Episode 12: The Behind The Scene Rand Fishkin’s Growth Marketing Stories

Podcast Details

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Rand Fishkin has been my favorite marketer. When I read the book Lost & Founder, I wanted to ask so many follow-up questions. This podcast is all about that.

In reality, his book was the starting point of why I thought GH is BS.

However, these are behind the scene stories that you might not know. So, I thought I should share with you.

We discussed:

  • Why Growth is BS? Why Rand Fishkin is also against it?
  • Story regarding search engine ranking factors that got Moz SO much attention.
  • Growth marketing flywheel story that’s not related to SEO.
  • What’s a good content?
  • Can your article actually be discoverable on Google if it’s so good? Do you still need backlinks to it?
  • What’s Sparktoro’s Go-to-Market Strategy and flywheel?

Show Notes:


00:00:00] Aazar: [00:00:00] It was a sunny day in  summers of 2017. When I saw a tweet from somebody I really admire that this person is in Munich and Munich at the city that where I live. And I saw that this person was in some kind of an SEO conference. So I said, Hey. This is a great chance to actually meet this person. 

[00:00:20] And so I immediately reached out. He gave me his email address . I wanted to show him the best. Munich restaurants and want to take him to the places which usually people don’t find it. , but you know what happened? We couldn’t meet . Hence I decided to stay in touch with him and then he launched his new application and I said, Hey, I’ll offer you a free part of it is a pilot so that you can grow faster. and that also didn’t work out. But. 

[00:00:48] Then I met him online on this podcast. And I’m talking about Rand Fishkin since you already know the headline of this podcast. So this wasn’t my little story, how I got in touch with Rand Fishkin randomly on internet.  [00:01:00] This podcast is all about the stories that ran Fishkin has. 

[00:01:03]Talked about in his book as well. And I’m asking follow-up questions regarding that.  And if you have not read his book, lost and founder. I definitely recommend go check it out. That was one of the most brutally honest. 

[00:01:15]Founder story that I’ve ever  read. So yeah, definitely check that out. And I’m onto the podcast. And by the way, this podcast is not about growth hacking and this podcast, not about tips and , tactics. It’s more about learning from the mindset of growth marketers. And this is growth marketing stories


[00:01:36]  In early 2009, Rand Fishkin was working with tool CRO is to actually run some growth hacking. Where they actually saw 220,000 [00:02:00] subscribers who either try the product are actually were huge fan of SCO Mo, but never tried the product. And these people were ideal subscribers that ID 90 customers, and they could have actually used SEO, Moz or themselves. 

[00:02:16] But they never actually subtract to it. And so they ran this  growth hacking campaign to give. SEO Moz for $1 membership per month. To entice them to try the product. And this Seemed like an okay. Rotech. but. It didn’t work. And so I’m just gonna dive deeper into, with Rand about this. And why this growth hack failed and why you shoud not focus on it. happened at all.

[00:02:43] you need to do some short term growth hacking and how did you meet those folks? Like what  happened?

[00:02:49] Rand: yeah. So I was, I think this was one of the very early search engine strategies conferences before, before Danny Sullivan sold SES [00:03:00] too. was it Merkel and then started SMX so there was this, this conference in London called SES. And, if you know, people were in the SEO world back in the early two thousands or late nineties, they’d probably remember it.

[00:03:12] And, I went to one of the last. One of the last ones, maybe 2004, five, six, something like that. And, ran into these guys, Ben Jesson and Carl blanks, who I, I think we, we later connected again at the very first like London, Moz con that we did with, with distill that ended up being ended up turning into search love, but we, W w when you connected, they had this, you know, business early business called conversion rate experts, where they would help folks, understand their audience and why they were buying, why they weren’t buying and who is a good, who is a good potential buyer.

[00:03:53]and we had a bunch of conversations about Moz and what was going on there. And I decided, yeah, let’s take the leap. Let’s, [00:04:00] you know, let’s give these conversion experts, guys that try and see what this is all about. I had never done, you know, professional quality landing page optimization or CRO before.

[00:04:11] And so that, that’s what kicked off the, the project that resulted in that $1 offer that I wrote about, and that obviously that $1 offer that was only one of many. Growth hacks. We attempted, over the years, right? We did tons of discounts and promotions and, you know, attempts to get people to sign up and email campaigns and all this kind of stuff.

[00:04:35] But those one offs almost always left us disappointed. even when they worked longterm, they left us disappointed. 

[00:04:44] My, my sense is that short term promotional discounts tend to attract an audience that are not great longterm subscribers.

[00:04:52]so if you are, if you are looking for, Hey, let’s choose the revenue a little right now. let’s get some more people trying the, you know, the [00:05:00] paid version and we think some of them will come back and some of them will stick around and we don’t, we don’t really mind having our metrics be off for awhile.

[00:05:07] Then it’s fine. Right then discounting can work. Okay. but I think far more effective longterm effective, and maybe I didn’t do a great job explaining this in the book was the other work that conversion experts did, around the CRO process, which was essentially. You know, illustrating and illuminating the value of the product from the right kinds of buyers perspectives and what it was doing for them and how that could be useful and helpful to other folks.

[00:05:34] And that was transformative. So, those guys are actually funny enough. Those guys are investors in Sparktoro. And so they’re, they’re helping us out with some conversion, optimization right now, too. It 

[00:05:47]Aazar: [00:05:47] Like how would you actually go back and think about if you had to do it again, something like this, how would you go back and do it?

[00:05:56] Rand: [00:05:56] Yeah. I think almost certainly [00:06:00] we would still do a lot of the conversion rate optimization, things on the website. So improving the funnel and the messaging, all those kinds of things. But I think we would have focused, I would have refocused the, the offer right. To, to try pro around something in, in one of, probably two ways.

[00:06:21] Right. Either number one, it would have been a. Hey,  if you’re ready come sort of take this tour and get some personalized onboarding, to get your campaigns set up on Moz pro and those sorts of things, or, maybe, and, or, I think we would have made it less of a financial incentive. 

[00:06:44] So  potentially offering some sort of deep discount for a year of subscription. or a deep discount for, you know, the, longer term membership, maybe a three month membership, something like that. Right. Basically trying to [00:07:00] filter out the people who just wanted to like. Try something for $1 one time, but weren’t really that interested and didn’t really need the product.

[00:07:08] Correct. and less on and more towards people who longterm really found the product useful. I think I would probably would’ve put a lot more effort and energy also into. trying to show off what the product did and make the, make the product itself, more freemium focused. This is something we’ve tried to do with Sparktoro.

[00:07:30] And I think with, with relative success, right, it is essentially make the product more useful for our completely free user so that you can come and, you know, run a bunch of searches, get a bunch of value out of it. And then eventually when you need it, You come and sign up as opposed to we sort of psychologically push you to sign up before you’re really ready.

[00:07:51] And before you’re really going to be happy, be with it. and then experience the longterm effects of, you know, semi-truck successful promotions. The other [00:08:00] thing quite frankly, is it would have been a fine short term hack if we weren’t trying to raise money and didn’t have to worry about our SAS metrics.

[00:08:09] Right. because cause essentially it was really the venture capitalists that potential investors looking  subscriber accounts and us spending. God knows how many months of effort on engineering side and on financial planning side and trying to make it seem like no, no, it was just because we did this promotion that we have this extra churn metric over this time, period, yada yada, exhausting, trying to prove to investors that you have a solid, capable business that can grow as opposed to just growing your fricking business.

[00:08:45] What a waste of time

[00:08:48]Aazar: [00:08:48] Wow. What a waste of a growth hack or whatever we used to for that effort. But I think what I can conclude from this conversation is that you should definitely focus on freemium led [00:09:00] business because. People should only pay if and when they found the value from your product. 

[00:09:05] Yeah let’s dive into the second 

[00:09:09] you had a really good story, which was, you also mentioned in your book was searching the ranking factors.

[00:09:16] How, how did that happen?  

[00:09:17] Rand: [00:09:17] Yeah, I think if I’m recalling correctly, there was a. There was a document from a guy. I don’t know if his website still exists, but it was this website called Vaughn’s or vans one pagers.

[00:09:34] And he had this, this document that had ranked for years and years, like all the years that I’d been in SEO at that 0.3 or four of them. about what, what does it take to rank in Google? Right? Here’s all the, here’s a list of Google’s ranking factors and it was, you know, silly old school stuff like titles and links and anchor text and all that kind of thing.

[00:09:55] And, and I kept thinking like, well, it’s not a terrible document. Like it’s. You [00:10:00] know, it’s mediocre, but it always outranks all of my stuff. Well, what could I do that would be 10 times better? Like how, how do I, how do I massively love, what what’s out there? And, as I was building connections in the industry and sort of getting, you know, getting a brand going for SEO MAs, I realized I had, you know, it wasn’t just me.

[00:10:20] Like, I, I wasn’t the authority on this, the authority on this was an entire industry of people who did SEO for a living. And so I ran this big survey. I think the initial one was. Maybe 120 people, I invited them all individually. Right. So I’d like email, whoever it was. Right. Todd Malik code and, and, Ray Hoffman and, you know, all the, all these people.

[00:10:42] Yeah. And say like, Hey, would you be willing to take a survey? And if you do, can I, you know, include your quotes and your name and the, in the ultimate results. And almost everybody wrote back and said, yes, I’d be happy to do that. Happy to be a contributor. many of those people, when we publish the [00:11:00] document when, and like took a screenshot of it or, or, you know, took some element of it and then put on their own website, like, Oh, I was a contributor.

[00:11:09] To the inaugural ranking factors. Right? So this, my work is represented here. I was sought out by SEO, Moz as like an expert in the field. That wasn’t something that I intended, but it had wonderful consequence. Right? Cause it meant that all those people were linking to the document, talking about it. It ended up, ended up being something that folks, what about on stages and, you know, brought up as well.

[00:11:33] Here’s the, you know, here’s the survey data and here’s my results. and it was a much better document, right? It was much more comprehensive. It was much more representative of what the industry, you know, it’s sort of a crowdsourced, but expert crowdsourced. Version. And I thought that was, really valuable.

[00:11:50] So then every other year, cause you know, our sense was like Google ranking factors change a little bit every year in the macro sense. It’s really every two years that it felt [00:12:00] relevant. And so every, every two years I think it was Oh seven Oh nine, 2011, 2013, 2015. We updated the document and I just did it again last year, 2019.

[00:12:11] I tried. I was trying to convince MAs that they needed to update theirs and they decided they didn’t want to. So I was like, all right, I’ll do it myself. Yeah. 

[00:12:22] Aazar: [00:12:22] Makes sense. You know, sometimes as growth marketers, we have so many projects. And, how did you decide that this project is worth investing in and it will turn out to be great for you?

Rand: [00:12:34] think  this is more of a passion project for me. Right. It was something where I wanted to, to see it alive. I thought that it would be really useful to folks. I wanted to be able to compare my experiences to other peoples. I thought that this is expert, not Roundup, but expert, crowd source, could really help the industry.

[00:12:55] And so, yeah,  that’s what made it work for us.

[00:12:59][00:13:00] Aazar: [00:12:59] Did you catch that? The buzzword is passion project. Go back to your product services or industry and find out what are you really passionate about? What questions are you really passionate about that you want to answer? I personally wanted to also answer product onboarding questions. How many companies are using welcome emails, how many companies using welcome flows? How many companies are using checklists? 

[00:13:22] How many exact companies are actually using some kind of milestone to actually move the user. How many of them are actually motivating the user to take the next step? And I was passionate about that in terms of user pilot. And so I created a report on it in the town. We got like 3000 plus leads. We got huge brand affinity. 

[00:13:39] A lot of people started searching for user pilot in that specific month when we release the report and. That was just a specific growth initiative I did. And that was not a growth hack. So now go back to your product or service and think about what you really care about and just do tha

[00:13:58] I wanted to ask a [00:14:00] question that got in flywheels and,  I personally have read the blog regarding flywheels  by Rand Fishkin. And I cared about flywheels because I think  this is how marketers should think about it. And so ran is an opinion on it. 

[00:14:14] I think that in the blog, he gave a couple of examples and I just wanted to dive deeper into. How he thinks about flywheel and how these flag will actually work. 

[00:14:23] And  give a little bit story around it so so that we can understand better how to think about flywheels and that’s about it and so let’s dive into this

[00:14:33] Rand: [00:14:33] yeah. Yeah. I wrote a blog post about this recently. Right. I’m talking about why, why marketing flywheels are so valuable and I showed off a bunch of examples, right?

[00:14:42] Yeah, yeah. A one. So mine did that. I wrote about a little bit in depth. There was Glossier right there. A, a women’s makeup company they’re based in New York, started by. A woman CEO who was a, a big influencer in sort of the beauty and [00:15:00] makeup world prior to starting the company. Right. So it, in a lot of ways, she is, I can’t remember her name right now, but, but she is quite similar to, like some of the influence that I had in the SEO blogging world, right.

[00:15:14] Her, her world is much bigger and our company’s much bigger. I love 

[00:15:18] Aazar: [00:15:18] the way you said that I’m not an influencer. 

[00:15:22] Rand: [00:15:22] Yeah. I mean, like what I mean is let’s see, so there’s, there’s the word influencer. That means you have influence. in your field and then there’s the word influencer. That means you’re a pseudo celebrity on Instagram, right?

[00:15:41] It was both like, she was both of those things. I was just the first one, right. I’m not a pseudo celebrity on YouTube and Instagram, but, but, her name is Emily vice, right? And so Emily basically built this, you know, billion dollar juggernaut of a makeup company. and, around, first around this, this sort of [00:16:00] person, personal brand and influence that she had in the space, and then used a combination of essentially social media marketing and  influencer marketing, and then advertising layered on top of that, mostly retargeting and remarketing to people who had visited her site and engaged with the brand’s content or with her content.

[00:16:20] To build this exceptional flywheel, right? She did post on her social , and, and got them amplified by influencer accounts. And that built up more of a following. And so next time she posted it, it reached even more people. And then right,  this cycle kept going until she had hundreds of thousands, millions of people paying attention to her content across social.

[00:16:43] Now she launches this, you know, this brand Glossier. Oh, a ton of people pay attention to that. There’s a huge buzz around it. It gets, you know, PR going, it gets a bunch more influencers into it, right? There’s this whole subculture of, young women [00:17:00] influencers in the beauty and makeup space who latch onto the brand and help amplify it.

[00:17:05] Very different kind of flywheel than what we did at Moz. Very different kind of flywheel than the SEO and content one. But extremely effective, and eventually right. Those signals, grow into things that Google picks up on and Glossier ranks very well for a lot of its content, right.

[00:17:24] And tons and tons of people started searching, not for, you know, whatever it is. Women’s lip gloss. They started searching for Glossier’s lip gloss. Glossier actually had more branded search volume for branded terms than many of the generics. That’s how you win at SEO. Right? You want to win at SEO? Just get more for people to search for your brand.

[00:17:48] Then for the generic, guess what? You’re almost always going to rank. Number one for that. 

[00:17:54] Aazar: [00:17:54] Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. I’m still thinking how to completely process this amazing story. 

[00:17:59] Rand: [00:17:59] if you check [00:18:00] out there was a really good article in vanity fair about Emily vise and sort of how she, I think it’s called what’s the, what’s the, title?

[00:18:10] How Emily vices Glossier grew from millennial catnip to billion dollar juggernaut. Really good. 

[00:18:19]Aazar: [00:18:19] Definitely going to link to the show notes. great. Yeah. I mean, this is, this is the reason why this podcast is there because we want to share people that these talks that you’re sharing with us today.

[00:18:29] (my unique questions to Rand) 

[00:18:30] That’s all from these three stories and that I wanted to share in terms of growth marketing, but the show is not over yet. I have a lot of advanced question related to SEO as usual. So I thought maybe I can just ask Randy about it and get his opinion. And that also changed my perspective and I hope you are too.

[00:18:49] So now there’s a critical question because I’ve been totally relying on SEO, right?

[00:18:53] So, and Userpilot  is like, we just rank on good terms. Right. And [00:19:00] it’s serving our purpose. And at one side marketers say, you know, Hey, just focus on one channel. And that channel is that don’t go to the next channel. whereas Google is eating our, our search traffic. And, you know, it’s kind of a dilemma right now.

[00:19:14] Like, should I use, let’s try the second channel or not at one side, they are taking my search real estate and the other side, it also divides my focus as well. Right? 

[00:19:26]Rand: [00:19:26] Yeah. I think this is, this is an area where the way I would think about. SEO is as one distribution channel for your content. And I would be seeking as many others as you can reasonably find.

[00:19:40] Right? So social media is one great. If email marketing is another right and list building. Wonderful. If, if direct can be big for you, if branded search, if conferences and events, if webinars, if a podcast and episodic content, all these different channels of distribution can eventually help to [00:20:00] bolster not entirely replaced, right?

[00:20:01] Because Google still sends the webs overwhelming majority of traffic, but if they can almost stir it, I think you, you win in two vectors, right? One, you have more distributed traffic opportunity. And you have less reliance exclusively on Google. So if you’re a Google rankings tank, for some reason, at least you’re still getting 20, 30, 40% of the traffic you are.

[00:20:23] The other thing is Google themselves is more likely to rank you. Well, if more people are talking about you linking to you. featuring your content, coming to you directly, right? Going directly to you, right. Google sees the traffic patterns of the web. What gets discussed, what gets visited link, chaired, engaged with talked about, and they reward it.

[00:20:47] So you are not only kind of, you know, building up some resilience there. You’re also bolstering your ability to rank by. Breaking into some more channels. And I agree with you. [00:21:00] I don’t think you should take that. Omni-channel be everywhere. You know, Gary Vaynerchuk approach. I don’t use that. I don’t think that’s right, but.

[00:21:09] I do think if you find, Hey, I’m really building an audience on LinkedIn. Hey, I’m doing really well on Twitter. Hey, our Facebook page is actually getting some traction. Oh, I, you know what I seem to be doing really nicely on Instagram or gosh, our podcast is getting a lot of distribution on whatever iTunes or Libsyn or, you know, whatever subscription service, great.

[00:21:32] Double down on just one or two more. Right. Just, just expand one or two more. That fit really well with what you’re already doing. That’s I think where the winds come from. 

[00:21:44]Aazar: [00:21:44] I had a question in my mind and I always wanted to know your perspective and I never got an answer to it.

[00:21:49]I think battling is, is not the best way to know if the content is great or not. And, I feel like Google does give so much like [00:22:00] authority to it by saying, Hey, if this is backlink, then this must be good. And while at the backend that we are actually faking the backlinks by putting certainly backlinks, other places are where we think our content we should rank on.

[00:22:12] Do you think there should be a way to actually find out really good new content that doesn’t have backlink and still discoverable on Google? 

[00:22:21]Rand: [00:22:21] yeah, so I think look, links are a ranking signal, but they have been declining in importance in Google for a long time. Right? So there is, there’s plenty of content that ranks with no links at all.

[00:22:36] and most of the time that is because it sits on a, on a website, on a domain that Google has already sort of found valuable that people are seeking out and searching. I think the ranking factor that that seems to be in my mind, obviously replacing links. So if, you know, if people are seeking out your stuff and they are clicking [00:23:00] on your stuff more than everything else in the search results, you’re, you’re gonna win, right?

[00:23:05] Like you’re, you’re going to win even without, you know, a lot of links and relevance. Sometimes even, you know, bad title, tags and bad, you know, bad keyword optimization, all those kinds of things because people want what you. Half and Google is, prioritizing that, that engagement score. however they build it.

[00:23:23] Right. But we can get into that. but I would say that, Yeah, the way I, you know, the way I think about, external links is they are a nice thing to have that come naturally by doing good marketing things that get broadcast to people who are likely to link to things. Right? So there’s like a group of people.

[00:23:46] On the internet who are likely to link, they have influential social accounts, they have blogs and websites. They are journalists, they’re writers, they’re content, creators, they own websites, right? All, all those kinds of people. [00:24:00] Those, those, the groups are who you want to create content for. And then you need to promote that content in the places where they pay attention.

[00:24:11] And if you do those things, you will naturally earn links and engagement and amplification, and that will lead you to the kinds of signals that Google wants to rank. If you instead just go out and acquire backlinks, I tend to find right that the word, even the wording is really interesting. Like when people use the word backlink instead of.

[00:24:35]You know, earn link signals when you use the word, do follow them. They tend to be pretty sketchy and they often don’t work. It’s really hard. Interesting. Right. It’s like, I don’t, I don’t, I can’t quite explain why, why that bifurcation happens. Right. But like do follow links and back links don’t work very well.

[00:24:54] Links seem to work still fine. 

[00:24:59] Aazar: [00:24:59] I’ve been [00:25:00] thinking about it. And B2B space, right? So in the B2B space, you write good content. Everybody writes good content, right? So my competitors are writing content. We are writing good content 

[00:25:09] Rand: [00:25:09] Content. What does that mean? It’s so meaningless. It’s not there. 

[00:25:15] Aazar: [00:25:15] Well, so when I read my competitor’s blog, I do admire what they have written. Right? I it’s insight insightful. It gives you need data about whatever the saying. It it’s shareable people say, Hey, I love that content. That’s how I find out that the content is good. Yeah. Right. It’s hard, you know, like it’s really hard to come up with really good content all the time.

[00:25:38] Right. , I, you want to find out from you was that, So I did a research and I did the research and the research became very popular. I mean, we talked about it. We saw so many branded search, on, on Google, on that specific research. And you personally had similar researches on SEO for a very long time.

[00:25:58] Right? I want to know, like, [00:26:00] do you see this happening very often? Yeah. In, in marketeers life, they are doing this a lot because I feel like. Everybody writes, good blog posts and eBooks and guides, but nobody does their research that much

[00:26:13] Rand: [00:26:13] yeah, I mean, I’d certainly say if you can do a unique research that produces numbers that other people want to cite, right?

[00:26:21] Graphs, charts, statistics that is eminently sizable and eminently sizable means eminently linkable. And eminently talk about stubble, right? And so that means that lots of people are, are likely to help amplify your content. And I think this is one of the big misnomer of, you know, Google for a long time has said sort of like create good unique content, which in my world means nothing right.

[00:26:48] To me, that means. Meaningless. I like how you describe it as I go and read it. It’s engaging. It’s worth sharing. It’s worth talking about that makes it good to me. Right? I [00:27:00] like those criteria that are specific. Because I think many, many people who think about content creation, think their content is good, unique content simply because they wrote it and didn’t copy it from somewhere else.

[00:27:14] And, the sentences are reasonably well formed and grammatically accurate, right. And that’s not good content. and I, or maybe it is good content, right. But good content to me is meaningless content that inspires people who are likely to share and amplify who have channels of significant amplification to go and broadcast your work.

[00:27:39] That is the kind of content I urge content creators to focus on. Right? So before you create anything, don’t ask, is this good, unique content ask instead who will help amplify this and why? And if you have an incentive and a list of [00:28:00] people who are going to help amplify the thing you are creating, Now my friend, you have something special and unique.

[00:28:08] Something that can help you build a flywheel. And it really does not matter the format you’re using, as long as you’re using a channel that will increase over time, right. That they can grow that flywheel sort of model like, like Emily vices, a sort of social and influencer system or, or my, system with MAs and content and SEO.

[00:28:29] As long as you have that, you are in good shape, but you have to ask that question. You have to ask who will help amplify this. And why 

[00:28:39] Aazar: [00:28:39] Interesting. How are you thinking about growth in Sparktoro these days? I mean, I know you’ve, you’ve not VC bag. You are completely bootstrapped, right. And. , I see that you’re working on blogs, but that are not that related to Sparktoro, that part.

[00:28:54] And that’s more of your thought  leader pieces, but it means that you are the things you’re [00:29:00] passionate about. That’s what I would say rather than thought leadership. so how are you planning to grow your own business in Sparktoro for like, especially it’s, it’s still kind of a new thing. Like there are a couple of businesses out there which are doing it kind of here and there.

[00:29:14] Right. So I want to know like, When you started thinking about, growing for, or at least to a level. and I know that you have a 20,000 beta users who are there, but I’m talking about now, like when let’s say you’ve exhausted your beta list, what are you going to do? 

[00:29:30] Rand: [00:29:30] Yeah. so we are really thinking about Sparktoro’s, flywheel model as being based around, two big things.

[00:29:38] One is, freemium use of the tool. So essentially people driving people to the websites homepage and to the product page and having them. Try some searches and then working on basically email marketing, nudges, and education too, to turn them from, Oh, I [00:30:00] found this free version useful and valuable two. Oh, I’ve got the, I want the paid version.

[00:30:06] And, that is, yeah, that’s sort of the, the challenge for us right now is how do we bring. People to the site to get them trying for free. We do have, I have between, I think it’s between maybe 90 and 150 people a day. Come try a free search. Right? New, new free registered users. So there’s some nice word of mouth.

[00:30:28] I think we need to improve that. Right. So  we’re very much a thinking about it from a product driven perspective. And then the thought leadership content is very much around just building the brand. Right being present in people’s minds so that they are, they have that, you know, lots of people who are marketers, who might have the problem of how do I break free from Facebook and Google’s do opoly in marketing.

[00:30:53] We want lots of those people to be thinking about Sparktoro, regularly, remembering who we are, having an association with our [00:31:00] brand. And then we hope that they’ve tried a few searches and seen some good results. And then when they need us, they can come use the 

[00:31:08] Aazar: [00:31:08] So rapid fire round, what’s your favorite movie or season that you love? 

[00:31:13] Rand: [00:31:13] Ooh, favorite. Okay. Recently I watched what we do in the shadows, the TV show.

[00:31:18] I love that hilarious. 

[00:31:20] Aazar: [00:31:20] No, I haven’t seen that. Have to check out. , if you have thousand dollar today for your existing brand, starting from zero, where would you spend ?

[00:31:28]Rand: [00:31:28] I would spend it in a place that I am uniquely good at, creating stuff for. I would spend it in a place that I enjoy and am passionate about and I would spend it in a place where my customers are. So there’s no one answer. It’s just those three criteria. 

[00:31:44] Aazar: [00:31:44] Yeah. Cool. At what stage of the growth do you really love acquisition activation revenue, retention, referral?

[00:31:51] Rand: [00:31:51] They’re all interesting. I’m best at acquisition, I think. And I wish I was better at retention and referral. [00:32:00] Yeah, 

[00:32:00] Aazar: [00:32:00] for sure. cool. what book would you recommend to me and the audience doesn’t matter? Growth marketing lost and founder. 

[00:32:08] Rand: [00:32:08] No, I guess I got this one.

[00:32:10] I love this book by Molly, West Duffy and Liz Vaseline. No hard feelings. Absolutely amazing book, best, best book I’ve read about working with other people. 

[00:32:20]Aazar: [00:32:20] great. who’s your favorite growth marketer? And this would be weird question, but you must have somebody who you 

[00:32:25] Rand: [00:32:25] admire. Oh man.

[00:32:28] Yeah. I have lots of people I admire. gosh, do you know demand Maven? 

[00:32:33] Aazar: [00:32:33] yeah. 

[00:32:35] Rand: [00:32:35] Yeah, she is incredibly impressive. She’s definitely someone I admire. Great. 

[00:32:40] Aazar: [00:32:40] I did talk to her and I definitely have to say that she sees one of the best ones out there. what’s one of the bad piece of advice you’ve ever gotten.

[00:32:51]Rand: [00:32:51] I mean, almost every piece of advice I ever got from venture backed world was, was bad advice, right? So like, drop services, don’t [00:33:00] ever try to do any services and combine them with software. That’s super dumb. Look at HubSpot. Like they, they built an incredible business by combining those two MAs probably would have done much better if it had combined services and product.

[00:33:13] another one that I think is, is a terrible, terrible advice is to focus exclusively on retention to the exclusion of all other things. Right? All you care about is, the number of months that someone stays a paying customer. That’s super dumb, especially in a business where, you know, it’s cyclical and people come back to you and that’s not what you should pay attention to.

[00:33:36] Right? Ahrefs has built an incredible business by never even measuring churn, never measuring it. Makes sense. . 

[00:33:45] Aazar: [00:33:45] Cool. what’s one city you’ve traveled and want to go back. 

[00:33:48] Rand: [00:33:48] Wow. I want to travel so bad right now. I missed the world. gosh, I think. I’m very excited about going back to Bologna.

[00:33:58] Yeah. 

[00:33:59] Aazar: [00:33:59] I knew that. 

[00:34:00] I say a tweet about, I think the balsamic founder, right? Yeah. 

[00:34:05] Rand: [00:34:05] Melody and I built a friendship while we were there. And, yeah, I really, really want to go back. another place I was in Istanbul a few years ago of that city. Oh my God. So beautiful. So big. I feel like I could spend a year there and never explore the whole thing.

[00:34:21] Aazar: Hmm. Definitely. . The Romans have spent so many years building it for themselves. So definitely that’s a City. I go everywhere every time. So when I go to Pakistan, that time I stopped by city. And I go from Munich to Istanbul, stay there for two days still haven’t discovered everything and then come back and it’s best one of the best ones.

[00:34:45] Cool. teach me one good word in your language. Doesn’t ma make sense in English, but like any word, word that you remember from certain language?

[00:34:53] Rand: sure, sure. So, in, in Hebrew and Yiddish, we have a word, a mench. And it means [00:35:00] much mench. Like one’s a real mench, you know, you’re a, you’re a mench, you’re a good person.

[00:35:06] You, you do kind things for other people. you’re a sort of a standup, individually can be counted on. And, I love, I love the word mench. Yeah. 

[00:35:16] Aazar: [00:35:16] In German it’s mean people, 

[00:35:19] Rand: [00:35:19] right? Yeah. 

[00:35:21]Aazar: [00:35:21] 

[00:35:21] So that’s all from my side. Hope you enjoy these three stories where we talked about flywheels. We talked about being passionate about the project that you care about and the stories regarding don’t do grow tags to project that actually increased attention and things that actually  impacts your customers and prospect in the longer term.

[00:35:40] And that will eventually give you return later on as well.  I hope  you also enjoyed the questions as well. And that’s about it. And if you like the podcast, tell one person who would benefit out of this one and check out Sparktoro.

[00:35:56] I love the product. It’s very simple, very clear to understand  [00:36:00] what’s the value it’s going to give you.

[00:36:01] And if you’d like the podcast to tell Rand Fishkin as well, that this was a really good podcast and  you loved it. That’s all cheers until then. Bye bye.



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