More on Marketing
1 year 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
Jano le Roux
1 year 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.
1 year ago
This is how I started my Twitter account.
My 12-day results look good.
Twitter seemed for old people and politicians.
I thought the platform would die soon like Facebook.
The platform's growth stalled around 300m users between 2015 and 2019.
In 2020, Twitter grew and now has almost 400m users.
Niharikaa Kaur Sodhi built a business on Twitter while I was away, despite its low popularity.
When I read about the success of Twitter users in the past 2 years, I created an account and a 3-month strategy.
I'll see if it's worth starting Twitter in 2022.
Late or perfect? I'll update you. Track my Twitter growth. You can find me here.
My Twitter Strategy
My Twitter goal is to build a community and recruit members for Mindful Monday.
I believe mindfulness is the only way to solve problems like poverty, inequality, and the climate crisis.
The power of mindfulness is my mission.
Mindful Monday is your weekly reminder to live in the present moment. I send mindfulness tips every Monday.
My Twitter profile promotes Mindful Monday and encourages people to join.
What I paid attention to:
I designed a brand-appropriate header to promote Mindful Monday.
Choose a profile picture. People want to know who you are.
I added my name as I do on Medium, Instagram, and emails. To stand out and be easily recognized, add an emoji if appropriate. Add what you want to be known for, such as Health Coach, Writer, or Newsletter.
People follow successful, trustworthy people. Describe any results you have. This could be views, followers, subscribers, or major news outlets. Create!
Tell readers what they'll get by following you. Can you help?
Add CTA to your profile. Your Twitter account's purpose. Give instructions. I placed my sign-up link next to the CTA to promote Mindful Monday. Josh Spector recommended this. (Thanks! Bonus tip: If you don't want the category to show in your profile, e.g. Entrepreneur, go to edit profile, edit professional profile, and choose 'Other'
Here's my Twitter:
I'm no expert, but I tried. Please share any additional Twitter tips and suggestions in the comments.
To hide your Revue newsletter subscriber count:
Join Revue. Select 'Hide Subscriber Count' in Account settings > Settings > Subscriber Count. Voila!
How frequently should you tweet?
1 to 20 Tweets per day, but consistency is key.
Stick to a daily tweet limit. Start with less and be consistent than the opposite.
I tweet 3 times per day. That's my comfort zone. Larger accounts tweet 5–7 times daily.
Do what works for you and that is the right amount.
Twitter is a long-term game, so plan your tweets for a year.
How to Batch Your Tweets?
Sunday evenings take me 1.5 hours to create all my tweets for the week.
Use a word document and write down your posts. Podcasts, books, my own articles inspire me.
When I have a good idea or see a catchy Tweet, I take a screenshot.
To not copy but adapt.
Two pillars support my content:
(90% ~ 29 tweets per week) Inspirational quotes, mindfulness tips, zen stories, mistakes, myths, book recommendations, etc.
(10% 2 tweets per week) I share how I grow Mindful Monday with readers. This pillar promotes MM and behind-the-scenes content.
Second, I schedule all my Tweets using TweetDeck. I tweet at 7 a.m., 5 p.m., and 6 p.m.
Include Twitter Threads in your content strategy
Tweets are blog posts. In your first tweet, you include a headline, then tweet your content.
That’s how you create a series of connected Tweets.
What’s the point? You have more room to convince your reader you're an expert.
Add a call-to-action to your thread.
Follow for more like this
Newsletter signup (share your link)
Ask for retweet
One thread per week is my goal.
I'll schedule threads with Typefully. In the free version, you can schedule one Tweet, but that's fine.
Pin a thread to the top of your profile if it leads to your newsletter. So new readers see your highest-converting content first.
Tweet Medium posts
I also tweet Medium articles.
I schedule 1 weekly repost for 5 weeks after each publication. I share the same article daily for 5 weeks.
Every time I tweet, I include a different article quote, so even if the link is the same, the quote adds value.
Engage Other Experts
When you first create your account, few people will see it. Normal.
If you comment on other industry accounts, you can reach their large audience.
First, you need 50 to 100 followers. Here's my beginner tip.
15 minutes a day or when I have downtime, I comment on bigger accounts in my niche.
My 12-Day Results
Now let's look at the first data.
I had 32 followers on March 29. 12 followers in 11 days. I have 52 now.
Not huge, but growing rapidly.
Let's examine impressions/views.
As a newbie, I gained 4,300 impressions/views in 12 days. On Medium, I got fewer views.
The 1,6k impressions per day spike comes from a larger account I mentioned the day before. First, I was shocked to see the spike and unsure of its origin.
These results are promising given the effort required to be consistent on Twitter.
Let's see how my journey progresses. I'll keep you posted.
Tweeters, Does this content strategy make sense? What's wrong? Comment below.
Let's support each other on Twitter. Here's me.
Which Twitter strategy works for you in 2022?
This post is a summary. Read the full article here
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1 year ago
The brand-new USB Rubber Ducky is much riskier than before.
The brand-new USB Rubber Ducky is much riskier than before.
With its own programming language, the well-liked hacking tool may now pwn you.
With a vengeance, the USB Rubber Ducky is back.
This year's Def Con hacking conference saw the release of a new version of the well-liked hacking tool, and its author, Darren Kitchen, was on hand to explain it. We put a few of the new features to the test and discovered that the most recent version is riskier than ever.
WHAT IS IT?
The USB Rubber Ducky seems to the untrained eye to be an ordinary USB flash drive. However, when you connect it to a computer, the computer recognizes it as a USB keyboard and will accept keystroke commands from the device exactly like a person would type them in.
Kitchen explained to me, "It takes use of the trust model built in, where computers have been taught to trust a human, in that anything it types is trusted to the same degree as the user is trusted. And a computer is aware that clicks and keystrokes are how people generally connect with it.
Over ten years ago, the first Rubber Ducky was published, quickly becoming a hacker favorite (it was even featured in a Mr. Robot scene). Since then, there have been a number of small upgrades, but the most recent Rubber Ducky takes a giant step ahead with a number of new features that significantly increase its flexibility and capability.
WHERE IS ITS USE?
The options are nearly unlimited with the proper strategy.
The Rubber Ducky has already been used to launch attacks including making a phony Windows pop-up window to collect a user's login information or tricking Chrome into sending all saved passwords to an attacker's web server. However, these attacks lacked the adaptability to operate across platforms and had to be specifically designed for particular operating systems and software versions.
The nuances of DuckyScript 3.0 are described in a new manual.
The most recent Rubber Ducky seeks to get around these restrictions. The DuckyScript programming language, which is used to construct the commands that the Rubber Ducky will enter into a target machine, receives a significant improvement with it. DuckyScript 3.0 is a feature-rich language that allows users to write functions, store variables, and apply logic flow controls, in contrast to earlier versions that were primarily limited to scripting keystroke sequences (i.e., if this... then that).
This implies that, for instance, the new Ducky can check to see if it is hooked into a Windows or Mac computer and then conditionally run code specific to each one, or it can disable itself if it has been attached to the incorrect target. In order to provide a more human effect, it can also generate pseudorandom numbers and utilize them to add a configurable delay between keystrokes.
The ability to steal data from a target computer by encoding it in binary code and transferring it through the signals intended to instruct a keyboard when the CapsLock or NumLock LEDs should light up is perhaps its most astounding feature. By using this technique, a hacker may plug it in for a brief period of time, excuse themselves by saying, "Sorry, I think that USB drive is faulty," and then take it away with all the credentials stored on it.
HOW SERIOUS IS THE RISK?
In other words, it may be a significant one, but because physical device access is required, the majority of people aren't at risk of being a target.
The 500 or so new Rubber Duckies that Hak5 brought to Def Con, according to Kitchen, were his company's most popular item at the convention, and they were all gone on the first day. It's safe to suppose that hundreds of hackers already possess one, and demand is likely to persist for some time.
Additionally, it has an online development toolkit that can be used to create attack payloads, compile them, and then load them onto the target device. A "payload hub" part of the website makes it simple for hackers to share what they've generated, and the Hak5 Discord is also busy with conversation and helpful advice. This makes it simple for users of the product to connect with a larger community.
It's too expensive for most individuals to distribute in volume, so unless your favorite cafe is renowned for being a hangout among vulnerable targets, it's doubtful that someone will leave a few of them there. To that end, if you intend to plug in a USB device that you discovered outside in a public area, pause to consider your decision.
WOULD IT WORK FOR ME?
Although the device is quite straightforward to use, there are a few things that could cause you trouble if you have no prior expertise writing or debugging code. For a while, during testing on a Mac, I was unable to get the Ducky to press the F4 key to activate the launchpad, but after forcing it to identify itself using an alternative Apple keyboard device ID, the problem was resolved.
From there, I was able to create a script that, when the Ducky was plugged in, would instantly run Chrome, open a new browser tab, and then immediately close it once more without requiring any action from the laptop user. Not bad for only a few hours of testing, and something that could be readily changed to perform duties other than reading technology news.
1 year ago
Wall Street's Bear Market May Stick Around
If history is any guide, this bear market might be long and severe.
This is the S&P 500 Index's fourth such incident in 20 years. The last bear market of 2020 was a "shock trade" caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, although earlier ones in 2000 and 2008 took longer to bottom out and recover.
Peter Garnry, head of equities strategy at Saxo Bank A/S, compares the current selloff to the dotcom bust of 2000 and the 1973-1974 bear market marked by soaring oil prices connected to an OPEC oil embargo. He blamed high tech valuations and the commodity crises.
"This drop might stretch over a year and reach 35%," Garnry wrote.
Here are six bear market charts.
The S&P 500 Index plummeted 51% between 2000 and 2002 and 58% during the global financial crisis; it took more than 1,000 trading days to recover. The former took 638 days to reach a bottom, while the latter took 352 days, suggesting the present selloff is young.
Before the tech bubble burst in 2000, valuations were high. The S&P 500's forward P/E was 25 times then. Before the market fell this year, ahead values were near 24. Before the global financial crisis, stocks were relatively inexpensive, but valuations dropped more than 40%, compared to less than 30% now.
Every stock crash, especially earlier bear markets, returned stocks to fundamentals. The S&P 500 decouples from earnings trends but eventually recouples.
Central banks won't support equity investors just now. The end of massive monetary easing will terminate a two-year bull run that was among the strongest ever, and equities may struggle without cheap money. After years of "don't fight the Fed," investors must embrace a new strategy.
Bear Haunting Bear
If the past is any indication, rising government bond yields are bad news. After the financial crisis, skyrocketing rates and a falling euro pushed European stock markets back into bear territory in 2011.
The current monetary policy climate differs from past bear markets. This is the first time in a while that markets face significant inflation and rising rates.
This post is a summary. Read full article here
1 year ago
How I set up my teams to be successful
After 10 years of working in scale-ups, I've embraced a few concepts for scaling Tech and Product teams.
First, cross-functionalize teams. Product Managers represent the business, Product Designers the consumer, and Engineers build.
If more individuals are needed to reach a goal, I group teams under a Product Trio.
With Engineering being the biggest group, Staff/Principal Engineers often support the Trio on cross-team technical decisions.
Product Managers, Engineering Managers, or Engineers in the team may manage projects (depending on the project or aim), but the trio is collectively responsible for the team's output and outcome.
Once the Product Trio model is created, roles, duties, team ceremonies, and cooperation models must be clarified.
Keep reporting lines by discipline. Line managers are accountable for each individual's advancement, thus it's crucial that they know the work in detail.
Cross-team collaboration becomes more important after 3 teams (15-30 people). Teams can easily diverge in how they write code, run ceremonies, and build products.
Establishing groups of people that are cross-team, but grouped by discipline and skills, sharing and agreeing on working practices becomes critical.
The “Spotify Guild” model has been where I’ve taken a lot of my inspiration from.
Last, establish a taxonomy for communication channels.
In Slack, I create one channel per team and one per guild (and one for me to have discussions with the team leads).
These are just some of the basic principles I follow to organize teams.
A book I particularly like about team types and how they interact with each other is https://teamtopologies.com/.