Marketing Examples

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March 11, 2020 13,000 Email Subscribers

Marketing Examples email list just hit the 13,000 mark. Here's the last 30 days growth. And a couple of highlights:

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Negative subscribers

A week ago I went backwards in subscribers for the first time. 50 unsubscribes. Just 25 new subscribes. A net loss.

Setbacks are opportunities. I learnt that people find long emails daunting ...

Encourage forwarding to balance unsubscribes

My unsubscribe rate is between 0.2-0.4% per email. With a list of 13k this is ~40 people.

To balance unsubscribes I encourage subscribers to forward to friends. If you write great email's good this works:

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Quality gets rewarded

The focus of Marketing Examples has always been quality at all costs. The downside is fewer articles and less organic traffic.

But the upside is if you have a reputation for quality you expose yourself to big growth spikes.

e.g. - A fortnight ago Noah Kagan shared my site with his big email list. This doesn't happen to sites which prioritise quantity over quality. A tweet from Courtland comes to mind:

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Just get started

if you want to grow an email list just get started is the best advice out there.

Email lists don't “blow up” in the way that YouTube channels do. It's a slow game and it can feel like you're plodding on. But if you plod on long enough you'll make it to several thousand subscribers.

And finally, if you'd like to learn more about marketing from short pratical tips, please do check out Marketing Examples and also perhaps the email list.

Any questions let me know in the comments :)

February 14, 2020 Article went viral. Then a Twitter mob attacked

A couple of days ago I published my most successful marketing article ever. It was about the genius of Lil Nas X marketing strategy.

The twitter thread ended up with more than 7000 likes. It also ended up the 3rd most upvoted post of all time on Reddit's entrepreneur forum.

I was at my parents house when I published the article. We were in the kitchen looking at the numbers go up literally every second. It was surreal. This was the 46th marketing case study I've written. Lucky 46!

Before, I went to bed I checked my phone one last time. Boy, was that mistake. A stream of angry messages stared back at me. It took me a while to work out what was going on.

Basically, another Twitter user had written a thread about the same topic a few months earlier. She'd then seem my thread, thought I'd stolen her work, and proceeded to set the attack dogs on me.

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In reality:

  • I'd never seen her thread before
  • Hundreds of articles have been written about Lil Nas X's meteoric rise before. She wasn't the first. I won't be the last.
  • You can't own the rights to a story. That's like saying that only one article can ever be written about Tesla's marketing!

But that's not how “the mob” operates. It takes 5 seconds to reply, “You stole the article ...” And 5 minutes to read both threads and realise that aside from the title, they tell the story in a very different way.

I thought about blocking them, I thought about direct messaging them, I thought about replying with reason. But, you cannot change an opinion using logic if logic wasn't used to form the opinion in the first place. Anything I said would fuel them. So I went with the radio silence approach.

I thought maybe it would slow, but I woke up the next day and the stream of hate kept coming. They even messaged my sponsor trying to to get them to cut ties:

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Fortunately my sponsor saw sense. Cheers SEOBuddy:

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Enough was enough. I left my phone in the cookie jar, went outside into the sunlight, then into a nearby park. I said hello to a few dog walkers, they smiled, said hello back and I was reminded that humans are alright after all.

It's a 24 hour news cycle. They'd done their best to cancel me, and now I'm sure they've moved onto their next next victim.

When all said and done, worse things have happened at sea. Social media isn't real. I've started to smile about the whole thing. It toughened me up.

“The dogs bark, and the caravan goes by” — Jose Mourinho

(thanks @Arsawatt for the quote)

Viva Marketing Examples. Only way to take me out is to nail me to canvas! Cause the party isn't stopping. Thanks for reading. And enjoy Friday.

January 11, 2020 4700 new followers overnight!

Super lucky. I posted my latest Marketing Example as a thread on Twitter yesterday afternoon. Out of nowhere Steve Schoger recommended my account to his followers and my followers jumped from 8200 to 12,900 overnight!

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I'm fully aware Twitter is Twitter. It's not reality. This years is about converting my momentum into actual money. Just a nice reminder to keep beavering away because you never know who's watching.

Also a reminder that everyone starts somewhere.Here's a milestone I posted when I hit 100 followers about how I was copying Steve's style. Never thought 6 months later he'd share my tips:

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January 5, 2020 8000 Twitter Followers

This morning the Marketing Examples Twitter account reached 8000 followers. Here's the story:

The quick tip approach

I haven't been writing so many longer articles because, well ... Christmas. So instead, my focus has been on making quick marketing tips for Twitter.

People retweeting your tweets is what gets you followers. And people like to retweet quick tips. It's pretty much that simple.

The key is consistency. Consistently on brand. Consistently high quality. Pick your area of expertise. Commit to posting 3-7 useful tips each week. Don't ask for anything in return.

Wes Bos, Ahrefs, Steve Schoger, Matthew Kobach are all masters of this approach. (linked tips) I've just copied their style and applied it to marketing. Here's an example:

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Reusing the tips

When I was first making the tips I'd just post them on Twitter. I soon realised what a waste that was. Now I post them in plenty of different watering holes: Slack, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc ...

No one likes a self promoter, so I just add my website url and twitter handle at the bottom of the image. This saves me having to say “Oh, btw, I also have this website you should check out ...” Here's a recent tip I made for Twitter but shared in dozens of Facebook groups:

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When I reach around 50 marketing tips I'm going to bundle them all together and “launch” as a free eBook type thing.

Let your blog/YouTube feed your Twitter

Your tips don't have to be original. For example, I once wrote an article with 7 practical copywriting tips.

I then broke the best tips from the article into stand alone tweets. It works!

A company like MakerPad are a perfect fit. Countless no code material. Just a matter of re-packaging for Twitter.

And finally ...

People do not follow you to be advertised to. You can't force it. Consistently add value and people will check you out because they want to.

If you'd like to peruse my quick marketing tips I made a Twitter moment with them al on :)

Thanks for reading. Over and out

November 25, 2019 Reached $2,500 MRR

Have some good sponsorship news. Trainual came onboard as a new primary sponsor and EmailOctopus also decided to renew. The end result is MRR of $2,500 / mo.

Goal Nearly Accomplished

At the start of 2019 my business goal was to be able to leave my job and support myself. Being fairly young, and not have to worry about all the stuff proper adults worry about, I’m about 95% of the way.

Being crystal clear on the goal at the start of the year certainly helped making decisions.

For example, when EmailOctopus first sponsored back in August, I knew that was enough momentum to leave my job. I wasn’t making enough money at the time. But being so clear on the end goal it just seemed like the right step. And I guess my decisiveness was rewarded.

Longer term sponsorship cycles

I’d probably make more money if I spent time each week sending out outreach emails looking for new sponsors for each new edition of the newsletter.

But there’s an opportunity cost to this. 5 days working on the site would go down to 4 days.

 So I like to keep the sponsorship cycles at minimum 3 month periods.

The idea is to stay fully focused on growth. And it's self fulfilling because if your site grows then sponsors find you organically and you don't have to worry as much about outreach ...

Definitely inefficient

Despite the good news, I still feel like I'm pretty inefficient. Days where I go to bed thinking, “that was a good day ...” are rare.

I think the problem is I try to work all the time and the result is wasting a lot time. You fill the time you allocate. If you allocate 5 hours, you get it done in 5 hours. If you allocate 12 hours you can waste 7 of them.

Before Christmas I hope to solve this. It requires better time management, scheduling things in the day which aren't work, and being stronger mentally. Any advice, I'm all ears.

Thanks for reading. Over and out.

November 12, 2019 7500 Email Subscribers

The Marketing Examples alien spacecraft went past the 7,500 mark last night. Here's the good and bad:

No silver bullet

I wish I could say I've found a silver bullet to growing my email list. But there isn't one. Every new 500 subscribers comes from somewhere different:

Sharing on Facebook groups, Linkedin, Slack, Zest, Twitter, Podcast appearances, Indie Hackers, sending detailed email replies, getting to know other share, from (trying) to help others with marketing, I could go on ...

I thought when I crossed 5k it would be less manual. But it's not. And that's great. I love taking a few hours to share each articles. I don't see the day when that stops. I'm still be posting them on Reddit / Indie Hackers / Linkedin etc ...

Conversion is King (Sorry Kanye)

The easiest way, hands down, to 5x your rate of subscribers is taking your conversion rate from 1% to 5%. I can't stress enough how much easier that is as opposed to 5x your volume of traffic.

All it takes is some simple changes such as, adding an exit intent popup, explaining clearly the value of signing up, adding some social proof, multiple email boxes, asking like a human etc.

My traffic is much much lower than other sites out there. But my conversion (around 10%) is the reason why I pull in subscribers (around 50 / day). If you'd like more details on this I wrote a case study outlining the process.

I'm not Frank Ocean

I had a period over the last two weeks where I didn't produce a single article. Which is not cool, given the only thing I have to do is write articles! I got so swept up in perfectionism that I froze and couldn't string anything together.

It got to the point where I had multiple versions of every sentence and would read each of them to my brother and he was like, "What are you wasting my time for. The sentences say the same thing. Why are you stressing over this?"

The article finally came out and funnily enough it got one of the worst receptions to date. This was the best thing that could happen to me.

It was proof that all this sweating over the perfect sentence counts for nothing. It made me more cut throat and reminded me that first and foremost I'm a business. But, that was 2 weeks where the site didn't grow too much haha!

Depth over Breadth

@yungrollneck shared a line from Paul Graham which changed the way I ran the site, "It's easier to expand userwise than satisfactionwise".

The point, essentially, is that it's far easier to double your userbase, than to turn a 5/10 satisfaction into a 10/10. So you've got to focus on satisfaction from the word go.

Since reading this, I've allocated more time to emails, fixing user bugs, responding to questions properly etc. If that means I grow a little bit slower then so be it.

Every startup is a tree and if you let it rot at the base, it's game over. It might grow tall, but sooner or later the rot will tear it down. Facebook is a prime example of this. I want roots as healthy as a Coast Redwood.

That's all folks. I'll be back at 10k email subs. Hopefully I get there before 2020. The email list is here for anyone who wants to learn from some real world marketing examples. Over and out.

November 1, 2019 First attempt at Side Project Marketing

This past week I spent building Startup Gifs: A collection of gifs to brighten up your startups Slack channel

The idea is (fingers crossed) I can use this it as a honeypot, to draw some attention and then from that some new users check out my main project: Marketing Examples!

I made sure to host the project on my own domain. That way if I get any backlinks the “link juice” will flow to other pages on Marketing Examples helping them rank better.

I also wanted to do draw attention to Marketing Examples in a creative way.

So I bought a load of nice stickers and sharpie's and made some cards spelling out, "I built this to promote Marketing Examples". and turned it into a GIF itself.

Hopefully this tongue in cheek self promotion gets more attention.

Anyway, I've just launched Startup Gifs on Product Hunt this morning! Any feedback is appreciated.

I'll write an update seeing how successful this was! Either way, I had a fun time making it. Hope it makes you laugh. Any feedback / questions, I'll be in the comments!

September 23, 2019 5000 Twitter Followers!

Yesterday the Marketing Examples Twitter crossed the 5000 mark, gaining around 2500 new followers in the last month alone!

I remember reading this post about doubling down on what works and it motivating me to focus more on Twitter (after all, that was one area which was clearly was working)! This is what I've been doing:

1. Introduced quicks tips

So, instead of just relying on the threads (article summaries) to get new followers I've tried some standalone single tip tweets:

These are being shared just as widely as my threads and are usually about 5x less work!

2. Started running Ads

Because these quick tip tweets are clearly very popular I thought why not run Twitter Ads against them and see how many new followers I can bring in (so I did)! And it worked great.

I ran two different campaigns targeting the audiences of different marketing personalities I respect: @julian, Andrew Chen, Luke Wroblewski etc ... and the results were £230 for 1106 new followers, so around 21p a follower.

Previously I had tried running ads on the first tweet in the one of my threads. And the result about £1.50 / follower, so clearly something was going right here! I would say:

  • The fact that I was promoting tweets which already had a bunch of likes and RT's on certainly helped a lot! Acted as great social proof.
  • The tweets itself were dense with value. 3 tips and one diagram packed onto one tweet. It was almost as much as a blog post. There's no way just a generic image / tweet could have done so well.

If I can spend £230 and bring in 1100 new followers it has made me think about doing some more contracting work, and then I can plug the money back into the business. Because currently, I don't have the finances to spend an extra £230 twice a month!

Anyway, that's the update. The Marketing Examples Twitter steam train powers on to its next destination: 7,500 followers!

September 6, 2019 5000 Email Subscribers

The Marketing Examples email list has hit the 5000 mark!

Prior to my Product Hunt launch 4% of first time visitors were joining the email list. The day before I launched on Product Hunt I spent some time optimising my site to collect emails. Now the site converts 12% of first time users.

Below I've summarised the improvements. Buckle up, cause it's a long one!

1. The more email boxes the better ...

My theory is: You only sign up to an email list if you can see an email box. No matter how good the article is.

There are 3 ways to join the ME email list:

  • From the nav bar (inspired by Notion)
  • At the end of every article
  • Wait 45s for popup

No matter where you are on my website you're only one click away from signing up!

2. Add social proof ...

Social proof is deemed a necessity for websites but for people trying to grow an email list it's often neglected! As social proof I added:

  • "Join [insert email list size] marketers ..." to my email modal
  • Two nice quotes at the bottom of every article
  • The current unsubscribe rate of < 0.4%

3. Ask people to subscribe ...

One of the best marketing articles I read this year was this one, by Baremetrics. I never subscribed to the email list. Why? Well, they never asked me to.

People need a subtle prompt. At the end of my articles I know add the line: "If you enjoyed reading please do join the email list below".

4. Value based messaging

Instead of saying, Sign up to my email list, I say: Get two new case studies every week.

People don't give up their email address for nothing. You actually have to explain the value you're bringing to the table.

5. Don't use the word subscribe ...

People do not like "subscribing" to stuff. I replaced "subscribe" with: "Stay updated". Here's a good resource for some alternative words to use.

6. And finally ...

Choosing to subscribe to an email list is a split second decision. It’s not something anyone thinks deeply about. This means that subtle phycological tweaks such as:

  • Social proof
  • Value based messaging
  • Nicely asking people to subscribe

really make a huge difference.

That's all folks! Thanks for reading!

August 29, 2019 3000 Twitter Followers

Woke up this morning to see the Marketing Examples twitter go over the 3000 mark.

It’s been a really great last month on Twitter, growing more than 1600 followers users in the last 30 days! Below I've tried to summarise what I've learnt:

Create an account people want to follow

I spend 3 days researching and writing each marketing example. And then I spend a further 1/2 hours summarising the example in a twitter thread. And that's literally all I tweet about. There's no junk tweets. No tweets about the "team day out at the zoo ... " The signal to noise ratio is 100%.

Put all your value on twitter itself ...

You’re never going to grow a Twitter account linking off to blogs. So the question for me with Marketing Examples is how do I put value in the tweets? The answers is summarise the blog in a thread. e.g. - this one about Fortnite

Why threads work so well

In a 280 character tweets it’s difficult to offer any real wisdom. It all transcends into pseudo wisdom. But, with threads you lift the character limit. And it's far easier to say something meaningful.

The % of people who follow you after reading a thread is always going to be higher than from an isolated tweet. You can earn people’s trust over a string of 8 tweets where you can’t do that in one isolated tweet.

People retweet pure crystal meth

What do I mean by this is? Well, Naval Ravikant did a famous thread, titled, How to get rich (without getting lucky):

It didn’t say How to get rich without getting lucky #startups @ elonmusk @ paulgraham look at me 50 hardcore tips

No, strip away all that. It looks like an advert. People don’t want to retweet that. People retweet pure stuff. Would Walter White cook it is the question you should ask yourself!

I keep the first tweet of each of my threads incredibly short and plain for that reason. If you're going to tag people do it further down the thread.

Create paths which link from your website to twitter

When people visit Marketing Examples, my goal is to convert as many of them as possible into twitter followers. So at the end of every case study I embed the first tweet of the twitter thread asking if they'd like to share it.

People are far more likely to retweet a tweet **they actually see **, than to use a social share button. This also continually reminds people that Marketing Examples has a twitter account that they're proud of.

Obviously you've got to tweet really great stuff

There's a line from @adamwathan on the "Art of Product Podcast" where he says "It just got to a stage where whenever people see Steve's twitter icon in the timeline, they'd stop scrolling and be like, this is going to be good ... "

He's talking about Steve Schoger who grew from 1k - 50k in < year posting incredibly high quality design tips. For example

Most people put a few seconds thought into what they tweet. Steve would put hours, days, weeks into each one. When someone goes above and beyond to such an extent, they're going to get noticed. I've been trying to get Marketing Examples to that level.

Thanks for making it all the way to the bottom of this essay. Over and Out!

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