Your marketing funnel (also known as the sales funnel) is a visual representation of how you have customers and clients move from the awareness stage to the buying stage of your business.
This funnel is crucial for giving you and your team the information needed to optimize and correct any gaps in the buyer’s journey. It also provides insight into which tactics and funnel strategies work best with your target audience.
But how are podcasts involved in this process?
Branded podcasts are a powerful tool to use throughout each stage of your funnel. With over two million podcasts on Apple, 80% of podcast listeners in the US listen to all or most of a podcast episode. That’s a significant consumption rate when you compare it to other mediums such as blogging or video that are often used throughout the marketing funnel as well.
When it comes to blogs, only 20% of audiences read a post from start to finish. Videos are definitely more effective, receiving a 70% engagement rate when the content is under 2 minutes but it starts to see a dramatic decline once the length passes 2 minutes. You can then compare this to podcasts, with the average podcast being 41 minutes.
As a marketer, there are different ways you can utilize your podcast to achieve the results you’re looking for at each stage of the funnel. So let’s dive into each of them:
The first stage of the marketing funnel is awareness. No customer is going to buy your product or service without knowing that you exist.
Podcasts are an effective medium to grow an audience in your desired target market. If you want to use podcasts for the awareness stage of your marketing funnel, then it’d be best to create a podcast that covers the industry that your company exists in.
Let’s use the example of a MarTech startup. You’re a software that combines all of a company’s marketing tactics/channels into one unified dashboard to make the lives of busy marketers that much easier.
For the largest reach, you might create a podcast that focuses on the marketing or MarTech industry as a whole since that is where you’ll be able to cultivate the largest targeted audience.
Example: Commerce Chefs powered by pb+j
Now we enter the interest stage. In this stage of the funnel, we’re looking to help customers who know who we are understand our service or product offering. They want to be more educated on the niche that you operate in.
Maybe you’ll discuss some pain points of the industry, or new innovations/launches that are happening, really anything that will help to position you in a credible spotlight.
Going back to our MarTech startup. In this stage you may create a podcast that is specific to the niche you work within (a.k.a you would want to be talking about optimizing or simplifying a marketer’s job). You may address specific questions about your industry, even your product. But ensure that you do not come off overly sales-y. At this stage you may be turning some potential customers off.
Example: Field Tripping powered by Field Trip Health
The consideration stage is similar to the interest stage. You can get more targeted here to help your listeners understand why your service is the best out there. BUT (and a large but), you must do this in a format that:
So how do you do this? Share with your audience what your product is actually going to do for them and why you exist. Ever read Simon Sinek’s Start With Why? Well it’s time to. You don’t need to tell your audience that your product is the best, you simply have to share the impact that your product will have on them.
Again, let’s use our MarTech company. How about in your podcast you discuss some of the challenges marketers are facing and why they need a simpler, faster, and unified approach to measuring their tactics.
Then dive into why your company was created. What’s the true goal behind it? That’s interesting and valuable content for a marketer (I would definitely listen).
In a podcast for this stage you may also cover some case studies. They can be directly related to your product and the impact that it’s had on customers. But remember what we stated above, don’t lose the integrity of your podcast and be cautious of coming off too sales-y.
There are plenty of creative approaches you can take with case studies in a podcast format.
Example: C Suite powered by TD
The last stage before you close your lead, the intent stage, is key. In this stage you need to get your leads to the finish line and there are definitely a variety of ways you can achieve this through podcasts.
You may not need a podcast dedicated to this stage, rather I would recommend adding it onto the podcast series we discussed in the consideration stage.
It comes down to your CTA (call-to-action). What are you asking your listeners to do, where are you asking them to go? There are three different podcast ad placements to choose from when advertisers sponsor a show and that’s pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll.
Use these three sections as a guideline for where you can add your CTA. We’d recommend waiting until your post-roll to add your CTA since it’s pretty pointless to try to convert your lead without telling them why they should convert in the first place (basically the value that’s in it for them).
But with that being said, you can always test placing your CTA in different placements throughout your podcast and see what performs best.
Now let’s get to what to actually say for your CTA. You want to instill some urgency with high value, this could be incentives like free trials, discounts, downloadable resources, free sessions, etc.
It’s really up to you and your brand. But if we were that MarTech startup, we’d most likely be offering a free trial or discount at the end of our podcast. What you actually offer within your CTA should also be tested to see what converts best with your target audience.
Example: 2 Minutes of Zen powered by Zendium
And alas, the last stage of the funnel, a purchase.
If you’re interested in still offering your customers incentive, you can create a private podcast that’s only offered to users that breaks down how to get the most value out of your product or service or maybe exclusive conversations with key thought leaders.
Get creative with it!
How have you used podcasts throughout your marketing funnel? We’d love to hear how you’ve used them!
A passionate storyteller, Ali is Quill’s Director of Growth Marketing, previously the co-founder and CMO of the branded podcast agency, Origins Media Haus (acquired by Quill). She excels in merging creativity with data in order to successfully build and grow a brand.