18 hard-earned marketing lessons

A great career is built through self-marketing: You’ll never reach your career goals without treating yourself as a campaign. – Blake Emal

I knew nothing about marketing when I started my career. Since, I’ve accelerated my learning like crazy and taken tons of notes. 🧵 18 hard-earned marketing lessons:
It’s all about the hook: If you can’t write a great first line, you’ll never get a reader to the second. The hook of anything you write (ad, email, website, whatever) dictates the potential success of the campaign. Learn to write a great hook, and you’ll never go hungry again.
School writing and real writing are different things: I was an excellent writer in school. Then I tried using that skill to write an ad. Totally flopped. Essay format doesn’t really work on the internet. You need a great hook, short sentences, and simple language.
Everything is marketing: Everywhere you look is a potential idea for your business. Every word you read, every graphic you see, every billboard you chuckle at. Ideas are all around and you don’t need to conjure them from nowhere.
A great career is built through self-marketing: You’ll never reach your career goals without treating yourself as a campaign. You need to know your value props, your audience, and your content. You need to distribute that info to others, again and again.
Goal first, plan second, work third: A nice framework for marketing campaigns. Know your goals inside and out before even planning. Plan and prioritize ruthlessly before ever working a minute. Execute at the highest level against your plan.
Tech stack is overrated: Tools help people. Tools don’t replace people. If you don’t have a great plan and a talented marketer behind a campaign, the tools won’t matter. Don’t use martech as a crutch.
People love free: My best campaigns revolved around free value. My best tweets offer free courses and products. My best relationships are born out of free help or advice. People love to get a bargain, and nothing beats free.
People love helpful people: When you dedicate your content and persona to being helpful, magical things happen. We only care about ourselves. So if you want someone’s attention, be helpful to them with no expectation of return. Eventually, they’ll start thinking about you.
When others zag, zoggle: When everyone writes 50 “meh” articles per month, write 1 “HOLY CRAP” article. When everyone builds a traditional SaaS, go product-led. Trends are always changing. It’s better to create your own trends than to latch onto others’.
Quantity leads to Quality: If you post an insane amount of content, it will suck. But you’ll learn way more about why it sucks. As you refine your understanding of what’s good and what’s bad, you make better decisions. Eventually, you can produce quality work at a high scale.
A good email is the best ROI of any tactic: You can tweet, post on LinkedIn, run ads, write blogs, host webinars, and do everything else under the sun. But if you can’t write a good email, you’re toast. Mastering that one skill is higher ROI than all the others combined.
Data is nothing without a story: People get caught up with having every piece of data possible. What you really need are 3-5 key metrics, and the ability to tell stories about what the numbers tell you. Translate numbers into stories and you’ll always be well paid.
Companies die in the sea of sameness: If your company markets like everyone else, it’ll never stand out. If it never stands out, no one will ever care about it. And it will die. Take risks with your branding, messaging, and advertising.
Product is the top factor for marketing success: If your product sucks, good luck acquiring customers. And even if you do, good luck retaining them. If your product sucks, the highest ROI task for you is to get with your engineers and fix it before working on anything else.
Clear beats clever every time: Simplicity in messaging wins. Clever works OK for Apple, because everything works for Apple. You’re not Apple. Tell your customers what you do, how it helps them, and why it’s a no-brainer.
People read what interests them: “People don’t read ads, they read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.” Pass every campaign through this framework: 1. What is my exact audience for this? 2. Will this be interesting to them?
Advertise to core human needs first: – Survival – Nourishment – Freedom from danger – Companionship – Comparison – Protection of loved ones – Social approval
Advertise to core human wants second: – Information – Curiosity – Cleanliness – Efficiency – Convenience – Dependability – Beauty – Wealth – Bargains