🗞 What's New: TikTok's new feature helps founders connect with potential users

Also: Dru Riley talks decentralized finance as Uniswap passes $10B in weekly trading volume.  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
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Lead Generation collects information straight from TikTok users: - **Users can fill out a form signaling their interest** in your product or service, and you can customize messages for multiple user segments. TikTok is now the second most popular app

Lead Generation collects information straight from TikTok users:

  • Users can fill out a form signaling their interest in your product or service, and you can customize messages for multiple user segments. TikTok is now the second most popular app for influencer marketing, with women 35 and older being one of the largest growing audiences on the platform.
  • Decentralized token exchange platform Uniswap passed $10 billion in weekly trading volume last week. As the separation of money and state continues, Dru Riley explores the creative destruction of centralized finance networks.
  • Founder Steph Smith's e-book hit $100,000 in sales in 8 months. Instead of picking a subject no one else is writing about, she recommends picking one you know super well and writing about it at least 1% better than everyone else.

Want to share something with over 70,000 indie hackers? Submit a section for us to include in a future newsletter. —Channing

🤝 TikTok's New Feature Makes it Easier for Founders to Connect with Users

COVER IMAGE

from the User Acquisition Channels newsletter by Darko G.

TikTok has released a new feature for businesses to connect with users. "Lead Generation" allows founders to create customizable messages for various user segments based on information provided by the users themselves.

Lead Generation

How it works: People see your ad on TikTok, click on a button saying "Register," and are asked to complete a form about themselves within TikTok. This feature works similarly to Facebook Lead Ads.

The opportunity: There are 2 myths about TikTok:

  1. It's great for exposure, but terrible for converting those eyeballs into paying users.

  2. Only children are on the platform.

Many people have already disputed the first point, so I'll focus on the second. Adults are definitely on TikTok, and marketers who realize this are already running conversion campaigns.

A social consultant found that females over the age of 35 are one of the top-converting age groups on TikTok right now. The platform is also working on new ad formats, which should be released soon. TikTok is the second most popular app for influencer marketing.

If you're into B2B, one great way to dip your toes into this new channel is by targeting custom audiences on TikTok.

Long-tail keywords

This recent article analyzes how AirTable, a spreadsheet-database hybrid, uses long-tail, pattern-based keywords to dominate SEO.

Type any of these keywords into Google and you'll see an Airtable template appear somewhere in the results:

  • trip calendar
  • job search template
  • personal CRM
  • social media calendar

Why this works: Airtable is leveraging the fact they're an advanced spreadsheet, so they can create templates for almost any industry. These special attributes enabled them to brainstorm thousands of long-tail keywords, carefully target them, and rank for thousands of keywords.

The opportunity: Try doing a similar thing for your own niche. To get started, ask yourself:

  • What industries can my software be used in?
  • Are there any long-tail keywords I can rank for within that industry?

Example: If you have a social media scheduling software and target hair salons, you could target a long-tail keyword like "hair salon social media posts." (This appeared as the top suggested keyword after I typed "hair salon social media.") You could write a few post ideas and have a call-to-action that says:

Want to schedule these posts for the next 30 days on your FB page? Check us out.

You can even go a step further and crowdsource some of your customers' best performing posts (with their permission). For example, "Top X posts that performed the best for hair salons." This is the power of data.

Classified ads

Facebook announced recently announced that Facebook Marketplace now has 1B users. Craigslist is also doing great, with 336M users per month.

The opportunity: Classified ads are alive and kicking. A common myth is that these channels dont work in the commerce industry. According to my Zero to Users research, this idea is false. Classifieds can work for services as well. Here's how Access Database Support ($2K MRR), a database consulting service, got its initial users:

We have alerts set up on Craigslist in the computer gigs section. This has brought me work as well.

Facebook Marketplace has also used classified ads to drive supply and demand. Take GreenPal ($25K MRR), and how it drove lawn movers to the platform:

We figured out that we could call every advertiser on Craigslist on Sunday when they weren't moving yards, and actually get five seconds of their attention to pitch them on the idea to use GreenPal.

If you're creative, you can use classified ads sites to drive real people to your SaaS/service/marketplace.

Will you be trying any of these acquisition channels? Share in the comments.

Subscribe to User Acquisition Channels for more.

📰 In the News

Photo: In the News

🤭 Inside Basecamp's fateful all-hands meeting.

🎮 Sony partners with Discord to bring chat to PlayStation.

📱 Twitter expands Spaces to anyone with 600+ followers.

📉 Verizon sells AOL and Yahoo for much less than it acquired them for.

🖼 Bob Ross paintings have become nearly impossible to find.

💸 Decentralized Finance Brings Transparency to Trading

COVER IMAGE

from the Trends.vc newsletter by Dru Riley

Uniswap, a decentralized token exchange, announced that it passed $10B in weekly trading volume last week. Because decentralized finance platforms like Uniswap are user-owned, Dru Riley highlights that founders can expect increased transparency in lending and trading when compared to centralized finance networks.

Why it matters

We've seen the separation of church and state. We're now seeing the separation of money and state.

Problem

Nations have a reputation for corruptionprotectionism, inflationbailouts, and seizures. Centralized financial institutions help them, while blocking tradesdebanking users, and more.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, but things are changing.

Solution

Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is made up of user-owned and controlled financial networks. DeFi brings transparency and fairness to lending, borrowing, storing, trading, and more.

Players

Lend and Borrow

  • Aave: Borrow crypto and earn interest on deposits.
  • Compound: A lending protocol built for developers.
  • dYdX: A trading platform with lending and borrowing for experienced traders.
  • Cream: A lending protocol based on Compound.

Trade

  • Uniswap: Decentralized token exchange.
  • SushiSwap: A fork of Uniswap that added governance tokens.
  • 1inch: An aggregator using multiple exchanges to limit price slippage.

Farm

  • Yearn: A yield aggregator on Ethereum.
  • Harvest: Automatically farm new DeFi protocols.

Index

Bet

  • Augur: A peer-to-peer betting platform.
  • Gnosis: Create prediction market applications.

Insure

  • Cover: Peer-to-peer insurance.
  • Nexus Mutual: Protection against smart contract bugs.

Tokenize

  • Harbor: Tokenize alternative investments.
  • Polymath: Create, issue, and manage digital securities.

Predictions

  • NFTs will be collateralized. NFTfi is a marketplace for P2P loans. NFT loans, like NFTs, will be tokenized.
  • Traditional investors will have access to longer-tail cryptocurrencies. GBTCETHE, and Bitwise 10 are just the beginning. See crypto-focused IRAs like Choice and Alto.
  • Uncollateralized and undercollateralized loans will become common. See Union ProtocolGoldfinchTeller, and TrueFi. Aave recently released credit delegation.
  • Laws will continue to lag. Technology moves faster than legislators. Is wrapping bitcoin a taxable event? How should rDai and cUSD be treated? These are open questions.

Opportunities

Key lessons

  • DeFi is unstoppable. There's no single point of failure. Nations that attempt to ban crypto set citizens behind culturally and financially.
  • We're living in a lag. Strong property rights, programmable money and permissionless loans are here. Awareness isn't evenly distributed.
  • DeFi is antifragile. Hacks strengthen the system. Bans prove the need for DeFi. Like Hydra, when one head is cut off, two grow in its place.
  • DeFi brings creative destruction to CeFi. Yield farming, flash loans, and AMMs are unprecedented.

Haters

"Is this financial advice?"

No. Don't trust anyone's research but your own.

"Mining harms the environment."

Layer 2 solutions are live. Proof of Stake is live on some chains, and coming to Ethereum.

"CeFi isn't going away."

You're probably right. I think we'll see "fat" trustless (DeFi) layers and "thin" trusted (CeFi) layers. Anchorage is an argument for intermediaries. Decentralization isn't perfect. Nothing is.

"I can yield farm in CeFi by moving my money between banks."

With low rates and high friction, good luck. DeFi's 20%+ APYs aren't sustainable, but interoperability is here to stay.

"This will be used for nefarious purposes."

In the words of Rick Riordan:

But magic is neither good nor evil. It is a tool, like a knife.

"What about scaling issues? (Gas prices)"

Layer 2 solutions are here. Polkadot and Binance Smart Chain compete with Ethereum.

"This sounds too good to be true. You say there's no free lunch. What's the catch?"

You can travel cross country by train, but most of us don't. Flights save time, but you'll miss some scenery. CeFi is a train. DeFi is a plane. Net positives are possible. Panaceas are not.

"Some DeFi projects are centralized."

Centralization helps teams move fast. Some projects progressively decentralize as they mature.

"Crypto is volatile."

See stablecoins.

"Why are Coinbase and Binance missing from the players section?"

These are bridges between CeFi and DeFi. This report leans towards DeFi.

Related reports

  • DAOs - Decentralization is changing non-financial networks.
  • NFTs - If DeFi creates wealth, NFTs create status.
  • DeFi (v1) - Our first look at the fast-moving world of DeFi.

Links

  1. When Owning Gold Was Illegal in America
  2. The Future Of Finance Explained: A video covering the history and future of finance.
  3. Robinhood Blocks Buying in GameStop, AMC, and Other Stocks: Centralized exchanges arbitrarily halt trades.

More Reports

Go here to get the Trends Pro report. It contains 200% more insights. You also get access to the entire back catalog and the next 52 Pro Reports.

What do you think of DeFi? Share in the comments!

Discuss this story, or subscribe to Trends.vc for more.

🧠 Harry's Growth Tip

Cover Image: Harry's Growth Tip

from the Marketing Examples newsletter by Harry Dry

Simple formula for writing better features and benefits:

  1. Write down the feature.
  2. Ask: “So what?” to find the benefit.
  3. Contrast the old way with your new way.

COVER IMAGE

Go here for more short, sweet, practical marketing tips.

Discuss this story, or subscribe to Marketing Examples for more.

📕 Founder Steph Smith Hit $100K in Book Sales in 8 Months

COVER IMAGE

By Steph Smith

Hey! I'm Steph Smith, longtime indie hacker. I've also been working full-time, most recently at The Hustle, leading up their Trends product (which was acquired by HubSpot in February)!

I've built products of my own for a long time, but always struggled to monetize them. Now I have a profitable product! My book, Doing Content Right, is nearing $100K in sales in around 8 months.

On writing a book while holding a full-time job

I always like to remind people that the book was actually over five years in the making since I had to learn and distill the expertise. I heard that Jack Kerouac's book was written in three weeks, and liked an interview where he's asked how long it took him to write On The Road:

Jack:

Three weeks.

Interviewer:

How long were you on the road for?

Jack:

Seven years.

In other words, Kerouac spent seven years and three weeks writing that book.

That said, actually putting this thing on paper in a short period was all about deadlines and weight behind the deadline (preorders). With the pressure of people waiting for this thing, I was more incentivized than ever to make it great. It was my only goal outside of my full-time job for those couple months. I wish I had a more elegant answer, but it really just looked like a lot of nights working until 3 AM!

Also, Parkinson's Law is a strong force, so I try my best to contain my projects in discrete timelines.

These articles go into more detail on my routine:

Advice on planning content and building an audience

If you're looking to write online, my advice is always to first find identify what your differentiator is. There is so much content out there today, so you need to find a way to stand out. Most people try to stand out by writing about something that no one is today, which is really hard to do (and normally signals that it's actually something that people don't care about).

Instead, I encourage people to find something that they know super well and to focus on doing that at least 1% better than what already exists out there today. You should be able to articulate what you're doing better in an adjective. Are you funnier? More deeply-researched? Contrarian? Simple? More visual?

This is true for newsletters, blogs, Twitter accounts, Youtube videos, etc. There has to be a reason that someone cares about your content, relative to the crowd.

If you're looking for a process for writing content, this also heavily depends on what you're creating and for what purpose. I share my personal process here.

Trends to keep an eye on

I will quickly comment on remote work because it's a space I love, but if people are building in this space, please don't be the thousandth person to say they can build the next Zoom! There are so many other opportunities like WFH benefits, WFH fitness (i.e. Cubii or under-desk treadmills), fractional real estate, nomad visas, corporate gifting, and more.

Now that I've got that out of my system, here are some other major trends that I think are incredibly interesting:

  • Sleep: Meditation took off over the last decade, and now it's sleep's turn. The CDC calls the number of sleep disorders a public health epidemic. There's so much opportunity here, from info sites to weighted blankets, premium PJs, enterprise sleep programs, popular sleep drugs with expired patents, lucid dreaming, courses, etc.
  • Genomics: With recent breakthroughs in things like AlphaFold, biotech is going to be a crazy industry over the next decade. People are already selling DIY CRISPR kits, and I'm interested to see where this thing goes.
  • E-sports: Another maybe obvious trend, but the opportunity to capitalize is way more diverse than most people realize. Founders can get in on gamer tourism and trade shows, gaming wearables and equipment, resale markets, white-labeling merchandise, influencer marketplaces, etc.

Some other trends that we've written about in Trends, that I personally find interesting: browser extensions, non-alcoholic booze, a renewed interest in more economic 3D printing, super high-margin products like perfume, dried flowers and plants, logistics and cold chain tech, hard kombucha, and basically anything in the pet or elder care industries.

Discuss this story.

🐦 The Tweetmaster's Pick

Cover image for Tweetmaster's Pick

by Tweetmaster Flex

I post the tweets indie hackers share the most. Here's today's pick:

🏁 Enjoy This Newsletter?

Forward it to a friend, and let them know they can subscribe here.

Also, you can submit a section for us to include in a future newsletter.

Special thanks to Jay Avery for editing this issue, to Nathalie Zwimpfer for the illustrations, and to Darko G., Dru Riley, Harry Dry, and Steph Smith for contributing posts. —Channing

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