Podcasts are fun, widely listened to and present a great way of reaching out to potential customers. We spoke to Harry Morton of Lower Street – a podcast production agency that helps B2B companies to create engaging audio content – and found out why your customers want to hear the story direct from the horse’s mouth.
Are you podcasting?
You should be.
In a world saturated with content, you have to do more to reach, engage and convert your prospects into loyal customers. Blogs, ads and videos are important, but podcasting gets you closer to your audience than ever before.
Podcasting is an intimate medium. It’s the only way to speak to customers one-on-one without interrupting their day. It’s the medium that drops defences. Listeners switch on the moment they press play, so treat them to valuable content and you’ll keep them for life.
Podcasting is therefore one of the most effective platforms for fostering relationships with your customers, old and new. Done wisely, podcasting helps grow your brand, build customer rapport and generate new leads. All it takes is your voice, a microphone and a little nerve to get started.
The podcasting market is huge and growing fast – 50% of all US homes are podcast fans. If your competitors are already podcasting, can you afford not to?
Podcasting helps grow your brand
After hearing my first “business” podcast, I realised I had learned more about that company in twenty minutes than in years of advertising. The weird thing was, they hadn’t explicitly told me anything. I thought I was listening to someone explain how to start a business, but in fact I was soaking up a brand identity.
You see, humans love stories. They help bring brand values to life by providing the contextual backdrop that allows listeners to naturally absorb your beliefs and goals. And as the best stories are told direct from the horse’s mouth, podcasting is the most authentic way to communicate your brand.
A compelling narrative demands an equally compelling medium. Your voice humanises your business, creating a memorable impression between you and your listeners. That’s why podcasting is so special. By employing a timeless storytelling tradition, your audience is more inclined to listen to you.
Who tells your story is just as important as what you say. If you want to establish authority on something your listeners care about, guest speakers can help illuminate key messages while adding credibility to your brand. Engaging your listeners with experts and insight can earn you their respect (and ultimately their custom).
Of course, this works both ways. Guest speakers can become customers or help in other ways, such as with investment or advice. That’s what happened to Dan Murray, host of the Secret Leaders podcast. Dan had this to say about the power of podcasting:
“Two of my guests became investors in my company, five or so have become really good friends based on shared values and, beyond all of that, I have learned so much from their experiences that I’ve avoided making the same mistakes. All in all, it's been a very strategically valuable process.”
Become a thought leader on your own show and you’ll be invited to speak on others, where you can continue to share ideas, network and grow your brand.
Podcasting creates lasting relationships with your customers
Your strongest asset is your existing customers. They spend up to 67% more money, cost less to sell to and will promote your business to colleagues, friends and family. But are you engaging them in the right way?
I used to work in the events industry. Whenever time was running out and we still had spaces left, Sales and Marketing would flood existing customers with emails. It rarely worked and, in fact, we lost a few subscribers as a result.
You’d be surprised to hear how many misguided marketers spam their existing customers. Instead of alienating your most valuable asset, try reaching them on their own terms.
In America alone, 26% of the population listens to podcasts every week. These listeners are affluent, educated and are listening to 40% more shows than they did last year (on average they listen to seven shows per week). Smart speakers, the Internet of things and other types of on-demand audio are becoming a staple of homes across the globe, creating a relaxed environment in which you’re invited to speak.
Importantly, podcast audiences are loyal. Research shows that 80% of listeners hear all or most of each episode they consume. Perhaps because it’s easier to multitask while listening to a podcast, but whatever the reason, that’s a high level of engagement. Can you say the same of your blog-reading or video-watching habits?
When you have an engaged and loyal listener, spending time with you week after week, you will build a long-lasting and meaningful relationship with them. Audio has been shown to be more engaging than video, and because most listening happens on a mobile device through headphones (69% in fact), it’s a really intimate experience.
Consumers listen when they are commuting, at the gym, driving or cooking, which builds trust for a brand in a truly authentic way that we don’t see anywhere else. As a result, podcasting sends Net Promoter Scores through the roof, ensuring customers return and recommend you to friends and family.
Podcasting generates better sales leads
Before 2005, few people had even heard the word “podcasting”, let alone knew what it meant. Now, there are over 550,000 podcasts in existence and somewhere north of 35 million episodes. But compared to the blogosphere’s estimated 173 million blogs, there’s plenty of room for growth.
Nowadays, everyone and their dog (yes, really) has a blog. You have to shout to be heard above that rabble. But in podcasting, there are fewer distractions and less competition, making it easier to reach your target audience.
In fact, it’s usually your target audience that finds you. Listeners download your podcast because you’ve promised them something in exchange: your expertise, knowledge, a guest speaker or simply entertainment. Match their expectations and they’ll come back for more.
Even if you start a bit shaky, listeners tend to be more forgiving. It’s easier to close a webpage than cut someone off mid-sentence, for example. Podcasting helps shrink the business-consumer divide – for some people, listening to a podcast is just like having a conversation. So as long as you deliver on your promise by the show’s end, you’re one step closer to converting that listener into a loyal customer.
Better yet, the podcast is a forum for discussion where you can gather feedback and share listeners’ stories, thereby creating your very own community. You can use this community to refine your messaging, product or service, or inspire change within your industry. Once you match what you offer to the needs and desires of your listeners, expect your sales to grow, too.
Stephen Callender of Commerce Minded bagged a new client after the first episode of his show about e-commerce development:
“They needed help with a project that happened to be our theme of the week. He hadn't known of us before, so we wouldn't have landed it without the podcast.”
Listeners who grow to love your content will grow to love your brand. They’ll read your show notes, visit your website or read your blog. You then have a community of switched-on prospects who are warm and receptive to your business and therefore more likely to buy from you.
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