Six Months of Psych Experiments
17 July, 2022 -
11 min read
Let's start by making it clear that when I say 'Psych experiments', I do not mean evil-experiments-based-on-psychology on people. It means actual experiments done for the newsletter psych.
Last year's end, I decided to go from a generalist to the specialist approach i.e. to dive all into a single project. And for that, I chose the Psych newsletter. Why did I choose that only? Here's what was happening with other projects.
- Designtack.com - After receiving a couple more yet in-frequent lifetime deals and some amount in sales, I kind of started losing interest in it as the more I went to improve it the more I realised how much it was lacking and it seemed like something that will have to be given a lot of time. Plus I also found that there was a rising competition in the same space which I could never compete with my speed of execution. Only to realise later that it doesn't matter what is your competition, it's about growing your project & catering to your audience.
- LearningIn.Tech (R.I.P) - This was a free resource that had started gaining some traction here and there but it required a lot of research. Also, it turns out that the .tech domain extension has a huge renewal fee cost. Even though we lost the domain but the project is alive (and dormant?)
- TheLesson.Club (R.I.P) - As much as I wanted it to be a success, it just never got the attention it needed to grow and become a successful club for learning. Sometimes, choosing a niche is a better idea.
Rest projects didn't work out. Few were good enough to make some revenue but didn't have the growth potential. That's why Psych was the only one left that I thought could be grown into something bigger.
The approach taken was basically to try a variety of things each month but to keep it centered around Psychology.
- So I started with analyzing The Psych Handbook which was getting traffic and some sales with time. One thought that came to my mind was to do a giveaway and this is around the time of the holidays i.e in December. As everyone was releasing offers, I came up with the offer that for the first 50 people if they clicked on the link in the email post around Christmas, they would get the handbook for free. To my surprise, there were a bunch of people who claimed the e-book. An assumption was taken here that the person who has claimed the e-book will give it a try in, say, a couple of weeks and will form an opinion around to review it. Therefore, I scheduled an email to all those people who claim the e-book for free during Christmas where I politely asked them to give reviews for the book so that the credibility around its sales page could be increased. What were the results? No one responded.
- Because marketing is also very important to increasing book sales, I start giving Twitter more attention, and posting threads was one idea. I crossed close to 500 impressions in 23 tweets. But the tweets avg. was only 2 per day. Why?
- Thread content was already set in a sheet. I only had to copy-paste it in the Twitter thread. That went well.
- Natural, random thought worked out well but NOT regularly.
- No tweets were made about projects' progress because I didn't do anything in that regard.
- Similarly, I created an Instagram page of Psych and posted about 23 posts on Instagram. 23 followers were earned.
- Daily posting of images worked because content sources were preset this time.
- Didn't do daily interactions with other followed accounts.
- Not enough story, reel, and video posting was done due to a time-effort crunch.
This month I wasn't able to work regularly and the daily practice which I had started got broken because I was on a travel mode and the internet issues were also present along with lack of time. But still, some progress was made.
- I started posting reels on IG and YT. Both got a good response.
- Rebuilt and rewrote my profile on Twitter, psych newsletter, and other places to highlight "Psych".
- Started writing Twitter threads & posts on IH on psychology, and followed more relevant people in the same niche to interact/engage more.
- Started adding more effort into writing the newsletter.
- Posted posts and reels together on Instagram.
At this point, I also started brainstorming some ideas which I could perform to grow the newsletter audience.
This month, I started by creating a Stripe account which is the only platform available in terms of monetization with Substack.
- One idea to make the newsletter profitable was through sponsorships. So I did the research and found some popular platforms where I could sign up and find sponsors.
- Letterwell => Signed up but dead response.
- Upstart => Filled the form. No response.
- Swapstack => signup up. The dashboard seemed worthy. Reached out to one brand. => Nothing worked from here. All three didn't work out.
- One of the ideas I had in mind was to start a podcast and interview interesting people. There is this person called David Webb who runs all-things-psychology which is a great resource if you want to learn everything around psychology and it is massive. Being a fan of their work since the writing of the newsletter, the first thought was to reach out to them and see if I could have a conversation with them about psychology. However, I didn't get any response from him.
- I also thought of creating the simplest resource which could have everything related to psychology. this was also the time when I was experimenting with the notion. So I decided to use that only. The goal here was to create something to market Psych and to increase the subscribers.
- The inspiration here was Marie who made a fidget spinner for promoting her main product, Llamalife.
- Created a list of questions to Survey your psych audience to build a user persona. (https://blog.hootsuite.com/buyer-persona/)
- Built a Typeform with a maximum ask of 5 questions.
- Added it to this month's emails and signup email. The purpose of this survey would be to understand what kinda persona of my subs is and based on that I can create products.
- Since the hype around NFTs was also high at this time, I thought to do something as well. To Do something in the NFT space by leveraging the psych audience.
- Launched a collection of NFTs on OpenSea. - nft.psych.email - this was a super fun experience, creating all these NFTs and doing something different from your daily routine.
- Sent the update to email subscribers and started integrating links to the NFT collection.
- A Survey was created asking the audience if they would be interested.
==> NFT Survey early results showed people weren't into it but might be interested in the psychology aspect of web3, virtual gratification (and so on).
The process to create reels is too tiresome especially when you don't have an experience in content creation. Being an introvert and a person who is not proficient in marketing, this was hard. Although I did try my best with all the available tools I could find on the internet to make the process easier. Switched from daily posting to every other day because the process is tedious of creation.
One more interesting idea at this point was to repurpose the content. So I re-purpose the twitter sides I wrote into a full-fledged blog post and I shared them on medium. This turned out to be a good trick to get some traffic. Tried to Social more with people on ProductHunt, Slack, and Twitter.
The plan to create a podcast started picking pace as I sorted the logistics for it i.e. how the distribution will work, how will the podcast be recorded, and who are those interesting people whom I can reach out to.
Along with that, and with a marketing plan in mind, I finished the learnpsychology.co which was that free psychology resource that had links to everything. I launched on 28th May and also decided to publish it on ProductHunt. Okay response, even though there was a lot of support. I wanted market only so yeah maybe that's why.
- Sent an email informing people about learnpsychology.co to Gumroad customers. It had a high open rate, but no such response. I wasn't expecting anything here.
- Wrote an email telling subscribers that we are close to reaching 500 and how thankful I am.
To keep the tweet game strong, I started scavenging the different tools available to publish and schedule as the biggest blocker I was facing was what to tweet about. This was also the time when one of the long-running threads of me writing something about psychology for hundred days under the #100DaysOfPsychology was coming to an end.
- Recorded my first podcast with Anthony Castrio from Indie Worldwide. Also did a crash course on using final cut pro and editing videos which is one skill I am super proud of learning this year.
- A friend of mine, Rik from Twitter reached out and asked if I could write a blog post about my experience using notion. Seems like a good idea for traffic bad things and whatnot. So this guest post opportunity was also taken as a to-do task for this month.
- The battle in my mind was still going on to create a paid product that I could build to make psych profitable but it started consuming a lot of my mental bandwidth. Basically, there were two ideas, one was around the community and one was centered around matchmaking but both of them stressed me out and I ended up choosing none of them.
Finished the article for Rik and sent it for proofreading. He was also able to review quickly and publish it which you can read by going to this link - https://www.rikreviews.com/partner-post-a-notion-review-from-making-notes-to-building-projects/
To improve my Twitter game and marketing in general I picked up some of the systems for this month,
- Every week talk 4x about your psych handbook. There's no other way around this to generate sales & cross 100+ sales.
- Pick 5 subreddits where you share LearnPsychology.Co resources. => Some of them got good views. Got around 2k in views in total. No sales.
- Aspire to cross 60+ reels and shorts. Given you post 1 per day. The goal was to post 100+ in total. => Posted 2 reels lol for promoting the podcast. Thought that would be enough, 1 per week. Maybe gotta cut more clips from the podcast and keep on posting?
- Release 1 podcast per week. Follow the proper release schedule for it.
- Make podcast.psych.email which redirects to Spotify, updated bio+twitter header.
I also sent a campaign email to psych subs about a special discount for the psych handbook, to get it for 5.99 for limited with a coupon code.
And this time I got a project idea again which also was a non-paid but very interesting idea and something I wanted to do for a long time. It's going to happen soon.
- Updated the LearnPsychology.co site with extra pages with targeted keywords. Create detailed researched pages for different sections.
Moving from here onwards
A lot of things were done in the last 6 months. Some of them didn't work. Some of them showed little progress which pointed towards a direction which can be path worth travelling. However, I learnt new skills like editing videos and discovered things I enjoy doing such as having conversation with founders for the podcast and asking their interesting questions and thinking about even more interesting answers.
I am not sure where this all is headed but I aspire to build, ship & perform more such experiments which puts me out of my comfort zone.