5 Advanced Marketing Frameworks for Solopreneurs in 2023

Have a challenging problem to solve? Use these mental models to gain clarity and plan your execution [+ Examples]

5 Advanced Marketing Frameworks for Solopreneurs in 2023
Advanced Marketing Frameworks for Solopreneurs in 2023

AARRR Funnel and Persona Frameworks are a good start.

But sometimes, you need more sophisticated mental models to grow faster.

Here are my favorite 5 marketing frameworks for Startup Founders in 2023.

1. The Empathy Map

The Empathy Map Framework
The Empathy Map Framework

Use the Empathy Map to build a deep understanding of the “why” behind user needs and wants.

Assemble all your current knowledge about the target audience of your product. Then, fill in the empathy map from the customer’s side.

[Created by Dave Gray]

How it works

1. Think and feel

Focus on what a user is thinking and the user’s emotional state.

Think about what matters to the user and what is on their mind. How do they feel about it?

Apart from “Say” and “Do” try to understand why the users might be hesitant to share these thoughts or feelings.

2. See and hear

Focus on the user’s context.

List here social media, websites, and magazines that your users follow.

What influencers do your users listen to?

What do their friends and family say?

3. Say

Place here quotes from interviews if you had any.

It might feature statements like “I need something fast” or “I’m not sure where to go from here.”

Try to focus on what “language” your users use. It’s important because your product needs to speak in the same language.

4. Do

This quadrant captures what the user physically does and how they do it.

What actions does the user take, and how do they take them?

Try to list their behavioral patterns. For example, “searches for back button frequently. Lists pros and cons. Searches for competitors before making a decision.”

5. Pains

Your product aims to solve a problem that customers have.

While solving the problem, your target audience experiences negative emotions.

It could be due to outdated technology, social awkwardness, and low impact/effort ratio.

These pains usually stop a lot of customers from solving their problems.

6. Gains

Your customers solve their problems for a reason. And that’s what Gains are all about.

Determine positive outcomes which excite and delight your target audience.

Don’t list the opposite of Pains. Instead, go beyond and find out why your customers want to solve this problem.


The Empathy Map for MakerBox Frameworks' audience

1. Think and feel

“I’m not comfortable with doing Marketing”.

“I have no Marketing experience, but I need to sell my product somehow”.

“I want to figure out Marketing on my own. It’s a good challenge for me”.

“I’ve already read some theoretical articles about Marketing; they seem not practical for me”.

2. See and hear

Learns a lot from the Twitter community.

Follows #buildinpublic.

Uses Reddit, Indie Hackers, and Product Hunt.

Finds support mainly from the Makers community because colleagues and family prioritize “official job”.

3. Say

“My product will sell itself” 😅

“I want to set up stable Acquisition, build community and personal brand”.

“I don’t like noisy Marketing”.

“I want to build in public”.

4. Do

Makes decisions fast and iterates quickly.

Takes only advice from those who have already succeeded in the same field.

5. Pains

MRR is stagnating.

“Everyone shares their MRR milestones, but not me”.

Building an audience on Twitter is challenging and time-consuming.

“I don’t know how to build a stable user acquisition model”.

6. Gains

Growing MRR and financial independence.

Marketing system built independently.

Next steps

Summarise all your knowledge about your target audience

  1. Finish your Persona Framework
  2. Complete the Value Proposition Canvas
  3. Summarize insights from user interviews and testimonials.

Fill in all the fields in the empathy map

  1. Use quotes from real people.
  2. Segment your Empathy Maps for each Persona.

Answer the questions below if you stuck

  1. Say - What does the user say about the product?
  2. Think - What is the user thinking about when interacting with a product?
  3. Think - What occupies the user’s thoughts?
  4. Think - What matters to the user?
  5. Feel - What worries the user?
  6. Feel - What does the user get excited about?
  7. Feel - How does the user feel about the experience?
  8. Do - What actions does the user take?
  9. Do - What actions and behaviors did you notice?
  10. See and hear - What influencers do your users listen to?
  11. See and hear - What social networks do they use actively?
  12. Pains - What pain points might the user be experiencing that they hope to overcome?
  13. Pains - What are their fears, frustrations, and anxieties?
  14. Gains - What is the user’s ultimate goal?
  15. Gains - What are they trying to achieve?

Make hypotheses based on the empathy map

  1. Write down ideas to validate.
  2. Align your marketing copy around Empathy Maps.
  3. Make your product onboarding personalized based on the Empathy Maps.

2. PAIPS Framework

PAIPS Framework
PAIPS Framework 

The PAIPS Framework is an upgraded version of the AIDA Framework for copywriting. Use it to sell more.

[Created by Justin Welsh]

How it works

1. Pain

Start with something painful for your target audience.

Problems grab attention quickly. You need to pick the relevant one.

Focus on problems that spark emotions: joy, anger, curiosity.

2. Agitate

Now make it more painful. For instance, provide examples and magnify the consequences.

We are not trying to intimidate users. Instead, grab their attention for the next few minutes.

It’s important to know when to stop.

3. Intrigue

It’s time to spark the interest.

Don’t name the solution right away; instead, tease it. For example, you can make an analogy, provide an alternative approach, and share stats.

At this point, users should want to find out more.

4. Positive future

Let’s amplify the desire. We want users to imagine their future when the problem is solved.

Focus on how users will feel and how their life will change.

If this step is done right, they already want your product without even reading about it.

5. Solution

Help users to make the correct CTA.

Make your product the next best step after reading this piece of content. But, again, keep it short and straightforward.

Try to embed a free product if your audience is not ready to buy the main one.


The PAIPS Framework for email about MakerBox Frameworks

1. Pain

Marketing is hard and tiring.

2. Agitate

You spend 20 hours writing the blog post and get 0 sales.

You make a new landing page, and then Conversion to sign-up decreases.

Your launch on Product Hunt barely gets 100 upvotes.

3. Intrigue

But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can enjoy doing marketing weeks.

All you need is clarity and consistency. Understand what needs to be done and get it step-by-step.

You need a system.

4. Positive future

Growth is the difference between a learning experience and a profitable business.

You deserve it. As well as:

  • positioning that resonates with people
  • funnel that converts users to customers
  • organic growth on Twitter

5. Solution

It’s a long way. But you decide when to start.

We just launched MakerBox Frameworks for you to start today.

Grow like crazy with 50 battle-tested marketing frameworks.

Learn more here.

Next steps

Define customers’ pain

  1. What drives customers mad right now?
  2. How does it influence their life?
  3. What stats can you provide to grab the attention?

Agitate to grab attention

  1. How can you illustrate the pain to the readers?
  2. What negative consequences can you describe?

Intrigue to spark the interest

  1. How can you tease the positive future?
  2. What fact or opinion can intrigue your users?

Describe a positive future

  1. What positive consequences are essential for your audience?
  2. What positive emotions will users feel after solving the problem?
  3. How fast can this positive future become a reality?

Provide a solution

  1. How does your product help users with solving this problem?
  2. How can you describe the product in 1 sentence?
  3. Should you include a free product before the main one?

Craft a marketing copy

  1. Write a Hook tweet with PAIPS Framework.
  2. Create an email with PAIPS Framework.
  3. Update your landing page with PAIPS Framework.
  4. Show drafts to your five friends.
  5. Iterate to perfection.


STEPPS Framework
STEPPS Framework

Use the STEPPS framework to create content and products that people would love to share. Unlock word of mouth to grow faster.

You can use any of the steps in the framework, but it’s most impactful if you combine them.

[Created by Jonah Berger]

How it works

1. Social Currency

People want to stand out and feel special.

So, let’s treat the information they share as a social currency.

Think about your audience — who are they trying to impress? What content would they love to share with their family, friends, and colleagues?

2. Triggers

You should have hooks that keep your product “top-of-mind” and “tip-of-tongue”.

The Hook Framework can help to choose the right ones.

3. Emotions

Emotions are powerful. Spark them with your content and product.

One great way to get to the underlying emotion is to focus on the 3 Whys. Keep asking Why at least three times to get to the underlying core of why people would share.

Once you find out, use it!

4. Public Value

Make it easy for people to share that they are using your product.

People trust people more than brands. So help your customers to promote you.

Make the process native. People don’t like to promote things by command.

5. Practical Value

People want to be helpful with the information they share.

Content which has practical value should be relevant and full of information.

What can we provide or create to allow our existing members to highlight their engagement with us?

6. Stories

Great storytelling is the key to excellent content marketing.

Make your audience the story's hero, and they will re-tell it repeatedly.


STEPPS Framework for a Marketing Challenge

1. Social Currency

Our audience for this challenge is marketers and designers. They create a lot of visual content and want to share it.

2. Triggers

If we think about challenges, there’s always the number of days in the beginning.

Our challenge has a catchy and familiar hashtag #100daysofmarketing.

3. Emotions

Users will share visual content to get social approval. So, let’s create a community where people will support each other.

4. Public Value

Challenge participants will add 🏆 emoji to their name.

5. Practical value

We’ll create practical value through sharing progress and learnings. Users will write daily tweets about new tools. Their audience will enjoy it!

Next steps

Define social currency for your users

  1. Who your target audience wants to impress?
  2. What content will be valuable for them?
  3. What do they usually share?

Use triggers

  1. What will remind your audience of you and get them to act?
  2. How can you go a step further to stand out from everyone else?

Create emotions

  1. Why, in the first place, will people want to share the content?
  2. How can you fulfill this emotion?

Set up public value

  1. How can you make it easy for audiences around your users to see that they are using your product?
  2. How can you highlight the engagement of current users?

Add practical value

  1. How can you highlight practical value?
  2. What content will be helpful?

Create stories

  1. How can you tell a narrative that audiences will remember?
  2. Are there any success cases that you can share as stories?

4. Growth Loops

Growth Loops Framework
Growth Loops Framework

The Growth Loop framework leverages the compound effect to grow faster. It shows how each new user can help you acquire more users.

Growth Loops are an excellent update for classical marketing funnels.

[Created by Reforge]

How it works

1. New User

People start using the product.

They discover it through Google, Organic virality, or Referral programs.

2. Action

Users perform some actions and get value from the product.

It’s usually the core functionality of the product. The more straightforward for users to make this step, the better.

3. Output

Users’ actions create an output that can be invested in acquiring new users.

It can either directly invite new users to the product or enhance current marketing channels.

The Growth loop starts again for the new cohort of users.


The Growth Loop for Form builder tool

1. New User

Users that have seen our tool branding on the surveys sign up.

2. Action

New users create forms and send them to their audience.

3. Output

Form participants see our tool branding.

Next steps

Determine your Growth Loop

  1. How do you acquire new users?
  2. What’s the core action for the user to get value?
  3. What output can generate new users?

Leverage your Growth Loop’s impact

  1. How can you make it more obvious for new users to sign up?
  2. How can you make it easier for new users to perform the core action?
  3. How can you remove the barriers to sharing your product with users’ audiences?

Test your Growth Loop

  1. Acquire 100-1000 users.
  2. Measure the conversion rates for each step.
  3. Optimize it.

5. Selling Transformation

Selling Transformation Framework
Selling Transformation Framework

The Selling Transformation framework supercharges the regular value proposition to make it more appealing to users. It increases the chances of being seen and heard.

It consists of the transformation, reasons to start, and channels to sell it.

[Created by Dan Kulkov]

How it works

1. Transformation

This is your Jobs-to-be-done.

Your product promises users a bright future, a transformation from their current situation.

It should always be about the user and have a positive direction. This is necessary to make it more desirable.

2. Reasons to start the transformation

Not every user understands the value of your offer. Some of them don’t even know they should care about it.

You can persuade undecided users by highlighting different reasons to start the transformation. There are three types of reasons:

  • Rational — facts and statistics
  • Emotional — desired emotional state
  • Social — role model or community belonging

3. Channels to sell the transformation

You need to sell the transformation in multiple marketing channels. Because each channel is different in users’ eyes.

You need to repeat your positioning. But in a way that doesn’t bore users.

There are three types of channels.

  • Rational — free part of the product
  • Emotional — emotional connection with a person
  • Social — social proof from other customers


Example of the Transformation for an online course for software engineers

1. Transformation

Change your profession and become a Software Engineer in 6 months

2. Reasons to start the transformation

Rational — Software Engineers earn $200K+ in Silicon Valley

Emotional — Software Engineers enjoy work-life balance

Social — Software Engineers build the “Future” in companies like Apple

3. Channels to sell the transformation

Rational — curriculum brochure

Emotional — webinar with a lecturer

Social — case studies with successful graduates

Next steps

Define your Transformation

  1. What is the desired positive outcome for your customers?
  2. What is Point A of this transformation?

Understand your Reasons

  1. What rational reasons can you highlight?
  2. What emotional reasons can you highlight?
  3. What social reasons can you highlight?

Pick your Channels

  1. What rational channels can you leverage?
  2. What emotional channels can you leverage?
  3. What social channels can you leverage?


Marketing Frameworks are outstanding time-savers.

Use them to solve problems and plan execution. Grow your business with clarity.