According to an Edison Research and Arbitron report in 2012, podcasting is becoming one of the more viable methods for acquiring and retaining customers.
Originally, the study found podcasting awareness had remained rather flat for several years, dating back to about 2006 when the percentage of those surveyed who said they were familiar with the term podcasting sat at only 22%.
However, in 2007, “familiarity” jumped to 37%, and in 2012, it was 45% – that’s a 105% difference!!
That’s not all: the percentage of American’s surveyed who said they’d ever listened to a podcast took on the same trajectory. In 2006 it was a mere 11%, and in 2012 it hit 29%.
That’s a 163% difference if you’re still counting…
To be fair, “familiarity” and “Ever listened to” aren’t really great metrics that translate to consumption.
But when you consider Pew’s State of The Media Report finding over 32% of Americans also report “Liking” audio podcasts, and Apple reporting over 1 billion combined subscriptions, something becomes apparent…
…podcasting is definitely worth considering throwing into the marketing mix.
What Does This Mean For Me?
Here’s where a doubtful, cautious attitude might come into play.
Questions like, “What about the demographics of those listening?” and “How do you know that your audience wants to hear a podcast?” might circulate, making business owners and advertisers alike wary of diving into uncharted waters.
However, the research shows that Podcast listeners are a pretty attractive crew for businesses looking to talk to a captive, engaged audience.
Take for instance this joint study by the Association for Downloadable Media and Edison that found 72% of listeners reporting finding mentions of products or services in a podcast “interesting” and “useful”.
On top of that, nearly 80% of consumers say “when price and quality are equal, they prefer to buy products from companies that advertise or sponsor podcasts they regularly enjoy”.
In contrast, television and commercial radio only reached 6% positive sentiment from viewers and listeners.
Why the difference?
I’m guessing the combination of listeners being very selective about what podcasts they listen to, sponsors being very selective of who they spend money with, and hosts being very selective about what they advertise might have a lot to do with it.
So What Do Podcast Listener Demographics Look Like?
When it comes to male vs. female listeners, there’s an almost-even split of 54% to 46% (favoring males).
What about their age?
- 12-24 (26%)
- 25-24 (24%)
- 35-44 (18%)
- 45-54 (17%)
- 55+ (15%)
Over half of Podcast listeners are age 12 – 34; the largest piece of the pie? 26% are ages 12 – 24.
But that doesn’t mean Podcasts are off limits – there are still very healthy numbers for each age demographic.
Want to talk income?
Based on 2011 household income, four in ten Podcast consumers have a household income of at least $75k, and that’s on the rise.
Reaching Your Target Audience
Podcast consumers also reported spending more time on the Internet than non-consumers, to the tune of over 60% longer every single day.
Podcast consumers also spend a significantly larger portion of their time using Social Media. By integrating podcasting into your full media mix (vs. it being a standalone effort) you gain multiple touch points to interact with (potentially) affluent consumers.
Want to reach your customers even when they’re not online?
Up to 23% of Podcast listeners say that they plug their mp3 or smartphone device into their car stereo to listen to Podcasts nearly every single day.
And another 35% report plugging in at least a few times per month.
Apparently, this data was compelling enough for car manufacturers to start taking podcasting more seriously.
In 2013 Mazda started installing Stitcher – the second most popular podcast aggregator – in the actual dashboards of their cars. Chevy, Buick, GMC, Ford, BMW & Mini are just a few of the others who plan on doing the same.
The reason for including Stitcher? Over 40% of Stitchers 12 million mobile listeners use the app in the car.
The survey concludes, “Podcasts continue to be effective ways to reach affluent consumers who exhibit ad avoidance behaviors.”
How Does This Data Translate To Opportunity?
Imagine this: with the push of a button, your show instantly syndicates to iTunes, Stitcher Radio, SoundCloud, and a number of other directories where they can be downloaded by eager listeners around the world.
Eager, because in many ways “podcasting” has become the alternative to mainstream entertainment, and I believe continues to grow because for many hosts – the focus is on quality, not ratings.
In an interview with with Dan Carlin, host of “Hardcore History” – a podcast that sometimes runs up to 4 hours in length with more than a million downloads per episode – Mr. Carlin argues that consumers are looking for more intellectually stimulating and personalized content.
Look at the history channel, they’re doing shows like Ice Road Truckers and Monster Quest because they’re convinced nobody wants to watch even half-hour history shows.
People who would be our competition are running scared because they just “don’t think people care.”
Podcasting gives you, the host, control of the message and allows you to connect with customers in a way that suggests you care about their interests and personalities, not just the contents of their wallet.
Listening to Urban Outfitters podcast on street art, or music playlists on Spotify is just a small taste of what this might feel like for a target market.
Podcasting opens up a new, powerful medium for business owners – just like you – to share your discoveries, insights, and “tips” with an ever-growing population of engaged, active listeners.
The Opportunity Podcasting Provides – My Story
I know this to be true because a year and half ago I launched a business podcast called EntrepreneurOnFire.
Without the EntrepreneurOnFire podcast, a lot of things in my world would be very different today.
As a result of my own podcast, I’ve been able to – from nothing:
- Write the #1 best selling book on Podcasting on Amazon
- Grow a 100-person Elite Mastermind community
- Build a 6 figure a month business
I’ve also been able to connect with hundreds of influencers from all over the world, building a professional network that’s proven to be incredibly valuable to the development of my business.
Why LeadPages Cares About Podcasting
LeadPages, which provides SaaS for building conversion optimized and mobile responsive landing pages, decided in late 2013 that it was time.
When asked why they decided to start the LeadPages podcast, ConversionCast, still in its pre-launch phase, Host Tim Paige stated,
“We recognized that there was this incredible medium for sharing content and providing a ton of value that we wanted to be a part of. The idea behind it all being that we wanted to be a really incredible source of helpful content, add value, and knew that karma would take care of itself.”
While LeadPages’ main goal with the podcast is to increase interaction with their audience, they also hope to increase exposure to their brand by providing even further value to their listeners – an incredible business-building strategy.
eCommerceFuel: Their Growth Six Months Post-Launch
Andrew Youderian, Founder of eCommerceFuel, an online business that helps others build their own profitable eCommerce stores, says that starting the podcast was twofold: First, he wanted to better connect with his existing readers and build a stronger rapport with them, and second, he knew that podcasting was a great way to grow his audience.
Andrew launched the eCommerceFuel podcast six months ago and publishes a weekly episode. The podcast launched when his business had already been at it in the online space for over a year.
Six months after launch, the Podcast has been downloaded over 100,000 times.
When comparing the five-month period before launching the Podcast to the five months after its debut, Andrew saw:
- 50% increase in traffic to his blog.
- more than 188,000 new visits.
- 3,500 email subscriber added.
While every visitor and every email subscriber can’t be tied directly to the podcast, Andrew is certain that the Podcast has helped these numbers become a reality, and that it has also helped him strengthen his connection with his audience.
Terry Lin Saw An Opening & Decided to Take It
Terry Lin, Founder of BuildMyOnlineStore, said that he simply saw a great opportunity and decided to take it:
“In early 2012 there were no podcasts dedicated to solo eCommerce entrepreneurs in the market. With eCommerce being only 6% of total retail sales at that time, I knew there was a large potential for this industry to keep growing. Nobody was sharing the success stories and best practices, so I decided to start [a podcast] myself.”
For BuildMyOnlineStore, Terry reports an average of:
- about 15% growth every month from the Podcast.
- 30,000-40,000 downloads every month.
For a weekly podcast that has been live since 2012, these are incredible numbers.
Terry says the biggest aspect of the Podcast is “being able to speak with industry leaders and connect people to add value towards their eCommerce stores.”
The Smartphone Gives “Easy Access” A Whole New Meaning For Podcast Listeners
Tom Martin of Converse Digital, along with many other experts, attribute the explosion of podcasting to the ease with which consumers can now access this free content.
After smartphones took over as many consumers’ #1 most important possession, and Apple and Stitcher Radio started creating apps that left podcasts just 1-click away, the amount of podcast listeners grew from less than 15% to over 25% in just 5 years.
What’s more is that with podcasting you have an established platform to distribute your podcast to the world.
On iTunes alone, over 45 million visitors are actively searching for targeted, on-demand, free content.
So, How Do You Start A Podcast?
I’m so glad you ask.
“Setting up a podcast is not push-button easy, but it’s not rocket science either, and once you set things up the first time you’ll have done most of the work. Then, all you have to worry about is producing more audio content and just posting it onto your blog. Everything else happens automatically.”
Because Pat has created such an excellent step-by-step tutorial on how to start a podcast, I’m going to recommend you check that out.
But the basics are:
- Establish your podcast topic
- Determine the format of your show
- Name your podcast
- Create your artwork
- Purchase your equipment
- Determine which software you’ll use to record/edit your podcast
- Record your mp3
- Edit mp3, add intros & outros
- Export mp3
- Tag mp3
- Upload to your media host
- Submit your podcast to directories (iTunes, Stitcher Radio, SoundCloud)
- Embed your podcast on your WordPress site using PowerPress
- Promote it! A few ideas:
Will Your Customers Enjoy A Podcast?
Looking back at all the data, it looks like people listening to podcasts have pretty much leveled out.
So you have to wonder, is this a medium worth pursuing?
I believe the answer is yes – or at the very least, it’s worth gauging their interest.
Reason being, these are people opting-in to be closer to you.
You don’t have to trick them with catchy headlines, or “compelling” photographs. When they subscribe to your podcast, there’s already an understanding that the content will be deeper, more personal, and most likely long form.
I think Tim, Andrew and Terry would all agree: podcasting has exploded, and if you’re looking to add a powerful medium to your marketing mix that will help grow your audience, create a stronger connection with your audience, and spread your brand, then it’s time to jump on board.