Jan. 7, 2021

How To Find Where Your Customers Are Hanging Out Online with Rand Fishkin

How To Find Where Your Customers Are Hanging Out Online with Rand Fishkin

The rise of independent content creators has fragmented consumer attention. To get in front of your ideal customers, you're going to have to know where they spend their time online. Rand Fishkin joins Katelyn Bourgoin to explain how to find where your ideal customers spend their time-consuming content online.


The rise of independent content creators has fragmented consumer attention. To get in front of your ideal customers, you're going to have to know where they spend their time online. Rand Fishkin joins Katelyn Bourgoin to explain how to find where your ideal customers spend their time-consuming content online. 

In this episode, Katelyn and Rand discuss:

  • How Content Marketing Has Evolved
  • The Benefits Of Content Marketing
  • A Step-By-Step Method For Finding Hidden Gems
  • And So Much More

Rand Fishkin is the founder of SparkToro and the author of Lost and Founder

Twitter: https://twitter.com/randfish

SparkToro: https://sparktoro.com/

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Connect with Katelyn on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KateBour

Get your free Customer Ranking Calculator: https://customercamp.co/calculator

Transcript

Rand Fishkin

Rand Fiskin: [00:00:00] one of the things that I realized that was incredibly under invested was what I'd call digital PR or other people's platforms. Right. There's there's websites and, and print media and podcasts and YouTube channels and social media accounts that are attracting audiences, you know, and that have built impressive audiences in every single space. 

[00:00:22]

[00:00:22] Okay,

[00:01:18] your customer's hangout. It's a simple question, but the answer is much more complicated than most content marketers are willing to admit contact marketing is about creating content that helps your ideal customers. The goal is to educate them and earn their trust so that when the time is right, they'll buy your product over the competition.

[00:01:39] Content marketing has been around for decades, but it's evolved a heck of a lot since the internet showed up. Back before the internet. There weren't that many places where people went to consume content, the radio and television stations that you had were often constrained to your geographical area.

[00:01:56] Newspapers and magazines were bought by people who had interests, but they often were , much more broad because they needed to sell it to a larger audience. So back in the day, if you were a marketer looking to sell fishing equipment, it would make sense to buy an ad in fishing quarterly and to write articles for the local newspaper of fishing towns.

[00:02:17] But since the internet has come along, The cost of creating your own publication has dropped to zero. This has led to millions of people building their own audiences like blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels, even their own news sites. Just think about the type of content you look at on. Any given day. I bet most of it's coming from individual content creators and not large networks.

[00:02:45] This fragmentation of attention has made it much more difficult for content. Marketers should track down where their ideal customers are spending time and who might influence their decisions. So let me ask you again, where do your customers hang out? If that question makes your head spin. Don't worry.

[00:03:06] This episode is for you. And even if you think that you've got a grasp of all the different places they might be, I bet you're going to pick up some tips and tricks for tracking down even more of your ideal customers. My guest today has been a content marketer since the birth of online marketing. He founded Maus and he's now growing his latest internet company, spark Toro.

[00:03:31] He's also the author of loss and founder. Yeah. Which is one of my all time favorite books. And I say that it's an absolute must read for any startup better. So I'm excited to share my conversation today with no other than Rand Fishkin. Rand is a very active voice on Twitter. He talks about lots of things related to marketing and startups and content.

[00:03:53] And I'm also a bit of a Twitter addict myself. So I couldn't help, but notice a particular tweet that ran, had pinned to the top of this profile since way back in 2015, this is where we'll begin our conversation.

[00:04:06]Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:04:06] You have a tweet that is pinned to your Twitter profile right now that I just wanted to read.

[00:04:11] It says best way to sell something. Don't sell anything, earn the awareness and respect and trust of those who may buy. Tell me more about that. Why is earning your audience's awareness and trust so important?

[00:04:25] Rand Fiskin: [00:04:25] Yeah, I, so this is, this is my personal belief about the best way to sell other people. Have their beliefs and that's okay. But I love the approach of earning an audience who knows you likes you trusts you. Is comfortable with your brand, and then converting them over time, rather than trying to sell someone on a, on an early visit to whatever your website or your brand or your company or your product.

[00:04:57] And that's because I've had much more success with that sort of a long play community building flywheel marketing process.

[00:05:08]Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:05:08] Have you tried the other way or what happens when you see brands that are trying to sell before they gain trust? How does that usually work out?

[00:05:15]Rand Fiskin: [00:05:15] look, I, I think I've seen a few brands have some levels of success with it. but it is often short-term driven and it does not tend to build up the competitive moat and the, Resilience that more of a flywheel and, and trust model builds. and I also find it very challenging because I think that you are really subject to the flow, the ebb and flow of competitive pressures and of demand, versus, you know, a brand that's built over time.

[00:05:51] Can weather a lot of storms.

[00:05:53] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:05:53] Hmm, you mentioned this idea of a flywheel. Now some of my listeners are going to know what that is and some of them that might be a new term. Can you explain what that is?

[00:06:01] Rand Fiskin: [00:06:01] Yeah. Yeah. So it's a, it's an analogy that comes from sort of the early, period of the industrial age when you, when you needed these giant. They look like giant wheels, giant metal wheels, that sat in buildings and stored up electricity, right? So they, they stored up power by getting them spinning really fast.

[00:06:18] And then you can sort of generate from the friction, generate the energy. And that's the idea behind the flywheel is it's a huge, heavy thing that takes a lot of energy to initially get it going. But then once it starts turning, it is revolving on inertia. And, and the reason that analogy works so well with a marketing flywheel or, you know, a product flywheel, is that you put a ton of effort and energy into initially getting the, whatever it is, whatever kind of flywheel you've got, you know, it could be a PR flywheel.

[00:06:50] Maybe it's an advertising flywheel. Maybe it's an events and conferences flywheel. Maybe it's a, an SEO, flywheel content, flywheel, whatever kind of marketing you're doing. Could be multiple kinds working in concert. It usually takes a lot of energy and effort to get that, first few rebels Lucian's going, right.

[00:07:07] I, I put up a blog post. I amplify it to my audience. I've done my keyword research. So I know what I want to rank for and who I'm trying to attract. And then hopefully that amplification works and gets me some links and coverage and ranking signals and engagement and people subscribing to my blog. And now.

[00:07:25]the next time I publish something, I'm going to do a little better. Cause I have a slightly larger audience who's paying attention and a little more authority with the search engines, et cetera, et cetera. And those first few revolutions, which could be, you know, we could be talking about your first hundred pieces of content in your first six months of effort.

[00:07:43] They're not going to do great, but over time you build up the engine that keeps turning and turning and each successive input, each success of revolution. Takes less energy. So to get my first a hundred customers, it was like pulling teeth, but to get my a hundred customers a year in, gosh, it feels like a snap comparatively.

[00:08:05] That's what you're trying to build in a, in a marketing flywheel.

[00:08:09] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:08:09] I think such good advice because it's tough when you're getting started. And it's easy to feel that you're doing something wrong or that, you know, nobody's paying attention to just want to quit, especially when it comes to content marketing and understanding that those first few revolutions starting to get some of that momentum is going to take enormous effort, but then it gets easier.

[00:08:31] That's such a good visual and metaphor for people. To keep putting in the work. And so you are one of those people who's definitely put in the work. You're actually, I would say one of the most trusted people in marketing, you have a huge audience of marketers who trust you to tell it like it is. so back in the days though, before anybody knew who ran Fishkin was what was it that motivated you to start creating content and sharing your knowledge in the first place?

[00:08:56]Rand Fiskin: [00:08:56] And in the really early days, Katelyn, it was, an immense frustration with, The, the search engines, mostly Google, but, the search engines, opacity and secretiveness around how their systems worked. I remember being, you know, I was in my early mid twenties and I was just infuriated at how, you know, Google was essentially screwing over all these small businesses and websites and people who wanted to build for the internet by not.

[00:09:24] Talking openly and publicly about what worked and what didn't and what they shouldn't. Shouldn't try. And as a result, for a decade, decade and a half, the field of SEO is just dominated by. You know, gray hat and black hat and manipulative activity and scammers and spammers. and it was this, this really dark, frustrating place to operate.

[00:09:44] I, you know, for any of your listeners, who've been around that world for a long time, they will recall that SEO used to be worse than use Karl salesmen use used to be worse than, you know, politician. It was just the worst kind of, treatment. No one respected it now. Pretty much everyone thinks SEO is just a standard part of marketing.

[00:10:04] It's lost almost all of that bad reputation. And, and, and my sense in those early days was that a huge portion of that was the fault of the search engines for not being transparent. And so I wanted to create. A transparent resource where people could get that information. and then as I started to do that, I didn't know what content marketing was.

[00:10:26] You know, I, I didn't even realize that I was building a brand as I was doing it. I was mostly just, I'm angry at these people for hiding the way things really work. And so I'm going to tell the truth about it. and I'm going to try and figure it out myself and publish it and find other people who want to publish it.

[00:10:42] The truth. And get them to write and it, yeah, it worked shockingly well, right. It built first, a consultancy and then a software business and then a software business that made tens of millions of dollars a year. it was kind of remark. Okay.

[00:10:56] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:10:56] incredible. And so back when you were just this angry SEO that wanted your world to be better, I wanted your profession to be more respected, knew it could be. And you started publishing and you were sharing, like how did you find out how to get what you were putting out into the world in front of the right people?

[00:11:15] Rand Fiskin: [00:11:15] Yeah. Distribution was a big challenge in those early years. So we're talking about like 2002, three, four, five. So this is just before the explosion of social media marketing, you know, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, et cetera. and so the, the only real way to get distribution in those early years was I would basically go to web forums that were discussing search engine optimization and web marketing.

[00:11:43] And I would. Post in those places, under my username with the hope that people would come check me out, click on my profile and then click to my website because you couldn't actually post links to your website in the comments themselves. Right? And so this idea was like, well, how do we, how do we get people over to the, the SEO Moz at the time?

[00:12:05] That's what it was called before. It was called Moz blog and get them to subscribe to the RSS. Feed right. That was the, that was the big goal was subscribe to RSS. Now it's mostly subscribed via email, but, yeah, that's, that is probably how we got our first few hundred subscribers. And then it was really, it was word of mouth.

[00:12:24] It was conferences and events that I started going to, it was literally, you know, one-to-one emails that I was having conversations with people from. and then eventually. Once once that started getting picked up and my content was doing a little bit better. Other people started linking to me. And then finally my SEO, Moz blog started ranking in Google itself.

[00:12:48] When you searched for things around SEO, I think one of the big successes around there was I wrote the beginner's guide to SEO back in maybe 2005 and,

[00:12:59] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:12:59] I love it. You were probably one of the first ones to actually create a Vic inner sky.

[00:13:02] Rand Fiskin: [00:13:02] Yeah. Yeah.

[00:13:03] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:13:03] you didn't know you were doing content marketing that's probably because you were creating content marketing.

[00:13:08] Rand Fiskin: [00:13:08] Oh, I remember, you know, I remember the, what was it, Joe Pulizzi and like those guys, you know, launched the content marketing Institute and content marketing world. Right. And I was kind of like, okay, what, what's the difference between content marketing, what I've been doing? And they were like, no, no, that is content marketing.

[00:13:25] Oh, okay. All right.

[00:13:27] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:14:55] You were finding these forums and you were posting there. You weren't able to share a link. How do you even find the forums? Like where did you know, how did you figure out where to go post.

[00:15:05] Rand Fiskin: [00:15:05] Well, so this was search engines, right? You know, essentially I, in my, probably before my SEO career even started, I was doing web design. Right. My mom and I were, were running this web design firm and, I was going to SEO. Information sites, via Google to find a consultant so that we could subcontract the work. You know, I build the website, they do the SEO. They'd tell me what to change on the site, et cetera, et cetera. and that, that was how I initially found places like, gosh, what was it back in the day, you know, webmaster world and SEO chat and, search engine watch back when Danny Sullivan ran that. Yeah.

[00:15:48] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:15:48] So, this is also good. So for our listeners, just so you know, how far things have come brand was doing this back when it was still really, really hard and figuring out where your audience was, was hit and miss, and a ton of like manual work. And some of that work has changed. And some of that. But automated and made more easy.

[00:16:09] And one of the big reasons why is because of this new product called spark Toro. So, Randy, can you tell me about spark Toro? What is it and what problems does it solve?

[00:16:20] Rand Fiskin: [00:16:20] Yeah, sure. So, yeah, Caitlin for, for years, right? I was obviously in the, in the SEO field and SEO is great, right? If people are searching for exactly what you want and they're typing those words and phrases into Google and you can rank they're awesome. But. D two trends really made me very concerned for the longterm future of, of SEO.

[00:16:43]one is Google. Has become the monopoly and they keep entering space after space, with their own products, right? Google jobs, Google flights, Google hotels, Google, whether Google maps, Google you name it, right. Google credit cards is coming and finance and just everything right. Google is putting their own content, their own products, alphabets, you know, sub-brands YouTube, all that, in those places.

[00:17:07] So that concerned me. And then. I also became concerned that that SEO is just so competitive that if you want to start in a, you know, even in a smaller niche, that's, that's reasonably, approachable, there is still so much competition for those few first few spots in the search results. It's so difficult to get going.

[00:17:28] It's not like it was 10 or 15 years ago. it's just a huge challenge. And so one of the things that I realized that was incredibly under invested was what I'd call digital PR or other people's platforms. Right. There's there's websites and, and print media and podcasts and YouTube channels and social media accounts that are attracting audiences, you know, and that have built impressive audiences in every single space.

[00:17:56] Right. It doesn't matter if you're targeting architects in Los Angeles or I dunno, landscapers in Ontario, or, people who work in.

[00:18:06] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:18:06] Halifax because I've used your product.

[00:18:08] Rand Fiskin: [00:18:08] Yeah, exactly, exactly. Right. Folks who do construction in Milwaukee, like whatever group of people you are trying to reach, there are communities that attract them already, right.

[00:18:21] That communities of all kinds. Right. and discovering what those communities are, is ludicrous really hard. So we, you know, we were.

[00:18:29] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:18:29] to be ludicrously hard.

[00:18:31] Rand Fiskin: [00:18:31] Well, we Casey and I, my co-founder and I, we were watching people do this, right. We were like, Hey, how do you, you know, relatively sophisticated marketers from, from larger companies?

[00:18:41] Like, how are they doing it? Oh my God, they're paying 50 to a hundred thousand dollars to a market research firm to run a survey. Asking, you know, whatever it is, a thousand people in construction in Milwaukee. Hey, what do you read? Watch, listen to, and the answers are terrible, right? Of course they're terrible.

[00:19:00] It's like, Oh, I guess I read the Milwaukee journal. And, I listened to, I don't know, the serial podcast, like super helpful. Thank you. That's it's just a bad survey question and it would take six months and tens of thousands of dollars. It's ridiculous. What you really want to do. Right? What, what Casey and I were like, Oh, what you want to do is you want to get the addresses, the home addresses of all these folks in this audience, go to their house, break in, steal their phone, get their unlock code.

[00:19:30] And then browse everything they're reading, watching, listening to subscribing, to following, et cetera. Like that's the data you really want, but of course,

[00:19:38] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:19:38] that's like the dream. Could you imagine if your customers would just hand you their phone and you can see their browsing history? Bam.

[00:19:44] Rand Fiskin: [00:19:44] Except. Yeah. The only frustration is it would take a ton of time because you need a large sample size of customers to be able to get, you know, reasonable results. Otherwise you get the election polling problem where you don't, you know, you don't have enough sample coverage. and, and so Casey and I were like, Oh yeah, that's great.

[00:19:59] Except that's totally illegal and unethical, and there's no way to do it,

[00:20:04] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:20:04] nobody's going to say yes to that.

[00:20:05] Rand Fiskin: [00:20:05] Nobody's going to say yes to that, but, but we saw some really the clever firms doing something where they, where they basically got all their customer's email addresses, you know, from their transactions. And they ran them through full contact, full contact API, or Clearbit API, you know, one of these APIs that turns email addresses into all their social URLs.

[00:20:26] So like, okay, here's, you know, here's Kaitlin, she bought whatever this coffee from us for delivery and let's plug her into full contact and like, it spits back here's your Twitter or your LinkedIn, your YouTube, your Reddit, whatever. So we were like, Oh, That's awesome. Cause then they built crawlers to go crawl all those customer profiles on all these public social accounts and, and basically aggregate everything they followed, watched, listened to shared tweeted about whatever that produced, incredible, awesome data.

[00:21:04] And Casey and I were like, genius. We should do that for the whole internet. Like, it's ridiculous. It's ridiculous. These firms have to basically have, you know, two engineers go spend six months building a customer thing to get essentially answers to three survey questions. You know, what YouTube channels do you subscribe to?

[00:21:23] What podcasts you follow? What websites do you visit? What social accounts do you follow and engage with? Those were the questions that they were trying to answer so that they could go do smarter marketing, more targeted PR campaigns, advertising campaigns, right? We're like, Oh, we could do this for everyone.

[00:21:40] And so that's what sparked Toro is. Spark Toro is essentially we crawl tens of millions of public social accounts. We have about 75 million public social account profiles right now. Maybe a little more than that. almost all in English. And then we have them across 10 different social networks. So, you know, whatever it is, YouTube, Reddit, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, anything that's public.

[00:22:06] We basically crawl, we connect them up. So we're like, Oh, here's Kaitlin on LinkedIn. And that connects to this website. And that website links to this Twitter account and that Twitter account links back to this Facebook page. So , we put together all the connections and that is how spark Toro functions. So when you search for whatever it is, landscaper, Ontario, right?

[00:22:27] My audience, uses these words in their profile landscaping and is located in Ontario, Canada. Boom, you know, 415 profiles come back of public social accounts that call themselves landscapers that are located in Ontario and here's their behavior, you know, here's what they watch read, follow, listen to, et cetera.

[00:22:46] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:22:46] so, so powerful. And just as that, anyone is listening understands you won't actually be able to click through and see all of those 400 people's profiles. You can actually view the individual users, but if the. Aggregate data that is so powerful and you can go deep. Like you can find the ones that are at the top of the list that the most common, but then you can find some really kind of more niche and specialized publications that if you're a marketer trying to actually, maybe you're trying to get your CEO on a podcast.

[00:23:12] You're trying to get in front of somebody as YouTube audience ones that are going to be kind of like. Easier outreach. So let's, before we get to that stuff, cause there's so much you can do with this data right now, anybody who's listening to this can head over to spark tours, website, it's spark toro.com and you can for free do 10 searches and see some of these results for yourself.

[00:23:34] But before people do that, what should somebody do before they start searching so that they know that they're getting the most mileage out of those searches. So. For instance. I know when my husband was starting his new business, I had no familiarity with people who cared about barbecue. It is not something that I knew anything about, but I knew that they cared about barbecue.

[00:23:55] And I knew that we were targeting at the time, the city of Halifax and Nova Scotia, Canada. And so I had those two bits of information and. I went and I did my first search and smart tour and I got back some interesting insights, but then I thought, well, maybe these people aren't calling themselves.

[00:24:10] Barbecuers maybe that's not what they're talking about, but I bet you, there are certain accounts that they're all following. So then I went and did a little bit of Google research found who are some of the top influencers in the space. And then I said, okay, did they follow this account? And then I put in Halifax and then I got even more interesting data.

[00:24:27] So tell me before you start. What do you kind of need to know about your audience to make sure that you can get the most oomph from those searches?

[00:24:35] Rand Fiskin: [00:24:35] yeah, to be honest. And I think before you do a spark Toro search, you should have a problem you want to solve in mind. Right. So, so if, if you know, Hey, I need to do customer research, audience research in order to understand. Ex, like, I am trying to figure out which podcasts to sponsor or I'm trying to figure out which websites to reach out to for a co-marketing opportunity or where should I place this, you know, really cool research piece that we've got, as a guest contribution or as a, as an op-ed or, which social accounts should I reach out to, to try and amplify this survey that we're running?

[00:25:16]If you have that question already in mind, spark Toro is awesome because when you look at the results, you're going to be like, Oh, sweet. There's the answer. I think the challenge comes in. Yeah. The challenge comes in when you, when you try and, look at the data and then fit it to a problem, you're not sure you have yet.

[00:25:35]Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:25:35] What we were doing was interesting. And so it's, so there's a, another marketer author, his name's Russell Brunson. And he'd written this book recently called I think it was traffic secrets, but he talks about this concept in it that I found to be a really helpful and powerful concept, especially when you're like building a new brand.

[00:25:52] And it was this idea of like your dream 100. And what he recommended doing is you identify the hundred brands or. People who might influence your audience, share their attention and you follow them on social media. So you can see what type of content they're creating. Cause obviously that's working with their, with the audience you want to build, or you identify where they're, you know, where they're publishing to.

[00:26:16] And again, with this opportunity of cross promotions, things like that. So I was using it thinking, okay, this is perfect. I can go find my whole dream 100. In like a few seconds. And so that was our use case, but I think you're right. Being able to even be more granular when you do that search because you know what you're trying to achieve in your, in your marketing strategy.

[00:26:38] And this is just where you're finding the information that's going to make it even quicker to outcome.

[00:26:44] Rand Fiskin: [00:26:44] Yeah. I mean, one of the I've been amazed at people's applications for the data, right? So someone, someone the other day, really clever that they're actually a podcaster and they're looking for sponsors. Like they are trying to find good advertisers for their own podcasts. And so they took their own social account.

[00:27:03]for themselves and their podcast, plug that into spark Toro. My audience follows the social account at, you know, this person's, account. And then they came, you know, came back with a few thousand folks who follow and engage with them and what else they pay attention to. And then they took the top brands that came up like, Oh, okay.

[00:27:21] Well, 33% of my audience engaged with this. Software company I'm going to reach out to them. I think it was it wasn't HootSweet, but it was somebody like that. Maybe it's HubSpot or something like that. I'm going to reach out to them and say, Hey, a huge portion of my audience pays attention to you, folks.

[00:27:38] You should sponsor my podcast and they did.

[00:27:41] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:27:41] I love that. So Rand, can you give, can we get into a little bit of the tactical stuff? You're what types of searches can I do? So I, you know, you've talked about a specific type of person in a specific location. What are some of the other types of searches you can do?

[00:27:56] Rand Fiskin: [00:27:56] Yeah, there's, there's basically five of them. and there's a little dropdown right at the right at the top. So it looks like a Google search bar at the top of spark Toro, but there's a dropdown for essentially a sentence you fill in. So my audience frequently talks about, I dunno, maybe you're maybe you're into an audience that talks about, PlayStation five, right?

[00:28:14] So my audience is frequently talking about the PlayStation five on their public social channels. Great, fine. maybe my audience, uses the words in their profile landscaper, but they don't actually talk about landscaping all that much online. I'm trying to find people who have that word or phrase in their public profile, you know, whatever their LinkedIn account or their, their Instagram profile.

[00:28:38]there's my audience follows a social account or frequently visits a website. And then there's, my audience frequently uses the hashtag. and those, those five essentially make up the core of how you can search. And then there's also the ability to compare two audiences against each other. And we'll do like a Venn diagram.

[00:28:56] So you can see, you know, potentially the overlap. Like I want to see an audience that whatever talks about landscaping and is interested in video games, like what, what do they do? they probably all follow a Stardew Valley and then. there's also the ability to add a location. So you could say my audience frequently talks about landscaping and they're located in Seattle.

[00:29:19] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:29:19] so, so good. Okay. So now I know how I can do a search. I know that I've got 10 free ones I can try. And so you just share this incredible use case. I know that you've got some other ones you can share. I mean, mine again, like we were just getting started. I had no recollection. I had no knowledge of this audience other than knowing my husband was at barbecue.

[00:29:36] So it's like, Am I going to market to these people? Like, who are they following? What type of content do they want to see? And it was a lot of the work that we did with spark Toro that helped me to figure out like our account for his business chart boys. We do a lot of memes. It's very immature humor, but it's, our audience loves it.

[00:29:53] Um, and it works well. And that was from being inspired by seeing some of the other brands that they are following and what type of content they were creating. So it was great for me just to fuel my inspiration, but like, what are some other great use cases? Like the podcast example you shared.

[00:30:07] Rand Fiskin: [00:30:07] Sure. Sure. So, w one of the ones that has been recently very popular, I think, especially with the holiday season coming is lots of e-commerce folks. I don't know how much, You know, Facebook or Google advertising, you've tried to do across their display networks, but it is, those platforms have pulled back on a lot of the data they used to show.

[00:30:25] So if you want to go in and target a specific audience, it's really difficult to figure out what words and phrases should I type in. You know, Facebook's suggestions have become much less robust. Part of that is like around the whole Cambridge Analytica scandal and yada yada. But spark Toro can give you a lot of that data back.

[00:30:44] So you can plug in like, okay, I'm going to plug in our social account, you know, whatever our, our Twitter at symbol or our Facebook page or our Instagram page or whatever. And then see what are the words and phrases that people who follow us use, what words and phrases do they use in their shares and content?

[00:31:02] What hashtags do they use? I'm going to use those as starting points for my advertising, targeting in Facebook ads in Instagram ads, in YouTube ads and Google display ads, et cetera.  We just published a few case studies and there were a few folks who were like, Holy crap.

[00:31:19] We just like three X, our advertising ROI. 

[00:31:22]And then the other thing that can be really useful on that front is not just the words and phrases they use, but also what else they follow. So if you see, Oh, my audience, the audience I'm trying to target and reach is following this Facebook page.

[00:31:35] You can then use that Facebook page as a topic, right. Or as a, as a page. To tar to limit the audience that you're targeting with your ad on Facebook or Instagram to that specific group. Again, really nice to be able to nail down who exactly those are. It's just, you know, that percentage number is just a.

[00:31:55] A gold goldmine. I think that was the biggest missing thing. Honestly, that spark Toro does is just that one number 34% of whatever landscapers in Ontario follow or engage with this particular social account or this particular website or this podcast, that percentage number, it's just been missing from marketing conversations.

[00:32:16] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:32:16] well, and it gives as, you know, as a marketer, when you're trying to fight for ad budget, or you're trying to fight for, you know, going after one particular platform or channel or making an investment, you're trying to convince your client or your team, like. Your opinion is nice, but means very little when, when you can present them with actual data, not only does it make you look like a superhero, like you've really got your shit together, but it, it coaxes them to believe that, you know, there's this isn't just okay.

[00:32:41] Let's podcast, because this is because we can see that, you know, 37% of our audience is already listening to these three podcasts. So of course we should be doing this, like with the no brainer.

[00:32:52] Rand Fiskin: [00:32:52] Yeah. It, it really is helpful for media planners, NPR folks. So like, I'm not sure if you follow her on Twitter, but, Michelle Garrett is in the who's very notable in the PR world, but she was just tweeting about this the other day. She was like, Oh yeah, I hate that wall street journal problem.

[00:33:08] Right. Where essentially the CEO walks in and is like, I want you to get us in the wall street journal. Cause I talked to her, you know, I golf with our customers every Sunday and they all read the wall street journal. And you're like, I know they don't read the wall street. You're like this guy's an idiot, but you don't, unless you can bring data to that battle, to that meeting and say, all right, we, you know, we ran the numbers.

[00:33:29] Here's the percent of our audience that does pay attention to the wall street journal or New York times or whatever the big prestige publication is. And then here's the niche publications. So you tell me, do you want to go after the prestige publication? Just for the prestige, because that's okay. Just, just say so, 

[00:33:46] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:33:46] Yeah. Is this a vanity place? You can have something to talk with your golf buddies or do you actually want to get these

[00:33:52] Rand Fiskin: [00:33:52] Yeah, what's the goal here. And then you can tease that out and you can assign your effort and your ad budget and your PR budget appropriately.

[00:34:01] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:34:01] Yeah, it's huge. I mean, even for this podcast, when I was planning the podcast and thinking about who I would want to interview, I went into spark Toro and I put my own profile and saw who was my audience already following that's my guest list. The, everybody on that list are my dream guests because my audience is already interested in them.

[00:34:20] Therefore they probably have other people who are following them, who are going to be interested in the type of content I'm creating. It makes it so easy.

[00:34:27] Rand Fiskin: [00:34:27] Yes, no, that, and that, that in fact is one of the big use cases for event planners as well. So, you know, a lot of the, this year, and probably next, a lot of events have shifted to webinars and online stuff. Right. And so you want to try and find. The people who are attracting the audience that you already want to reach, and you want to get them as whatever the speakers, the presenters, the people you're interviewing for your event, so that they bring some of that audience along with them.

[00:34:56] And so that you rank for their name and, you know, can be in the whatever in Google news alerts for them, et cetera, et cetera, and bring the right audience to your event.

[00:35:06] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:35:06] there's just so many incredible use cases. I mean, even as you're talking about event planners, like as you, as a company, let's say that that's an audience that now you want to target specifically. Cause you know, you've got this incredible solution for them in spark Toro. Like now, you know, all of the things that they're reading, you know, all the things.

[00:35:20] They're listening to, you know, who to go to and reach out and say, can we sponsor your newsletter? Or, you know, is this something you'll include in your top 10 resources list? Like you have identified who the audience is, where this use case for your product is, and now, you know exactly where they hang out.

[00:35:35] So there are all of these steps that before marketers need to do an enormous amount of guesswork and legwork, that sparked hardest removes. And so, as I was planning of this episode and thinking about the questions I wanted to ask you, it was like, wow. Well, spark Toro does all the work. Like we just need to make sure people know how to use it properly, because it's going to do all the work, all that hard stuff about trying to figure out where audiences, if you know who they are then.

[00:36:00] And if you have a sense of who they're paying attention to, and then you can start doing more and more kind of like dialing it in and your searches and really get some incredible compelling data.

[00:36:12] Rand Fiskin: [00:36:12] Yeah, I, I will say, I think one of the, one of the things that is really important to understand is also the limitations of the data, right? So spark Toro is public social accounts. So for, for example, one of the things I always say, Caitlin is spark. Toro is great. If you are targeting real estate agents, because real estate agents put those three words in their bio, in their profile, in their job title, it's pretty terrible.

[00:36:36] If you are targeting homeowners. Because homeowners do not. So spark Toro is not great for sort of demographic stuff, right? We will not, we don't have a demographic filter. We intentionally don't show data on like, you know, race or religion or age or gender. we don't have that like personal identity type of stuff.

[00:36:58] What we have as data on. Behavioral activities online. You know, they talk about this, they follow this, these topics or things that they discuss. So that is a limitation to be aware of. And then, you know, of course it's limited to English language, it's limited to public social profiles. So if you know, they're sort of private communities that are discussing things, we can't see inside of a Facebook group, for example, because those are all private, after the 2016 election.

[00:37:27] And, and, and we can't see inside of private LinkedIn groups, we can't see inside of DMS. Right. So.

[00:37:34] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:37:34] but I think that you, you, if you're clever enough, in how you phrase your queries, even though you can't do that demographic style targeting, you still can target people who follow home hardware, right? Like those are homeowners. People who follow home hardware are probably going to be homeowners.

[00:37:52] Rand Fiskin: [00:37:52] Yeah. Yeah, you can use, you can use sort of like a, an in your intuition, on people who are likely to be my customers probably have these public online behaviors and then, then look at them. But that connection is important to make in your head before you start, you know, driving yourself mad and trying to find a particular.

[00:38:13] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:38:13] I love it. Okay. So for wrapping things up here today, you've shared incredible use cases of how people can use the product. You've been very open about some of its limitations, which is classic brand style. You don't toot your own horn nearly enough. But for the few of you who may not be able to get all the good insight here, there are so many of you that if this is going to just change your world.

[00:38:32] So if people want to learn more about the product and they want to continue to follow you, not that anybody who's listening to this probably isn't already following you. Let's be honest. But if for some reason they aren't following you, they're not familiar with spark Toro, where should they go to connect and to, and to keep following your journey with this.

[00:38:51] Rand Fiskin: [00:38:51] Oh, yeah. Thanks. so I am most active on Twitter where I'm at Rand fish, but I'm also pretty active on LinkedIn, Rand Fishkin there. And, the spark Toro blog is where I, where I write a lot. In fact, I have a good sort of audience research, marketing insights piece about, Lessons from the 2020 U S elections coming up.

[00:39:10] I think probably Monday I'll be publishing that

[00:39:13] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:39:13] fantastic. Well, we'll, we'll link to that in the show notes. This has been an absolute delight, even in talking to you over the last few minutes, I want to go back in and start doing some digging around. Like there's just so much good stuff there. And so for marketers who, or marketers, or, you know, business leaders who.

[00:39:30] Want to want to start feeling like they're making decisions that are actually based on something more than their intuition, you know, the CEO's preferences, like you've just been handed a golden tool and so make sure you take it

[00:39:43]Rand Fiskin: [00:39:43] thanks so much. .

 

Katelyn Bourgoin

Host of Customer Show & Founder of Customer Camp

Katelyn is the founder of Customer Camp, a training and research firm that helps growth-ready product teams to get inside their customer’s heads so they can market smarter.

Rand Fishkin

Founder of SparkToro

Rand Fishkin is the founder of SparkToro and the author of Lost and Founder.