My Open Source Marketing Stack

A few months ago, I took over marketing and community at ChallengePost. It’s been great. I dig meeting hackers who are passionate about moving themselves and the world forward. FYI, I’m hiring.

Every morning I load up my feed (coming soon!!) to see what folks around the world are hacking on. Some popular themes: sign language interpreters, theremins, and augmented / virtual reality.

I can’t describe a “typical day” for you, but last week I:

  1. Sent out two editions of our newsletter
  2. Looked at metrics for and rewrote a bunch of transactional emails
  3. Helped my colleagues with a direct outreach campaign
  4. Wrote and edited blog posts
  5. Responded to three late-night Facebook messages from hackathon organizers
  6. Scheduled and managed all of our social media on Facebook & Twitter

That’s in addition to whatever else popped up, special assignments, the ‘Slack suck’, and my own side projects. It seems like a lot, but I’ve created my own stack of email and social media tools to help me get it all done. And now, you can have them too.

Email

“First you get the opens, then you get the clicks, THEN you get the metrics.”
Tony Montana

Gmail-Preview

Ok, Scarface never said that, but he’d agree with me. Now that everybody has a smartphone, email is a journey: push notification ➜ open ➜ click ➜ action. Since everything starts with a notification, front-load your email by pairing a catchy subject line with an enticing pre-header that draws the reader in and provides more context.

With Gmail-Preview, you can iterate through subject/pre-header combos without test emails or your phone. The app uses a restrictive mobile Gmail layout and will automatically truncate any text that goes over the character display limit.

Gmail-Preview Screenshot

Although it’s based on a Nexus 5, Gmail-Preview is a good approximation for other email clients. If you’d like to help me write an iOS version or a preview for push notifications (small, expanded, desktop), please get in touch or fork the project.

“The internet is 95 percent porn and spam.”
Margaret Atwood

Spammy

Emails with spammy subject lines don’t reach inboxes. That’s a fact. But how do you check if your copy crosses the line without actually sending it?

Spammy compares your subject lines against a corpus of over 100 spam triggers. If you see red, you’re dead!

Spammy Screenshot

“The reason it’s always 25, no less, is that it forces you to think waaaay outside the box when writing.”
Adam Mordecai

25 Subject Lines

I took Adam’s advice to heart when I created 25 Headlines, a tool for writing better headlines inspired by Upworthy. After all, nobody is born a great copywriter, you have to practice.

You can apply this to email too with 25 Subject Lines. The app counts characters and uses color coding to tell you when you’ve gone beyond the optimal length / hit the max.

Bonus 1: It’s got Spammy built in, so you don’t have to switch between apps.

Bonus 2: It autosaves to localStorage. So, you can start now, close the window, and come back later without losing your work..

25 Subject Lines Screenshot

Social Media

“ It takes discipline not to let social media steal your time.”
Alexis Ohanian

25 Tweets

For social media managers, 25 Tweets has appropriately calibrated length triggers & color coding just like it’s siblings. Use it to craft the perfect tweet or to compile a week’s worth.

UTM Bossmode

If you use Google Analytics or Mixpanel to track inbound traffic & site activity, you’re probably familiar with UTM tags (you know, http://foo.bar?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social…). But do you tag all of the links in your outbound communications? Your personal emails? Links in tweets and Facebook posts? Are your partners and clients correctly tagging the links they send out?

With Bossmode, you can give everyone & everything uniquely tagged URLs. Just input the source, medium, campaign, and content tags you want to use and Bossmode will properly encode them and shorten the URL with Bit.ly.

This was the first webapp I built for ChallengePost and also my first OSX app. I use it at least 20 times a day. If you’ve got the chops, you can repackage Bossmode as a browser extension, (perhaps for our Chrome extension challenge that ends March 25th).

UTM Bossmode Screenshot

Hootsuite Extractor

I use a combination of Buffer, TweetDeck, Zapier, Hootsuite, and the official web client to manage ChallengePost’s Twitter presence and campaigns. Unfortunately, none of those have a reporting module for “campaign reports” that I can share with my challenge sponsors. So I built one called Hootsuite Extractor (HSE).

HSE compiles social reports from HootSuite search streams by scraping the data:

Hootsuite Extractor sample data

and turning it into a simple, shareable page:

Hootsuite Extractor Report

HSE isn’t totally open (or stable) yet, but with your help, it could be.

Full Stack Plz

I also rely on Mailchimp, Facebook Messenger, Litmus, Customer.io, Google Analytics, Mixpanel, RiteTag, Tumblr, MacDown, TextWrangler, and many, many more.

What’s in your stack?

If you follow me on ChallengePost, you’ll be the first to learn about my latest projects & tools!

Care to comment?
2017 Neal Shyam