The company boasts an open rate of 92%:
The average open rate for marketing emails is around 20%, while SMS open rates range between 82-98%. Because traditional marketing channels are crowded, Dru Riley recommends that founders use SMS to create a more intimate experience with users.
There are nearly 32 million active blogs in the US, and businesses that blog get twice as much email traffic as businesses who don’t. These tips will help your content stand out from the crowd.
From $1 to $100,000, founder Cory Zue has built, marketed, and supported everything by himself while still working part-time. He recently hit a huge milestone: No longer having to take on additional work just for the money.
Want to share something with over 75,000 indie hackers? Submit a section for us to include in a future newsletter. —Channing
📲 Subtext's SMS Marketing is Booming
from the Trends.vc newsletter by Dru Riley
Subtext, Substack for SMS marketing, clocks an average open rate of 92%, compared to the email marketing open rate of 20%. Companies of all sizes are using SMS marketing to create a more intimate connection with users. Here's why founders should level up with texts.
Traditional marketing channels are crowded.
SMS marketing helps you reach customers in an intimate, immediate channel.
- Use SMS marketing for:
- Use bonuses to boost signups. Good Counsel offers 30% off when you sign up to their SMS list.
- Turn your leased audience into an owned audience. Jack Butcher nudges Twitter followers to subscribe for text messages.
- Monetize your SMS audience directly. Minda Zetlin charges $5 per month for micro-challenges.
- SMS is an intimate, immediate channel reserved for high-affinity brands or urgent messages.
- SMS and email are owned channels, unlike Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
- Competition breeds innovation. The Red Queen Effect applies to marketing.
"SMS won't always be this effective."
So start now. And don't overreact when the arbitrage fades. Physical mail still works.
"Why not just use push notifications?"
This comes with platform risk, it's not ubiquitous (cell phones ≠ smartphones), and all brands can't justify building an app.
"Your entire audience won't move from Instagram to SMS."
They don't need to. Your true fans are enough.
"SMS Marketing isn't new."
Trends.vc isn't about what's new. It's about what matters. Sure. Fitness instructors, real estate agents, and cosmetologists have used SMS for business for as long as it's existed.
"SMS and email also have platform risk."
It's a spectrum. Carriers live between you and SMS subscribers. Email clients live between you and email subscribers. Perfect is a myth.
Who should I talk to about SMS marketing? - The tweet behind this report.
Creating Stronger Bonds With Fans Using SMS Marketing - See how BIG K.R.I.T. used SMS marketing for his album release.
The Complete Guide to SMS Compliance - An eight-chapter guide on laws and regulations surrounding SMS marketing.
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.
Subscribe to Trends.vc for more.
📰 In the News
from the Volv newsletter by Priyanka Vazirani
💲 Bitcoin has stabilized after Elon Musk says that Tesla hasn't sold its holdings.
😶 Parler is officially back on the Apple App Store with a new AI moderation system that blocks posts containing hate speech and racial slurs.
⏰ WHO study finds that longer working hours kill thousands every year.
😈 This app lets you pay to control someone else’s life.
📹 The 'Charlie bit my finger' video will be deleted after being sold as an NFT.
Check out Volv for more 9-second news digests.
🎯 Structuring Blog Content for Improved Engagement
from the Content Marketer newsletter by Marc Bromhall
There are nearly 32M active blogs in the US, and businesses that blog experience twice as much email traffic as businesses who don’t. With this being the case, how can brands write blog content that keeps the reader engaged? These five tips will help.
Use multiple headings
It’s important to break up your article with multiple headings. Not only does this make it easier on the eye when it comes to reading the article, but it also helps reframe the article and set new context as the reader progresses through it.
Keep paragraphs short
We are almost always writing content on a desktop device, but the majority of content in the world is now consumed on mobile devices.
This space disparity presents a challenge when structuring article paragraphs. Typically, you can double the amount of paragraphs on a desktop when viewed on a mobile device.
This means that the old approach of writing university paper length paragraphs of 10 lines or more is not feasible. On mobile devices, 20 lines of continuous text is simply too much on the eye.
With this in mind, we advise writing paragraphs of between 3-5 lines on a desktop. This usually translates into 6-10 lines of text on a mobile device, which is optimal for easy reading.
Use bold, italics, and quotes
It’s important to utilize these text formats to stress the importance of a word or sentence. It also creates visual diversity that makes it easier on the reading eye.
Use media to break up text
After about every 250 words, you should be using an image or video to break up the text. Generally, this means that when viewing an article on a 13-inch laptop, there will always be a portion of the image in view.
Keep sentences short
Always try to keep your sentences under 20 words long. These days, it’s easy to lose focus when reading long, drawn out sentences that use too many commas. Use full stops in place of commas as an easy method to make your sentences short and more punchy.
In the world we live in, people are rather lazy when it comes to reading articles. Because readers and consumers have a choice of tons of content to consume across the internet, we have to work extra hard to attract, and keep, a reader’s attention in the blog articles we write.
What are your best practices for writing blog posts? Please share in the comments!
Discuss this story, or subscribe to The Content Marketer for more.
🧠 Harry's Growth Tip
from the Marketing Examples newsletter by Harry Dry
Signal made Instagram ads to show all the personal data that Facebook sells about you. Facebook banned them. Signal responded with a viral blog post.
Great example of “picking a fight.” An enemy gives you a story to tell.
Go here for more short, sweet, practical marketing tips.
Subscribe to Marketing Examples for more.
📈 How Founder Cory Zue Went From $1 to $100K
by Cory Zue
More than four years ago, I posted on Indie Hackers for the first time, declaring my intention to earn $1 by building and selling something on the internet.
Four years later, I've passed $100K total from my own projects. I have three profitable products:
SaaS Pegasus: A code boilerplate for building SaaS products with Django ($50K).
Place Card Me: A site for making place cards for weddings and events ($47K).
Chat Stats: Silly analytics and leaderboards for GroupMe Groups ($4.7K).
I've built, marketed, and supported everything by myself while working part-time and contracting, as I didn't want to have to dip into savings.
What's your advice on acquiring first users?
I'm not sure there's a one-size-fits-all answer for this since it totally depends on the product, but here are some examples from my past.
Place Card Me was a B2C app at a low price point, so I paid $100 for Google and Reddit Ads to drive traffic to it in the beginning. Ads were never going to be ROI-positive, but they helped me validate. It showed me that there was demand, and that some people might be willing to pay for it. I think ads are an underutilized as a "learning" channel.
SaaS Pegasus had a landing page for more than a year before it launched. I created content and tried to SEO it a bit while I collected emails. Because of this, I was able to make pre-sales before the product was even public.
CommCare (a product I worked on as part of my day job) is a fullblown B2B enterprise, and many of our customers come from sales and cold outreach.
Short answer: it depends!
Do founders need an audience first?
I went the audience-before-business route, though I think both routes are valid. I started with audience because I didn't know what I was going to build. An audience is a great asset to carry around in that it can be valuable in almost any context.
My audience has never been large in terms of personal branding. Where it's helped the most has been getting articles published, and then having those serve as SEO help, since I almost always add backlinks to my products on anything I create.
In general, I'd say that audiences are safer long-term, but likely to be less valuable short-term. But there are some pitfalls: It's easy to conflate having a big audience with being successful, which isn't necessarily the case, and go down the wrong path. Also, audiences tend to lend themselves best to certain types of products (i.e. courses), so keep that in mind. Some people may not want to build those types of things. I didn't.
Probably best to do both in parallel!
How did you maintain your part-time job?
Again, maybe an annoying answer, but it was very easy. I was the former CTO and knew the ins and outs of the organization, codebase, product, and other things better than almost anyone, so they were happy to have me back at whatever capacity I was willing to offer. I didn't stay for the money (though the stability was nice), but more because I wanted to continue being part of the organization.
In general, I suspect most small organizations would be happy to be flexible for high performers, if pressed. If you look at the cost of training someone up to be at the level of someone who's been around for years, plus the risk that it might not work out with a new hire, it's typically an ROI-positive decision to keep someone on part-time. The only big risk to the organization is setting a bad precedent.
When will you become a full-time indie hacker?
There's not a specific income target I'm waiting for. I try to be thoughtful about how I spend my time, and revisit the question regularly, but I like being able to be part of teams. I like contributing to something bigger than I could do myself, so I don't necessarily ever see myself fully giving up working with and for other people.
The big milestone that I hit in the last six months was earning enough to feel like I no longer have to take on work just for the money. So now, when I work for others, it's because I want to. That's a nice place to be.
Feel free to AMA!
Discuss this story.
🐦 The Tweetmaster's Pick
by Tweetmaster Flex
I post the tweets indie hackers share the most. Here's today's pick:
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Special thanks to Jay Avery for editing this issue, to Nathalie Zwimpfer for the illustrations, and to Dru Riley, Priyanka Vazirani, Marc Bromhall, Harry Dry, and Cory Zue for contributing posts. —Channing