Should you use your podcasts to build an email list? Is email marketing the right strategy for you? Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard help you answer those questions in this episode of Feed Your Brand! Email is one avenue to get in touch and connect with your audience. But it would be best if you had the right strategy and structure for your goals to make it work. Listen in as Tom and Tracy dive deep into the different ways you can make use of emails. Stay tuned!
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Email Marketing: Should You Use Your Podcast To Build An Email List?
We’re going to talk about if you should use your podcast or a podcast to build an email list.
If this is where we want to start with that, Tom, so I’m so glad you said that. Should you start an email list from your podcast? Should you start your podcast to build an email list? These are all questions you might want to be asking yourself at the very beginning, but that if part like, “Is this the right thing for me? Should I be doing this,” is a question because most people don’t have the system set up to take advantage of an email list, even if they had one.
It’s one of those things that just because you build it doesn’t mean they’re going to come, going back to the field of dreams.
You get a list, but you don’t know what to do with the list. That’s a common problem. There’s also the common problem of you building all these systems and processes and then you don’t get any emails into your list too. It does go both ways, even if you don’t want to spend the money or time because it does take a lot of time to build the email systems. Believe me, I’ve done nothing but write emails. I’ve written 100 emails in 3 months for events, announcements and campaigns that we’re doing that are advertising email follow-ups. I proofed and edited them on top of writing them. It’s a lot of work.
It’s not something you can completely subcontract out because you have to have input into it. If you think, “I’m going to hire a writer and they’re going to write everything,” it’s going to sound generic if you don’t add your flavor in there. Either you have to go in and edit them or spend time on the phone with them and get through that so they understand you and they can create a better email, to begin with. It’s time-consuming. If you don’t want to spend the time and money in the beginning, at least understand what it’s going to look like. How are you going to use it? What’s the path going to be? From the moment you get someone into your email list, what are you going to do with it?
To add to your if, I believe and have experienced that a podcast is a great way to build an email list if you have something of value to provide the listener in exchange for trading that email. If you say, “My email is,” what email is going to be bringing them later? Why do they want to be a part of the email list? You can be a little more cagey about it and say, “I’m giving you this thing of value. You have to fill out this little form and then download it.” You’re getting their name, phone number, email and contact information in general. They’re opting in to be contacted by you. That can work too.
You got to think, what is that thing of value? Do you have one? If you have one, great. If not, you got to create one that you’re going to trade to get that contact information or you have something you’re going to be doing on an ongoing basis in the future. You’re going to be reaching out to them to provide them with some value and information. What is that going to be?Podcast is a great way to build an email list if you have something of value to provide the listener in exchange for trading that email. Click To Tweet
Let’s think of this very carefully. “It sounds so great to have an email list. Wouldn’t it be great if I had a 10,000 and people always asking me, ‘When you want to be a guest on a podcast? How big is your email list?’” They want that reach. The reality is I’ve had people who have hundreds of thousands of people on their email list and it’s a useless list at the end of the day.
The bigger it is, the worse the conversion rate is. Email rates for conversion in 2021 are averaged at 1.2%. That’s horrendously bad. That means 1 out of every 100 makes a contact point back with you. Granted, it might be a sale if that’s what you’re offering and that might be worth it to do 1 out of every 100, but for my efforts, I want to see at least 10X that.
Those stats that you were sharing about conversion rates to an email list are general conversions to a broad and an unqualified email list the more that you have an email list that is qualified. Here’s where an email list is derived from your podcast. Listeners might be a very qualified list that would have a higher conversion rate.
Many podcasters are not podcast listeners. You don’t have the perspective of what a subscriber and listener are. As a subscriber and a listener to a podcast, I don’t need your email list because I’ve got auto-notifications built-in to the selection that I’ve made by choosing your podcast. I know when you’re posting stuff. If I listen to your episode, I know when there might be something on your website I want to go consume. I’ve got all the notifications I need there.
Unless you create it for me to leave that passive subscription and notification model, there’s very little incentive. Why would I want to inundate my email? I hope that people I’m subscribed to don’t realize this. I hope they’re not reading this, but they probably are, but when I subscribed to email lists out there, I don’t give you a real email address that I check all the time. I have one that’s for the newsletters. I do that so that I can be informed if I choose to, but I put it all into an Unroll.me, which we have talked about on The Next Little Thing so you could read our episode about that specific tool.
We use that one because we want to make sure that we’re staying in the loop on these things but I don’t want to consume them and inundate my email list. I’m not getting anything promptly. I have to still choose to go in there. That’s the way a lot of people treat their email. I have an email address that I give out to anyone because I wanted this one thing and they’re not converting on it because they’re not seeing anything there. That’s why we have such low open rates and conversion rates on emails.
That’s why it’s important to have something of real value to trade that listener of your show to give you the real email address, their best contact email, the one where they want to be receiving your message.
Driving them off of the podcast and onto your website where your email address is captured, is critically important. What is that and what that’s going to be? When we did our 3D Printing Podcast, we used to send them to see videos they could only see on our website. Keep in mind that YouTube was not as big as it is so most people will go to YouTube and check out the video. That may not be a real driver but we had exclusive content that was only on the website. They would come in and there’d be an email opt-in there. The reality is we captured email addresses. We didn’t even like email. We didn’t know what we were going to do with them. We didn’t have any purpose for it.
They did come and subscribe, but we didn’t have anything more for them. They were subscribing anyway, which was interesting to us. We didn’t know why because they could be subscribing to the podcast, but they were doing it. We never did think through what we were going to do with them. I still had the list of over 1,000 people on that list before I decided we were going to shut down the capture list because I didn’t know what to do with it. It was in everybody’s space when you came to the website. I was like, “I don’t want something that obtrusive.” We took it out. That was it. What are you going to do to drive them to that? There’s going to be something valuable.
I recommend something different every time because then you’ll find out what’s tracking for you. If you’re going to do an episode, make it episode-related, topic-related, contextual to what’s happening on that episode so that you’re offering them something unique. You’re like, “I have a white paper on this topic and a video that might help explain this. I’m talking about some advanced things but this is one-on-one for you. There’s an explainer in the blog post for this episode.”
It is the way we always say, “In the blog post for this episode, you’ll find.” In that way, you’re embedding it clearly and distinctly. If you’re doing something with a guest who might want to make offers from those guests, you’d have the guest thing as your offer, which is also driving them to your website. Don’t let them go to the guest’s website to get it. Make them put it on your website as a download from your site.
It makes sense because they’re your listeners and the way you can pitch that to your guests is they trust you. They’re more likely to engage and trade their information for that thing of value on your website than to go to the guest’s website, which they heard for the first time on this episode.
You do need to be clear if you’re sharing this with that guest as well. If you’re going to share those emails, make sure you’re disclosing that because, by law, you have to. Those are emails that you’re sharing with. If you’re only sharing a particular thing, you can note that right above before there’s the opt-in for it. You can note it right there in the blog post. That’s a great way. Making it contextual is more likely to get your subscribers to take action.
If it’s something repetitive again and again that they heard, maybe they got it once and there was nothing else after that. You get them to realize you don’t have enough value if you do it in that repetitive way. Another option is to not put it if you’re offering the same thing but not put it in every episode. Only offer it once a month in your episode, so once every four episodes. Keeping it down in what you’re offering will help create this eliteness, exclusivity and drive more people to the website to get it at that time.
Some people have a public podcast and then also have a membership community on their website, some more exclusive content for people behind the gate. That can be another way to capture people, get their email and become a part of your community. You’ve got to have that community built out first. What are those things of value that are behind it?
Are they enough value that your listeners will take the time to get off their app and move to you to go do? What do you have that is going to make them get off the app and join you? Here’s the other thing that I want to remind you. There are a lot of you out there who are using your guesting strategies. You use guest interviews to track the right people that you want on your list. Here’s what I do. When someone is coming on my show as a guest, not only do I send them emails, asking them to subscribe, rate, review and do all of that but I send a reminder in there that they can’t unsubscribe from this email because if they do, they won’t get the notifications about future updates to their show.You have to have a compelling value. If you don't know what that's going to be from the beginning, don't spend a ton of money to set up the systems, try to figure it out, test, and do things. Click To Tweet
In other words, I offer them an article, BuzzFeed mention or feature where they might be in my top best lists when I do 100 or 200 episodes. They stay subscribed to my list that is specifically for guests. I have a sub-list for guests. I don’t inundate them with emails. I make sure that I only send them the most important emails that are going out for the company as a whole. They’re not funneled, but they’re in there and they will get the biggest announcements.
When that happens, they’re not unsubscribing from my list. They stay on my list for years because they want to make sure that the next time something happens and they get publicity or their episode gets mentioned along with my show, they’re getting that. I do that because I drip it out over time. I have them on my show. The show comes out. They get the guest’s notification email that says, “You were on my show. Here’s the link to the show, the episode blog post.” You get all of that. About 2 to 4 weeks later, somewhere in there, they get an announcement that they were featured in Authority Magazine.
They’re getting that second email again that says I haven’t sent them out any emails. There are strict rules until the third email goes out, which tells them that they got a BuzzFeed mention, in my top list or favorites. Until the third email goes out, they don’t get any of the more standard messages that might happen at any given time. Even then, they won’t get more than one message a month at that point. There’s a restriction on how I use that list, but I can tell you they don’t unsubscribe ever.
When I do reach out to them and mention something or tell them about something that they may not have heard of, make an announcement, they email back. My open rate is well over 60% on that email. That’s a way to live high-value service. Make sure you keep that exclusivity and gentle treatment, which I believe is important, like that high-level, high-value, I-value-you treatment to that particular segment of your email list. That can be very valuable for you as well.
The real trick is you do have to figure out what’s in it for the listener. What is the compelling reason they’re going to want to give you their email to be added to your list and trade that to get something of value? That’s what it’s all about. The title of this is Should You Use Your Podcast To Build An Email List? That’s true but what’s critical to that is it’s less about building the list. That’s mechanically the easy part. Have calls to action, offers of one kind, another mention in your podcasts, sidebar things in your blog post or website or pop-ups. There are different ways to mechanically get the list to be built. What’s that compelling why that people are going to want to do it? They don’t feel like they’re being forced to and then they’re going to give you that junk email that you give for Netflix.
We use Netflix every day. You got to talk about the ones you don’t consume that you passively give one. I don’t have my real email address on Spotify because I don’t want them to monitor me. That’s a choice you make for somebody that you don’t think brings you value at the end of the day. Do I do that to Goodpods? No. I love Goodpods. It’s one of my favorite. They have my real email address. When the messages come out, I see them.
For those of you that don’t remember, Goodpods is a podcast listening app.
It’s run by JJ Ramberg and her brother. I love their mission. Their mission is around independent podcasters and they give independent podcasters exposure. If you’re not already on the app, you should be because if you’re syndicated to Apple, you should automatically be on their app. There isn’t any work there. If you haven’t gone to log in, go ahead and do it because once you do, you can select yourself as an indie podcaster and get more visibility for your show within their app. It’s a good idea.
Let’s talk about the guesting side that I want to go back to again. I have been on some shows that treat their show as a virtual summit. They cram all the interviews into 1 day and do 10-minute interviews or less. I don’t give those people my real email address either. The reality is that there’s very little rapport and service built in such a short time. This is not a way to get to that high-elite level of connection with someone that is going to have them pay attention to what you’re sending them an email. It’s not going to happen in that short time.
I do hear podcasters talking about using it as a strategy or with their virtual summit, which they then turn into the podcast. Using it that way can backfire on you and have very little value at the end of the day. You could do an international day like International Women’s Day, International Podcast Day, International Social Media Day, but give everybody 30 minutes when you do it. Don’t shortchange them into the ten-minute model.
That gives everybody a good long time, but you can get a lot of email addresses and guests in a short time then create a lot of content. I’m not saying that model of rapid-fire creation is bad. I’m saying not giving it the time it deserves to build the rapport necessary to make sure they will open the emails later. It’s the key factor there. If you decide that email lists aren’t for you, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be driving them back to your website. There’s a whole lot of passive ways to gather email addresses and connections to people.There is no one-size-fits all marketing solution for every podcaster. It’s different for everyone and what their specific podcasting goals or business goals are. Click To Tweet
We use a super simple program called GetEmails. It can get pricey if you end up with a lot of traffic to your site in terms of what it’s gathering. It’s collecting emails, matching them up to social media. It’s like pixeling. For those of you who haven’t heard it, you create a code that you put on your website that’s called a pixel. It allows you to track them from your website to Facebook and other things. Apple is shutting a lot of that connection down and we’ve seen a big detriment to the connection traffic through to social media.
Facebook and Instagram have seen a hit and a couple of others. We haven’t seen it in the numbers shown for LinkedIn and Twitter for some weird reason. I don’t know why that is. They haven’t seen a negative effect on those, even though there are lots of people who are on Twitter on Apple devices, but that has occurred. Keep in mind that that is also decreasing in value. However, it’s there. You can have a way to track and understand who your listeners are from that standpoint.
Think about it this way. If I don’t want to have an email program because I don’t think this is right for what I do, who I am and how I work, I might want to have something like a Google-style pixel on my website. I’m tracking those emails, maybe through GetEmails, matching them up with their Google accounts to find them. I could then serve them YouTube ads that might be a slightly longer tailor, recommend videos to them, do advertisements in other ways to help get more viewers to my show and then eventually more listeners to my podcast or more business for my business. All of those methods could be good.
It’s a passive gathering of that information. In other words, you’re not building a list and then emailing out to those lists. They should know they’re being tracked. If they don’t, they haven’t figured out how to use their phone or computer settings. What you’re doing is simply matching that email address up so that you can follow them in other places around the internet. We’ve all seen that happen when we Google something and then ads pop up to things we recently searched. That’s a way you can also use, but you still got to drive them off your show and into your website for that to happen because their listening patterns don’t make a difference.
For those of you who haven’t started a show out there, I want to make sure to get this through your head. There are no email addresses or direct connection to any subscriber of your show from Apple, Spotify or any app unless that app allows the direct interaction between the listener and you. There are a few like Goodpods that allow that, but I have to subscribe, listen to one of your episodes and share that I’m listening for you to know that I’m doing that. All of that requires an active step for all subscribers and listeners to interact with you. In some way, shape or form, you got to give them some value to encourage them to do those active things.
What else do we have here?
That was pretty much it. We hashed out emails. It’s the bane of our business existence. It’s the fact that we have thousands of emails in our email inboxes, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not valuable information conveyed that way. It’s, “How do I get up to the attention point of the person who’s receiving that email so that they will open it and interact with me?” Eventually, they’ll activate into sales, connections or whatever it is that you’re looking for. The compelling value has to be there. If you don’t know what that’s going to be from the beginning, don’t spend a ton of money setting up the systems. Try to figure it out. Test and do things. That’s a great part about podcasts. I can test one week a lead magnet and the next week, try something different.
There is not a one size fits all solution for everybody. It is different for everyone and what their specific podcasting or business goals are. Certainly, we all want more listeners. Once we have them, we may want to have them in our list and database. They’d probably be very willing to be in your list if there was a compelling reason why.
I’ve got a great example though, that I want to give you. There’s a woman who runs a podcast. She does it under an anonymous name. It is a podcast for alcoholics. It’s an alcohol anon-style podcast. You’re talking about addictions and those things. All her guests are anonymous. She’s anonymous. She’s got thousands of episodes. If you want more from her, you can subscribe to her membership area for a very low $9 a month. What she does is she organizes them.
If you’re new to the Twelve-Step process, you can go in there and she gives you the top lists. She organizes all of her thousand episodes into these special playlists for different things that happen to you. It might be death in your family, pandemic, addiction or whatever those things that you’re struggling with. She’s got the answer for you here and it cost you $9 a month to get organized. You can consume podcasts but try to go through 1,000 episodes and pick all the good ones. She’s done it for you.
There is no way with 1,000 episodes. They could get through it in a month and they’re going to stay subscribed. She brings them special meditations, pops in, gives some special videos and stuff that doesn’t happen on a podcast. She has a great long-term subscriber rate because she’s always bringing them value there. It wasn’t a lot of effort to put together. It’s simply a gated area with a pay gate and an organizational tool once you’re in there like tabs. That’s it. It’s super simple to create and maintain an add to but a high value to her listeners.
That’s a good example of a paid program that when people are going to pay for something, you have to collect their email because you have to contact them for a subscription. You could do it as an unpaid value-added thing if it’s worth it to you to do it. Building that email list is more important than generating revenue from people being a part of the membership site.
There are so many different ways to do this and accomplish it. It depends more on your goals, needs and what you’re looking to do with that email list. It’s not that hard to build one as long as you’ve got the plan for how you’re going to execute the value you’re going to provide. You’re going to follow up and deliver on that. Use your podcast. Build a list. That’s pretty straightforward.
Tom, this is a great time for us to say, you can find us at Podetize.com. That’s where the Feed Your Brand podcast is located. There are blog posts for every episode. There are links to everything we talked about here. If you want to find out how to enroll with GetEmails, Unroll.me or any of those things that we mentioned on the show, they’re going to be bullet points down at the bottom of the episode and you’ll be able to scroll right down and connect onto those. We don’t do any tracking on those things. We don’t get any money from GetEmails or Unroll.me. We recommend them to you because we know they work and we feel like more people could get use out of them. That’s what we do.
We were speaking from experience with them when we mentioned those things. We use them.
We don’t mention anything we haven’t tried without disclosing that to you.
We would tell you we hear it’s good, but we haven’t done it ourselves.
Our goal is to research and test things for you. That’s always where you can find everything. If you want to find all of our episodes, it’s on the Podetize.com website. We’re working towards segmenting the Feed Your Brand podcasts into five different mini-shows within that that will be available over the website so that you’ll be able to easily go to the area.
Are you looking for marketing, guesting information or one-on-one because you want to start your show? They’ll all be together because we muddled the thing in the podcast. We record different things all the time. There’s variety for the listeners, but it might not be good if you’re going to try to do one thing. That’s what we’ve got for you and ours is free.
Thanks for reading. We’ll be back next time with another valuable episode.