Happy Sunday, folks!

18 months ago, this idea seemed pretty bizarre to me:

You can just… build an audience of prospective buyers and become visible to them. And (hopefully) memorable to them. And (hopefully) remembered and reached out to when they need the service you sell. Without special charisma and just a bit of skill and money, you can do this.

These days, this idea seems like a solid lead generation option to me. Not bizarre at all.

Here's how I implement it for clients:

1: Make sure my client has clear positioning that can be expressed in a memorable way (ex: React development for scale-ups, B2B Ecommerce marketing)

2: Build an audience of 10,000 buyers and recommenders

3: Create and email a topical weekly newsletter to the audience segment I can discover email addresses for (typically 3k to 5k). My client is the sponsor of the newsletter, and their content is often part but not all of the newsletter. The leading-indicator stats for this approach are very good:

4: 5k to 6k of the audience will match into a LinkedIn ads audience and can be shown ads to reinforce my client's brand and positioning

5: 30% of the 7 to 5k no-email contacts will accept a no-pitch LinkedIn connection request from a relevant vendor that doesn't look desperate to sell them something

- Some percentage of them will respond positively to an (automated) polite+personal invitation to subscribe to the weekly newsletter

- Some other percentage of them won't subscribe, but will see my client's content in their LinkedIn feed (which can be re-purposed newsletter content)

The goal of this approach is to position my client as a salient, memorable source of educational value to a relevant audience of prospects and buyers without the cost of ghost-written thought leadership or the potential brand damage of irrelevant straight-to-the-sale cold email.

I've got my systems for delivering this dialed in to the point that I could take on 2 or 3 more clients. Happy to discuss with you if you're interested, just hit reply.

From The Confirmation Bias Files

I really like Matt Clancy's "living literature reviews", and this one was especially interesting: Teaching Innovative Entrepreneurship. He looks at the available research on the effect of entrepreneurship training programs.

A big part of what makes Matt's writing so interesting is how he constructs something like a socratic dialog as he walks his way through the scientific evidence on whatever question he's writing about. There are some booooooorrrring literature reviews out there. Matt makes what could be boring stuff much more interesting.

One of the life phenomena I find ever-fascinating is: things we do because we want the second-order effects but we can't get those second-order effects without doing the things that yield them. I attended Davidson College, a somewhat elite small private school. I had no idea that the payoff of connecting deeply with classmates (and maintaining those connections) far exceeds the value of the education itself. And if you're a normal person, you don't need to have any idea about this. You just go with the flow – you participate – and you end up with both the education and the network. I am not a normal person. And I'm not saying if I had known about this I would have spent less time in the library reading back-issues of Mix magazine and Positive Feedback magazine instead of connecting deeply with classmates. 😃

Here, though, is the clipping I'm adding to my "Confirmation Bias Files":

Wallskog isn't looking at entrepreneurship training; she's instead looking at social role models. She shows that people who have more ex-entrepreneurs in their workspace are more likely to subsequently start businesses, and also more likely to say role models were an important factor in that decision. She also finds that people who worked with more successful ex-entrepreneurs had slightly better performing businesses than those who worked with less successful ex-entrepreneurs. That's at least one indicator that entrepreneurial mentorship (by talented entrepreneurs) can improve performance, as we see in other forms of innovation.

But of course mentorship is not the only possible explanation. It may also be down to the fact that intensive programs do a better job building a students network. In fact, when Lyons and Zhang compare before-and-after survey results for their Next 36 participants, they find that the biggest differences are related to networks. Participants say they know more potential investors and founding partners after the program than before. Lyons and Zhang also find accepted finalists have many more connections on LinkedIn than rejected finalists, which is a nice check on the survey evidence.

It looks like entrepreneurship training doesn't work because of the training – it works because of the professional network it helps participants build. That confirms my biases. And it might also be true.

Last Week’s For-Fun Poll

The question was: How many professional peers do you periodicaly or regularly interact with?

🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ None (3)

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 1-10 (13)

🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️ 11-50 (6)

⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ 51-100 (0)

⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ More than 100 (0)

22 Votes

Someone left this comment: “Peer defined as someone doing work in, or just adjacent to, the work I do (or hope to do again.) I meet at least monthly with many for what I call a “play date”: a time to discuss ideas, synergies, and be curious together. ”

I love this. I do something similar where I have recurring “thought partner” meetings with a few different folks on a monthly or every 2-weekly basis to riff on ideas, help each other out with stuff, etc. It’s a nourishing practice.

This Week’s For-Fun Poll

I hope something good happens to you this week,