Your Customers Are Listening, Just Not To You

professional microphone

Contributed by Ryan Nelson

What if I told you there is a way to get your message delivered directly to ideal customers straight from the world wide web, through a tangled pair of headphones, and then into their ears?

Before I go too much further, let me be clear, I’m not talking about radio. Heck I’m not even talking about streaming radio. I’m talking podcasts!

Let’s take a look at the who is likely behind those earbuds, according to a 2017 survey done by Edison Research the average podcast consumer is:

–        Between the ages of 18-34

–        Likely a male, but not by much! The split is 56% male and 44% female

–        Wealthier and more educated compared to the overall population of the US

Podcast and podcast consumers are on the rise and a big part of that is their accessibility and the constant stream of new, quality-rich content that is coming out. This is true even in niche segments of the population. For example, a simple search on my phone returned over two dozen podcasts on the topic of woodworking. The survey showed that since 2012, there has been a 10% increase in podcast consumers and a 10% increase in the total population that listens to at least one podcast per month. This equates to an estimated 67 million listeners.

But let’s talk for a minute to the rabid podcast listeners, the “devotees” if you will. Based on the survey done by Edison Research, there are 42 million people who listen to at least one podcast per week. When they use the term “listen” they really mean it. Responders to this survey indicated that they listen to either the entire or a majority of the program. For these weekly listeners, podcasts are a big part of their lives:

–        36% listen to 1-3 hours of programming a week

–        22% listen to 3-5 hours of programming a week

–        15% listen to 10 or more hours of programming in one week

This means that almost three quarters of this segment are listening to at least an hour of programming a week. Now what does this mean for you and your marketing message? Let’s explore…..

What we know about frequent listeners is that they are very devoted to one or several podcasts and listen to each new episode in its entirety, including the advertising section. They are also more likely to be active on social media and also follow brands or companies on social media. Let’s look at how this breaks down:

–        73% of podcasts consumers use Facebook vs. 67% of non-users

–        48% of podcasts consumers follow companies/brands on social media vs. 31% of non-users

By spending your marketing dollars wisely and targeting podcast consumers based on interests that intersect with your company or your product, you will have the opportunity to deliver your brand message to a segment of the population that will consistently hear about your brand and are twice as likely to engage your brand on social media. Another benefit of podcast advertising that is often forgot is the power of the hosts. Often times podcast consumers are very heavily invested in the host or hosts of their favorite programs and hearing them talk about a company, product, or service is going to create immediate trust and familiarity with the brand.

You may be wondering what are some practical steps to identify which podcasts to deliver your message on and how best to deliver that message. Don’t worry, by doing a little bit of research and really knowing your ideal customers you will be able to easily narrow in on the right choice. Below is a checklist to help get you started.

1. Think about who your customers are, write up a profile of your “typical” customer and keep that in mind when navigating all of the different podcast options

2. Research podcasts that directly relate to your product or service. Remember the woodworking example I shared?

3. Research podcasts that indirectly relate to your product or service. For example, if you manufacture custom kitchen cabinets, then targeting podcasts on interior design or real estate investing could connect you with your ideal customer.

4. Consider asking your customers what podcasts they listen too. You can build this into a customer satisfaction survey or quarterly client touchpoint.

5. Not all podcasts are equal. Those with a higher number of consumers or subscribers will net you with more potential leads but the advertising costs will be higher.

6. Listen to the episodes. A lot of them. Consistency in content and alignment with your brand standards are a must. Remember you are relying on the on-air personality to do the talking for you.

7. Listen to how the podcasts handle their advertising. Do they simply read whatever script they are given are do they add their own flair to them? Which one of those are you more comfortable with?

8. You’ll want to track your ROI just like any other advertising. Build a vanity URL for the ad so you can see how much traffic you are getting.

9. In the end this is still advertising, so by doing promotions or offering discounts – especially for listeners – will net you better results.