The Best Damn Food & Drink Gift Guide 2021

Welcome back to the best edible, potable guide to gift-giving the Internet has to offer. Like last year, we’ve assembled a lengthy list of food and beverage gifts from around the web. And, like last year, we have absolutely no ulterior motive. None of these links have affiliate codes, there’s no kickbacks, we’re just sharing products we (and people and…

What if Performance Advertising is Just an Analytics Scam?

“What the pandemic showed is we can take marketing down to zero and still have 95% of the same traffic as the year before. So we’re not going to forget that lesson.” – Brian Chesky (via Campaign) In 2020, AirBnB cut $542 million of performance advertising spend and saw no measurable falloff in attributable sales. They continued this ad-slashing practice…

Shoot Your Shot: A Guide to Effective Cold Outreach

“What response rate do you get with cold outreach?” In a recent SparkToro Office Hours, someone asked me this question. It’s at least 80%. Earlier this year, I had a 100% response rate with a batch of messages.  My approach? I invest serious time qualifying my lead list and researching my audience before I send messages. This requires extra energy…

Hustle Culture vs. Chill Work

A few weeks ago, Wil Reynolds and I were on a video call together. I think I joined in a couple minutes after him, and the discussion was already starting: Someone on the call: “… just hustling”Rand: “Ugh, I hate hustle culture.” Wil: “Yo, Fish*, can you define hustle?”Rand: “Easy one. Hustling is working hard to work hard. It’s valuing…

The Incentives to Publish No Longer Reward the Web’s Creators

It’s been almost two months since my last post here. For those of you who pay attention to the digital marketing world, the infrequency of updates may be missed, but it’s likely familiar. Many, many web creators (those who publish, in any format, on their own sites rather than big tech’s platforms) who historically published content with great frequency are…

Welcome to SparkToro’s Marketing Architect: Amanda Natividad

Every few years, I stumble across a human being whose personal values, professional work, and communication style so perfectly resonates with my own that I can’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy that we don’t get to work together. I do my best to keep those feelings in check, soldier on, amplify their work, and hope that perhaps, someday,…

NEW in SparkToro: Demographics (also, our pricing tiers are changing tomorrow)

Friends, I’ve got great news. If demographics data is valuable to your market research, targeting, persona-building, or marketing tasks, SparkToro just became your best friend. Much of the information you might have relied on in Facebook’s old Insights tool (before the Cambridge Analytica scandal) or Twitter’s Analytics (before they inexplicably pulled it) is now accessible in SparkToro in a fully…

There Are Four Kinds of Keyword Research; Make Sure You’re Doing the Right One(s)

Keyword research is broader than you might think, friends. If you’re in a rush, just click below to jump to that section: Keyword research for SEO/PPC(to learn which terms have search volume in Google and how much)Keyword research for social media marketing(to uncover hashtags, topics, phrases that get used/earn visibility on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, et al.)Keyword research for…

The “Marketing is Evil” Problem.

“I hate marketing.““Marketing is evil.““Marketing doesn’t work.““Marketing doesn’t work on me.““I’ll never buy from a company that markets to me.“ My best argument against those kinds of reflexive, anti-marketing takes is this: people create wonderful things to help one another, to entertain, to make art, and yes, to make money, too. But just because something is wonderful doesn’t mean anyone…

Who Will Amplify This? And Why?

You’ve created a stellar email newsletter, but few subscribe. You’ve launched an intriguing podcast, but listeners are nonexistent. You’ve published an exceptional blog post, a compelling research report, a remarkable webinar, a top-notch video, a stunning visual… but the audience just isn’t showing up. In my experience, four root causes are to blame: You’ve produced something of low qualityYou’ve produced…