How Does Podcasting Fit Into Your Marketing Strategy?
Podcasts offer your customers a unique invitation to commit to your business.
Social media posts, email newsletters, and videos are all good ways to reach customers. Podcasting, however, is more intimate.
This medium doesn’t only dispense facts and figures about your products and services. The nature of audio delivery shows your company’s personality, while inspiring listeners. If you’re a small company, podcasting can help you stand out and compete with the big boys. Big companies benefit, too, from showing themselves with a human perspective.
Text, of course, has the widest amount of reach, and the fewest barriers to getting your message across. It’s also easy to skim or ignore. Video lets you show your products and services more intricately, through demonstrations or reviews.
Unfortunately, studies show that the attention span for video is about five minutes or less. Podcasts are on the opposite end of the scale. They can hold attention for much longer. Many are around twenty minutes to half an hour. Some popular podcasts run well over an hour. When you have a listener’s attention for this long, delivering motivation, learning and personality every minute, then you can’t help but build trust.
Compared to video, blogging, and social media, podcasting gathers a smaller audience, true. But have no fear, this audience is small but mighty. The members are invested in your message, they’re much more engaged and they’re much more likely to convert to sales.
What exactly is a podcast?
Think of it as a talk radio show. Instead of having to catch your show when it’s broadcast, listeners download them on demand. These shows are a time for you to explain your products and services more deeply than in a 30-second commercial. Not only that, but you can explore topics that are important to your target market.
Listeners can subscribe, so that they’ll automatically download new episodes when they’re released. This helps you create a community of fans.
Podcasting alone shouldn’t replace other marketing strategies. Text, images and video - all have different strengths. They’re the invitations to the intimate soireé that is your podcast. All together, these strategies lead to conversions. To delve deeper, read more about how text, video and audio work together.
Learn More in This Webinar: How to Repurpose Your Podcast
How do podcasts work on potential customers?
In Episode 262 of the Freakonomics podcast, cognitive neuroscientist Jack Gallant of UC Berkeley studied MRI data of people, while they listened to podcasts. He determined that listeners experienced brain stimulation in multiple eras simultaneously (to decode spoken language, imagine images, feel meaning associated with these), they were more stimulated and committed while listening. Host Steven Dubner described the activity as. “your brain hums with mystery and delight.”
Listening to audio is a refuge. Your voice is in their ears. They can choose to listen while doing other things (chores, commuting, exercising), but the relationship is companionable. After a while, your podcast can become part of their habit patterns, and so can your business.
How to get started?
Keep it simple, so that you’ll be able to sustain your podcast over time. You can outsource production to a company, or you can do it yourself. The more that you do yourself, the more unique and personal your podcast will be.
To start, you will need:
- An inexpensive microphone
- Audio editing software (Garageband, Audacity) or a product like Alitu
- A podcast hosting service like Buzzsprout. This takes care of your sound files, while showing you how many times your episode is downloaded.
What to talk about?
If your product were a movie, then you could think of this as the behind the scenes extras. How is your product made? What skills does it take to deliver your service?
If your product were a person, you can talk about its interests. For example, if you’re making a podcast about your pet supply store, you can talk about what’s involved in adopting a new puppy or kitten.
You know your customers, and you know what interests and/or needs they have that drive them to your business. Explore those interests and needs. A food store can talk about cooking, nutrition, or holiday rituals. Exploring your customers’ interests builds intimacy and trust.
If you don’t know what those interests are, why not ask? You could survey them, or ask them questions when you work with them. In the aforementioned imaginary pet supply store, you can ask what kind of pets they have, and what the pets like to play with and eat.
When you choose a title for your podcast, make sure it’s unique. Use a service like namechk.com to make sure it’s not being used by someone else.
How to talk about it on your podcast
Sketch out your topic for each episode in bullet points.
Once you hit record, speak naturally and informally, with a conversational tone. This brings people closer, rather than using “A Professional Radio voice.” Be yourself.
Still nervous? Put a mirror where you can see it, so you can look yourself in the eye and talk with yourself. Or, bring a friend. If you really get nervous, every company has a person who’s comfortable with public speaking. Trust the person who will keep you focused, and help you move your conversation along productively.
Don’t be stressed. It’s just a recording. You can always start over, or edit mistakes out.
Learn More: How to Speak Into a Microphone
Once you’ve uploaded your episode (or more than one) to your media host, you’ll have a web address called an RSS feed. Submit your RSS feed to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and all the top podcast directories.
Send an email to all your customers, friends, and family to tell them about your podcast. Include a call to action, reminding them to subscribe and tell their friends.
Learn More: 50 Ways to Grow Your Podcast
This new avenue to customer engagement should not only grow your business, but also enhance your existing customer relationships. Plus, it may give you new ideas for how to expand. Good podcasting requires focus and compassion. If you pair this with other kinds of marketing campaigns, the rewards are worth the effort.
For more information, check out how to start a podcast. You can find out everything you need, plus an initial promotion plan, right there.