(from the latest issue of the Indie Hackers newsletter)
As my holiday gift to you, feast your eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel:
I almost wrote a reflection of the year's biggest moments here, but let's be honest: It's the holidays. And no one's trying to read that right now.
So let's suppress the memory of 2020 like our lives depend on it, and focus instead on the delicious opportunities coming our way in 2021. More on that below.
Here's what you'll find in this issue:
These are the topics I'll cover in this week's acquisition channels report. Let's get started :)
Daniel S., the CEO of the Snow Agency, recently tweeted that his agency A/B tested several creative formats for their FB ads. The conversion rates were:
Guess what type of content was behind the 7.7% number?
Memes. They also gave them the most positive comments.
I'm personally seeing an increasing number of memes-as-ads on my Facebook news feed. Here's one example:
What this means for you: As people get more familiar with memes, meme marketing is likely to become more effective. If you need inspiration for your ads, take a look at this HubSpot article with some great examples.
After analyzing 487 interviews with startup founders, it was surprising to me that few of them are leveraging YouTube as an acquisition channel. For those that succeeded with YouTube, their success was dependent on consistency or a viral video that gave exposure to the rest of their videos.
My breakout video was "How My Dumb Mobile Game Got 400k Downloads." After this video went viral, a bunch of my older videos started getting recommended to people as well.
The main point is: YouTube is not friendly to new creators. According to data provided by TubeFilter, it takes an average of 22 months for a channel to reach 1,000 subscribers on YouTube.
Reddit is trying to change that. They recently acquired Dubsmash, a platform for making short videos. If you read Reddit's announcement, you'll notice this segment:
Dubsmash's mission is to elevate under-represented creators.
Just as Reddit is a place for content you won't see anywhere else on the Internet, Dubsmash provides a welcoming platform for up-and-coming creators and users who are under-represented in social media.
What this means for you: This is great news if you're doing video and don't want to spend an year without seeing results. Reddit has also announced they plan to integrate Dubsmash more tightly into their platform, giving video creators exposure to Reddit's 52M daily active users. Keep an eye on this space.
What this means to you: Take a look at the Snapchat campaigns list. You'll notice that AR is all about relating to the user:
Soon, there will be more opportunities to promote your AR creations (I've talked to FB support a month ago on whether I can advertise Instagram filters on their platform, and here's what they said):
Pinterest has released their "Pinterest Predicts" report, featuring 150+ trends they expect will rise in 2021. They had a pretty good track record for their 2020 report:
Today, 442 million people around the world use Pinterest to find tomorrow's ideas. It's a place to look forward. That means we know what's next. In fact, 8 out of 10 of our predictions for 2020 came true—despite it being the least predictable year in history.
Here's a preview of the PDF.
🎓 Gumroad launched Gumroad University: a guided tour of their best resources for building products and growing audiences.
👝 A solo founder making $5.2k/mo compiled a transparent list of the 60 technologies, tools, APIs, libraries, and apps she uses to operate her business.
🚷 Substack announced a "hands-off" policy for content moderation. Unlike social media companies like Twitter and Facebook, they vowed not to hide or remove posts perceived to be offensive.
💸 An indie hacker made $4,673 in 24 hours by selling his unused domains from a public Google sheet and Gumroad.
🤯 Shaan Puri, co-host of the popular My First Million podcast, made $50k/month from an experimental newsletter… and then shut it down.
👀 An indie hacker released an app that lets you see and delete the personal data Facebook collects about you.
Exploding Topics scours the internet to find emerging trends before they take off.
Here are two of the latest developments. They include an increased focused on the quality of products — as opposed to other concerns, like marketing or pricing — and a rise in "socially responsible" investing.
Product-led growth is a business approach where the primary drive is to maximize the quality of the thing being sold.
Customer acquisition, marketing, sales, and pricing all play second fiddle to the product itself. (Most product-led growth approaches also tend to incorporate a free version or free trial of the product into the mix.)
A recent report by OpenView found that product-led growth companies have a 2x higher market cap compared to the public-market SaaS Index Fund.
ESG investing (environmental, social, and corporate governance) is a form of socially responsible investing.
Assets under management with an ESG focus currently stands at $40.5 trillion (up from $30.7 trillion at the start of 2018). It's estimated that total ESG investments will grow to $50 trillion in the next two decades.
ESG investments are already the norm in certain markets. For example, they account for approximately two-thirds of professionally-managed assets in Australia and New Zealand.
The Putnam Sustainable Leaders fund is one of the largest dedicated ESG funds, with over $5.2B in total assets. Last year, the fund returned over 35% — outperforming the S&P 500.
ECG investing is part of the Socially Responsibility Spending meta trend.
68% of young consumers want the brands they buy from to “contribute to society”. And Nielsen found that sustainable products had better growth than non-sustainable counterparts across all product categories.
Check out the full post to see this week's other exploding topics, including two portable products that owe their growth to the COVID-19 pandemic.
And join Exploding Topics Pro to see trends 6+ months before they take off.
Don't think about "capturing emails."
Think about creating something worth subscribing to.
Go here for more more short, sweet, practical marketing tips.
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Welcome to Sales Bytes: Your weekly chance to get measurably better at sales in five minutes or less.
Brendan McAdams — a founder with 20+ years of sales experience — speaking on this week's Sales for Founders podcast:
It's not that hard to be an effective salesperson. A big part of it is just following up and following through. Turning up on time. Doing what you said you'd do when you said you'd do it. Showing genuine interest in the customer. These are all things every founder can do.
Are you struggling with outbound sales? Not getting replies to your cold emails?
Then you're breaking the only really important outbound sales rule...
If risk > reward, you fail.
Build an outbound sales process that only has low-risk, high-reward steps, and you'll see explosive results.
Start today by:
What's the least risky, most potentially valuable action you could ask a completely "cold" prospect to take?
Hint: You'll need to really see the world through your audience's eyes to get this right.
I post the tweets indie hackers share the most. Here's my pick for the holidays:
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Also, you can submit a section for us to include in a future newsletter.
Special thanks to Nathalie Zwimpfer for the cover art in this issue, and to Darko G., Pete Codes, Josh Howarth, Harry Dry, Louis Nicholls, and David Perell for all the great words. —Channing