Hi! It’s Friday, and this is the eleventy-first issue of this newsletter. But don’t worry, I’m not planning on disappearing like Bilbo Baggins famously did on his eleventy-first birthday.
It’s one week until GDPR comes into effect. Are you ready? Just a reminder that I wrote a free step-by-step guide you might be able to use.
Tool of the week
I’ve been using this for over half a year now (and for another year before that in a previous incarnation of the service), and can wholeheartedly recommend it. Only $10/month per device for unlimited backups of your device!
Tools discovered recently
Looks like this is for North American phone numbers only, but looks really useful. It adds a second phone number to your smartphone, from which you can text and talk. You can set up voicemail, auto-replies and more. Just $9.99/month per number, free 30-day trial.
Music (e.g. for use in your videos or podcasts) that is either free for attribution with a link, or $20/month to skip the link. They claim to be much more highly curated than other such lists of music, and the tracks I’ve listened to are high quality.
This is an upload service with an API, that will process files for malware, phishing, spam and other malicious or adult content. Probably the way to go if you’re letting folks upload files that will be visible by others. Starts at $49/month for 1000 files, free trial.
Another neat API and integration-based service, this one lets you set up document templates as PDFs (and more formats) and then have them filled in with custom data before being sent to your users. Starts at $29/month.
If you’re providing an API, take a look at DocSearch, a free solution from Algolia to making those documents searchable.
Articles for this week
Fieldbook was mentioned in issue #68 of this newsletter, and I had an account there although I hadn’t used it much. They are unfortunately shutting down after an acqui-hire. This article, written by one of the founders, is thoughtful and gives good insight into what can go wrong in a company otherwise doing a lot of things right — good product, enthusiastic users and so on.
In a nutshell, don’t overpromise and underdeliver. Good read if you want to think about how you present yourself.
Some good strategies you can use for referral/affiliate/viral growth. One statistic from this article that really caught my eye was that referral leads convert 30% better than leads generated from other marketing channels. Now, that’s quite a lot better, but I’m thinking to myself “only 30% better??” because supposedly, referrals are one of the holy grails, and if you count your referral leads compared to all other marketing leads, they are typically a small portion. I wonder if we as an industry are placing too much faith on referrals, particularly affiliate-driven referrals?
The thesis here, probably true, is that Google provides good enough “return on investment” to end users, for knowing all their personal info, that while people care, they don’t care enough to stop using Google’s services. Are you providing enough value to your users for keeping their personal info? With GDPR and a need for explicit opt-ins, this will start to become very important.
That’s it for this issue
As always, I love writing this newsletter for you. I hope you enjoyed.
P.S. Need a designer? I’ve talked about Toptal before, but mostly as a place to find programmers. They also have designers to help your business, who are vetted as being in the top 3% (and there is the same money-back guarantee for the first couple of weeks if you find that things aren’t working out). If you end up checking out Toptal, please do me a favor and use our affiliate link to help support this newsletter!