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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Productoon is a storyteller's dream. Adam's newsletter ignites big ideas and explores bite-sized strategies to help every creative embrace authenticity and create genuinely great content along the way.

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Productoon

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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Productoon

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?"

Productoon

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.
Quiet.

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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Productoon

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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Productoon

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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Productoon

Customers care about feeling seen, feeling good, feeling progress, and feeling cared for.

Perhaps your list is different.

That’s fine. The point isn’t to have that list, but to have a list.

Bezos says think about "what's not going to change."

Guy’s got a point.

If you don’t have a list yet,

Here’s mine:

Invest in their narrative

There are two stories. The story you tell yourself, and the story they tell themselves. Yours is great. But they like theirs better. So you should know theirs as well as they do.

Invest in things they’ll love and look forward to

We skip most ads. They get in the way of what we love. So make what they love, not what they skip. Run that as ads. Do you not think that’s precisely what they want? Don’t ask, "What do I want people to hear from me?" Ask, "What kind of experience would my chosen few love today?" and make that your advertising.

Invest in a deplatformed experience worth sharing with others

We bounce on most pages. They don’t live up to the promise made when we clicked. They give us nothing of value, only more promises. Don’t ask, "What can I put on this page that will make people convert?" Instead ask, "What amazing experience can I give people with the full power of the open web at my disposal?" then work out how to make it into a page.

Invest in delightful onboarding

So you made a great introduction to your work. You made a great invitation with your page. Now people need to take their first steps with you. Most businesses leave their 'onboarding'entirely to chance. Don’t ask, "Great they’ve bought, what’s next?" Ask, "They’ve just taken the first step, how can I make the next couple of days absolutely amazing for them?" then make that your onboarding.

Invest in fantastic service

This is normally an afterthought. You’d be surprised of often it is. Normally, when a business makes a sale, they’re just thinking about making the next one. 'Service is just a necessary evil.' It’s not. Fantastic service is one of your best sales tools. Don’t ask, "How can I keep them around while I go sell more stuff?" Instead ask, "How can I blow their minds so much they can’t help but shout from the rooftops?"

Invest in great communication

Problems arise. Customer gets mad. Maybe they request a refund. Maybe they request changes. Maybe the business thinks they’re a brat. Maybe they are. Normally, it was just bad communication. Few problems can’t be resolved with an investment in better communication. Ever had an unhappy customer? There’s your cue.

Invest in growing in your craft

You’re good. Really good. So are others. But your customers chose you. You’re the horse they backed. Now it’s down to you to run well. So between each race, train. For you and for your customers. Become the best version of you that you can be. Make them proud they chose you. Make yourself proud of how far you’ve come.

Seems like a good list to me.

Maybe it seems like a good list to you.

Take it.

Question for the week: Which of these items do YOU want to get better at?

Reply to this email with: Your answer! I’d love to learn about what you’d like to improve. I’ll reply with my thoughts.

Happy growing,

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Productoon

Watching things flit around the screen impresses your no-code friends, and maybe even your parents, but does little to excite people about your product.

Good design is important, but this ain’t it.

It’s not a 'grandslam offer'.

Everyone read the same books, and now everyone’s inbox is full of the same sensational offers in cold-email form.

Usually, from anonymous folks promising you the world on a stick if you’ll only write them a check (pinky-promising they won’t run off with your hard-earned cash if they can’t deliver).

People are rightly wary of too-good-to-be-true offers.

People never asked you to give them the world.

People don’t want to be convinced.

People want a good time and less problems.

So give them that.

It’s something they can’t get where they are

If you have a page with words and a picture, why click from an IG ad to see it? Or a Twitter thread?

We’re suspicious: surely that could have just been given to us where we are already? Why do I have to click to a page to view it?

It’s something that actually solves a problem

Every other landing page on the Internet talks about the problem, or shares pithy/incomplete instructions on how to solve it.

That’s a lot of pages.

Why not actually solve the problem right there on the page?

It‘s something more fun than what they’re already doing

We don’t look forward to things that are objectively less fun or useful than what we’re currently doing.

So why not make your page objectively more fun and useful than what they’re currently doing?

I know. Doing those things seems impossibly hard:

"But my solution requires lots of questions and understanding of the customer before I can tell them what to do!"

So make a quiz, full of visuals and wit, that shows them what to do and offers to help implement it. Make that quiz so useful, visitors want to share it with their friends, as they feel it’s genuinely insightful enough to genuinely help them with their problems too.

"But my solution is riddled with varying paths and options that I couldn’t possibly know in advance!"

So make an interactive walkthrough of the journey that lies ahead, and what to do in each circumstance, so they can see the full journey ahead. Give them a guide on how to tackle each step, and offer to support them if they need help.

The question is not "What page should I make?"

The question is "What will genuinely help them and be a blast to experience?" then work out how to make it work on a page.

Wouldn’t that get you far more interested than a "killer sales letter trapped in a 2002 Powerpoint presentation with too-good-to-be-true claims on it"?

Question for the week: Which of these landing page sins have you committed? What could you do about it?

Reply to this email with: Which sins you committed! I’ll reply with some ideas on how to wash those sins away.

In edutainment we trust,

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Productoon

Good news.

AI is devouring the marketing world and everyone in it.

Wait, why’s that good news again?

After all, you’re marketing your work… and you don’t want to be devoured.

Sounds painful. And wet.

It’s good news because your biggest competition is being destroyed as you read this: the low-effort content creators, crash-course ghostwriters and send-it-east-for-cheap-ers.

They’re toast. Buttered toast. AI is devouring them.

So where does that leave you?

It leaves you where you were you supposed to be all along:

Producing thoughtful, entertaining, educational material that your chosen few love and look forward to.

Curating immersive experiences they can’t wait to discover and get lost in.

Being unscaleably 'present' for them, answering their mail as a real, un-delegated human being.

Even on a global stage, there’s less competition than you think.

So while the rest of the world races to get buttered…

…You can be building and marketing a body of work that lasts.

Phew!

Question for the week: What ONE thing can you do this coming week to move you a little closer to the yellow text above?

Reply to this email with: What feels most difficult about this, for you, right now! I read every one.

Unscaleably 'present',

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Productoon

We think attention, conversion and retention happen after each other.

“Get attention, convert into customer, then retain as a customer.”

But that’s not how it works.

All three things happen at once, all of the time.

When you create attention, you also do user retention.

It’s not just about being seen, but being discovered, and having your choice of market positively associate with you and what you stand for. It’s not about making sure people don’t forget about you, it’s about being unforgettable.

When you create conversions, you also create attention.

A conversion isn’t the end, but the beginning, and that person should have their attention directed toward a wealth of exciting things to come. It’s not about ‘sealing the deal’, it’s about making it the first step in an exciting adventure they can’t wait to start.

When you do user retention, you also do attention and conversion.

A retained credit card and a retained person are different things. It’s not just about running the card each month, it’s about renewing their love for the brand each month. A user can still be retained long after they’ve cancelled a service, and refer others to it often, thanks to that positive brand affinity.

Question for the week: How can you take each stage of your marketing and weave more of the other two into it?

Reply to this email with: Which of the three stages do you find hardest?

Happy growing, friends!

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