More on Marketing
3 months ago
300 Signups, 1 Landing Page, 0 Products
I placed a link on HackerNews and got 300 signups in a week. This post explains what happened.
The product is DbSchemaLibrary. A library of Database Schema.
I'm not sure where this idea originated from. Very fast. Build fast, fail fast, test many ideas, and one will be a hit. I tried it. Let's try it anyway, even though it'll probably fail. I finished The Lean Startup book and wanted to use it.
Database job bores me. Important! I get drowsy working on it. Someone must do it. I remember this happening once. I needed examples at the time. Something similar to Recall (my other project) that I can copy — or at least use as a reference.
Frequently googled. Many tabs open. The results were useless. I raised my hand and agreed to construct the database myself.
It resurfaced. I decided to do something.
Lean Startup emphasizes validated learning. Everything the startup does should result in learning. I may build something nobody wants otherwise. That's what happened to Recall.
So, I wrote a business plan document. This happens before I code. What am I solving? What is my proposed solution? What is the leap of faith between the problem and solution? Who would be my target audience?
In my previous project, I did the opposite!
I wrote my expectations after reading the book's advice.
“Failure is a prerequisite to learning. The problem with the notion of shipping a product and then seeing what happens is that you are guaranteed to succeed — at seeing what happens.” — The Lean Startup book
These are successful metrics. If I don't reach them, I'll drop the idea and try another. I didn't understand numbers then. Below are guesses. But it’s a start!
I then wrote the project's What and Why. I'll use this everywhere. Before, I wrote a different pitch each time. I thought certain words would be better. I felt the audience might want something unusual.
Occasionally, this works. I'm unsure if it's a good idea. No stats, just my writing-time opinion. Writing every time is time-consuming and sometimes hazardous. Having a copy saved me duplication.
I can measure and learn from performance.
Last, I identified communities that might demand the product. This became an exercise in creativity.
So now it’s time to build.
A MVP can test my assumptions. Business may learn from it. Not low-quality. We should learn from the tiniest thing.
I like the example of how Dropbox did theirs. They assumed that if the product works, people will utilize it. How can this be tested without a quality product? They made a movie demonstrating the software's functionality. Who knows how much functionality existed?
So I tested my biggest assumption. Users want schema references. How can I test if users want to reference another schema? I'd love this. Recall taught me that wanting something doesn't mean others do.
I made an email-collection landing page. Describe it briefly. Reference library. Each email sender wants a reference. They're interested in the product. Few other reasons exist.
Header and footer were skipped. No name or logo. DbSchemaLibrary is a name I thought of after the fact. 5-minute logo. I expected a flop. Recall has no users after months of labor. What could happen to a 2-day project?
I didn't compromise learning validation. How many visitors sign up? To draw a conclusion, I must track these results.
Now that the job is done, gauge interest. The next morning, I posted on all my channels. I didn't want to be spammy, therefore it required more time.
I made sure each channel had at least one fan of this product. I also answer people's inquiries in the channel.
My list stinks. Several channels wouldn't work. The product's target market isn't there. Posting there would waste our time. This taught me to create marketing channels depending on my persona.
Statistics! What actually happened
My favorite part! 23 channels received the link.
I stopped posting to Discord despite its high conversion rate. I eliminated some channels because they didn't fit. According to the numbers, some users like it. Most users think it's spam.
I was skeptical. And 12 people viewed it.
I didn't expect much attention on a startup subreddit. I'll likely examine Reddit further in the future. As I have enough info, I didn't post much. Time for the next validated learning
No comment. The post had few views, therefore the numbers are low.
The targeted people come next.
I'm a Toptal freelancer. There's a member-only Slack channel. Most people can't use this marketing channel, but you should! It's not as spectacular as discord's 27% conversion rate. But I think the users here are better.
I don’t really have a following anywhere so this isn’t something I can leverage.
The best yet. 10% is converted. With more data, I expect to attain a 10% conversion rate from other channels. Stable number.
This number required some work. Did you know that people use many different clients to read HN?
Untrackable views and signups abound. 1136 views and 135 signups are untraceable. It's 11%. I bet much of that came from Hackernews.
The 7-day signup-to-visit ratio was 17%. (Hourly data points)
First-day percentages were lower, which is noteworthy. Initially, it was little above 10%. The HN post started getting views then.
When traffic drops, the number reaches just around 20%. More individuals are interested in the connection. hn.algolia.com sent 2 visitors. This means people are searching and finding my post.
1. HN post struggled till the US woke up.
11am UTC. After an hour, it lost popularity. It seemed over. 7 signups converted 13%. Not amazing, but I would've thought ahead.
After 4pm UTC, traffic grew again. 4pm UTC is 9am PDT. US awakened. 10am PDT saw 512 views.
2. The product was highlighted in a newsletter.
I found Revue references when gathering data. Newsletter platform. Someone posted the newsletter link. 37 views and 3 registrations.
3. HN numbers are extremely reliable
I don't have a time-lapse graph (yet). The statistics were constant all day.
2717 views later 272 new users, or 10.1%
With 293 signups at 2856 views, 10.25%
At 306 signups at 2965 views, 10.32%
1. My initial estimations were wildly inaccurate
I wrote 30% conversion. Reading some articles, looks like 10% is a good number to aim for.
2. Paying attention to what matters rather than vain metrics
The Lean Startup discourages vanity metrics. Feel-good metrics that don't measure growth or traction. Considering the proportion instead of the total visitors made me realize there was something here.
There are lots of work to do. Data aggregation, display, website development, marketing, legal issues. Fun! It's satisfying to solve an issue rather than investigate its cause.
In the meantime, I’ve already written the first project update in another post. Continue reading it if you’d like to know more about the project itself! Shifting from Quantity to Quality — DbSchemaLibrary
3 months ago
You can learn more about marketing from these 8 copywriting frameworks than from a college education.
Email, landing pages, and digital content
Today's most significant skill:
Unfortunately, most people don't know how to write successful copy because they weren't taught in school.
I've been obsessed with copywriting for two years. I've read 15 books, completed 3 courses, and studied internet's best digital entrepreneurs.
Here are 8 copywriting frameworks that educate more than a four-year degree.
1. Feature — Advantage — Benefit (F.A.B)
This is the most basic copywriting foundation. Email marketing, landing page copy, and digital video ads can use it.
How it works (feature)
which is helpful (advantage)
What's at stake (benefit)
The Hustle uses this framework on their landing page to convince people to sign up:
2. P. A. S. T. O. R.
This framework is for longer-form copywriting. PASTOR uses stories to engage with prospects. It explains why people should buy this offer.
Dan Koe's landing page is a great example. It shows PASTOR frame-by-frame.
3. Before — After — Bridge
Before-after-bridge is a copywriting framework that draws attention and shows value quickly.
This framework highlights:
where you are
where you want to be
how to get there
Works great for: Email threads/landing pages
Zain Kahn utilizes this framework to write viral threads.
QUEST is about empathetic writing. You know their issues, obstacles, and headaches. This allows coverups.
Tom Hirst's landing page uses the QUEST framework.
5. The 4P’s model
The 4P’s approach pushes your prospect to action. It educates and persuades quickly.
The problem the visitor is dealing with
The promise that will help them
The proof the promise works
A push towards action
Mark Manson is a bestselling author, digital creator, and pop-philosopher. He's also a great copywriter, and his membership offer uses the 4P’s framework.
6. Problem — Agitate — Solution (P.A.S)
Up-and-coming marketers should understand problem-agitate-solution copywriting. Once you understand one structure, others are easier. It drives passion and presents a clear solution.
The issue the visitor is having
It then intensifies this issue through emotion.
finally offers an answer to that issue (the offer)
The customer's story loops. Nicolas Cole and Dickie Bush use PAS to promote Ship 30 for 30.
7. Star — Story — Solution (S.S.S)
PASTOR + PAS = star-solution-story. Like PAS, it employs stories to persuade.
S.S.S. is effective storytelling:
Star: (Person had a problem)
Story: (until they had a breakthrough)
Solution: (That created a transformation)
Ali Abdaal is a YouTuber with a great S.S.S copy.
8. Attention — Interest — Desire — Action
AIDA is another classic. This copywriting framework is great for fast-paced environments (think all digital content on Linkedin, Twitter, Medium, etc.).
It works with:
writing on thread
It's a good structure since it's concise, attention-grabbing, and action-oriented.
Shane Martin, Twitter's creator, uses this approach to create viral content.
8 copywriting frameworks that teach marketing better than a four-year degree
Jano le Roux
6 months ago
Here's What I Learned After 30 Days Analyzing Apple's Microcopy
Move people with tiny words.
Apple fanboy here.
Macs are awesome.
Their iPhones rock.
$19 cloths are great.
$999 stands are amazing.
I love Apple's microcopy even more.
It's like the marketing goddess bit into the Apple logo and blessed the world with microcopy.
I took on a 30-day micro-stalking mission.
Every time I caught myself wasting time on YouTube, I had to visit Apple’s website to learn the secrets of the marketing goddess herself.
We've learned. Golden apples are calling.
Cut the friction
Benefit-first, not commitment-first.
Brands lose customers through friction.
Most brands don't think like customers.
Brands want sales.
Brands want newsletter signups.
Here's their microcopy:
“Buy it now.”
“Sign up for our newsletter.”
Both are difficult. They ask for big commitments.
People are simple creatures. Want pleasure without commitment.
Apple nails this.
So, instead of highlighting the commitment, they highlight the benefit of the commitment.
Saving on the latest iPhone sounds easier than buying it. Everyone saves, but not everyone buys.
A subtle change in framing reduces friction.
Apple eliminates customer objections to reduce friction.
Less customer friction means simpler processes.
Apple's copy expertly reassures customers about shipping fees and not being home. Apple assures customers that returning faulty products is easy.
Apple knows that talking to a real person is the best way to reduce friction and improve their copy.
Learn about fine rhyme.
Poets make things beautiful with rhyme.
Copywriters use rhyme to stand out.
Apple’s copywriters have mastered the art of corporate rhyme.
Two techniques are used.
1. Perfect rhyme
Here, rhymes are identical.
2. Imperfect rhyme
Here, rhyming sounds vary.
Apple prioritizes meaning over rhyme.
Apple never forces rhymes that don't fit.
It fits so well that the copy seems accidental.
Alliteration always entertains.
Alliteration repeats initial sounds in nearby words.
Apple's copy uses alliteration like no other brand I've seen to create a rhyming effect or make the text more fun to read.
For example, in the sentence "Sam saw seven swans swimming," the initial "s" sound is repeated five times. This creates a pleasing rhythm.
Microcopy overuse is like pouring ketchup on a Michelin-star meal.
Alliteration creates a memorable phrase in copywriting. It's subtler than rhyme, and most people wouldn't notice; it simply resonates.
I love how Apple uses alliteration and contrast between "wonders" and "ease".
Assonance, or repeating vowels, isn't Apple's thing.
You ≠ Hero, Customer = Hero
Your brand shouldn't be the hero.
Because they'll be using your product or service, your customer should be the hero of your copywriting. With your help, they should feel like they can achieve their goals.
I love how Apple emphasizes what you can do with the machine in this microcopy.
It's divine how they position their tools as sidekicks to help below.
This one takes the cake:
Conversational copy engages.
Excellent copy Like sharing gum with a friend.
This helps build audience trust.
Apple does this by using natural connecting words like "so" and phrases like "But that's not all."
The mother of all microcopy techniques.
A snowclone uses an existing phrase or sentence to create a new one. The new phrase or sentence uses the same structure but different words.
It’s usually a well know saying like:
To be or not to be.
This becomes a formula:
To _ or not to _.
Copywriters fill in the blanks with cause-related words. Example:
To click or not to click.
Apple turns "survival of the fittest" into "arrival of the fittest."
It's unexpected and surprises the reader.
So this was fun.
But my fun has just begun.
Microcopy is 21st-century poetry.
I came as an Apple fanboy.
I leave as an Apple fanatic.
Now I’m off to find an apple tree.
Cause you know how it goes.
(Apples, trees, etc.)
This post is a summary. Original post available here.
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15 days ago
I discovered a bug that allowed me to use ChatGPT to successfully web scrape. Here's how it operates.
This method scrapes websites with ChatGPT (demo with Amazon and Twitter)
In a recent article, I demonstrated how to scrape websites using ChatGPT prompts like scrape website X using Python.
But that doesn’t always work.
After scraping dozens of websites with ChatGPT, I realized that simple prompts rarely work for web scraping.
Using ChatGPT and basic HTML, we can scrape any website.
First things first, use ChatGPT's advanced version (Playground)
ChatGPT Playground's enhanced version is needed to scrape websites quickly. It generates code faster and has less constraints.
Here’s how it looks.
The classic ChatGPT display just allows you to type a prompt. Playground is more customizable and generates code faster than the basic version.
No more delays or restrictions.
In this tutorial, we'll write prompts underneath Playground.
How to Use ChatGPT to Scrape Any Website
To show you how to utilize ChatGPT to scrape any website, we'll use subslikescript, which lists movies.
Later in this post, I'll show you how to scrape Amazon and Twitter, but let's start easy.
If we try a basic prompt like “scrape the movie titles on this website: https://subslikescript.com/movies” it won’t scrape anything. Here’s when we need some HTML knowledge to build the right prompt for ChatGPT.Let's scrape the above movie titles. First, check the webpage. Right-click any element and choose Inspect.
Then see below.
We identify the element to scrape (those in the red box). The data elements are ul, a, and scripts-list.
Here's the prompt for movie titles.
Scrape this website: https://subslikescript.com/movies with Python and Beautiful Soup. Locate the element with tag “ul” and class “scripts-list”. Scrape all the “a” elements inside. Get the text attribute and print it.
import requests from bs4 import BeautifulSoup page = requests.get('https://subslikescript.com/movies/') soup = BeautifulSoup(page.content, 'html.parser') scripts_list = soup.find(class_="scripts-list") all_a_elements = scripts_list.find_all('a') for element in all_a_elements: print(element.get_text())
It extracts movie titles successfully.
Let's scrape Amazon and Twitter.
ChatGPT's Amazon scraping
Consider scraping Amazon for self-help books. First, copy the Amazon link for self-help books.
Here’s the link I got. Location-dependent connection. Use my link to replicate my results.
Now we'll check book titles. Here's our element.
If we want to extract the book titles, we need to use the tag name
class attribute name and
a-size-base-plus a-color-base a-text-normalattribute value.
This time I'll use Selenium. I'll add Selenium-specific commands like wait 5 seconds and generate an XPath.
Scrape this website https://www.amazon.com/s?k=self+help+books&sprefix=self+help+%2Caps%2C158&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_2_10 with Python and Selenium.
Wait 5 seconds and locate all the elements with the following xpath: “span” tag, “class” attribute name, and “a-size-base-plus a-color-base a-text-normal” attribute value. Get the text attribute and print them.
Code generated: (I only had to manually add the path where my chromedriver is located).
from selenium import webdriver from selenium.webdriver.common.by import By from time import sleep #initialize webdriver driver = webdriver.Chrome('<add path of your chromedriver>') #navigate to the website driver.get("https://www.amazon.com/s?k=self+help+books&sprefix=self+help+%2Caps%2C158&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_2_10") #wait 5 seconds to let the page load sleep(5) #locate all the elements with the following xpath elements = driver.find_elements(By.XPATH, '//span[@class="a-size-base-plus a-color-base a-text-normal"]') #get the text attribute of each element and print it for element in elements: print(element.text) #close the webdriver driver.close()
It pulls Amazon book titles.
Utilizing ChatGPT to scrape Twitter
Say you wish to scrape ChatGPT tweets. Search Twitter for ChatGPT and copy the URL.
Here’s the link I got. We must check every tweet. Here's our element.
To extract a tweet, use the div tag and lang attribute.
Scrape this website: https://twitter.com/search?q=chatgpt&src=typed_query using Python, Selenium and chromedriver.
Maximize the window, wait 15 seconds and locate all the elements that have the following XPath: “div” tag, attribute name “lang”. Print the text inside these elements.
Code generated: (again, I had to add the path where my chromedriver is located)
from selenium import webdriver import time driver = webdriver.Chrome("/Users/frankandrade/Downloads/chromedriver") driver.maximize_window() driver.get("https://twitter.com/search?q=chatgpt&src=typed_query") time.sleep(15) elements = driver.find_elements_by_xpath("//div[@lang]") for element in elements: print(element.text) driver.quit()
You'll get the first 2 or 3 tweets from a search. To scrape additional tweets, click X times.
Congratulations! You scraped websites without coding by using ChatGPT.
2 months ago
12 habits of the zenith individuals I know
Calmness is a vital life skill.
It aids communication. It boosts creativity and performance.
I've studied calm people's habits for years. Commonalities:
Have mastered the art of self-humor.
Protectors take their job seriously, draining the room's energy.
They are fixated on positive pursuits like making cool things, building a strong physique, and having fun with others rather than on depressing influences like the news and gossip.
Every day, spend at least 20 minutes moving, whether it's walking, yoga, or lifting weights.
Discover ways to take pleasure in life's challenges.
Since perspective is malleable, they change their view.
Set your own needs first.
Stressed people neglect themselves and wonder why they struggle.
Don't ruin your life to please others.
Calm people create more than react.
They love creating beautiful things—paintings, children, relationships, and projects.
Don’t hold their breath.
If you're stressed or angry, you may be surprised how much time you spend holding your breath and tightening your belly.
Release, breathe, and relax to find calm.
Rushing is disadvantageous.
Calm people handle life better.
Are aware of their own dietary requirements.
They avoid junk food and eat foods that keep them healthy, happy, and calm.
Don’t take anything personally.
Stressed people control everything.
Calm people put others and their work first.
Keep their surroundings neat.
Maintaining an uplifting and clutter-free environment daily calms the mind.
Minimise negative people.
Calm people are ruthless with their boundaries and avoid negative and drama-prone people.
1 month ago
The downfall of the Big Four accounting companies is just one (more) controversy away.
Economic mutual destruction.
Multibillion-dollar corporations never bothered with an independent audit, and they all lied about their balance sheets.
It's easy to forget that the Big Four accounting firms are lousy fraud enablers. Just because they sign off on your books doesn't mean you're not a hoax waiting to erupt.
This is *crazy* Capitalism depends on independent auditors. Rich folks need to know their financial advisers aren't lying. Rich folks usually succeed.
No accounting. EY, KPMG, PWC, and Deloitte make more money consulting firms than signing off on their accounts.
The Big Four sign off on phony books because failing to make friends with unscrupulous corporations may cost them consulting contracts.
The Big Four are the only firms big enough to oversee bankruptcy when they sign off on fraudulent books, as they did for Carillion in 2018. All four profited from Carillion's bankruptcy.
The Big Four are corrupt without any consequences for misconduct. Who can forget when KPMG's top management was fined millions for helping auditors cheat on ethics exams?
Consulting and auditing conflict. Consultants help a firm cover its evil activities, such as tax fraud or wage theft, whereas auditors add clarity to a company's finances. The Big Four make more money from cooking books than from uncooking them, thus they are constantly embroiled in scandals.
If a major scandal breaks, it may bring down the entire sector and substantial parts of the economy. Jim Peterson explains system risk for The Dig.
The Big Four are voluntary private partnerships where accountants invest their time, reputations, and money. If a controversy threatens the business, partners who depart may avoid scandal and financial disaster.
When disaster looms, each partner should bolt for the door, even if a disciplined stay-and-hold posture could weather the storm. This happened to Arthur Andersen during Enron's collapse, and a 2006 EU report recognized the risk to other corporations.
Each partner at a huge firm knows how much dirty laundry they've buried in the company's garden, and they have well-founded suspicions about what other partners have buried, too. When someone digs, everyone runs.
If a firm confronts substantial litigation damages or enforcement penalties, it could trigger the collapse of one of the Big Four. That would be bad news for the firm's clients, who would have trouble finding another big auditor.
Most of the world's auditing capacity is concentrated in four enormous, brittle, opaque, compromised organizations. If one of them goes bankrupt, the other three won't be able to take on its clients.
Peterson: Another collapse would strand many of the world's large public businesses, leaving them unable to obtain audit views for their securities listings and regulatory compliance.
Count Down: The Past, Present, and Uncertain Future of the Big Four Accounting Firms is in its second edition.