In case you haven’t noticed the world of marketing is changing quicker than many of us can keep up with.
It used to be that a marketing budget focused on advertising in newspapers, magazines, radio, television, direct mail, telemarketing, cold calling and even infomercials. All these things of course still exist, but are predominantly the purview of larger companies with budgets we could only dream of – and are they really that effective?
Then came the Internet and we all created our own websites (using them like brochures), advertised on websites using banner ads, created reciprocal links, and bought pay-per-click ads from Google and the like. Later blogs became huge as a means to build a following, and we started collecting email addresses. Search engine optimization (SEO) was and still is a massive industry. And promoting our companies via social media has exploded in every direction imaginable.
It used to be so simple, take and ad in the local paper and pretty much your entire market knew you existed; today it’s all about being online, but the number of competing companies promoting themselves in this environment is almost unimaginable. If only we knew what was going to work for our small business? Perhaps YouTube might be one of the answers?
Do you know how big YouTube really is? No?
- YouTube is the second largest search engine.
- Over 3.25 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube every month.
- 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute.
- 80% of 18-49 year-olds watch YouTube every month (more than any TV network).
- 50% of YouTube videos are viewed on mobile devices.
Consumers are getting information via audio and video from the Internet like never before – their appetite seems to be insatiable. Think about the last time you need to know how to do something. Perhaps you wanted to repair your toaster – chances are you went online and sought out a video that showed you how to do the repair. We’ve all done it and so have millions of others.
Podcasting takes this one small step further and is the perfect tool for reaching a qualified target audience. What is a podcast? It’s an audio broadcast published on the Internet. The broadcast is delivered to subscribers via a feed, usually in an MP3 file format.
The Wikipedia definition is:
A podcast or netcast is a digital medium consisting of an episodic series of audio, video, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device. The word is a neologism and portmanteau derived from “broadcast” and “pod” from the success of the iPod, as audio podcasts are often listened to on portable media players.
Similar to the concept of opt-in email, podcasting takes full advantage of new technology in reaching a pre-qualified, self-selected audience that craves the information and expertise the podcaster provides. Your marketing strategy should be to position yourself as an expert to people seeking information. The spider-in-the-web method of advertising.
We’ve always known that the way to a client’s heart is to share useful, valuable information with them. In the past we’ve done this through trade shows, conferences, seminars, newsletters, free articles, blogs and a host of other ways.
Today’s strategy is to attract subscribers to your podcast as they search for information, and then keep them coming back for more, all the time building a relationship of trust. The more useful the information you provide, the more of an expert you will become in the eyes of prospects. This trust will eventually turn subscribers into customers.
Podcasts are just like newsletters, or press releases and can be used to present news, or other information useful to existing clients, and general consumers. A tax-consulting firm for instance might provide updates on tax laws, or tips on how to pay less tax.
Think of a podcast as an audio version of an electronic, or print newsletter. Podcasting doesn’t have to cost much at all, but can leave a lasting impression on listeners, and build a loyal following.
Keen to get started? There are lots of sites that will help you get started – one that is free is www.podbean.com. It has 133,051 podcasters, 3.3 million episodes, 4 billion downloads as of September 2016.