The Internet Marketing Driver: Glenn Gabe's goal is to help marketers build powerful and measurable web marketing strategies.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Can Podcast Marketing Impact Your Business? -- A Simple Internet Marketing Case Study



I was talking with a business owner the other day about web marketing strategy and he explained an interesting story to me that recently impacted his business. It ends up his company received several leads from a place he had never thought of as a source of leads before…a podcast. His products are B2B-driven and the price point is relatively high. He pointed me to the podcast where his products and company were mentioned so I could help him evaluate the potential of the podcast marketing channel. To be specific, he wanted to know if this was an anomaly, or if could he benefit long-term from this type of marketing. He is not technically savvy and was honest that blogs, podcasts, and vodcasts were new to him.

Some initial questions I had:

1. Would he consider paid advertising (ad spend) in the future for podcasts or does he want to launch an organic WOM campaign targeting podcasts?
This changes the entire dynamic, doesn’t it? Based on my experience with both organic word of mouth and amplified word of mouth, you cannot underestimate the power and return on investment of organic WOM. Little or no ad spend with the possibility of yielding confidence in thousands of prospects from hearing about your company or product from trusted sources is a powerful mechanism. He did not pay for the mention in this particular podcast, and explained that he would like to keep it that way, so it's clear that we are now talking about organic WOM. I told him that this was a good thing and that I agreed with him. :-)

2. Who recorded the podcast and why was his product part of it?
The podcast was recorded by a group of industry experts that focus on trends in the industry and emerging products or solutions. Wonderful! They have a solid base of listeners who trust their opinions. Keep in mind that this can also be dangerous if the experts didn’t have a positive view of his product…but thankfully they did. Then I asked how they heard about the product in question. It ended up that WOM was the driver. So, this mention in the podcast is actually a second generation Word of Mouth element. Even better! This shows how WOM can weave its own path organically through people in an industry. The experts actually heard about the product from one of their listeners!

3. Did the podcast yield quality prospects?
Overwhelmingly yes! They were qualified leads, period. These podcasts are intended for people immersed in a fast moving industry. It targets people that are always looking for a way to get a leg up on their competition. In addition, questions from the prospects were extremely targeted and they had budgets to play with.

4. Did the podcast explain his product the way he would want it explained?
Not exactly, the mention of the pricing was a little off and process for getting up and running was the old process (they implemented a newer solution since the original customer had used it.) That said, the podcast segment that explained the product was extremely positive. They even mentioned the name of the sales rep to call (based on the customer’s positive experience with him). Are you starting to see how something like a podcast or a blog post can build confidence in a prospect? This is why I tell my clients that organic WOM is ultra-powerful.

5. Did the podcast generate revenue for him?
Yes, the business landed sales from the podcast leads. The sales cycle was also much quicker (which also saves the company money…) The conversion rate of the podcast leads was 30% higher than someone coming from natural search, and 40% higher than someone coming from paid search.

The Bottom Line:
My opinion is that he should create an organic WOM strategy targeting podcasters (and bloggers) in his industry. I also recommended that he should start his own podcast. Based on my experience, the more his company podcast gets noticed, the more other podcasters will be intrigued, which might lead to more coverage. With a relatively small budget, why not try and replicate what happened with this recent podcast that yielded qualified leads? It makes sense, doesn't it?

Some Podcasting Marketing Tips to Keep in Mind:
(If you have some control over the content…)

* Ensure the website is mentioned (clearly). Since podcasts are audio-driven, you can even spell out the website, if needed. For example, “visit gsqinteractive.com to learn more, that’s G, S as in Sam, Q, interactive.com. All as one word.” Something like this will help listeners find you.

* Have a contact at your company mentioned. For example, Glenn Gabe helped me set up my paid search listings. He was helpful and extremely knowledgeable! OK, I won’t get out of control here talking about myself! :)

* Mention a phone number. Even though a podcast is associated with online marketing, some people still like the immediacy of calling a company! Especially if you mention a contact, like I recommended above.

* Make sure your core information is included in the podcast’s feed. Every podcast utilizes an RSS feed (just like blogs do) to keep subscribers up to date on current podcasts. This feed can be indexed by the search engines, so don’t overlook it! The power of RSS for organic search is for another blog post, but I wanted to mention it here anyway!

In Closing:
If you were ever wondering if a podcast or vodcast could impact your business, I hope this simple case study shed some light on the subject. The concept is actually quite simple and is grounded in traditional marketing:

As a marketer, you want to get your message in front of a targeted, qualified audience. Having trusted sources recommend your product, based on their positive experiences with it, make that message even more powerful.

Podcasts and vodcasts, although web marketing focused, can help you achieve this. It’s not for every business, but you won’t know unless you try it!

Happy Podcasting!

GG

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2 Comments:

  • At 10:13 PM, Anonymous Mack D. Male said…

    Just keep in mind that the podcast needs to be interesting. If the episodes are just one big pitch for the company's products, they will likely be ignored.

    Podcast != Commercial

    That said, I agree with you, podcasting can be an excellent marketing tool for businesses.

     
  • At 9:05 AM, Blogger Glenn Gabe said…

    Hi Mack. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my podcast post. And yes, I definitely should have added another bullet! It has to be interesting. I think it's similar to blogging, where if you cannot write, then don't blog! If you aren't comfortable in front of the mic, then don't podcast!

    Regarding podcasts and commercials, I also agree. That's why I recommend organic word of mouth to my clients...get your product or service in the right hands and in front of the right eyeballs, and hopefully someone with some influence takes the communication to the next level (like blogging about it or including a reference to it in their podcast).

     

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