Audience Research Newsletter

Hi friend! Welcome to the second edition of our Audience Research Newsletter. We gather our most valuable learnings on audience research. Our goal is to help you think differently about your marketing strategy.

All in a single email. In under 8 minutes of reading.

This week we have advice for creators, and for people who want to improve their cohort marketing. Stick around to the end because we also have a fun announcement regarding customer-led growth.

🤔 Downsides to Optimizing for the Algorithm...

Algorithms that optimize for engagement train creators on how to behave, what to produce, and how to share their content.

Content marketing has changed. Social media marketing has changed. SEO has changed.

They’ve changed because the platforms moved the goalposts, or rather, replaced how “goals” could be scored. It’s not just the crowding of creator opportunities; it’s the systems and incentives.

What should a creator do? Here are four options:
  1. Play to the platforms’ incentives and earn branding, following, engagement, and awareness (rather than traffic), then find creative ways to benefit from that platform.
  2. Use the “lots for you, a little for me,” methodology to optimize for engagement, then draw traffic with an occasional link.
  3. Focus on the much-more-highly-engaged value of email subscribers, and less on raw reach (as I often say, I’d rather have 1 new email subscriber than 1,000 more followers on Facebook).
  4. Invest in the digital channels that still earn high relative engagement: publishing or earning visibility on other people’s well-followed platforms (podcasts, YouTube channels, industry publications, email newsletters, etc), digital PR, press, etc.
Much more in the latest essay from Rand Fishkin: The Incentives to Publish No Longer Reward the Web’s Creators

Overheard at Office Hours: Nintendo's messaging

What is cohort marketing? It's marketing to different groups of people based on their differences. A common way to uncover these groups is to segment people by behavior — by the actions they take on your website. From there, you market or position your product based on those behaviors.

Here's an example of this: the Nintendo Switch.

People buy the Nintendo Switch for three primary reasons: 
  1. Ability to dock and undock the console
  2. Portability and mobile gaming
  3. Nintendo-exclusive games
Those are all three very different reasons for very different customers, such as: mid-high income parents with children aged 6-16; casual gamers aged 17-30; and nostalgic adult gamers aged 31-55.

You wouldn't market to all these groups in the same way at the same time. Nintendo sure didn't. 

Nintendo keyed in on these groups' motivations and buying reasons. They went to market with these three messages:
  • Play at home
  • Play anywhere
  • Play together
And it worked. 

So how would you accomplish something similar using SparkToro?

Using the "My audience uses these words in their profile..." query, try doing a search for a common job title in your audience. You'll get a sense of their topics of interest, sources of influence, demographics, and self-reported descriptors.

Then apply this data to your audience. You could incorporate this information into audience surveys or customer interviews to get even more granular data. You could use the intel to build better data capture elements in your onboarding. And you might even find additional descriptors and motivations that you hadn’t already considered.

We covered all this and much more in last week’s Office Hours. The full presentation is on our YouTube channel.

  At next week’s office hours: We’ll show you how to use this audience research to improve your cold outreach strategy. Register here.


Quick Marketing Advice

21 tips from journalists to instantly improve your PR strategy: Choose the best spokesperson for your media interview — because it’s not always the CEO. Make sure this spokesperson is media trained and ready for that interview.

‘Likes’ and ‘shares’ teach people to express more outrage online: “Social media platforms like Twitter amplify expressions of moral outrage over time because users learn such language gets rewarded with an increased number of “likes” and “shares,” a new Yale University study shows.”

Bootstrappers, publication dedicated to bootstrapping founders: Andrew Gazdecki, founder and CEO of MicroAcquire, recently launched this publication for boot-strapped startups. It's a great site to celebrate the stories of the hundreds of profitable businesses that haven't raised any VC funding.

Apply to the Customer-Led Growth Course:

Back when we were just launching SparkToro, we went to Georgiana Laudi and Claire Suellentrop for help. They helped us identify who our best customers are and how to resonate with them.

Their Customer-Led Growth framework is an end-to-end process to turn customer insights into meaningful growth strategies. They just opened enrollment for their course to teach that framework to other consultants. And... SparkToro is their client-in-residence!

This is the only completely customer-centric certification program for consultants that combines...
  • On-demand learning
  • A real SaaS company case study (us!)
  • Personalized weekly feedback
  • Intimate group collaboration (they're only accepting 10 people)
Plus, we are offering two scholarships to consultants. That's right; we're paying the full $2,950 fee for two people. Applications are now open through September 20 at 11:59pm ET / 8:59pm PT. Learn more and apply here.


That's all for now. Thank you for reading.