Today we have a fantastic listener question in relation to growing and converting your podcast audience.
If you’ve been thinking about having a podcast or you already have one, this is going to be a great episode for you.
Let’s dive on in!
Lilach’a question is:
“Hi Tash! My podcast has several different listener segments (parents of children with hearing loss, audiologists and related professionals, and students). Episodes include and address different topics, I bring on varied guests, and provide value to all these different kinds of listeners. Do you have any advice on growing the listenership further, and converting listeners to clients? It has been a steady growth and a wonderful journey of connecting with people around the world, primarily on Instagram. For some context, I have 45 episodes with nearly 20,000 total downloads and over 1000 followers on Instagram. Thanks!”
First and foremost, I want to say an epic congratulations for your consistency as well as growing your listenership already with your podcast.
For so many people, their podcast has the first 12 episodes and then it just disappears, so being able to maintain your listenership as well as your consistency with getting your podcast out there is absolutely amazing.
This question really comes down to a matter of two particular issues:
1. Reach – How do you grow the reach of your existing podcast?
2. Conversion – How do you improve the conversion from a listener into a paying client?
I’m going to cover those two issues separately in this Q&A episode.
First, let’s talk about reach.
I want to answer this question not just about your specific situation, but also for anyone who has a podcast.
Being consistent and predictable, and having episodes come out on the same day every single week is a really big driver of listenership of a podcast.
If people can’t accurately predict when that podcast episode is going to come out, it can really impact on your listenership.
When you have over 30 days without a new podcast episode, that can mean that some people who have been subscribed will automatically either be unsubscribed or asked if they still want to commit to that subscription. You might then find that your automatic downloads, whenever you release a new podcast to your subscribers, will significantly drop because you’ve had too much of a gap in those podcast episodes coming out.
I’ve been through this and I’ve done it several times in my journey as a podcaster, where I’ve struggled with that consistency and ended up having to rebuild my listenership which is a really big struggle.
Keep that consistency up if you want to make sure that you’re consistently scaling the reach of your podcast.
2. Ensure that as many episodes as possible are relevant to your listeners
This one is probably where you’re going to have some struggles when you have a diverse range of listener segments.
Thankfully, you have a consistent topic and that topic can be very interesting and relevant to all of your listener segments if it’s handled effectively.
Say you’ve got some episodes that are specifically targeted towards:
- Parents of children with hearing loss
- Related professions
If you’re separating those episodes out and making those episodes not relevant to the other listeners, more often than not, then that may impact on your reach and your listenership.
We want to make sure as much as possible that your episodes have relevance for all of your audience segments, and where they don’t have relevance for other audience segments, that you’re really upfront about that early on in the podcast episode so that you’re not wasting anyone’s time.
That’s going to be a really big one.
If someone’s subscribed to your podcast or they’ve stumbled across it and have listened to three or four episodes, but two of them weren’t really relevant to them and it took 10 to 15 minutes of listening before they worked out it wasn’t relevant to them, then of course, that’s going to really hurt in terms of your reach.
People will listen less and less because they haven’t found anything that’s relevant to them.
Be upfront at the start of the episode about what the topic is, and if it’s not necessarily relevant to all audience members, letting them know who it is relevant for can actually be really helpful.
Even though people may not listen to that episode, you have demonstrated that you value their time and they’re more likely to move on to other episodes that are relevant to them.
They are some of the core base-level things when it comes to podcasting and increasing your reach of that podcast.
This is what’s going to significantly impact your reach, as well and growing your listenership.
You want to make sure that you take responsibility for distributing your podcast.
It’s wonderful that those podcast platforms:
- Are easily searchable
- Have suggestions and recommendations that mean you’ll get other listeners that are suggested by the platform
- Make it easy for people to stumble across you
- Improve the likelihood that people are going to hear all of your episodes if they subscribe (so make sure that encourage people to subscribe when you do podcast episodes)
But you also need to take responsibility for distribution.
Have a think about ways that you can ensure that every episode of your podcast is distributed as far and wide as possible to relevant audiences.
For example, if you do an email newsletter consistently, you want to make sure that you’re highlighting certain podcast episodes or the latest podcast episode.
On your social media channels, especially on Instagram, you want to make it easy for people to know that you have a podcast and how they can get to that podcast. Not just saying that you have a podcast generally, but directing them to a specific podcast episode.
When you talk about your podcast episodes, you want to make sure that you’re very specific about the value proposition of that podcast episode and who it’s for. Being active on Instagram is a great platform for you to make the most of the opportunity that comes with Instagram stories.
Whenever a new episode is available on your podcast, doing Instagram stories to talk about the topic, get people interested in it, and then let them know there’s a podcast episode that dives into it further, is going to be really helpful for growing listenership.
Don’t forget to use old episodes in this same way.
If you’ve got a particular episode that’s done very well, make sure that you put it in your social media schedule to consistently bring people back to it because clearly it’s something that people have found valuable.
Take responsibility for distribution and re-distribution of podcast episodes because you will see that improves not only your listenership, but also your subscriber rates really quickly.
Other things to remember:
- You can also use things like having guests (which you already do), as well as guesting on other people’s platforms as a way to grow your listenership with relevant audiences.
- You’ve got ads that you can use as well – using engagement ads on posts where you’re talking about your podcast episodes or using conversion ads where you have podcast episodes that have show notes with a freebie that people can sign up to. There are some really fun ways that you can use ads to expand your listenership, especially if you’re using lookalike audiences or your warmest audiences on social media.
They are some ways that you can grow the reach of your podcast.
What I would suggest is to not try 12 things all at once.
Just pick one strategy that you’re going to focus on, give it three to four weeks, see how it goes in terms of improving your regular download rates for your episodes, and then decide if you’re going to keep doing that, or if you’re going to let go of it and try something else.
If you decide to keep it, systemise that and get it working at scale before you start bringing in other strategies.
Too often I see people with podcasts who try a distribution strategy and it works, so then they add another distribution strategy which also works, so then they add another one and so on…
But they’ve never really systemised, outsourced, or scaled that startegy, so what ends up happening is every time they have a podcast episode to release, they end up needing to do 8 to 12 hours of time in actually doing all that distribution, and that’s not scalable for you.
We want to make sure that we do it at scale in a systemised way.
Let’s now talk about conversion.
1. Tell people how to take that next step
Too often, I listen to podcast episodes where it’s a really fascinating subject and I absolutely love it, but then the call to action is just to go and check out a random freebies page (or there’s no call to action whatsoever).
There’s no information on how I can find out more or discuss that with you if this is something I want to work on, or even a way to know how I might be able to work with you.
Make sure on your podcast episodes that you have a clear call to action for anyone who’s listening along, finds it fascinating and wants to know how they can dive in further.
2. Make sure you’re using your podcast to grow and nurture your email list consistently
For most people, the conversion doesn’t come straight from podcasts into paying you – although that is something that can happen, so make sure you give people that option. Generally, it’s going to be a conversion from podcast onto your mailing list, mailing list into a lead magnet, and lead magnet into buying something from you.
For my Take Off program for example, I know what the most common journey from podcast to Take Off is. Let’s say I do a podcast episode on niching, and then I’ll have my Nail Your Niche freebie as the call to action on that podcast. They’ll jump into that Nail Your Niche freebie, go through the email sequence – nurturing and getting my regular newsletters – and then when I launch the Take Off program the next time, they’ll jump into the webinar or the challenge for that launch, and then they’ll convert there in a live lead magnet for a that particular launch.
You want to make sure that you are growing that email list, and you’re consistently nurturing them. Then you can let your email list know how they can dive deeper with you, work with you, or jump into a launch if you’ve got a product or service that you are launching.
The other thing I want to quickly touch on here in relation to conversion is the audience belief system that we have that if we can just get our stuff in front of a bigger audience, then it will automatically mean that we are going to get better results and sales in our business.
That’s actually not accurate.
How many people (I’ve definitely had this thought) reading along have had the thought that if you could just get one podcast episode to go viral and have 200,000 people listen to it, then everything will be okay and your business will grow and you’ll definitely make sales? Or if only you could just get that one post on social media to be shared by someone famous, then everything would be okay?
Often, when that huge leap in audience does happen, it doesn’t translate into more sales, because you haven’t identified and taken responsibility for your customer journey – not just through the process of hearing about you and then buying from you in one jump, but also through that nurturing process.
Have you got a really clear nurturing process that people go through that you know works to convert people into paying clients with you? And if you don’t, that is something we want to be prioritising so that we can take care of that and make sure the podcast is doing its job.
At the end of the day, the job of your podcast is to grow your reach and audience, but also bring them in on that customer journey.
Thank you so much for this question Lilach, I hope that you have found my answer helpful.
As I said earlier, I didn’t give you all of these strategies to go and try all of them at once.
I would recommend looking at:
- What is one way that you can grow your reach?
- What is one way that you can grow your conversion?
Focus on those for a consistent period of time and see how they work, and then make a decision about whether you want to stop it or continue it, and whether you’re going to bring other strategies into play.
The final note that I want to say about any podcast or any type of strategy in terms of whether it’s going to work and whether it’s going to reach the right people and convert them into clients, is to make sure that you are really clear on your niche, your value proposition and messaging, and your offer.
Those are the foundations when it comes to any kind of business and marketing strategy.
Very often we can get caught up in how we can get better reach, thinking that that is what is going to grow our business and get those results.
You need to have confidence and clarity on these three core foundations:
- Value proposition for people and the messaging that expresses that value proposition
- Offer that you know your audience really loves and that they get the outcome they’re looking for from
If you don’t, then all of the surface level activities that you do in order to grow your audience, grow the reach of your podcasts and get more listeners, is not necessarily going to result in business growth.
We just want to make sure we’ve got all of those foundations clear.
If that is something you would like to work on – getting that niche, the value proposition and your offer clear – I’d love to also invite you to come and check out my new Nail Your Niche training.
It is a prerecorded training that you can do at your leisure (and you can also listen to it on double-time so you can get through it nice and quickly).
This will help you look at those foundations of your business and just make sure that you’re very clear on, for you Lilach, each niche that you’re focusing on, what the value proposition is for them, and then what the offer is that that person is actually looking for and how you express and articulate that in a way that has them saying, ‘Yes! That’s exactly what I need, how do I sign up?’
If you want to check that out, you can find it here: tashcorbin.com/niche
If you have found this episode of the podcast particularly helpful and you’d like to continue the conversation, come on over to the Heart-Centred Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs Facebook group, use #podcastaha and let me know you’ve been reading episode number 239.
I’d love to hear from you if you are a podcaster or you’ve been thinking about podcasting:
- Which area are you going to be focusing on more consistently – rates or conversion?
- What strategy are you going to be trying out?
- What are any follow-up questions or lightbulb moments you’d like to share?
Do you have a question you’d like me to answer here on the podcast? Go to tashcorbin.com/question, pop your question in there and I will answer your question as well as give you a shoutout and a link back to your channels.
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.
Hi, I’m Tash. And I am so excited that you’re here. As you may have noticed I’m a total business and marketing strategy geek and I absolutely love helping women to create online businesses and courses that are perfectly aligned with THEIR zone of genius, AND that have a super-specific and strong value proposition for their ideal clients. Connect with on social media (links below) and come join the #ladyposse on Facebook.