I’ve been on a deep dive into probabilistic thinking, decision making and uncertainty lately.
I love such intangible concepts.
I find that often the least actionable stuff can lead to bigger breakthroughs and mindset shifts when you spend enough time with it.
I recently stumbled on the concept of variance and regression to the mean. Useful and used often in forecasting and investing, but not so much in marketing.
Yet I think learning about them can be invaluable.
In “The Success Equation” Michael J. Mauboussin’s says:
“Effective forecasts require you to consider carefully where you are on the luck-skill continuum, estimate an appropriate shrinkage factor, and incorporate reversion to the mean into your decision.”
Confused? Don’t worry, let’s break it down and see how we can apply these to your marketing and copy:
Luck-Skill Continuum: Identify where your copywriting stands in terms of luck (uncontrollable factors) and skill (your expertise). Are your conversions the result of a hot trend, or do they stem from your mastery of persuasive writing?
Knowing where you stand helps you make informed decisions and craft copy that resonates.
Example: If your copy for a trending product is highly converting, recognize that luck might be playing a part. Prepare for when the trend fades by honing your skills and researching future trends.
Shrinkage Factor: In statistics, “shrinkage” means adjusting predictions towards a mean to improve accuracy. In copywriting, this means being aware of the market’s overall performance and adjusting your copy accordingly.
This kind of thinking is what separates ordinary freelance copywriters from A-lister consultants.
Example: If you’re writing for a company with exceptional growth, consider that their future performance may get closer to the industry average. Craft your copy to highlight sustainable advantages and unique selling points.
Reversion to the Mean: Extraordinary results tend to be followed by more average outcomes. Keep this in mind when analyzing past successes and failures with your copy.
Especially when running tests.
Example: If a particular email campaign yielded phenomenal results, don’t assume the same formula will work every time. Be ready to adapt and learn from each experience.
So, how can you apply this forecasting nerdery to your copywriting?
- Embrace uncertainty: Recognize that markets and trends change. Stay agile and adapt your copy accordingly.
- Analyze the competition: Learn from the successes and failures of others to refine your copy and stand out.
- Be humble: Don’t assume that past performance guarantees future success. Continuously hone your skills and learn from each experience.
When you start thinking like a forecaster or investor, you’ll create copy that not only converts but also puts you in a different category altogether.
It’s like peering into a crystal ball.
P.S. It’s almost the end of the week and tomorrow we’re going live with another episode of The Grind Mastermind. It’s where I sit down with my friend Josh and talk all things business/tech and where we both review and plan our goals. Save the date.
Quote and reflection of the day:
“Most of what we perceive as failure is simply the practical consequence of learning and operating in an uncertain environment”
- Matt Watkinson, Mastering Uncertainty
When you accept that life is about probabilities rather than certainties, failure becomes just another learning experience on your path to mastery.