As technology continues to improve, it’s never been easier to start a podcast.
But it’s also never been harder to build an audience.
Bringing in new listeners is no longer just about producing remarkable audio content. We have to find new ways to reach and engage listeners in an increasingly saturated industry.
That’s why Hack the Entrepreneur has put a consistent emphasis on using email as an audience-building tool for the past four years. We use email automation to promote our new episodes, and we use our weekly newsletter to provide additional value to our listeners. Email has helped us garner 5,000,000+ podcast episode downloads, grow our listener base, build deeper connections with our audience, and get closer to our goal of helping 10,000 people start side hustles and live a lifestyle of their own design.
But we’re just one podcast in one market. Let’s take a look into how other podcasters are using email to grow their audiences.
Alistair Clay, of Famous Business, has a great technique that you can implement immediately: Replace your stagnant stagnant “subscribe to my show on Apple Podcasts” call-to-action with a supercharged CTA that triggers action.
Here’s exactly how Clay does it:
“My audience is made up of small business owners looking to get media attention. This is an urgent problem that they need solved fast. To help them, I offer to answer their burning questions immediately,” explains Clay. “The only catch is they need to sign up to my email list and then hit reply! I call this a win/win/win situation. It gets them an answer fast, gets me a subscriber, and it also gives us a chance to make a deeper connection.”
Through email, Clay is offering quick, personalized advice — something that most other podcasters do not offer. His listeners get individual attention, which automatically inspires loyalty. They’ll keep coming back to Clay, again and again. Then, Clay can continue to communicate with his listeners through email. Their interactions don’t just end with a podcast episode.
Clay also gains important insight from these Q&As. Their questions may help him come up with his next podcast episode or next product idea.
“This one technique has been an essential element to the growth of my podcast,” Clay says.
Do the extra legwork
In order to grow your audience from scratch, you need to put in the extra legwork in the beginning, according to Jane Ellen, of Glistening Particles. That’s why Ellen solicits feedback via email as much as possible.
“I’m Googling the heck out of the topic of each episode and sending direct emails to people who might be interested in the episode,” explains Ellen. “My goal is to send 50 per episode. I have had people reply back – even one to be a guest!”
It’s not a long-term, scalable solution, but it’s crucial to the initial growth of your audience, explains Ellen. That’s because feedback is fuel. “I’m of the belief right now that ANY engagement is good. I’m even open to hear my show stinks or my interview style is annoying or whatever — it means someone’s listening.”
Using this intel, Ellen can react and iterate, too. As she implements positive changes to her show based on this feedback, she’ll be able to bring in more listeners and more guests down the road.
Follow up with past guests
One of the unspoken powers of hosting an interview podcast is the potential connections you can make with your guests, and, by extension, their audience. By staying in touch with past guests, you stay top of mind and increase the chance of introductions to their network, who may also be great guests for your show. Unfortunately, many podcasters fail to follow up and stay in touch with their guests to nourish and grow these relationships.
Related: How Do I Avoid the Spam Filter?
Andy Wang, of Inspired Money, builds an email list of past guests he’s had on the show and keeps in touch with these guests.
“I periodically send an email to past guests letting them know what’s new with my podcast and highlighting recent higher-profile guests,” says Wang. “A little PR never hurts, especially to past guests who are the real stars of my show. This is a way to express gratitude and keep my show in their minds. This can also lead to an introduction to another guest.”
Syndicate your podcast
When you format your podcasts for radio, you can unleash the powers of syndication for yourself.
Jerod Morris and the team at The Assembly Call have managed to not only syndicate their podcast on local radio, but also leveraged it to significantly to build their email list. Radio syndication is not feasible for all podcasts, but if your show is focused on a specific niche (like a sports team), location (a city or neighborhood within a city), or demographic, then this is a possibility. To get started, you can reach out directly to your local talk radio or sports stations and ask them about syndication.
“On The Assembly Call, we have mostly used our podcast to grow our email list, but that changed last year,” explains Morris. “We started syndicating our weekly news roundup on one of the biggest Indiana University sites. In exchange for the ability to post our content on their site, the site owner included an email form for visitors and readers to sign up for our email list so they could get the roundup via email. We’ve gotten 1,000+ subscribers since this began.”
Use email to turn listeners into fans
As an on-demand medium, podcasts have the potential to connect with new people when and where they want. But connecting with them via email is how you deepen the relationship from a passive listener to a loyal fan.
Want to get started building your podcast audience via email today? Create a free account with AWeber. You can try the award-winning email marketing platform for free for 30 days.
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