The Subtle (But Destructive) Dangers of Over-Optimizing Your Podcast Marketing

By Jeremy Enns

By Jeremy Enns

By Jeremy Enns

I don’t remember many of the details about the first paid product I ever offered as a creator.

But I know for a fact that the purchase button was green.

Aside from the button colour, I recall three other specifics:

  • It was 2016
  • The product was a podcast gear guide ebook I offered for $17
  • And I was listening to a ton of podcasts about online marketing at the time

In fact, over the previous year, I’d listened to more than 50 hours of podcasts at 2x speed every single week.

Despite my discomfort with and reluctance toward marketing at the time, I was steeped in it.

The reason was that I was sure it was my biggest deficiency.

The one piece missing from my business that was standing between me and more followers, more email subscribers, and more sales.

And so I indiscriminately sucked up any and every marketing tip, tactic, tool, and strategy I could find, Frankensteining together what I hoped would be an airtight marketing system.

Hence the green button.

I don’t remember the show, but I distinctly remember listening to multiple episodes about the role of colour psychology in marketing…

After which I promptly changed all my CTA buttons to green (a colour that encourages action!), certain that this would help me get more sales and email sign-ups.

In addition to the green buttons, I made sure to litter my copy with every “magic word” I’d been promised would help convince potential customers to buy, ensured the price ended in a “7”, and created multiple landing pages for my ebook to split test.

Despite my extensive conversion rate optimization efforts, however, there were a couple of problems.

My first problem was that I had no traffic to my website, and no plan in place to get any… which meant no one was even seeing my painstakingly crafted sales page to begin with.

Secondly, I had no existing audience with whom I’d built a relationship and a reputation of quality and reliability.

Finally, if I’m being honest, the product just wasn’t that good.

It would have been a solid free lead magnet, but in hindsight, it was hard to justify charging even the $17 I was asking for it.

In short, for all the micro details I had laboured to address, I had completely missed the macro view of what makes for an effective marketing system.

I know I’m not alone in this oversight.

Time and time again, I see podcast creators obsessing over marketing tools, tactics, and trends in the hope of growing their shows while ignoring the bigger questions that ultimately determine the success of a marketing strategy.

Questions like who specifically is your show the best show in the world for?

Why should they care?

What will the show do for them?

Why are you the right person to create it?

Why should they trust you?

Why choose your show over other similar shows?

And maybe most importantly: Is the show really, honestly good enough?

Good enough for people to spend their time listening to it instead of engaging with any of the countless millions of other podcasts, YouTube channels, blogs, newsletters, social accounts, TV shows, and movies, all of which are always just a click away and begging for attention.

The marketing tactics, tools, and hacks have their place.

But that place is when you have traction and are operating at scale.

When you get a million page views a month, one small tweak to the colour of a button or one word in your copy might add up to thousands of dollars in additional sales.

But until then, if you’re chasing tactics, you’re wasting your time.

Focus on the things that matter.

Build the best show in the world for an uncomfortably specific group of people.

Then do the manual, unscalable legwork to get in front of them and tell them about it.

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