Audience Research Newsletter

Hi friend! Welcome to our third Audience Research Newsletter. It's where 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.

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This week we have advice on cold outreach, and a sneak peek at next week’s #SparkToroHours, where Rand will dive into amplification-worthy content.

💡 One Effective Tip for Cold Outreach...

At last week’s #SparkToroHours, I (er, Amanda Natividad) presented on cold outreach — and explained how I get at least an 80% response rate when I send cold emails.

But if there's one piece of advice to listen to it's this: Rather than focusing all your energy on selling yourself and/or your product to a stranger, spend some time writing why you’re reaching out to them and not someone else.

Put another way, talk about why them instead of just why you.

This shift in mindset can help you think through why you need that recipient’s perspective, expertise, or  amplification. And it helps you write a message that compels them to take action.

Some examples of the “why them” approach in action:

Agency pitch: I attended your CEO's talk at a conference recently, and she had a ton of great insights about what’s next in healthcare marketing. It dawned on me that I hadn’t seen her speak before. If you’re looking to ramp up speaking opportunities, my agency can help...

Sales pitch: I saw you tweeted the other day about having trouble replying to all your emails. My team and I created a Gmail extension to help people like you write templates and set automations to help you save time. Check us out....

Job application: I noticed via LinkedIn that you don’t have any content marketers on your team, and that you don’t yet have a blog. If you’re looking to hire in the near future, I’d love to help you change that. I have 5+ years of content marketing experience…

For lots more on cold outreach, including common problems, teardowns of good and bad examples, and frameworks to use, check out the presentation on YouTube.

📢 Who Will Amplify This? And Why?

Think about the last thing you made that fell flat. When you created it, did you have a particular person in mind who would especially appreciate and benefit from that work? Or maybe a group of people?

If you’re in the world of marketing, that group is often potential customers. And there’s a good chance you conflated potential customers with potential amplifiers — which is another group entirely.

Conflating the two groups means you may lose out on plenty of potential amplification on its own. That’s not to say everything you produce should be for amplifiers. But, when you’re intentionally creating for amplification, when you need it to turn that flywheel, you’ve gotta target an audience that can and will share.

Even if you’ve done it right, and effectively targeted your content toward an amplification-likely audience, you’ll still need to put in the work of asking who, exactly, will do that amplification.

The biggest impediment I see to making that a priority is the seeming ease with which already-successful creators earn sharing of their work. That other popular Instagram photographer doesn’t try to create a list of people who’ll amplify her work, so why should I?

Because you are not already popular and well-followed.

Phew. Sorry. It’s just a tough, frustrating conversation to have over and over...

▶️ Want this full take? Join us for next week’s Office Hours, where Rand will take this rant and advice live. Register here.

🌶 Marketing & Work Advice

How to Build a Successful Customer Advisory Council: Community builder Evan Hamilton has thorough advice for setting up your Customer Advisory Board — from defining the mission, designing rules, enacting feedback, and amplifying to your broader audience.
3 Ways Marketing Psychology Can Improve Holiday Sales & Campaigns: As we gear up for the holiday season, digital marketer Chantelle Marcelle breaks down a few psychological principles to help you position yourself for successful marketing campaigns.

Why We Do Chill Work at SparkToro: Rand Fishkin breaks down what’s problematic about hustle culture, and explains the approach to chill work. “I’d estimate that I work ~60% of the hours on SparkToro that I did at my previous company. And yet the growth rate these first 17 months looks better than my first stab at a SaaS marketing business. I’d bet that’s not coincidence, but causation. Chill work means better decision making, better prioritization, and better results.”

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