Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard are going to share why they use the rule of three when measuring Podcast Marketing ROI. Because how do you measure the ROI of your intangibles for your podcast? How do you measure how many listeners you have, and what’s actually making them come back? And are you just going to quit if you don’t get the numbers you want? These are some of the questions you should be asking right off the bat if you want to see success. Tune in so you can understand how to measure your success.
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Why Do We Use The Rule Of Three As A Measure Of Podcast Marketing ROI?
In this episode, we are going to talk about the rule of three. It’s our rule of three for assessing how to measure marketing ROI in particular about your podcast. Tracy, why don’t you take it from there because I know this is your brainchild.
Periodically throughout the year, I will check our ROI on things. Sometimes when we start something brand new, I usually give it six months, and then I check the return on investment. I have a preconceived notion of where I think the value is going to lie. What I don’t do when I start something brand new when I don’t have an experience with it or it’s not already something we have done like when we first started podcasting. It is a great example. Six months in, I set a return on investment and an internal review for myself to see where things are.
I’m using a premise or a hypothesis of where I think the value is going to lie. It might not be that. I do have to do some investigation to determine what that return on investment was over the last six months because I might be wrong. Just because I said, “I want my podcast to have 10,000 listeners in 6 months,” and it doesn’t achieve that, it doesn’t mean I should quit because my hypothesis might have been wrong about where the value be. We joke about, “Throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” this common term. Very often people say, “This is what I want from podcasting. This is what I want from my marketing.” When it doesn’t happen, they quit.
They don’t realize even though that one thing that they wanted may not be what they got. There may still be tremendous value in what they are doing. They didn’t realize that value was going to present itself in a different way.
There are these people who have a clear outcome in mind. When it doesn’t achieve the outcome, they are done. They are decision-makers and go, “I’m done. I’m not doing this. It’s a waste of my time. I didn’t get what I wanted from it.” When they throw that out, sometimes they throw out something that could be the key to getting them what they wanted. It isn’t doing it in the path they imagined or as directly as they imagined. That’s why I have my rule of three. It’s specifically related to return on investment for something new, or something that is difficult to measure like marketing, because sometimes marketing, branding marketing, and all of those things are not always clear cut if they clicked the link and bot. Not everything comes from that. That’s maybe 1% of it.
It is the same thing with listeners. Not everything is clear, “If I have a podcast listener, I sell a product right or a service.” It doesn’t necessarily not a straight line. That doesn’t mean that my podcast listeners aren’t buying. It’s not a clear-cut link because I can’t clearly identify the listener to this purchase. That’s why we look at this. My rule of three is simply this. There needs to be one tangible return on investment, something I can measure. That’s why I call it tangible. It doesn’t necessarily have to be what I thought I should measure, but it does have to be something that is measurable.
It could be a growth measurement over time. It doesn’t have to be a specific number that I hit, but it has to be something that I can measure over time, I could look at from that point forward on maybe a monthly basis, 90 days or whatever it is, I will determine that metric, but it has to be measurable. Two things that I consider to be personally fulfilling, but not necessarily tangible are intangible. I look at it from that perspective because at the end of the day, doing Facebook Lives, podcast, or whatever it is in marketing that I want that I’m doing, it’s an effort it’s costly and time-consuming, all of those things will happen.
If there’s not something personally fulfilling for it or it doesn’t fill a need for me, I won’t stick with it. That’s why I measure those other two things. Hopefully, they do have some outcome measurement at the end of the day. For me, networking is a huge, fulfilling thing. I love people. I’m an extrovert. I’d love to be around people. I love to interview them. I love to connect with them. Over the last few years, I’m not doing that live and in person as much.
Getting it through my podcast has been personally important to me. The fact that I have created better relationships each year as I have gone through my podcast, and I’m refining the right type of people that I want to connect with, all of that is occurring in this great ecosystem of a network that I building through that says that this is not only intangible and personally fulfilling, but it’s now measurable. I have turned it into something tangible. How many of my guests from 2022 have become clients and or partners? It’s high compared year over year.
This is why it’s important. I know you talked about it as one tangible and maybe too intangible. That’s one way to look at it. The way I sort of see this may happen for most people, and what I think has happened for us time and time again with different podcasts and businesses we have had even before Podetize is that may all be tangible, but may not have been the ones you were expecting. You couldn’t have predicted it. Maybe that’s why you are calling it intangible. Think it could be a tangible, measurable result, not just the one you expected.
It may be less direct. In the beginning, I got a lot of speaking engagements from our podcast. Speaking engagements are not a direct path. I didn’t get a listener who bought from us. I got a speaking engagement where I might get someone in the audience who then buys from us. It’s a little less direct. That’s why it’s harder to have a more direct measurement to it. It doesn’t mean I can’t measure the number of speaking engagements I got from that. It doesn’t mean there’s not something measurable. At the end of the day, those speaking engagements are very personally fulfilling, and the results from them have built our business. Those things happen. I got my Inc. column from my podcasts.
You didn’t see that coming.
I couldn’t have predicted that was going to be something, but then I wrote 400 articles from Inc. Magazine. I didn’t get a single click-through sale that I can attribute to Inc. Magazine, but did Inc Magazine make it easier to close clients? Absolutely. Did it get me speaking engagements that close clients? Absolutely. It still gets me people who will connect with me on LinkedIn, because it says in columnist in my profile title. That’s it. It has huge indirect benefits, but it’s not something that I could have set out and said, “That’s my goal for doing a podcast.”
This reminds me of something which is an often misunderstood part of the podcast. This isn’t directly what you are talking about, but I do think it’s related. It’s worth mentioning because I was speaking with a new podcaster which is they were not wanting to have what they thought were some of their better guests on the very first few episodes because they thought well, “I don’t have an audience yet. They don’t want to be on my first few episodes because they want to know that I have a big audience.” I’m like, “No, you are thinking about this in the wrong way. Your early opportunities, you don’t undersell that. Don’t hide or try to apologize for the fact that you don’t have an audience yet. Do your guests who are going to be on anywhere in your first 10 or 12 episodes or more.”
That’s a unique opportunity for them. I say, “You want to sell that as they can be one of your premier guests on your show, being one of your premier episodes because historically what happens even when you are 50 or 100 episodes down the road, people are going to listen to your latest episode or to decide if they like it. They almost always go back and listen to the early episodes at least the first 10 or 12, then they may skip ahead.” You have some in there that maybe not everybody will listen to. Statistically, when we look at the download stats of every show, the earliest episodes have more downloads per episode than any other.
It always happens. There’s always a spike somewhere in between. You might get a great guest, and you get a spike in there. The first ten episodes typically have the highest listener base out of all shows.
That is one way that a lot of people start to assess. They say, “I want to look at how many downloads my show is getting. How many people are listening to my episodes or downloading them?” If you are not able to assess play through. They think in that 1st or 2nd month, “My early episodes, I’m not setting the world on fire.” In the very beginning, you may feel that way. You have got to give it time and look at it from a different perspective down the road a couple of months then eventually, you will see. This happens that about every show. As long as you stick with it, shows that podfade after doesn’t even get the twenty episodes, you can’t evaluate that for very much. If you stick with it past 25 episodes, you get to 50 and beyond. You are going to see this as this is almost universally true.
When we look at the return on investment for podcasting, specifically, we have some key areas that we know are pretty common for most people to achieve. There are what we call authority values, authority return on investments, and me getting more speaking engagements. Those are less direct, but authority return on investments. Growing your website is that authority. If you are getting more keywords and organic traffic, you are getting all of those, that’s an authority builder, what we call domain, web, or online authority, you are getting that. That matters. You are not getting it if you are not doing the blog side of it. I’m going to be clear.
Just because you are podcasting, it doesn’t give you website authority. It doesn’t happen. If you are doing all of it, you are getting it there. That’s something that you want to watch. You want to keep it. That’s why we put that stat into our Podetize ecosystem because we wanted people to be able to watch the value that they were creating because it wasn’t always front of mind for podcasters. We think of listeners as the number one metric. Listeners are not the number one metric across it. I have never seen a show where having more listeners got them more. Having the right listeners get some more every single time. More doesn’t make more. That is a huge difference. I see shows with 50 listeners, do better than 50,000 listeners.
It depends on what your goals are for your marketing, which your podcast is one piece of. Fifty listeners may not be viewed as a success by some people, but 500,000 listeners may also not be a success for some people. It depends. Don’t get me wrong. A larger number of listeners is usually the goal for most podcasters. No question. There are lots of good things that come from that. All we are saying is, for most people that are podcasting in service to their business or to market and grow their brand, the listener is only one piece of the puzzle and usually is less beneficial from a tangible perspective than the web traffic that results from your podcast, if you do it correctly. That web traffic leads to more listeners, but you get the web traffic first in most cases.
Web traffic grows, and then the listener base grows. That’s how it typically goes because somebody asked to find out about your show the listening apps stink at it.
They are bad search engines. As much as we optimize every new show we launched for that so that it comes up in as many searches, there are always going to be more people searching on Google first and it’s a much much better search engine that will have people find your podcast than even Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or any of the listening apps are right. That’s unfortunate in this industry. It could be better.
Authority is the number one measurement that I say most people will get first. They get more, but that’s the first thing that you will see growth if you are doing it right. If you have got a good show, you are right in your niche, and your brand is on message with the audience that you are trying to seek. If you get that right, the authority growth will happen first. That’s the easiest return on investment. There are lots of measurements. You can take guess that. You can measure web traffic, speaking events, and things that are related to that authority growth.
You should see listener growth at a consistent pace. Follow up at some point after 25 episodes. It will be inconsistent prior to 25 episodes. Beyond 25 episodes, you should see some growth trajectory that you can measure. I don’t even want to go into why I said 25 episodes. We did a whole episode on that at some point. We talked about the magic number 25 episodes. If we haven’t, we are going to do it.
It is critical. The point is, you can’t dip your toe in the water of podcasting and expect to measure success. You have got to commit to doing this for a period of time because the benefits build on each other. Not only in listenership and audience growth but all the other benefits that come from this content marketing that you are doing, which is what it is.
Authority happens first. The second thing that happens is in the business growth side of things, “Are my leads more qualified? Are my leads closing faster?” These are the things that will happen before you say more leads. Everybody wants more leads, and they are trying to put that first in the whole ecosystem, but you haven’t earned the right yet. You haven’t gotten through the trust factors. You haven’t built the authority or to the stage where more leads lead to more anyway. You are not there yet.
We look at that conversion thing like the qualifications of the leads, “Are they more qualified? Are they converting faster into a sale so I have a less conversations with them?” Those are the second set that we have, then we see more. That’s the third thing. Sometimes it takes a year and a half before we are measuring them more. That’s why I like to look at them in 6 months or 1-year chunks, whatever it is, depending on the pace of which you are podcasting.
For us when we started podcasting, we were podcasting five days a week. We could have an earlier review of these things and have them quarterly and that’s what we did. When you are only doing one a week or anything like that, you can’t do a review more than every six months because there’s not enough of a shift in authority, trust, and what’s happening with your listener base, until you hit 25, 50, or 100 episodes. You got to hit those metrics.
It takes a little longer to move the needle, and it is a marathon, not a sprint. What you said there was true. 25 or 50 episodes, whatever period of time that’s over, it doesn’t matter as much, but those are good benchmarks for a volume of content to move the needle in measurable tangible ways so that you can evaluate.
I look at this not just in my podcast, but we do this review every six months on social media as well. Our social media marketing is that. I measure something new different than I measure something that we have been doing and established for a while. If I’m brand-new to TikTok, my measurements for TikTok have a lot more of those two intangible items like, “Am I having fun doing this?” Is it having some indirect benefit like I’m getting some new blood or the different types of people into our funnel that we can experience? Have conversations with them. Start to learn how to message to them. Find out if they are right or wrong.
That might be an intangible type. It’s measurable, but it may not be measurable from the moment that I discovered that it’s my thing. TikTok is one thing. Twitter is another. We quit Twitter from a lot of active standpoints years ago. It’s the happiest place I have ever been. Not having to actively post on Twitter made me happy. I never go into it. I never respond to anything. I don’t have to. It took us two years to discover that our audience wasn’t there. It seemed like it was.Listeners are not the number one metric. Having more listeners in your podcast doesn't always get you more. Click To Tweet
There was activity going on. When you evaluated that activity, was it producing a tangible benefit for us? Our determination was no. This is very important. Everybody needs to determine for themselves. That’s why there are tangible and intangible things to measure here and to evaluate to assess your ROI.
Direct or indirect, you can think of them that way.
I’m going to give you a couple of examples because all these have come up with customers we have. For some of them, the tangibles and the benefits are. Their podcast is a content marketing machine for their website. Their keyword rankings have grown steadily. I have one that I was reviewing which climbed over 10,000 keyword rankings on their website. Some of these keyword rankings any entrepreneur business owner would kill for. It all comes from the podcast content. There’s no other content on the website that’s being created. That’s leading to over 20,000 unique visitors to the website every month. That’s success for one type of individual.
Another one has a Facebook group that is the key to their lead generation and success 14,000 people in this group and grown by 200 members per week. That’s another way that they are measuring success from all the content they are creating. Other people have LinkedIn and they are getting more connections there. LinkedIn is where they are wanting to do the most engagement. The content they are putting out through the podcast is going out on LinkedIn and leading to more people connecting with them.
Everybody has a different way of measuring it. All we are suggesting is you keep an open mind. Keep your eyes open. Have some goals. Have some things you want to look at and measure. Be looking at these other things and decide before you assess, “The podcast is working for me, or it’s not working for me, maybe I should put a bullet in this thing and be done with it.” Before you do that, make sure you are looking at all of the tangent measurements and benefits. They may not realize that.
That’s why I assign a couple of personal ones because I personally dislike doing lives. I love being here for all of you, doing this live and live-streaming it. That’s no problem. This idea that I got to pop on to TikTok and do a 30-second live, I cringe at it. Am I going to go into that? Am I going to be consistent about it? It’s not going to work for me. Now I have to come up with a model that can because it’s not going to happen. It’s not going to stay consistent. Understanding those as well and what’s personally driving you is like, “I have to create content for my website.” I hear that from people. “I got to write an article.” You don’t.
Many people come to us, even if they don’t have a podcast. They are like, “I have all these videos I have been doing, all these live streams, and video content and it’s still relevant today.” Those should all be podcast episodes and should be a blog on your website. If it is done in the right way, you can repurpose all of them. You don’t necessarily have to do more work.
If this isn’t working for you, personally, it’s not going to work out in the end, and then you will lose your direct tangible benefit. Figure that out. That’s why measuring that early on, coming up with that, and maybe diving deeper into that. If my network matters to me, which I told you it does, then I need to dive deeper and maybe develop some greater criteria moving forward into the next six months to get even better people on my show. To tie that in, dial it in, refine it, and make it even better for me. When I figure out what’s working for me, I need to double down on that and try that for the next six months and see if I can make that even better for me because that’s going to keep me going.
That is going to then keep my tangible benefit moving for me and keep it happening. I’m not going to lose momentum and interest. That’s why I tie them together. The reality is that look we get busy. That’s why I say two personal benefits. My first one is building a network. I love that. It’s why I won’t give up The Binge Factor. I love getting to have time with Tom and have some mindshare about our ideas on a marketplace.
This helps us refine our advice to our clients and do all of that. If I don’t get to have the opportunity to have these conversations with Tom, then it’s not going to happen because we don’t have time outside of making time during this part of the week to do that. Us building this episode or a coaching call for you, in preparing for that, that’s our time to get our minds shared in the same place for the business. It’s critical to the growth of the business, but it’s also something that is one of my favorite things, to do to have mindshare with Tom. This is what we do well together.
It is one of the things that we do well together. That’s why we are not only been married as long as we have, but we have been working together for many years, and we haven’t killed each other yet. It’s because we both feed off of this mindshare in picking out what works and innovating on that to help other people benefit from it. Even on New Year’s Day, we spent half the day talking about these sorts of things and brainstorming because it was a day when there wasn’t a lot of work going on and not a lot of meetings.
That’s rare in our normal week that we have had to carve out the time for that. That’s why I can say not enough of our clients show up on these calls. If we measured it in how many people showed up on the calls, if we use that, we would never have a coaching call, but there are three reasons we keep the coaching call if we look at the return on investment. The clients that we have that show up on this call succeed more and refer more people than the rest of our client base.Keep an open mind. Keep your eyes open. Have some goals. Have some things you want to look at and measure. Click To Tweet
From that, it’s like getting to help the early adopters, fast movers, and high refers. Making that happen has a bottom-line benefit for us. Even though it’s small, they are the ones that do the most for us. Some of them are our longest podcasters like Scott Carson. They have been podcasting with us the longest. They stick around longevity. It’s a great part of the sales process. When we say we have live calls and live assistants, even though they don’t show up to it, it is a driver for them to choose us as a hosting company over another one. That doesn’t even have a phone number.
That’s true. For readers, even if you host with us, you don’t have to do the more costly done for your production. Just host on Podetize, you get to be a part of these calls live and get it first. The other reason is we do this for a portion of our weekly client coaching call. We are recording an episode of our episode.
Building blog and our domain authority. Our growth rate is significantly high and there is no reason for us to stop that. If we had to set time to sit down and write a blog, it would never happen. If we hired somebody to write it for us, and it wasn’t in our viewpoint, and then our voice, it wouldn’t also be expressing and helping to close people faster through the sales process because everything about how we approach our business, podcasting and how we assist you are right there on our website. Anyone could consume that and learn it. They got to go the long way, read or listen to it all. It’s a lot more work.
We also have a good text search database function among all that content. If there was something specific you are looking for, you don’t have to go hunt through one zillion blogs. You click on one of them. There’s a nice search bar. It’s well done. You can look for, “Have they recorded something about this? Have they talked about that?” You will find it.
That piece of it is not intangible. There’s a measurement on that, but the fact that we are constantly filling that is the intangible part. Doing it consistently and constantly is rewarded by the digital authority system. Us making sure that happens is critical. Too often when a company gets to the size that we are, the people who have the viewpoint, brand, messaging, and knowledge aren’t participating in the process anymore and it drops off a cliff. The mere fact that we are participating in the process and we are forming new collaborative ideas is intangible that we get from that is keeping us so that we are serving our clients today, not with stuff that we learned yesterday.
That’s why we have a rule of three and how we review everything that we do. The beginning of the year is exactly when we do rethink everything that we do and make some decisions because we cannot do it all. We cannot do every single social media platform at 100%. It’s not possible. We need to make sure that we are deciding where our time is being best spent and where it should be best spent moving forward. As we refine this down, we share this with all of our clients. We tell them what we have chosen to do and the changes we have made.
I have a meeting with our social media team and we are going to look at measurements. We are doing something right on Instagram. I almost gave up on it in 2022. My team talked me into the intangible to the fact that something was going on and now we are seeing some engagement that we have never seen before. We are going to analyze that. We are going to figure out what it is so we can share it with the community and let you know what we are doing right finally on Instagram. It might not be us at all. It might be something that shifted in Instagram that is now working for us.
Something to remember is because you cut it out and gave up on something doesn’t mean that you might not want to go back and do an experiment again. I’m about to go back and do an experiment with Twitter spaces, not with Twitter because it fits into the live stream model that we are going to be adopting coming forward. I’m giving Twitter a chance again. These things I think about as we talk about because I always like to do something that when I evaluate and say what’s working and what’s not, when I cut something out, I add something in that’s an experiment.
We have to keep experimenting, testing, and figuring out what’s working because it does change. Nothing lasts forever. I’m thinking in my mind, but you can even think of your podcast as a mini business, at least it is a part of most people’s businesses. We have seen businesses fail who didn’t innovate fast enough or figure out what the next thing was, and they got complacent on one thing that was working usually with social media. Facebook that was making money hand over fists for a while until Zuckerberg got hauled into congress to testify. All of a sudden, the Facebook paywall came down the way it was back many years ago. Their revenue stream got shut off overnight.
A bit of an extreme example in talking about business revenue versus marketing success with your podcast. The same thing can apply here is that not everything’s going to keep working and algorithms shift. In 2022, we were getting big into LinkedIn Newsletters. Now I still see those working. I think people are getting a lot of value out of LinkedIn Newsletters. If you have a big LinkedIn following, that’s one way you can use your podcast content to serve people and be found by new listeners, but what is going to be 2023’s Twitter space? I’m interested to see it.
We will be diving into the numbers on this, but I’m seeing a decline in LinkedIn for the first time in many years in quality results. I believe it is all due to the fact that it’s been inundated by a bunch of companies overselling LinkedIn services and too much of bots coming into the chat. Now it’s not working as much.
At our company, we may be seeing some indicators of that. I get some things we are doing on LinkedIn. We have had some indicators that things are shifting a little.Just because you cut something out and gave up on it, doesn't mean that you might not want to go back and experiment again. Click To Tweet
This is the case. We are always having to be on this and understand it. If you are not measuring or reviewing it, you are not going to be in a place where you can decide, “Is this worth my time, money, and energy?” That’s the pull point of our rule of three and marketing ROI.
Thank you for sharing. It’s your vision. I’m jumping on the bandwagon and I enjoy working with you, that mindshare, and pushing the edge of our envelope. This topic, the rule of three, you had this planned out. I’m like, “Which rule three are we talking about?” Once you told me, I’m like, “Sure. Let’s do it.” I’m glad we can share that with everyone. Hopefully, you all got some value out of it. If you are new to the show, this is the type of thing we do every episode.
We are going to be back, and going forward with some cool and interesting topics. We are trying to keep the show and this area into some of the more cool advanced things. We are going to be talking about ChatGPT and a bunch of other things coming up, things that you might be curious about and that are on the marketing side of podcasting. We found that those were working. We are going to be diving deep into some of those. Often, we will be throwing in some 101s and some things that you might need to get back to basics on because you have lost that in the process. We are going to hit on those two. Be looking for some cool new episodes coming forward.
Thanks for reading, everybody. We will be back next time with another hopefully engaging and valuable episode for you.