A weekly illustrated newsletter on using edutainment to grow your business.

Every Friday, get a short weekly illustrated newsletter by edutainment expert Adam Fairhead. Each issue contains a bite-sized tip to grow your business using proven edutainment techniques, and a fun cartoon to help you remember what you learn.

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Is there anything worse than a relationship ending?

You can probably think of a time that happens. Ughh. Yowch.
Exhausting to think about.

If your product had feelings, it’d probably feel the same way about customers who leave.

And we can’t have that.

So here are 3 ways you can use edutainment principles to increase customer retention for your product or service. Your product’s feelings are at stake:

1) Your brand becomes a friend, not just a service provider

When a service provider comes to your house, you offer them a drink then keep out of their way. You want them there only for as long as they’re doing precisely what they need to, then you want them gone.

When a friend comes to your house, you offer them your whole fridge, a place to stay if they need it. You want them there for as long as they want to be there.The difference is profound. We need to give the brand a voice and personality (in both product UX and content) to ‘befriend’ rather than merely ‘transact’. Make signing up easy, valuable, and enjoyable. Make getting started easy, valuable, and enjoyable. Don’t behave like a service provider. Behave like a friend.

2) Edutaining content: another reason to stay engaged

Knowledgebase. FAQs. Documentation. Guides. These all sound boring, don’t they? That impression didn’t come from nowhere. We learned this the hard way over many years: going deeper with a product is kinda boring.

But we want users to go deeper. So use better paradigms. If your people enjoy the comic in their newspaper, use that paradigm. If your people enjoy watching fun videos on YouTube or Netflix in their own time, use that paradigm. If your people like playing games, use that paradigm. Give them WHAT they want to know, HOW they love to consume.

3) Sticking with 1 and 2 is where ‘a spark’ comes from

We’re faithful to our partners. We wouldn’t ‘switch to a competitor’. Those relationships started by being a friend: interactions being easy, valuable and enjoyable. Those relationships were nurtured by giving reasons to stay engaged, modelling paradigms they enjoy.

And so it is with products we ‘love’: we don’t cancel them when we’re not ‘feeling it’ or they go through a rough patch, we don’t switch because someone else has ‘better features’. Sustained integration of effective edutainment makes your product about as churn-proof as you’re ever likely to get without being the single only option on the market. Not because you’re “the only choice”, or even “the best choice”, but because you’re “my choice”.

Question for the week: which of these do you think could apply to YOUR business? Do you have ideas of how you might apply them, even if they’re just dreamy head-in-the-clouds ideas?

Reply to this email with your answer.
I read every one, and reply to as many as I can.

Have a good weekend lovebirds,

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We’re told we should be making great offers…

But look at your own behaviour. Is this true?

Here’s what you may notice:

OK offers: no claims, average terms, no bonuses.

Good offers: big claims, great terms and great bonuses.

Great offers: no claims, average terms, no bonuses.

Wait… how can OK and Great be the same?

Let’s find the answer in some examples:

Let’s take a designer toy collector.

If their favourite artist launches a new drop, and they like how it looks, they just need to know the time and place. They don’t need extras or refund policies to convince them. They already set aside the funds.

Or when a new iPhone comes out.

Apple fans know that Samsung will give you a powerful phone with a great screen, 7 years of support, a charger, a free tablet, the list goes on. But they’re already set on buying the next iPhone and it hasn’t even been announced yet.

Why didn’t the designer need a ‘killer offer’?

Because the artist took them on a journey they see their role in (purveyor of fine designer goods, first to back a winning horse, the identity of having a keen eye)
Because the artist gave more than they asked for (showing up regularly at micro-events around the world, limited run drops and gifts for many years)
Because the artist made it enjoyable (collecting scarce goods is naturally addictive and enjoyable for many people)

Why didn’t Jobs need a ‘killer offer’?

Because Jobs took them on a journey they see their role in (1984 dystopian future, which he associated with Microsoft)
Because Jobs gave more than he asked for (fought for tech that cared about design, fought labels for uniform 99¢ tracks, fought for tablet segment to not be geeks-only, etc)
Because Jobs made it enjoyable (the marketing, the unboxing, the setup, the UI, the identity)

And that’s just for designer toys and gadgets.

Nobody ‘needs’ these things.

Meanwhile, my social inboxes are exploding with strangers offering to ‘grow my business’ with huge claims, seemingly-great terms and seemingly-great bonuses.

And yet I just delete them.

It’s not the offer that needs to be irresistible.

It’s the brand.
Specifically, the message/journey, value transfer, and user enjoyment.
Just like for the designer.
Just like for Jobs.

If you’re not investing in a great brand, you need to invest in ‘killer offers’.
If you’re investing in growing a great brand, you don’t.

Question for the week:💪Which do you think is weakest in your business: the message/journey, the value transfer, or the user enjoyment?

Reply to this email with your answer.
I read every one, and reply to as many as I can.

Have a good weekend humans,

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If you believe what you read in the news,
You’d think AI will replace creators.

But AI does not replace creators.</br> At least, not all of them.

How do you know if you’ll be one of them?

AI helps average creators stay average.

It makes low-effort work more low-effort.
It makes forgettable work more forgettable.
It makes commoditised work more commoditised.

If you pump out templated content, video ads that look like powerpoint presentations, and ChatGPT-written articles, your days (or at least your marketing’s days) are numbered.

Examples of ways to stay average with AI:

  • AI as your replacement (if you think it can replace you, you’re right)
  • AI as a text spinner (recycling other people’s content rather than finding your own voice)
  • AI as a video generator (if you and your style aren’t present, why should we care about the source)
  • AI as your guide (rather than as your sidekick)

AI helps great creators stay great.

It makes remarkable work more remarkable.
It makes shareable ideas more shareable.
It makes masterful work more masterful.

If you thoughtfully produce great content, experiences that people love and look forward to, and use AI as a thought accelerant instead of your replacement, your days have only just begun.

Examples of ways to stay great with AI:

  • AI as a brainstorming buddy (to kick ideas around with you 24/7)
  • AI as an audience member (let it behave in response to your audience insights, see what it says)
  • AI as devil’s advocate (let it poke holes in your work before you publish)
  • AI as a time machine (let it show you your work from different angles, so you can see which you like best before you build it properly)

The difference won’t be subtle.

The good news?
You get to choose which side of the culling you’d like to be on!

Question for the week: What you’d love to create but have been too afraid to invest the time or resources into!

Reply to this email with your answer.
I read every one, and reply to as many as I can.

Have a good weekend humans,

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Do you have a 'system'?

Everyone has a 'system'.
A 'too good to be true' offer.
An erudite triteness masked as 'intellectual property'.

Well. Not everyone.
But look at modern advertising. It feels that way!

Can reason compete with this?
The answer lies in truths:

  • People like things that give more than they ask.
  • People like enjoyable things more than boring things.
  • People like well-made things more than regurgitated trash.

Best of all?
People like those things all of the time.

But emerging trends?
Hot new social tools?
Easy-money opportunities?
People only like those things some of the time.
They do. Until they don’t.

Engage with them if you want.
But know what they are:

A distraction from your deep work.
A detour from the fundamentals that don’t change.

What if you invested more of your resources into things that don’t change? Such as well-made marketing designed to give more than it asks while showing people a good time?

What if you allow yourself to experience JOMO,
The 'joy of missing out' on what doesn’t matter long-term,
So you can build a body of work that does?

Question for the week: What do you think you could cut out to make more time for deep, quality work?

Reply to this email with your answer.
I read every one, and reply to as many as I can.

You’re more than good enough,

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It’s a day with a ‘Y’ in the name.

Know what that means?

That means someone’s been suspended from advertising on Meta (or another platform like Meta). For either doing nothing wrong, or making an innocent mistake they weren’t allowed to remedy. That type of silliness bludgeons opportunities for creators the world over.

There’s a solution to this:

Design deplatformable experiences.

Most platforms have samey content circulating on them.
Going beyond what is expected is the first step to deplatformable experiences.

Most platforms have rules about what you can/cannot create.
But your own webpage can do anything your imagination can conceive of.
Make unique experiences beyond what platforms are capable of.

Then link the two together.
Now people want to deplatform to see what you’ve made for them.

Make things so good they’ll
randomly check elsewhere for you.

Ever flick over to your favourite store or channels?
Just to see if there’s something new or interesting?
Most of us do.

Great experiences live rent-free in our minds.
Optimise for it.

Make things so good that
media covers you cross-platform anyway.

The media covers interesting and noteworthy things.
So make interesting and noteworthy things.

Then tell them about it.

Leverage smaller-by-design channels.

Email newsletters. Discord servers.
These work because you’re the moderator.
Not an algorithm trying to sift through billions of posts an hour.

Now you’re the one responsible for your people seeing the best stuff.
And you’re far better equipped to do that than Meta is.

Okay okay… so it’s clear: we have to make really great things.

What does “really great things” mean?

Here’s the formula for that in this context:

Give more than you ask + Make it enjoyable.

The more you give than you ask, and the more you make it enjoyable, the greater your results should be. Do that and extend your time horizon, and you’re golden.

Don’t entrust the health and wellbeing of your creations, projects, or business ventures with platforms and gatekeepers that don’t give a hoot about you.

The safest, smartest, and most fun thing you can do is to be bigger than the platforms.

Question for the week: How dependent do you feel on certain social platforms?

Reply to this email with your answer.
I read every one, and reply to as many as I can.

You’re more than good enough,

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Sometimes it’s worth ignoring the 'best practices'. Like in today’s issue.

How do we get pre-sales on our work…

…before there’s anything to pre-sell?

Let’s take a look at a product that did.
Despite the missteps along the way.
Despite an oversaturated market.
Despite a 12 year wait.

Ask yourself while reading:
"Why am I hiding my journey from the world?"


Clear (a to-do list app) launched in 2012.
Debuted #1 'top grossing' in the US App Store.

I remember using it on my 4S, thinking to myself,
"This actually makes grocery shopping…enjoyable."

Then it went quiet.
No updates.
No news.

So 16 May 2023, when they announced it was returning…
The market was a totally different place.
We weren’t celebrating the leader.
We were cheering the underdog.
But why were were cheering?
After they’d vanished?

Three reasons:

Clear invited us on a journey.

They announced they were back. Their first email started with thanks. For following. For caring. For believing. Then they showed what they were working on.

They made it clear they couldn’t do it alone. They made it clear that Clear needed us. So they invited us on a journey.

Clear gave more than it asked.

Almost every email contained a gift. Special app icons. Custom app themes. All redeemable once the app goes live.

Being there for the journey peppered us with goodies. We felt invested. We felt loved on. We felt like we had something to lose if it didn’t work out.

Clear made it enjoyable.

Each free gift was thoughtfully displayed in pretend product packaging, complete with cut-outs for hanging in a store. It reminded us of shopping at toy stores as kids. And we get these for free!

Not only was the app meant to be enjoyable when it was completed… but the process of coming along for the ride while it was being developed was also enjoyable.

Now it’s on home screens everywhere.

We didn’t need another to-do list app.
This one doesn’t work on your Mac or on the web (iOS only).
This one doesn’t let you share your lists with others.
This one doesn’t let you make repeat-todos.
This one doesn’t let you make reminders.
This one doesn’t follow the playbook.

But it gives more than it asks, and is enjoyable.
For their choice of market, that’s enough.

Check out their app for yourself at useclear.com.

Question for the week: What do you like most about what Clear did above?

Reply to this email with: What stuck out to you most! I read every reply.

Happy to-do-ing,

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Effective marketing isn’t complex.

It only needs two things:
#1: To give more value than it asks for,
#2: To be enjoyable.

Without #1, people feel sold to.

They put up their buyer defences.
They interpret your creation as a ruse,
To make them do something they don’t feel like doing.
A selfish cry from a selfish person.

Without #2, people feel interrupted.

They ignore you. Skip you. Scroll past you.
Then they forget you.
If we’re doing something we enjoy and want,
Why would we want to be interrupted,
By something we don’t?

You can plot this on a graph really simply:

Productoon graph

This applies to all of your marketing:

Need more attention?

Post videos that give more than they ask, and are enjoyable.
True for successful ads. Social content. Explainers.
Even long-form episodic YouTube videos.
Great content, with a postage stamp attached.

Need more conversions?

Publish landing pages that give more than they ask, and are enjoyable.
An experience they’re glad they found.
Rare in the wild, but masterful in practice.
These are pages people share with others.

Need more user retention?

If you’re in SaaS, modify your UX to give more than it asks,
And is genuinely enjoyable to use.
We never unsubscribe from these.
Not in spirit, affections, and enthusiastic referrals.

It’s easy to tell whether or not you’re doing this.

Ask yourself this question:
“Is this giving more than it asks for? And is it enjoyable?”

Make each ‘No’ a ‘Not yet’.
Then conspire to make it so.

Question for the week: Think about your current marketing and ask yourself, “Is this giving more than it asks for? And is it enjoyable?”

Reply to this email with: Your answer! I’d love to see it, maybe I can point you toward some great ideas.

Happy ideating,

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Except it isn’t. The answer is so obvious when you see it,
You’ll feel how ‘right’ it is in your bones.

So let’s be obvious. Here’s what makes a great ad:

It’s content they normally like plus a postage stamp.

You know content your people open their apps to look at?
It’s because they like that content.
Make that. Then attach postage (ad spend).

It’s backed by customer data not industry data.

Unlike industry data? Customer data isn’t found in a report.
It’s found by showing an inner-circle of customers what you made,
Then asking for their feedback. Make their eyes light up.

It’s different in a sea of sameness.

Sameness is competitive. Different isn’t.
If everyone has a report, make an interactive quiz.
If everyone has a pitch, invite them to play a game.
Your direct competition is reduced to zero.

It’s an invitation to more of a good time.

An invitation to sell only gets clicked if you want to buy.
But most don’t want to buy until they like you better.
So don’t ask them to buy. Ask them to try something fun.
Show them a good time and they’ll pay you for more.

Oof. You feel that?

That’s the feeling of knowing this in your bones all along,
Realising you’ve been led down a long cold windy path,
To a café that was closed.

You didn’t like the sensational trend-chasing too-good-to-be-true stuff.
But it grew on you “because marketing”.

Now? You’re free.
It’s time to make things people love and look forward to.

And have a blast doing it.

Question of the week: What would your dream ad look like?

Reply to this email with: What you came up with! I’d love to hear all about it.

Enjoy the weekend,

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