International Marketing Manager and Call to Action Conference Founder, has seen her fair share of delightful marketing experiences… and not-so-delightful ones.

As much as we all aim to delight and over-deliver to our audience, sometimes we all mess up.

But for Stef, even the biggest goofs and gaffes are really just opportunities to delight.

Case in point? At Unbounce, we send a few more “oops” emails than we’d like to admit — whether we’re sending apologies for swag mix-ups or newsletters with broken {!firstname} merge fields.

And these emails have some of our hottest open and and click-through rates:

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We’re talking 3x the opens and 5x the click-through of standard “non-oops” emails.

These emails get engagement because they are so clearly from one vulnerable human to another. They remind us that we’re speaking to a human, not a company.

And for marketers, they give the opportunity to connect with our audience and provide even more delight — by poking fun at ourselves or offering up something more (like an additional discount).

Open yourself up to failure and rejection

In the spirit of messing up, Aaron Orendorff of iconiContent had a thing or two to say about what makes for good content.

Contrary to what most people might think, you don’t always want to focus on success in your content. Sometimes, highlighting your failures can be more impactful.

This doesn’t necessarily work for all content (you wouldn’t want a hyper-tactical post about how to fail, would you?), but if you want impactful brand-defining content, you’re gonna have to be willing to air your dirty laundry.

What do we mean by brand-defining content? It’s the content that makes readers question what they thought they knew about your brand. Aaron uses Rand’s post, “A Long, Ugly Year of Depression That’s Finally Fading” as an example, or Domino’s Pizza’s, “The Pizza Turnaround” — a documentary addressing customer complaints.

These pieces of content — while not pretty — came from a place of transparency, vulnerability and failure. And guess what? They worked.

If you’re willing to share the dark stuff, you open yourself to criticism, failure… all that good stuff. But you also open yourself up to building lasting connections with your readers.

So, in the words of Aaron:

Get rejected. Make it about them, not you. Make it about salvation, not sales. Make it about failure, not success.

#letsgetrejected

Be bold and dare to break things

For most content marketing teams, the idea of simply freezing all content production sounds like a recipe for disaster. (Or a recipe for getting fired.)

But for Uberflip, it was about a shift in priorities. As their VP of Marketing Hana Abaza explained, more content doesn’t necessarily mean more results. It might just mean more wasted effort.

So they stopped producing content for three weeks, and instead focused on how they could optimize their existing content for more conversions. That meant putting better calls to action on high-traffic, low-converting content, and driving more traffic to posts that were already converting well.

If you want to run any kind of experiments, you have to be prepared for failure.

But being accepting of failure gives you the power to make bigger and bolder bets.

Pobody’s nerfect

It seems weird to have to reassure ourselves that it’s okay to be human.

But there’s something comforting in knowing that sometimes, it’s our shortcomings and flaws that draw people to us (and to our marketing).

After all, you’re only human, right?

Right?

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Psst. The Call to Action Conference might be over, but we don’t want you to miss out on any of the learnings — sign up for all the notes here.

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