Many people turn to podcasting as a part of their marketing plan to promote a service or product. And it's no wonder: it's hugely effective. Let's find out why.
Difficult Ease: A Plethora of Competition
In this age of ever-increasing information and technical advancements, is it simultaneously easier and harder than ever to get your product or service in front of your intended audience.
It’s easier because there are so many outlets. Whereas twenty years ago, if you wanted to advertise your service to the world, it came with a pretty hefty price tag. You were limited to radio or print ads, both expensive. If you were working on a budget or just starting out, it could be quite the challenge to get the word out. Today, you have a plethora of low-to-no-cost options at your fingertips. From social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, among others, reaching your target audience takes a few clicks on your keyboard, a marketing strategy, and your time. Build your online presence with included shopping carts for a couple of hundred a year or less. Accept credit card payment without merchant accounts, contracts, or fees.
It’s harder because it’s so easy, really. If it’s that easy and cheap for you, it’s that easy and cheap for everyone else, too. Unless you understand niche marketing, have the patience and time to build your networks, and supply frequent and relevant content to the continuous, global conversation, you will quickly be drowned out in the din. Lost in cyberspace, as it were
You are a grain of sand on a mile-long beach. It can be a challenge to be seen.
Buy Buy Buy Bombardment
Along with nonstop information comes nonstop sales. People are sick of ceaseless sales pitches. Everywhere they turn someone else is trying to sell them a product or service, and they have had enough. They don’t have to sit in front of commercials anymore when they watch TV. They can fast forward through or just get their entertainment from places like Netflix. No ads, ever.
Consumers are so used to seeing ads everywhere online, they’ve tuned them out. They don’t even see them anymore. Even those paid ads at the top of Google don’t trick them. They know they are paid, and most skip them because organic information is more trustworthy in the consumer’s eye than a paid ad.
This climate has made it extremely difficult for businesses to get their service in front of the consumers’ eyes. Even multi-billion dollar corporations are finding it challenging, so what hope does the little guy have? Huge companies pay millions in marketing for web ads, print ads, and TV commercials. They’ve even resorted to playing ads constantly in some stores over digital screens or pasting them on the floors in supermarkets in the hopes that their brand or a few words will make a lasting imprint on the consumer’s mind.
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But we don’t have millions of dollars, so the small business owner and entrepreneurs must be more creative, and that starts with giving it away.
Give it Away
“Give it away?!?!?” you shout, and I hear you. I said the same thing when people told me I should give away my political documentary over a decade ago. I had just spend about $60k to make the thing, including taking out a second mortgage, and I wasn’t about to give it away. I couldn’t afford that!
Hard lesson to learn, really. Over the next two years, I probably sold 5,000 copies of my DVD through touring and speaking and marketing online. So much time and effort and money, in the long run.
Had I given it away, as a documentary of similar scope and quality did not even a year later, I would’ve sold 10x that in a single week. Granted, this other film was downloaded 400,000 times in a two week period and they only sold 50,000 copies, a small fraction of what they gave away.
The key here is the SOLD 50,000 COPIES IN TWO WEEKS, not that they gave away 350,000 copies. Because they gave it away, people trusted the information. They didn’t see it as them trying to make a buck. It was information freely given to their target market during an election year, and a fraction of people found it valuable enough to buy a copy.
50,000 in two weeks compared to my 5,000 in two years. Because they gave it away.
Ultimately it's a numbers game. The more people who's brain gets imprinted with your service, the more chance some of them will talk about it, forward it, share it. To get it out to the maximum number of people, you mustn't appear as if you're trying to solely make money off of them. There is no quicker turn off. Give them valuable information and allow them to spread it far and wide, a fraction will buy. You can also offer additional, relevant content with a paid subscription as an incentive to convert listening to buying.
Build an Audience
So, give it away. By giving away free information, you will build trust in your audience. When they trust you, they will hire you for your service.
- Show them through your podcasting and knowledge that you are the best person for the job.
- Engage listeners through narrative techniques that sound like stories, not sales pitches.
- Tell them who you are and what you do at the beginning and end of the podcast, along with how to find more information online, and leave it at that. No blatant self-promotion, just relevant, interesting content.
- Be consistent and relevant, and you’ll watch your audience grow.
Over the next several weeks, I will be continuing this series on how to use your podcast to promote yourself, your service, and/or your products. Learn tips on blogging, social networking, branding, content creation, and time management.