There’s an old saying in online marketing circles: “The money’s in the list.”
And it’s true.
An engaged email list is one of the most valuable assets you can build when it comes to selling your products and services online.
There are numerous reasons why email is so powerful when it comes to sales.
Not least of all is the ability to track engagement and segment your subscribers to present personalized, highly relevant offers to the right people at the right time.
Email is such a core part of the sales system of online businesses that one of the key metrics many of them track is the Value Per Subscriber, or, how much each subscriber is worth to their business on average.
But while the impact of email when it comes to sales is clearly understood, what’s less clear is the impact of a podcast.
If you know where and how to look, however, there are clues.
And they paint a fascinating story.
Over the past year or so, I’ve become a tad obsessed with this question.
Almost all of the people I work with produce their shows—at least in part—to grow their businesses.
Almost no one has any data to definitively demonstrate the impact of all the effort that goes into producing the show.
At best, they have some anecdotal data collected during calls with clients who offhandedly mentioned that they listened to the show.
Of course, collecting reliable data is a challenge in many aspects of podcast marketing.
As such, it’s no surprise that reliable podcast → sales conversion rate data is scant.
When it comes to investing dozens of hours a month into a marketing strategy for years at a time… personally, I want to know my investment is worth it.
So I started asking other podcast hosts, marketers, and advertisers about their experiences.
And while it took some time, data point by data point, a picture started to emerge.
And the numbers behind it were surprisingly consistent.
In fact, again and again, the people who collected this data cited podcast listener conversion rates between 4–8%.
For reference, the benchmark conversion rate for email subscribers tends to be 1–2%.
In other words…
Podcast listeners convert at a 2–8x higher rate than those subscribed to email alone.
So what does this mean for you as a host?
I see three immediate takeaways:
- It validates one of the primary reasons so many business owners start podcasts in the first place: A way to build a deep level of affinity and trust with their audience, both necessary prerequisites for making sales.
- With that in mind, it enforces my belief that the primary goal of your overall content strategy should be to get attention elsewhere… but funnel it all back to the podcast where they have a much higher chance of being nurtured into a client or customer.
- If you don’t have a solid Conversion System in place, you probably have a bunch of buyers “locked up” in your podcast.
It’s the last one that is most interesting to me.
And probably to you as well.
Let’s look at the math to see why.
Assume you have a show that averages 500 listeners/ep.
With our benchmark Podcast Conversion Rate of 4–8%, that means that right now, there are likely 20–40 listeners who are primed to sign up to work with you today.
With an offer worth $1,000, that’s $20k–$40k sitting there in your show.
With a $2,500 offer—by no means a stretch for many of the folks I work with— that’s $50k–$100k.
Plug in your listenership numbers and offer price to find out how much value might be locked up in your show.
Of course, this begs the (potentially million-dollar) question:
Assuming these listeners know you, like you, trust you, and have a problem you can help them solve… What’s keeping them from buying?
In my experience, the lack of podcast conversions comes down to a disconnect in one (or more) of three areas:
- Right offer — There’s nothing that will impact your ability to convert clients and customers more than having an ultra-compelling offer for your people. This often means experimenting with the core problem/solution promise, content conveyed, delivery method, price, and more until you get it right.
- Right messaging — Once you have the right offer (or are at least in the ballpark), you need to be able to effectively communicate who (specifically) it is for, what (specifically) it will help them achieve, and how (specifically) it will help them get there. For most of the people I work with, this is the single biggest roadblock to generating more sales.
- Right delivery mechanism — For all the power of podcasting when it comes to nurturing audiences to the point of becoming clients/customers, when it comes to making the sale, email is still an essential component to getting them across the line. To unlock the conversion potential of your show, then, you need to have a strategy to convert listeners into email subscribers where you can deliver sales-oriented CTAs in the lowest-friction environment possible.
Combined, these three components make up your show’s Conversion System, which allows you to capitalize on the affinity, trust, and goodwill you’ve spent months or years building with your audience.
Which, if you started your show to grow your business… is kinda the point.