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Wayne Duggan

Wayne Duggan

6 months ago

What An Inverted Yield Curve Means For Investors

The yield spread between 10-year and 2-year US Treasury bonds has fallen below 0.2 percent, its lowest level since March 2020. A flattening or negative yield curve can be a bad sign for the economy.

What Is An Inverted Yield Curve? 

In the yield curve, bonds of equal credit quality but different maturities are plotted. The most commonly used yield curve for US investors is a plot of 2-year and 10-year Treasury yields, which have yet to invert.

A typical yield curve has higher interest rates for future maturities. In a flat yield curve, short-term and long-term yields are similar. Inverted yield curves occur when short-term yields exceed long-term yields. Inversions of yield curves have historically occurred during recessions.

Inverted yield curves have preceded each of the past eight US recessions. The good news is they're far leading indicators, meaning a recession is likely not imminent.

Every US recession since 1955 has occurred between six and 24 months after an inversion of the two-year and 10-year Treasury yield curves, according to the San Francisco Fed. So, six months before COVID-19, the yield curve inverted in August 2019.

Looking Ahead

The spread between two-year and 10-year Treasury yields was 0.18 percent on Tuesday, the smallest since before the last US recession. If the graph above continues, a two-year/10-year yield curve inversion could occur within the next few months.

According to Bank of America analyst Stephen Suttmeier, the S&P 500 typically peaks six to seven months after the 2s-10s yield curve inverts, and the US economy enters recession six to seven months later.

Investors appear unconcerned about the flattening yield curve. This is in contrast to the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF TLT +2.19% which was down 1% on Tuesday.

Inversion of the yield curve and rising interest rates have historically harmed stocks. Recessions in the US have historically coincided with or followed the end of a Federal Reserve rate hike cycle, not the start.

More on Economics & Investing

Theresa W. Carey

Theresa W. Carey

3 months ago

How Payment for Order Flow (PFOF) Works

What is PFOF?

PFOF is a brokerage firm's compensation for directing orders to different parties for trade execution. The brokerage firm receives fractions of a penny per share for directing the order to a market maker.

Each optionable stock could have thousands of contracts, so market makers dominate options trades. Order flow payments average less than $0.50 per option contract.

Order Flow Payments (PFOF) Explained

The proliferation of exchanges and electronic communication networks has complicated equity and options trading (ECNs) Ironically, Bernard Madoff, the Ponzi schemer, pioneered pay-for-order-flow.

In a December 2000 study on PFOF, the SEC said, "Payment for order flow is a method of transferring trading profits from market making to brokers who route customer orders to specialists for execution."

Given the complexity of trading thousands of stocks on multiple exchanges, market making has grown. Market makers are large firms that specialize in a set of stocks and options, maintaining an inventory of shares and contracts for buyers and sellers. Market makers are paid the bid-ask spread. Spreads have narrowed since 2001, when exchanges switched to decimals. A market maker's ability to play both sides of trades is key to profitability.

Benefits, requirements

A broker receives fees from a third party for order flow, sometimes without a client's knowledge. This invites conflicts of interest and criticism. Regulation NMS from 2005 requires brokers to disclose their policies and financial relationships with market makers.

Your broker must tell you if it's paid to send your orders to specific parties. This must be done at account opening and annually. The firm must disclose whether it participates in payment-for-order-flow and, upon request, every paid order. Brokerage clients can request payment data on specific transactions, but the response takes weeks.

Order flow payments save money. Smaller brokerage firms can benefit from routing orders through market makers and getting paid. This allows brokerage firms to send their orders to another firm to be executed with other orders, reducing costs. The market maker or exchange benefits from additional share volume, so it pays brokerage firms to direct traffic.

Retail investors, who lack bargaining power, may benefit from order-filling competition. Arrangements to steer the business in one direction invite wrongdoing, which can erode investor confidence in financial markets and their players.

Pay-for-order-flow criticism

It has always been controversial. Several firms offering zero-commission trades in the late 1990s routed orders to untrustworthy market makers. During the end of fractional pricing, the smallest stock spread was $0.125. Options spreads widened. Traders found that some of their "free" trades cost them a lot because they weren't getting the best price.

The SEC then studied the issue, focusing on options trades, and nearly decided to ban PFOF. The proliferation of options exchanges narrowed spreads because there was more competition for executing orders. Options market makers said their services provided liquidity. In its conclusion, the report said, "While increased multiple-listing produced immediate economic benefits to investors in the form of narrower quotes and effective spreads, these improvements have been muted with the spread of payment for order flow and internalization." 

The SEC allowed payment for order flow to continue to prevent exchanges from gaining monopoly power. What would happen to trades if the practice was outlawed was also unclear. SEC requires brokers to disclose financial arrangements with market makers. Since then, the SEC has watched closely.

2020 Order Flow Payment

Rule 605 and Rule 606 show execution quality and order flow payment statistics on a broker's website. Despite being required by the SEC, these reports can be hard to find. The SEC mandated these reports in 2005, but the format and reporting requirements have changed over the years, most recently in 2018.

Brokers and market makers formed a working group with the Financial Information Forum (FIF) to standardize order execution quality reporting. Only one retail brokerage (Fidelity) and one market maker remain (Two Sigma Securities). FIF notes that the 605/606 reports "do not provide the level of information that allows a retail investor to gauge how well a broker-dealer fills a retail order compared to the NBBO (national best bid or offer’) at the time the order was received by the executing broker-dealer."

In the first quarter of 2020, Rule 606 reporting changed to require brokers to report net payments from market makers for S&P 500 and non-S&P 500 equity trades and options trades. Brokers must disclose payment rates per 100 shares by order type (market orders, marketable limit orders, non-marketable limit orders, and other orders).

Richard Repetto, Managing Director of New York-based Piper Sandler & Co., publishes a report on Rule 606 broker reports. Repetto focused on Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, E-TRADE, and Robinhood in Q2 2020. Repetto reported that payment for order flow was higher in the second quarter than the first due to increased trading activity, and that options paid more than equities.

Repetto says PFOF contributions rose overall. Schwab has the lowest options rates, while TD Ameritrade and Robinhood have the highest. Robinhood had the highest equity rating. Repetto assumes Robinhood's ability to charge higher PFOF reflects their order flow profitability and that they receive a fixed rate per spread (vs. a fixed rate per share by the other brokers).

Robinhood's PFOF in equities and options grew the most quarter-over-quarter of the four brokers Piper Sandler analyzed, as did their implied volumes. All four brokers saw higher PFOF rates.

TD Ameritrade took the biggest income hit when cutting trading commissions in fall 2019, and this report shows they're trying to make up the shortfall by routing orders for additional PFOF. Robinhood refuses to disclose trading statistics using the same metrics as the rest of the industry, offering only a vague explanation on their website.

Summary

Payment for order flow has become a major source of revenue as brokers offer no-commission equity (stock and ETF) orders. For retail investors, payment for order flow poses a problem because the brokerage may route orders to a market maker for its own benefit, not the investor's.

Infrequent or small-volume traders may not notice their broker's PFOF practices. Frequent traders and those who trade larger quantities should learn about their broker's order routing system to ensure they're not losing out on price improvement due to a broker prioritizing payment for order flow.


This post is a summary. Read full article here

Justin Kuepper

Justin Kuepper

5 months ago

Day Trading Introduction

Historically, only large financial institutions, brokerages, and trading houses could actively trade in the stock market. With instant global news dissemination and low commissions, developments such as discount brokerages and online trading have leveled the playing—or should we say trading—field. It's never been easier for retail investors to trade like pros thanks to trading platforms like Robinhood and zero commissions.

Day trading is a lucrative career (as long as you do it properly). But it can be difficult for newbies, especially if they aren't fully prepared with a strategy. Even the most experienced day traders can lose money.

So, how does day trading work?

Day Trading Basics

Day trading is the practice of buying and selling a security on the same trading day. It occurs in all markets, but is most common in forex and stock markets. Day traders are typically well educated and well funded. For small price movements in highly liquid stocks or currencies, they use leverage and short-term trading strategies.

Day traders are tuned into short-term market events. News trading is a popular strategy. Scheduled announcements like economic data, corporate earnings, or interest rates are influenced by market psychology. Markets react when expectations are not met or exceeded, usually with large moves, which can help day traders.

Intraday trading strategies abound. Among these are:

  • Scalping: This strategy seeks to profit from minor price changes throughout the day.
  • Range trading: To determine buy and sell levels, range traders use support and resistance levels.
  • News-based trading exploits the increased volatility around news events.
  • High-frequency trading (HFT): The use of sophisticated algorithms to exploit small or short-term market inefficiencies.

A Disputed Practice

Day trading's profit potential is often debated on Wall Street. Scammers have enticed novices by promising huge returns in a short time. Sadly, the notion that trading is a get-rich-quick scheme persists. Some daytrade without knowledge. But some day traders succeed despite—or perhaps because of—the risks.

Day trading is frowned upon by many professional money managers. They claim that the reward rarely outweighs the risk. Those who day trade, however, claim there are profits to be made. Profitable day trading is possible, but it is risky and requires considerable skill. Moreover, economists and financial professionals agree that active trading strategies tend to underperform passive index strategies over time, especially when fees and taxes are factored in.

Day trading is not for everyone and is risky. It also requires a thorough understanding of how markets work and various short-term profit strategies. Though day traders' success stories often get a lot of media attention, keep in mind that most day traders are not wealthy: Many will fail, while others will barely survive. Also, while skill is important, bad luck can sink even the most experienced day trader.

Characteristics of a Day Trader

Experts in the field are typically well-established professional day traders.
They usually have extensive market knowledge. Here are some prerequisites for successful day trading.

Market knowledge and experience

Those who try to day-trade without understanding market fundamentals frequently lose. Day traders should be able to perform technical analysis and read charts. Charts can be misleading if not fully understood. Do your homework and know the ins and outs of the products you trade.

Enough capital

Day traders only use risk capital they can lose. This not only saves them money but also helps them trade without emotion. To profit from intraday price movements, a lot of capital is often required. Most day traders use high levels of leverage in margin accounts, and volatile market swings can trigger large margin calls on short notice.

Strategy

A trader needs a competitive advantage. Swing trading, arbitrage, and trading news are all common day trading strategies. They tweak these strategies until they consistently profit and limit losses.

Strategy Breakdown:

Type | Risk | Reward

Swing Trading | High | High
Arbitrage | Low | Medium
Trading News | Medium | Medium
Mergers/Acquisitions | Medium | High

Discipline

A profitable strategy is useless without discipline. Many day traders lose money because they don't meet their own criteria. “Plan the trade and trade the plan,” they say. Success requires discipline.

Day traders profit from market volatility. For a day trader, a stock's daily movement is appealing. This could be due to an earnings report, investor sentiment, or even general economic or company news.

Day traders also prefer highly liquid stocks because they can change positions without affecting the stock's price. Traders may buy a stock if the price rises. If the price falls, a trader may decide to sell short to profit.

A day trader wants to trade a stock that moves (a lot).

Day Trading for a Living

Professional day traders can be self-employed or employed by a larger institution.

Most day traders work for large firms like hedge funds and banks' proprietary trading desks. These traders benefit from direct counterparty lines, a trading desk, large capital and leverage, and expensive analytical software (among other advantages). By taking advantage of arbitrage and news events, these traders can profit from less risky day trades before individual traders react.

Individual traders often manage other people’s money or simply trade with their own. They rarely have access to a trading desk, but they frequently have strong ties to a brokerage (due to high commissions) and other resources. However, their limited scope prevents them from directly competing with institutional day traders. Not to mention more risks. Individuals typically day trade highly liquid stocks using technical analysis and swing trades, with some leverage. 

Day trading necessitates access to some of the most complex financial products and services. Day traders usually need:

Access to a trading desk

Traders who work for large institutions or manage large sums of money usually use this. The trading or dealing desk provides these traders with immediate order execution, which is critical during volatile market conditions. For example, when an acquisition is announced, day traders interested in merger arbitrage can place orders before the rest of the market.

News sources

The majority of day trading opportunities come from news, so being the first to know when something significant happens is critical. It has access to multiple leading newswires, constant news coverage, and software that continuously analyzes news sources for important stories.

Analytical tools

Most day traders rely on expensive trading software. Technical traders and swing traders rely on software more than news. This software's features include:

  • Automatic pattern recognition: It can identify technical indicators like flags and channels, or more complex indicators like Elliott Wave patterns.

  • Genetic and neural applications: These programs use neural networks and genetic algorithms to improve trading systems and make more accurate price predictions.

  • Broker integration: Some of these apps even connect directly to the brokerage, allowing for instant and even automatic trade execution. This reduces trading emotion and improves execution times.

  • Backtesting: This allows traders to look at past performance of a strategy to predict future performance. Remember that past results do not always predict future results.

Together, these tools give traders a competitive advantage. It's easy to see why inexperienced traders lose money without them. A day trader's earnings potential is also affected by the market in which they trade, their capital, and their time commitment.

Day Trading Risks

Day trading can be intimidating for the average investor due to the numerous risks involved. The SEC highlights the following risks of day trading:

Because day traders typically lose money in their first months of trading and many never make profits, they should only risk money they can afford to lose.
Trading is a full-time job that is stressful and costly: Observing dozens of ticker quotes and price fluctuations to spot market trends requires intense concentration. Day traders also spend a lot on commissions, training, and computers.
Day traders heavily rely on borrowing: Day-trading strategies rely on borrowed funds to make profits, which is why many day traders lose everything and end up in debt.
Avoid easy profit promises: Avoid “hot tips” and “expert advice” from day trading newsletters and websites, and be wary of day trading educational seminars and classes. 

Should You Day Trade?
As stated previously, day trading as a career can be difficult and demanding.

  • First, you must be familiar with the trading world and know your risk tolerance, capital, and goals.
  • Day trading also takes a lot of time. You'll need to put in a lot of time if you want to perfect your strategies and make money. Part-time or whenever isn't going to cut it. You must be fully committed.
  • If you decide trading is for you, remember to start small. Concentrate on a few stocks rather than jumping into the market blindly. Enlarging your trading strategy can result in big losses.
  • Finally, keep your cool and avoid trading emotionally. The more you can do that, the better. Keeping a level head allows you to stay focused and on track.
    If you follow these simple rules, you may be on your way to a successful day trading career.

Is Day Trading Illegal?

Day trading is not illegal or unethical, but it is risky. Because most day-trading strategies use margin accounts, day traders risk losing more than they invest and becoming heavily in debt.

How Can Arbitrage Be Used in Day Trading?

Arbitrage is the simultaneous purchase and sale of a security in multiple markets to profit from small price differences. Because arbitrage ensures that any deviation in an asset's price from its fair value is quickly corrected, arbitrage opportunities are rare.

Why Don’t Day Traders Hold Positions Overnight?

Day traders rarely hold overnight positions for several reasons: Overnight trades require more capital because most brokers require higher margin; stocks can gap up or down on overnight news, causing big trading losses; and holding a losing position overnight in the hope of recovering some or all of the losses may be against the trader's core day-trading philosophy.

What Are Day Trader Margin Requirements?

Regulation D requires that a pattern day trader client of a broker-dealer maintain at all times $25,000 in equity in their account.

How Much Buying Power Does Day Trading Have?

Buying power is the total amount of funds an investor has available to trade securities. FINRA rules allow a pattern day trader to trade up to four times their maintenance margin excess as of the previous day's close.

The Verdict

Although controversial, day trading can be a profitable strategy. Day traders, both institutional and retail, keep the markets efficient and liquid. Though day trading is still popular among novice traders, it should be left to those with the necessary skills and resources.

Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio

4 months ago

The latest “bubble indicator” readings.

As you know, I like to turn my intuition into decision rules (principles) that can be back-tested and automated to create a portfolio of alpha bets. I use one for bubbles. Having seen many bubbles in my 50+ years of investing, I described what makes a bubble and how to identify them in markets—not just stocks.

A bubble market has a high degree of the following:

  1. High prices compared to traditional values (e.g., by taking the present value of their cash flows for the duration of the asset and comparing it with their interest rates).
  2. Conditons incompatible with long-term growth (e.g., extrapolating past revenue and earnings growth rates late in the cycle).
  3. Many new and inexperienced buyers were drawn in by the perceived hot market.
  4. Broad bullish sentiment.
  5. Debt financing a large portion of purchases.
  6. Lots of forward and speculative purchases to profit from price rises (e.g., inventories that are more than needed, contracted forward purchases, etc.).

I use these criteria to assess all markets for bubbles. I have periodically shown you these for stocks and the stock market.

What Was Shown in January Versus Now

I will first describe the picture in words, then show it in charts, and compare it to the last update in January.

As of January, the bubble indicator showed that a) the US equity market was in a moderate bubble, but not an extreme one (ie., 70 percent of way toward the highest bubble, which occurred in the late 1990s and late 1920s), and b) the emerging tech companies (ie. As well, the unprecedented flood of liquidity post-COVID financed other bubbly behavior (e.g. SPACs, IPO boom, big pickup in options activity), making things bubbly. I showed which stocks were in bubbles and created an index of those stocks, which I call “bubble stocks.”

Those bubble stocks have popped. They fell by a third last year, while the S&P 500 remained flat. In light of these and other market developments, it is not necessarily true that now is a good time to buy emerging tech stocks.

The fact that they aren't at a bubble extreme doesn't mean they are safe or that it's a good time to get long. Our metrics still show that US stocks are overvalued. Once popped, bubbles tend to overcorrect to the downside rather than settle at “normal” prices.

The following charts paint the picture. The first shows the US equity market bubble gauge/indicator going back to 1900, currently at the 40% percentile. The charts also zoom in on the gauge in recent years, as well as the late 1920s and late 1990s bubbles (during both of these cases the gauge reached 100 percent ).

The chart below depicts the average bubble gauge for the most bubbly companies in 2020. Those readings are down significantly.

The charts below compare the performance of a basket of emerging tech bubble stocks to the S&P 500. Prices have fallen noticeably, giving up most of their post-COVID gains.

The following charts show the price action of the bubble slice today and in the 1920s and 1990s. These charts show the same market dynamics and two key indicators. These are just two examples of how a lot of debt financing stock ownership coupled with a tightening typically leads to a bubble popping.

Everything driving the bubbles in this market segment is classic—the same drivers that drove the 1920s bubble and the 1990s bubble. For instance, in the last couple months, it was how tightening can act to prick the bubble. Review this case study of the 1920s stock bubble (starting on page 49) from my book Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises to grasp these dynamics.

The following charts show the components of the US stock market bubble gauge. Since this is a proprietary indicator, I will only show you some of the sub-aggregate readings and some indicators.

Each of these six influences is measured using a number of stats. This is how I approach the stock market. These gauges are combined into aggregate indices by security and then for the market as a whole. The table below shows the current readings of these US equity market indicators. It compares current conditions for US equities to historical conditions. These readings suggest that we’re out of a bubble.

1. How High Are Prices Relatively?

This price gauge for US equities is currently around the 50th percentile.

2. Is price reduction unsustainable?

This measure calculates the earnings growth rate required to outperform bonds. This is calculated by adding up the readings of individual securities. This indicator is currently near the 60th percentile for the overall market, higher than some of our other readings. Profit growth discounted in stocks remains high.

Even more so in the US software sector. Analysts' earnings growth expectations for this sector have slowed, but remain high historically. P/Es have reversed COVID gains but remain high historical.

3. How many new buyers (i.e., non-existing buyers) entered the market?

Expansion of new entrants is often indicative of a bubble. According to historical accounts, this was true in the 1990s equity bubble and the 1929 bubble (though our data for this and other gauges doesn't go back that far). A flood of new retail investors into popular stocks, which by other measures appeared to be in a bubble, pushed this gauge above the 90% mark in 2020. The pace of retail activity in the markets has recently slowed to pre-COVID levels.

4. How Broadly Bullish Is Sentiment?

The more people who have invested, the less resources they have to keep investing, and the more likely they are to sell. Market sentiment is now significantly negative.

5. Are Purchases Being Financed by High Leverage?

Leveraged purchases weaken the buying foundation and expose it to forced selling in a downturn. The leverage gauge, which considers option positions as a form of leverage, is now around the 50% mark.

6. To What Extent Have Buyers Made Exceptionally Extended Forward Purchases?

Looking at future purchases can help assess whether expectations have become overly optimistic. This indicator is particularly useful in commodity and real estate markets, where forward purchases are most obvious. In the equity markets, I look at indicators like capital expenditure, or how much businesses (and governments) invest in infrastructure, factories, etc. It reflects whether businesses are projecting future demand growth. Like other gauges, this one is at the 40th percentile.

What one does with it is a tactical choice. While the reversal has been significant, future earnings discounting remains high historically. In either case, bubbles tend to overcorrect (sell off more than the fundamentals suggest) rather than simply deflate. But I wanted to share these updated readings with you in light of recent market activity.

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Aniket

Aniket

1 month ago

Yahoo could have purchased Google for $1 billion

Let's see this once-dominant IT corporation crumble.

Photo by Vikram Sundaramoorthy

What's the capital of Kazakhstan? If you don't know the answer, you can probably find it by Googling. Google Search returned results for Nur-Sultan in 0.66 seconds.

Google is the best search engine I've ever used. Did you know another search engine ruled the Internet? I'm sure you guessed Yahoo!

Google's friendly UI and wide selection of services make it my top choice. Let's explore Yahoo's decline.

Yahoo!

YAHOO stands for Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle. Jerry Yang and David Filo established Yahoo.

Yahoo is primarily a search engine and email provider. It offers News and an advertising platform. It was a popular website in 1995 that let people search the Internet directly. Yahoo began offering free email in 1997 by acquiring RocketMail.

According to a study, Yahoo used Google Search Engine technology until 2000 and then developed its own in 2004.

Yahoo! rejected buying Google for $1 billion

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google's founders, approached Yahoo in 1998 to sell Google for $1 billion so they could focus on their studies. Yahoo denied the offer, thinking it was overvalued at the time.

Yahoo realized its error and offered Google $3 billion in 2002, but Google demanded $5 billion since it was more valuable. Yahoo thought $5 billion was overpriced for the existing market.

In 2022, Google is worth $1.56 Trillion.

What happened to Yahoo!

Yahoo refused to buy Google, and Google's valuation rose, making a purchase unfeasible.

Yahoo started losing users when Google launched Gmail. Google's UI was far cleaner than Yahoo's.

Yahoo offered $1 billion to buy Facebook in July 2006, but Zuckerberg and the board sought $1.1 billion. Yahoo rejected, and Facebook's valuation rose, making it difficult to buy.

Yahoo was losing users daily while Google and Facebook gained many. Google and Facebook's popularity soared. Yahoo lost value daily.

Microsoft offered $45 billion to buy Yahoo in February 2008, but Yahoo declined. Microsoft increased its bid to $47 billion after Yahoo said it was too low, but Yahoo rejected it. Then Microsoft rejected Yahoo’s 10% bid increase in May 2008.

In 2015, Verizon bought Yahoo for $4.5 billion, and Apollo Global Management bought 90% of Yahoo's shares for $5 billion in May 2021. Verizon kept 10%.

Yahoo's opportunity to acquire Google and Facebook could have been a turning moment. It declined Microsoft's $45 billion deal in 2008 and was sold to Verizon for $4.5 billion in 2015. Poor decisions and lack of vision caused its downfall. Yahoo's aim wasn't obvious and it didn't stick to a single domain.

Hence, a corporation needs a clear vision and a leader who can see its future.

Liked this article? Join my tech and programming newsletter here.

Jon Brosio

Jon Brosio

1 month ago

This Landing Page is a (Legal) Money-Printing Machine

and it’s easy to build.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

A landing page with good copy is a money-maker.

Let's be honest, page-builder templates are garbage.

They can help you create a nice-looking landing page, but not persuasive writing.

Over the previous 90 days, I've examined 200+ landing pages.

What's crazy?

Top digital entrepreneurs use a 7-part strategy to bring in email subscribers, generate prospects, and (passively) sell their digital courses.

Steal this 7-part landing page architecture to maximize digital product sales.

The offer

Landing pages require offers.

Newsletter, cohort, or course offer.

Your reader should see this offer first. Includind:

  • Headline

  • Imagery

  • Call-to-action

Clear, persuasive, and simplicity are key. Example: the Linkedin OS course home page of digital entrepreneur Justin Welsh offers:

Courtesy | Justin Welsh

A distinctly defined problem

Everyone needs an enemy.

You need an opponent on your landing page. Problematic.

Next, employ psychology to create a struggle in your visitor's thoughts.

Don't be clever here; label your customer's problem. The more particular you are, the bigger the situation will seem.

When you build a clear monster, you invite defeat. I appreciate Theo Ohene's Growth Roadmaps landing page.

Courtesy | Theo Ohene

Exacerbation of the effects

Problem identification doesn't motivate action.

What would an unresolved problem mean?

This is landing page copy. When you describe the unsolved problem's repercussions, you accomplish several things:

  • You write a narrative (and stories are remembered better than stats)

  • You cause the reader to feel something.

  • You help the reader relate to the issue

Important!

My favorite script is:

"Sure, you can let [problem] go untreated. But what will happen if you do? Soon, you'll begin to notice [new problem 1] will start to arise. That might bring up [problem 2], etc."

Take the copywriting course, digital writer and entrepreneur Dickie Bush illustrates below when he labels the problem (see: "poor habit") and then illustrates the repercussions.

Courtesy | Ship30for30

The tale of transformation

Every landing page needs that "ah-ha!" moment.

Transformation stories do this.

Did you find a solution? Someone else made the discovery? Have you tested your theory?

Next, describe your (or your subject's) metamorphosis.

Kieran Drew nails his narrative (and revelation) here. Right before the disclosure, he introduces his "ah-ha!" moment:

Courtesy | Kieran Drew

Testimonials

Social proof completes any landing page.

Social proof tells the reader, "If others do it, it must be worthwhile."

This is your argument.

Positive social proof helps (obviously).

Offer "free" training in exchange for a testimonial if you need social evidence. This builds social proof.

Most social proof is testimonies (recommended). Kurtis Hanni's creative take on social proof (using a screenshot of his colleague) is entertaining.

Bravo.

Courtesy | Kurtis Hanni

Reveal your offer

Now's the moment to act.

Describe the "bundle" that provides the transformation.

Here's:

  • Course

  • Cohort

  • Ebook

Whatever you're selling.

Include a product or service image, what the consumer is getting ("how it works"), the price, any "free" bonuses (preferred), and a CTA ("buy now").

Clarity is key. Don't make a cunning offer. Make sure your presentation emphasizes customer change (benefits). Dan Koe's Modern Mastery landing page makes an offer. Consider:

Courtesy | Dan Koe

An ultimatum

Offering isn't enough.

You must give your prospect an ultimatum.

  1. They can buy your merchandise from you.

  2. They may exit the webpage.

That’s it.

It's crucial to show what happens if the reader does either. Stress the consequences of not buying (again, a little consequence amplification). Remind them of the benefits of buying.

I appreciate Charles Miller's product offer ending:

Courtesy | Charles Miller

The top online creators use a 7-part landing page structure:

  1. Offer the service

  2. Describe the problem

  3. Amplify the consequences

  4. Tell the transformational story

  5. Include testimonials and social proof.

  6. Reveal the offer (with any bonuses if applicable)

  7. Finally, give the reader a deadline to encourage them to take action.

Sequence these sections to develop a landing page that (essentially) prints money.

Alison Randel

Alison Randel

16 days ago

Raising the Bar on Your 1:1s

Photo by Anotia Wang @anotia

Managers spend much time in 1:1s. Most team members meet with supervisors regularly. 1:1s can help create relationships and tackle tough topics. Few appreciate the 1:1 format's potential. Most of the time, that potential is spent on small talk, surface-level updates, and ranting (Ugh, the marketing team isn’t stepping up the way I want them to).

What if you used that time to have deeper conversations and important insights? What if change was easy?

This post introduces a new 1:1 format to help you dive deeper, faster, and develop genuine relationships without losing impact.

A 1:1 is a chat, you would assume. Why use structure to talk to a coworker? Go! I know how to talk to people. I can write. I've always written. Also, This article was edited by Zoe.

Before you discard something, ask yourself if there's a good reason not to try anything new. Is the 1:1 only a talk, or do you want extra benefits? Try the steps below to discover more.

I. Reflection (5 minutes)

Context-free, broad comments waste time and are useless. Instead, give team members 5 minutes to write these 3 prompts.

  1. What's effective?

  2. What is decent but could be improved?

  3. What is broken or missing?

Why these? They encourage people to be honest about all their experiences. Answering these questions helps people realize something isn't working. These prompts let people consider what's working.

Why take notes? Because you get more in less time. Will you feel awkward sitting quietly while your coworker writes? Probably. Persevere. Multi-task. Take a break from your afternoon meeting marathon. Any awkwardness will pay off.

What happens? After a few minutes of light conversation, create a template like the one given here and have team members fill in their replies. You can pre-share the template (with the caveat that this isn’t meant to take much prep time). Do this with your coworker: Answer the prompts. Everyone can benefit from pondering and obtaining guidance.

This step's output.

Part II: Talk (10-20 minutes)

Most individuals can explain what they see but not what's behind an answer. You don't like a meeting. Why not? Marketing partnership is difficult. What makes working with them difficult? I don't recommend slandering coworkers. Consider how your meetings, decisions, and priorities make work harder. The excellent stuff too. You want to know what's humming so you can reproduce the magic.

First, recognize some facts.

  • Real power dynamics exist. To encourage individuals to be honest, you must provide a safe environment and extend clear invites. Even then, it may take a few 1:1s for someone to feel secure enough to go there in person. It is part of your responsibility to admit that it is normal.

  • Curiosity and self-disclosure are crucial. Most leaders have received training to present themselves as the authorities. However, you will both benefit more from the dialogue if you can be open and honest about your personal experience, ask questions out of real curiosity, and acknowledge the pertinent sacrifices you're making as a leader.

  • Honesty without bias is difficult and important. Due to concern for the feelings of others, people frequently hold back. Or if they do point anything out, they do so in a critical manner. The key is to be open and unapologetic about what you observe while not presuming that your viewpoint is correct and that of the other person is incorrect.

Let's go into some prompts (based on genuine conversations):

  • “What do you notice across your answers?”

  • “What about the way you/we/they do X, Y, or Z is working well?”

  • “ Will you say more about item X in ‘What’s not working?’”

  • “I’m surprised there isn’t anything about Z. Why is that?”

  • “All of us tend to play some role in maintaining certain patterns. How might you/we be playing a role in this pattern persisting?”

  • “How might the way we meet, make decisions, or collaborate play a role in what’s currently happening?”

Consider the preceding example. What about the Monday meeting isn't working? Why? or What about the way we work with marketing makes collaboration harder? Remember to share your honest observations!

Third section: observe patterns (10-15 minutes)

Leaders desire to empower their people but don't know how. We also have many preconceptions about what empowerment means to us and how it works. The next phase in this 1:1 format will assist you and your team member comprehend team power and empowerment. This understanding can help you support and shift your team member's behavior, especially where you disagree.

How to? After discussing the stated responses, ask each team member what they can control, influence, and not control. Mark their replies. You can do the same, adding colors where you disagree.

This step's output.

Next, consider the color constellation. Discuss these questions:

  • Is one color much more prevalent than the other? Why, if so?

  • Are the colors for the "what's working," "what's fine," and "what's not working" categories clearly distinct? Why, if so?

  • Do you have any disagreements? If yes, specifically where does your viewpoint differ? What activities do you object to? (Remember, there is no right or wrong in this. Give explicit details and ask questions with curiosity.)

Example: Based on the colors, you can ask, Is the marketing meeting's quality beyond your control? Were our marketing partners consulted? Are there any parts of team decisions we can control? We can't control people, but have we explored another decision-making method? How can we collaborate and generate governance-related information to reduce work, even if the requirement for prep can't be eliminated?

Consider the top one or two topics for this conversation. No 1:1 can cover everything, and that's OK. Focus on the present.

Part IV: Determine the next step (5 minutes)

Last, examine what this conversation means for you and your team member. It's easy to think we know the next moves when we don't.

Like what? You and your teammate answer these questions.

  1. What does this signify moving ahead for me? What can I do to change this? Make requests, for instance, and see how people respond before thinking they won't be responsive.

  2. What demands do I have on other people or my partners? What should I do first? E.g. Make a suggestion to marketing that we hold a monthly retrospective so we can address problems and exchange input more frequently. Include it on the meeting's agenda for next Monday.

Close the 1:1 by sharing what you noticed about the chat. Observations? Learn anything?

Yourself, you, and the 1:1

As a leader, you either reinforce or disrupt habits. Try this template if you desire greater ownership, empowerment, or creativity. Consider how you affect surrounding dynamics. How can you expect others to try something new in high-stakes scenarios, like meetings with cross-functional partners or senior stakeholders, if you won't? How can you expect deep thought and relationship if you don't encourage it in 1:1s? What pattern could this new format disrupt or reinforce?

Fight reluctance. First attempts won't be ideal, and that's OK. You'll only learn by trying.