If you’ve been following this blog you know I am a huge fan of learning marketing from the classics. Indeed, the fundamentals of human psychology and persuasion collected in these books offer tremendous insight that will help you make more money.But, as I learned with a campaign I ran in the halcyon early days of my affiliate marketing career, you can’t follow everything in the textbooks too closely.I was building a campaign for an education(scholarship grant) offer. I had done a little traffic in this vertical before, and I knew it had potential to be a huge campaign. So I was going to do this right, just like the old masters of direct response.Every old marketing book will tell you that 80% of marketing is research. And research I did. I spent weeks learning everything I could about my target market, trying to think like the people visiting my landing pages, finding and analyzing every single advertiser in that space, and so on. I searched all of the keywords I thought would be relevant and made huge spreadsheets of all of the headlines used in the ads and landing pages, what kind of images those landing pages used, meticulously documenting every little detail down to the color scheme they used.And that was before I had written a single word for my landing page. That consumed the next month. I think I wrote over 300 different headlines before finally settling on one I liked, in addition to the thousands of words of copy I kept writing, editing, rewriting, scrapping, and rewriting again, until it was as perfect as I could make it.I figured that it would be better to spend the time to create a high converting landing page than to waste money driving traffic to a worse landing page that might not convert.I was wrong.To say this was a lot of work was an understatement. It was a grind, a relentless slog. But the copywriting books promised that engaging in this process of relentless editing and refinement was worth it all. This, according to them, was what separated the good from the great.Meanwhile, while I was laboring on my landing pages, my competitors had thrown together quick landing pages in a few hours, launched their campaigns, and were testing and optimizing based on actual click and conversion data from their traffic.I was eventually able to launch my campaign, and it was profitable very quickly, to the tune of about $250 a day. Unfortunately, I was only profitable about about a week before conversions started dropping off. My competitors has saturated the market, and the campaign died quickly. If, instead of waiting two months to launch, I had launched this campaign right away, I could have been making $250/day for 9 weeks instead of 1 week.Although I had not spent much money, I had given up $15,000 in lost revenue. The opportunity cost of launching this campaign late was greater than any amount I was afraid of losing from launching with an imperfect landing page.All of the seminal copywriting literature, from Claude Hopkins to Gary Halbert was written in a very different time, when launching a marketing campaign was a slow, expensive endeavor. Back then, in the days of direct mail(that’s snail mail in case it’s not clear) you only had one shot to make a campaign work. If your copy didn’t convert the first time around, after paying for printing, postage, and list rental, you just couldn’t afford to try again.Internet marketing changed all of that. Now, it’s possible to test a campaign for only a few hundred dollars. If it fails, no big deal; most campaigns fail. The goal isn’t to craft the most brilliant campaign ever, it’s to test lots of different things and iterate quickly in response to the data the market gives you.When you’re building a business, any business, you need be cognizant of opportunity costs at all times. This is difficult and does not come naturally or intuitively, and it’s something I still struggle with every day. But you only have to look at how wealthy people manage their time and money to see that mastering the calculus of opportunity cost is a big coefficient, if not a precursor, of creating wealth.I think one of the most important things any businessman does is figure out how to allocate his time and resources most efficiently. You may miss out on a few sales initially because of suboptimal landing pages, but the opportunity cost of delaying launching by even a few days will dwarf those missed sales. Every day spent tweaking your landing pages is another day of missed traffic and revenue, and it is costing you money right now.So don’t waste time tweaking and refining your campaigns before the market has had a chance to validate their potential. Quit fucking around and just launch already.