Podcasts are incredibly popular right now — but are they effective?
The answer (as always) is: it depends. It depends on your business, your goals, and the podcast itself.
But too often — like many of the popular trends in content marketing — people rush in to podcasting or being interviewed on podcasts without a clear understanding of how that technique will actually get them business.
There’s something to be said for brand awareness, but for most of us, our first goal in marketing of any kind is to drive sales. Yet we treat podcasting (and, let’s be real, a lot of other forms of content marketing) as a craps shoot.
In fact, when I was researching this post, I Googled “how to get clients from podcasts” and all of the results were either articles about how to get on podcasts, or podcast episodes about how to get clients (generally) — but never the twain did meet.
So let’s brainstorm how to strategically use podcast interviews to help you get more clients:
Choose the right podcasts for your goals
There are podcasts out there for every topic imaginable — but not all of them are going to be a good fit for you or your business. And even some of those that are a good fit for you personally may not be a good fit for your business.
Take me, for instance: I’m a work-from-home mom, working less than 20 hours a week (on average) in my business, and I have a nicely compelling “tortoise” story of growing my business slowly but surely every year. These are all great topics for me to talk about — and I have talked about them on many podcasts about being a business mom, working less in my biz, changing careers, and growing my agency.
But when you think about it, none of those stories are super likely to resonate with my customers. Might there be some crossover? Sure! (That’s why I rarely turn down an invitation to be on a podcast.) But I have to go into it knowing that the odds that I will get a new customer from that conversation are low.
If I can talk about what I do, however, the odds go way up. Two interviews I know have brought me business were focused solely and directly on how I help my customers. So if my goal is to get more customers, I should focus on having more conversations like those.
When pitching, then, rather than casting my net wide, I should focus my efforts more specifically on podcasts that will attract my ideal customers and allow me to talk about what I do. (More on pitching next week!)
Stay on message
If you’ve ever watched an interview with an athlete after a big game, you’ve probably noticed that they all tend to say roughly the same thing. “You know, we just went out there and did our best. Left it all on the field. The other team played hard, but we just played a little harder tonight. I couldn’t do it without my team and our coaching staff, and our fans that are the best anywhere. GO SPORTSBALL!”
High level athletes receive media training; somebody teaches them some nicely bland soundbite responses that they can repeat ad nauseam to help them avoid the dreaded foot-in-mouth syndrome. If you’ve ever watched a politician “answer” a question by talking about something completely different, that’s media training in action, too.
They do it because it’s effective — and you can borrow some of these techniques to make your podcast interviews more effective at driving business.
One excellent way to stay on message is to write down your ideal customers’ top three problems or pain points, and then make sure you find a way to bring up some or all of them over the course of the interview. If you have customer success stories that illustrate how you took them from that before to a desired after, even better. Keep an index card or sticky note at hand during the interview so you don’t forget.
Another way to stay on message is to focus on results. If you can work the results you get for customers into the conversation, it helps drive desire for your goods or services.
Some interviewers will let you know the questions before recording, and others will even ask for your input on the sorts of questions to ask. You can use both of those opportunities to prepare yourself and your answers to stay on message as much as possible.
Have a call to action
In almost every podcast interview I’ve participated in, the interviewer usually says something at the very end like, “Tell people where they can find you.”
That’s your opening to help compel people to take an action. Just like with an email or a blog post, you want to have a direct, specific, and compelling call to action to give.
But what most of us do (myself included) is just mention our website and maybe one of our social media channels where people can follow us. It’s totally passive — and ineffective. I would have to be pretty dang impressed by an interview to go to my computer, look up the person, follow them on social media, and figure out how to get on their list just because they gave me their URL.
Instead, consider ahead of time what you really want listeners to do. If your ideal customer responds to freebies or lead magnets, you could offer a valuable download. If you really want people to get on a call with you, let them know that you’ve opened up a limited number of spots in your calendar just for listeners of that podcast that they can access via a specific URL. Offer a free tool, a copy of your book, an additional training resource via webinar, a sample, a coupon — whatever you know incentivizes your ideal customer.
Whatever it is, make it as easy as possible to deliver the instructions via podcast (ie: don’t have super long and complicated URLs that nobody can remember) and redeem (ie: don’t make them search for it or jump through a bunch of hoops). You’ll probably need to take some time to set it up ahead of the interview, but the results will be worth it.
Track your conversions
Once you know what action you want listeners to take, you must track how many of them take that action!
That’s another reason that just giving out your website URL isn’t a great choice. Sure, you might see a spike in traffic after the podcast comes out, but it’s hard to attribute directly to your interview.
Create a custom landing page for listeners — something easy to remember like YOURURL.com/PODCASTNAME. If that’s tricky to accomplish, even a custom bit.ly link (with real words, not a random string of letters) can be an effective way to track traffic from a podcast.
If you use an email system that allows for tagging, be sure to tag these new people as they sign up that they came from not just a podcast, but this particular podcast.
And if you have any kind of intake form or new client questionnaire, add a field where you ask where they heard about you.
All this information will help you determine whether a given podcast or podcasts in general are a good promotional avenue for you and your business.
The truth is that podcast interviews can be a good strategy to get more clients for your business — but you have to be proactive and strategic about how you approach it, just like any other kind of marketing.
I’m curious to know if you have any other strategies to add to my list for making podcasts convert to clients more effectively — let me know in the comments below.