Rubber Ducky Debugging: A Step-By-Step Exercise to Fix Your Podcast Marketing Strategy

By Jeremy Enns

By Jeremy Enns

By Jeremy Enns

There’s an old trick software developers use to identify problems with their code called Rubber Duck Debugging.

Here’s how it works:

  • The developer keeps a rubber duck on their desk and…
  • When they encounter a bit of code that isn’t working as intended—they explain each line of the code to the duck.

The idea is that by explaining each line of code out loud, the developer is forced to think through the code more critically and spot any errors—in either logic or execution.

It turns out, the same trick works to find and fix errors in our marketing strategies.

See, our marketing strategies are ridden with bugs.

These are the places where we’ve written some “code” and put it into action… but for some reason, we’re not achieving the intended result.

This bug-filled code is the default starting point for nearly every marketing strategy or tactic we ever deploy.

If we want to improve our results then, our ability to find and fix the bugs in our marketing code is essential.

Fortunately, with the help of a rubber duck, stuffed animal, or perhaps an extremely heroically patient spouse, spotting the gaps in our marketing is fairly straightforward.

How Rubber Ducky Debugging Works

The process for Rubber Duck Debugging your marketing is near-identical to that of debugging software.

  1. State the goal of a given marketing action, tactic, or strategy
  2. Explain (out loud) each of the steps that will lead to the desired result and why they will work
  3. Look for any logical gaps that might be keeping the desired result from occurring
  4. Alter your “code” where needed

We’ll look at an example in a second. But first…

Example: Debugging Your Podcast→Client Acquisition Funnel

Let’s take a common scenario in which a podcast host is looking to use their show to convert more clients or customers to their paid products and services… but isn’t having much luck.

An initial, low-resolution view of their strategy might look something like this.

Debugging Pass 1: Low Resolution

Goal: Use podcast to grow client/customer base

  • Step 1: New listener discovers podcast
  • Step 2: Listener consumes podcast episodes and gets to know, like, and trust me
  • Step 3: Listener signs up to work with me when I open up my program

So far, so good right?

This is the general, over-simplified strategy so many business coaches preach about the value of podcasting after all.

The problem is that in our example scenario, the process isn’t working.

To find out why, we need to zoom in and increase the resolution of each of our steps by explaining how and why each one of those steps functions as intended in granular detail.

With that in mind, let’s try again.

Debugging Pass 2: High Resolution

Goal: Use podcast to grow client/customer base

  • Step 1: New listener discovers podcast
    • Listener searches primary keyword in podcast app.
    • They clearly see from the title and cover art that the show is specifically designed for someone like them.
    • They click in and read the description which touches on all of their current goals and pain points as well as highlighting how the show is meaningfully different from other similar shows.
    • They scan the episode titles and immediately see one that clearly corresponds with one of those goals and/or pain points.
    • They click play on the episode.
  • Step 2: Listener consumes podcast episodes and gets to know, like, and trust me
    • The first episode they listen to is highly relevant to them and leaves them with a positive first impression.
    • They subscribe to the show and consumer more episodes, almost all of which leave them feeling good about their decision to have spent that time with my show instead of another.
    • Through my sharing of personal stories, insight, and point of view, they feel like they get to know me on a personal level and begin to see me as someone who they both genuinely like, and who is an expert in my topic.
  • Step 3: Listener signs up to work with me when I open up my program
    • Through regularly talking about my paid offers on the podcast, the listener develops an awareness of how they could potentially work with me when the time is right and begins to mull it over.
    • Leading up to the launch of my program, I start publishing episodes related to the content of the offer to subtly get listeners thinking about the specific pain points and opportunities the offer addresses as well as pre-emptively address objections
    • Through interview episodes with past clients and customers who are similar to them, they develop the confidence that I have the ability to get them results.
    • When the time comes to open up my program, the listener gets notified about the launch both through the podcast as well as an email campaign, which they receive because they’ve previously signed up to one of my lead magnets and regularly receive my newsletter.

By increasing the resolution of the strategy, a number of potential issues become immediately obvious.

But so do the potential fixes.

When you’re struggling to get results from a marketing strategy that seems to work for other people, the reason is almost always these types of small bugs in your marketing code.

Sometimes, all it takes is fixing one line of code to get everything functioning as intended.

But first, you need to find it.

Fortunately, with a little help from your favourite rubber ducky finding and fixing bugs is as simple as a waddle in the park.

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