Growth Newsletter #061
This newsletter curates growth insights from the Demand Curve community. It keeps you up-to-date on growth tactics.
This week we're discussing TikTok Ads, common copywriting issues, and Business Score as an SEO metric.
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This week's Insights
Before you invest in TikTok ads, answer these 4 questions
All eyes are on TikTok as the next big opportunity in paid social.
TikTok is unsaturated—competition is low and traffic is affordable. And its userbase is snowballing across audiences worldwide.
But is now the right time for you to test TikTok ads as a new ad channel? Before you launch into testing, consider these questions:
- Can you commit the budget to test TikTok ads properly? Every new channel has a cost of entry, and you have to spend to learn. We recommend setting aside 10% - 30% of your ad budget to test this channel properly. It’ll likely take 6-10 weeks to test and validate TikTok as a paid acquisition channel.
- Does TikTok align with your product? TikTok ads perform well for DTC ecom brands and mobile apps. DTC ecom brands selling visual products with broad appeal, short sales cycles, and AOVs between $25 - $100 tend to get the most out of TikTok. Similarly, mobile apps and games work well since free app installs are low-friction. TikTok ads can work for many other types of products, but consider how your product aligns with the channel before testing.
- Do you have the capacity to focus on TikTok as a separate channel in your ad mix? TikTok is an entirely different beast than Facebook. To give TikTok ads a fair shot, you'll need to invest resources into producing a high volume of channel-specific creatives that you can test diligently. Whether you make them yourself or partner with content creators, having a high volume of creatives ready to go is essential.
- Have you seen success with Snapchat ads, IG Reels, or IG Stories? If you've had success with any of these channels and want to diversify, TikTok is a logical next step. TikTok can have cheaper CPAs, cheaper CPMs, and higher quality traffic than Snapchat or Instagram. You can try repurposing Snapchat/IG assets because these types of ads are typically vertical UGC videos, precisely the kind of content that performs best on TikTok. And if you have the original video content, even better. You can cut new ads, making full use of TikTok's audiovisual publishing tools to achieve the right aesthetic.
If you answered 'yes' to all four questions, TikTok ads might be worth testing now.
If not, and you're still interested in experimenting with TikTok, consider experimenting with an organic TikTok strategy before you dive into ads.
Eight common copywriting issues (and quick fixes that solve them)
Insight from Copywriting Course.
Every piece of copy is unique.
Yet no matter the situation, the same mistakes seem to show up over and over again.
At least that's what Neville Medhora, founder of Copywriting Course, observed after answering over 20k questions from his students.
Here are 8 of the most common copy mistakes, with solutions to quickly solve them:
Mistake #1: Putting too many CTAs on a page or email
- Why it's bad: Including too many CTAs causes each of them to compete against one another (e.g., Join, Click, Buy, Read More). This dilutes your message and leads to decision fatigue—both of which hurt conversion. And especially in email, once a reader clicks a link, they're unlikely to come back and click anything else.
- Quick fix and result: Pick one CTA and write your copy for that specific action. Your messaging and conversion should be stronger.
Mistake #2: Using too many buzzwords or jargon
- Why it's bad: Buzzwords are vague and confusing. Jargon is usually too specific for most audiences, which is also confusing. Neither one clearly tells the reader about your product or how it benefits them. This makes it a chore to read and hurts conversion.
- Quick fix and result: Replace buzzwords and jargon with direct, simple language that a 5th grader could understand. You'll help readers value your offer.
Mistake #3: Busy pages with bad layouts
- Why it's bad: Crowded pages are bad UX. They're tough to read and distract from the copy—the most important part.
- Quick fix and result: Make the simplest possible page layout and use negative space to your advantage. That means simple words, distraction-free layouts that emphasize those words, and short, concise explanations to get the message across. People will be more likely to read your copy and take action.
Mistake #4: New writers trying to copy content from major blogs
- Why it's bad: Major blogs tend to write about the same broad and stale topics over and over again. Articles like, "how to start a business" or "complete guide to losing weight." This usually makes for mediocre content that isn't very useful.
- Quick fix and result: Instead of writing for the masses about the same broad topics that have been covered ad nauseam, write about the specific problems your product aims to solve. Your content will resonate more if you include personal stories from experience, anecdotes, and interviews. This gives your content personality, a memorable human element.
Mistake #5: Subheadings that don't guide the reader through an article
- Why it's bad: Most people skim through content to get the gist from subheadings. Bland subheadings make your content hard to scan, and many readers will just bounce.
- Quick fix and result: Tell the story of your content using descriptive subheadings. Your content will be more engaging, and more readers will stick around to read the full article. And readers who just want to skim will still get value from the subheadings alone.
Mistake #6: Writing "How To" content without giving practical actions
- Why it's bad: When your content fails to give readers practical actions to take, it doesn't actually help the reader. It's also forgettable—if there's no action to take, the reader probably won't remember your advice.
- Quick fix and result: Include at least one actionable takeaway in every section of your article. This makes for better content, happier readers, and actionable content is much more likely to get shared.
Mistake #7: Awkward cold emails with bad intros
- Why it's bad: Gimmicky, insincere email intros are guaranteed to turn the reader off immediately. They probably won't read past the intro, and they definitely won't convert. They may even dislike you and delete your email.
- Quick fix and result: Write the email as if you're speaking to a friend. Be direct and concise, don't pitch them upfront, and state a simple, obvious reason for why you're emailing them in the first place (e.g., "I saw that we're in the same Slack group and wanted to reach out"). Have a legitimate reason for reaching out. You'll build better relationships and more conversions that way.
- Note: We cover how to write a cold email in detail here.
Mistake #8: Overthinking email style and format
- Why it's bad: When you only write one draft, you don’t have anything to test, you get stuck on design instead of conversions, and you put yourself under a lot of pressure to get it right on the first try.
- Quick fix and result: When testing different formats, write three versions: one short, one medium, and one long. That way, you'll move quicker because there’s less pressure and more creative freedom, and you’ll have extra versions to test. In the long run, this will help you land on a style and format that resonates most with your audience.
Check out Neville's full post which has helpful visual examples.
Business Score as an SEO keyword metric
Insight from Optimist and Ahrefs.
Most companies that pursue SEO default to using keyword difficulty and search traffic to determine which keywords to target. They simply prioritize keywords that aren’t too competitive to rank for and regularly receive moderate to high search traffic.
But Ahrefs adds another layer to their research. Besides search traffic and difficulty, the Ahrefs team also uses an internal metric they call “Business Score.”
Business Score is a subjective rating measured on a scale from 0 to 3 and based on each keyword or potential topic’s relation to Ahrefs’ product.
- 0: The keyword can’t be tied to Ahrefs’ product.
- 1: Ahrefs provides only a partial solution.
- 2: Ahrefs provides a solution, but other tools solve the problem just as well.
- 3: Ahrefs’ product is an irreplaceable solution for the keyword.
For instance, a topic like “backlink analysis” ranks 3 while “email outreach" ranks 1—Ahrefs can help with finding companies to reach out to but it isn’t an all-encompassing solution for email outreach.
Ahrefs prioritizes keywords with a higher Business Score, using this metric to understand each keyword’s business value. Since they don’t make a compelling case for users to invest in Ahrefs, topics with a low Business Score are low-priority.
If you’re pursuing SEO, consider including Business Score in your keyword research. This metric will save you from creating content about topics that are relatively easy to rank for but don’t drive people into your product.
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— Neal & Justin, and the DC team.