Now hear this: Over half of the U.S. population – 155 million people – listen to podcasts on a regular basis. You’re probably counted in that number too and it’s not surprising as this popular medium is easily accessible in cars, homes, offices, gyms and virtually everywhere else.
Small businesses are using podcasts to reach their customers and prospects in an effective, fun and affordable way. As opposed to videos, which can sometimes require hours of planning, production and large budgets, podcasts can be relatively inexpensive and simple to create.
Is a podcast right for your business? Let’s take a closer look at the benefits you could receive and ways to make your podcast a reality.
Easy and Affordable to Create and Distribute
If you’ve been thinking about creating a small business podcast, start with the basics – all you really need is a topic and an app. Sound simple? It can be. Apps like Anchor®, Buzzsprout and Podbean make it fast and easy to record, produce and post your podcast episodes. These apps also serve as hosting platforms, giving your podcast a safe and highly accessible place to live with links that make it easy for interested audience members to find you.
Be sure to give your podcast a memorable name. For example, if you own an ice cream shop, maybe it’s “Get the Scoop” or if you are a florist, something like “Growth Experiences." Next, select a great podcast host – someone within your organization that is well-spoken and has lots of personality – and have them interview customers, fellow team members or thought leaders in your industry. Develop an outline for each episode. While you don’t want your podcast to sound too scripted, your host and other participants will need a well-thought-out structure, including questions, stories and talking points, to keep episodes informative and entertaining.
Attract More Traffic
Podcasts are easily accessible by your audience and can be listened to at virtually any time and place – even on the go. Once you select a home for your podcast, it will be classified by category – “auto repair” or “nail and spa services” – to make it easy for listeners to search for you. Attract even more listens by utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) keyword strategies in your website content and blogs (words like “home improvement podcast” or “pool service podcast”, for example) to help people find you in online search directories like Google, Yelp and Bing.
For added exposure, feature your podcast on your website home page so that interested customers and prospects will find your episodes when they are most interested in your company, products and services. Get creative and keep listeners coming back for more. You can also broadcast an episode live (livestream) for special events and occasions on social media channels. Some small businesses also choose to offer a video version of the podcast by shooting the session with a simple web camera and posting the video on a site like YouTube.
Build Customer Engagement
Podcasts give you the power to speak directly to your customers and build personal relationships because listeners feel as if you are having a conversation with them. It’s a great opportunity to highlight key elements of your brand by telling interesting stories about your customers, employees and products and services. Be relatable, be funny and be you – listeners love it when you open up and express yourself.
By consistently scheduling weekly or biweekly episodes, your audience will get into the routine of listening to you and will look forward to your podcasts. Use an online content calendar like Loomly to organize and schedule your podcast episodes. Promotion is key – alert customers on social media and through emails when new episodes are available and encourage them to subscribe to your podcast so they automatically receive alerts when you release new content.
Create Measurable Results
With a podcast, you can track results to understand what you are receiving for your investment. One great way to measure success is to feature sales promotions in each episode – offer different discount codes so you can see what topics and incentives listeners react to most and adapt your podcast strategy accordingly.
Your listeners will most likely access your podcast through Apple Podcasts (for iPhone) or Stitcher (for Android devices), although they can also listen through Google Play and Spotify. Each of these channels has metrics trackers that allow you to monitor your podcast episodes by total listens over time, monthly/daily listens, listens by episode, the number of subscribers and the average percentage of an episode listened to by each podcast subscriber.
A well-executed podcast can offer your business more customer traffic, better brand engagement and measurable results. Use our tips to start creating a podcast that could be music to your customers’ ears.