Marketing Critique: altcoinfantasy.com (Y Combinator Startup School)

Today I’m looking at Cynthia’s website altcoinfantasty.com she’s got a crypto currency trading simulator. Let’s do a quick and dirty critique and see what we can learn…

Aesthetics set the tone for how our users will feel

Is the site trying to be serious or fun? Aesthetically its quite muted, with clear, serious fonts, dark framing. This would be suitable for a corporate product where being conservative was your main goal. But there’s lots of talk about winning prizes, contests, fantasy leagues. For the majority of people crypto is closer to a gamble than anything else. So, we have two different worlds, the conservative boardroom or the thrilling Las Vegas casino. The first question to answer is — which is most suitable for this product? Who’s the customer you want signing up for this? And why are they signing up for this? For some serious financial training or for the thrill of learning how to gamble more effectively with crypto? If its for fun, then the whole place should look like fun…

Always consider who you’re competing against (indirectly)

It’s lunch time, your user is sat at their desk with a sandwich, what do they turn to? 20 minutes of Fortnite, 20 minutes on a poker site, or 20 minutes playing with your virtual crypto currency? Which one looks and sounds more exciting? Which one lights up the reward circuits in their brain? We’re never just competing against other players in our category, we’re competing about other ways our users can solve their real problem.

Never waste a headline, they are critical to telling your story

Headlines are so important, their job is to hook the reader and draw them into the copy. If the headline isn’t compelling, what lies beneath simply doesn’t get seen. And in combination, all the headlines alone should tell a rounded story that convinces the casual scanner to invest their precious time and attention into the details.

The current headlines…

LEARN, TRADE, & WIN PRIZES
BEST FANTASY CRYPTO TRADING SIMULATION CRYPTOGAME
WIN PRIZES AND OTHER FREE CRYPTOCURRENCY.
OUR MISSION
HOW IT WORKS
FAQ

The second and third are somewhat descriptive, but the other 4 are missing the opportunity to draw people in. The examples below are right off the top of my head for illustration purposes only, but together when scanned, notice how they tell a more complete story…

FEEL THE THRILL OF TRADING CRYPTO WITHOUT THE RISK
WIN REAL CASH AND CRYPTO PRIZES 
THE MOST REALISTIC FANTASY CRYPTO TRADING PLATFORM
LEARN HOW TO TRADE SAFELY
COMPETE FOR THE LEADERBOARD, 100 WINNERS EVERY WEEK
NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED, ABSOLUTELY FREE

Try to avoid feature boxes when starting out

If the copy under an icon is more than a few very well thought out words no one will ever read it. 9/10 those feature boxes don’t work. They are a design element used to fill empty website templates, they don’t help people create a flowing narrative that the user gets drawn into. The more we design for visual scanning, the more people scan and never read anything but the headlines. People are happy to read at length, if they have been hooked by a headline that means something to them and makes sense. We have to make design features work for us. We do not work for them.

People buy from people, not from icons or stock photos of technology

I don’t see any human beings on the site. No team members, or customers, or industry celebrities. Crypto is a world full of cons and scams. It has a generally low level of trust and a high level of fear attached to it. Human beings need to build trust in other human beings through experience and reputation. Especially around anything related to money. Even if what you’re offering is absolutely free. People will have a low level of trust and therefore a high level of resistance to signing up to anything. The more virtual the commodity, the more people seek out a personality to connect with. Add more humans in all forms, and create more trust.

In situations where there isn’t someone willing to be a visible personality, you can still create a brand through the use of illustration or a cartoon type character, alongside a definite brand voice. But you’re still creating a voice, with human characteristics that people can learn to trust.

Social proof is an integral part of your story, don’t send people off the page to find it elsewhere

Connecting to Facebook is fine, people want to check you and “the community” out. But I wouldn’t send people off to Facebook and away from your sign-up buttons unnecessarily. (In this case for proof of previous winners). List previous winners loud and proud on the site. You can’t over demonstrate that this is real and the people benefitting are real.

Make those buttons enticing and unmissable

I’d make the sign-up buttons bigger, more clearly buttons, a consistent design, and a different color. If nothing else on the page works, you want to nail those headlines and have multiple unmissable, enticing buttons to sign up. Right now they are yellow, which is also used as a highlight color for something else on almost every screen, logos, icons, headlines etc. I’d study the buttons on gambling sites and apps, who will have tested extensively. There’s usually some financial incentive to signing up to those sites “First $100 free” rather than just “Play now”. I’d be looking for something similar to get people excited and tip them over the edge to make that first move. I’d also work on getting industry “celebs”, which may be bloggers, or pundits to review and give you testimonials. In the meantime use quotes from winners and always have a quote from someone who won very close to each sign-up button. Help the user picture the outcome they’re hoping to achieve by taking that step.

Excitement happens when we understand what drives our users and we link their desired outcome to our solution

There are lots of exclamations in the copy! My internal voice also speaks like that when I’m enthusiastic. But as a general writing rule, 9/10 times we should delete them in the edit. The writing itself has to create the excitement within the user, by understanding and connecting on a deep level with what the user really wants. Otherwise the copy is perceived as hyperbole and less trust worthy.

All customers are looking to make change in their life, without necessarily having to change, that’s the very reason we have value to them

They are either seeking a physical change, or an emotional change. With as little effort as possible (physically or mentally). So it’s our job to show them our product or service will lead them to the promised land and let them benefit from the change they seek in a predictable, low risk way. That’s a story. That’s the story of human change. It’s the story we crave so much when we package it as a movie or a TV show we call it entertainment. In this context we call it a sales narrative. My version looks something like this…

THE TECHNICAL PROBLEM
Act 1 — The hero is threatened by an outside force

THE HUMAN PROBLEM
Act 2 — The hero has a flaw

THE BRIGHTER FUTURE
Act 3 — They dream of a better world and set off to find it.

THE SOLUTION
Act 4 — They find our solution

THE RESISTANCE
Act 5 — The solution triggers resistance

THE CHAMPION
Act 6 — They must fight a great battle to hold onto the solution

THE PROOF
Act 7 — The hero takes proof of our solution back to their tribe

There are 7 steps to the process. And 23 possible questions we need to answer. When executed properly you’re tapping into your customers deepest motivations, presenting your product as the solution, not just a solution. And removing all the resistance that prevents most sales from happening. You can find the whole framework for creating a sales narrative in my free course here: https://paulmontreal.com/framework.html

That’s it for today. I’d like to thank the guys for sharing their work and helping everyone learn from the process, I really respect what you’re doing and I hope there was something useful to test in my feedback. Until next time, stay the course, see it through, make your mark!

Working with innovators & rebels to create websites that sell. For more marketing, troubleshooting and copywriting that converts checkout https://paulmontreal.com/