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Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa (PART 6)

What you need to know about mobile marketing in South Africa.

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It’s a fact that more than 90% of South Africans own one (or more) mobile device, and 92% of smartphone users say that they are incapable of living without their smartphones.

Companies world-wide are taking note of the mobile trend and research indicates that they cannot ignore a mobile marketing strategy.

The next time you are in town, take a look around. You will be surprised how many people’s eyes are glued down to their phones.

Major brands are already jumping on the opportunity to talk to these customers, and platforms like Google, Facebook, and Instagram assist in making it easier for any business.

Now that the world is going mobile, there are endless opportunities and a number of different ways to communicate to reach out to potential customers.

For example: You are a restaurant owner looking to get awareness on social media. Most phones (as well as social media accounts) link to GPS, so you could use a platform such as Foursquare to reward customers for checking-in to your restaurant on social media.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa (PART 5)

That then creates a ‘reward’ system for your customers, encouraging organic reach on social media for your restaurant.

Understanding mobile marketing

As of now, more than 70% of all YouTube views are happening on a mobile device.

And when it comes to Facebook, it’s safe to say that more than 90% of users access it through a mobile device.

We already know that the e-commerce space is growing at a rapid pace, but what’s interesting is that more users are starting to use their mobile phones to make purchases.

Now, I understand not everyone uses their mobile devices in the same way. However, to succeed in your marketing strategy, it’s important to listen to your customer’s digital signals. Learn how they use their mobile devices, and do research on their shopping behaviors before you roll mobile marketing strategy.

There are numerous channels to implement mobile marketing; there is social media, SMS, search ads, email, and more.

With that said, it’s important to find out which of these channels work best in communicating to your potential customers, and which one brings in the highest ROI for your business.

Mobile marketing channels and functions

Mobile marketing channels

Mobile is not like any other marketing channel. As I have mentioned above, it can cover a wide range of marketing strategies, and the reason for that is because today’s smartphones can do a lot.

The average smartphone has roughly eight ways to help enhance the customer experience and communication from a brand. These channels include:

  1. SMS
  2. Emails
  3. Push Notifications
  4. Browsing the Web
  5. Social Media
  6. Bluetooth
  7. GPS
  8. Applications.

All these functions can be incorporated into your marketing strategy and can form part of your mobile marketing campaign.

Using these functions will allow you to add a whole range of different advertising methods to your brand (and campaign), not to mention that it can help your brand stay at the top of your customer’s mind.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa (PART 4)

Mobile marketing channels and functions

It’s imperative that you try to understand each of your customers’ journey, and with that, I mean, try to find out how they came across your brand, what made them decide to give it a try and what made them a loyal customer. Understanding your users’ journey, you can help streamline your marketing efforts.

You might be wondering; what has this got to do with mobile marketing? Well, today, I can guarantee you that a big part of your customers’ journey is influenced on mobile, whether you like it or not.

The purchase funnel and how it’s affected by mobile

purchase funnel

Over the years, marketers have come up with a way to create a visual outlay, or framework, if you will, to help organise our marketing strategies. Thus, the ‘purchase funnel’ was born.

The purchase funnel visualises the customer’s journey and contains the following segments:

1. AWARENESS

Awareness is where the consumer is learning about your brand, and this is now heavily influenced by social media.

Social media and search engines are usually the first places where customers learn about a brand, and today, that happens predominantly on mobile devices.

It is, therefore, one of the main reasons why you need to ensure that your brand has a social media and online presence.

2. OPINION

The next segment is where users click through to your website (again, this happens mostly on mobile) so it’s essential to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.

After viewing a few pages and reading a few pieces of copy on your website, the customer forms an opinion of your brand, and this is where your brand might spark an interest in the customer’s mind.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa (PART 3)

3. CONSIDERATION

The third segment is the consideration stage. Your customer now begins to interact with your brand and form an impression about your offerings.

If you are a B2C business, then there is a big chance that this stage also happens mainly on mobile.

Today, most consumers will send a message on Facebook or leave a message on your contact page if they have a specific question about your product or service.

4. PREFERENCE

You have now engaged with the customer, and they form a liking in your brand. Once you have reached this phase, your chances of converting the customer have more than doubled.

However, if your brand doesn’t have an online presence, and is not on social media, or if your website is not suitable for mobile devices, then you would struggle to move the customer past the awareness stage.

5. TRANSACTION

The customer physically buys your product or service at this stage, and this is increasingly happening on mobile devices, which makes it another reason to ensure that your website is 100% mobile friendly, fast, and optimised to improve the user’s experience.

6. ADOPTION

The sixth segment is the adoption phase. Now, this is probably one of the only segments that is not influenced by mobile or digital marketing.

The customer has now bought the product, loved it, and adopts a recurring purchasing behavior with your brand, which then takes us to the final segment.

7. LOYALTY

Loyalty is self-explanatory and can be influenced by mobile through constant communication from the brand, along with a strong social media and online presence to keep your brand top of mind.

Now that you understand how mobile is changing the way customers find, engage, review, and purchase from brands, it’s important to ensure that your business is mobile ready, to prepare for the future.

Auditing your mobile readiness

mobile readiness

To ensure that you are mobile-future ready, you will have to do a thorough audit of your business. Is your company using some of the following tools below as a part of its marketing strategy?

  1. SMS
  2. Mobile Optimised Email
  3. Social Media Campaign for Mobile
  4. Mobile Display and Search Ads
  5. 100% Responsive Design Website
  6. Click to Call Services on Website
  7. Mobile SEO
  8. Mobile Retargeting Services
  9. Mobile Optimised Videos
  10. Mobile Applications
  11. Push Notifications
  12. Location Enablers.

If not, then you are probably falling behind.

The list can go on. However, these are some of the key elements you need to have checked to ensure you aren’t missing on new ways to drive more sales.

If you have realised that you hadn’t checked many of the boxes, then don’t worry, because I’m going to map out where you can start, in order to catch up with the trends.

1SMS Marketing

 

As I have said earlier in this guide, more than 90% of our population has mobile devices. With that said, I suggest you start by collecting contact numbers from your customers, which will allow you to send them an SMS the next time you have a specific offer or promotion.

This works like a bomb as it’s an easy and convenient way to remind customers about your brand. It’s also a great way to capitalise on customers that are between the transaction and loyalty segment of the funnel.

A few tips that can help to optimise your email for mobile include:

  1. Include Who the SMS is From First – Due to so many ‘spam’ SMS’s flying around, always ensure to put your brand name first. That way the customer can immediately see that it’s from a brand he or she trusts.
  2. Be Clear – I might say this more than once in the article, but be sure to keep it simple. Have clarity in what you are trying to say. g., 50% OFF on everything.
  3. Include a Link – The last thing you want to do is work on a great line and realize there is no way for the customer to learn more about the offer. That is why I always suggest including a link that the customer can click on to take him to the necessary landing page.
  4. Optimise Landing Page for Mobile – It will be a waste of money if you went through all the trouble to create and send an SMS, only to realise that the page you are driving customers to is not optimised for mobile. Make sure the landing page is mobile friendly and be sure to see your conversions increase.

2Mobile optimised email marketing

In Part 5 we discussed how effective email marketing is, and it can be even more effective if you optimise it for mobile devices. Did you know more than 70% of people open their emails on a mobile device?

Now, imagine you had this great promotion you wanted to share with your customers, but soon realised 70% of your customers weren’t able to see it properly. All the hard work that has gone into making the promotion happen would have been in vein.

So, what to do?  Make sure to code, design, and create your emails in a way that it’s suitable for mobile devices. This will allow your message to come across with clarity and it can help spark the engagement of users which will lead to more sales.

A few tips that can help to optimise your email for mobile include:

  1. Be Clear – Make sure to provide a clear call to action. No matter what you are promoting, make sure the customer can easily see and understand it. Think about it, there is a limited amount of space on a mobile screen, so ensure to get the message across swiftly.
  2. Provide an Offer – The last thing people want to do is get an email that delivers no value. Make sure to provide your customers with some form of offer which they can click on or claim in a convenient way using their phones.
  3. Use a Service Provider – You can make your life easy by opting to use a platform like MailChimp, Constant Contact, Emma, or Drip. They all allow you to optimise your email for mobile.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa

3Social media ads and mobile

It’s all good and well having a social media presence, but one will have to pour petrol on the fire if you want to drive more sales.

With that said, in Part 4 we talked about social media marketing (especially Facebook), and with that in mind, make sure to optimise your social media ads, creative, and messages for mobile users. Also, make sure to include mobile devices as part of your targeting when you run your next social media marketing campaign.

A few tips to optimise your mobile and social media marketing include:

  1. Instagram – 99% of user’s access Instagram on a mobile device, so an easy way to target people on mobile is to run ads on Instagram through the Facebook Ad platform.
  2. Facebook Mobile Feed – I love the Facebook mobile feed, as there are no distractions on the left or right-hand columns. The user’s eyes are constantly centered, and that is where you want your ad to pop up. By increasing or running ads only for the mobile news feed you will be able to see a higher click through rate.

4Mobile search and display ads

In Part 3 we talked about Search Engine Marketing (SEM). If you are currently spending money on search ads and display ads then like social media, ensure that they are optimised for mobile devices.

When running display ads make sure that your message is clear and test it on a mobile device before you roll it out to the public. Also, ensure that you include mobile targeting on both your search and display ads.

Another thing to do is to break the analytics down. Have a look at how many impressions you are getting on desktop vs. how many you are getting on mobile. Chances are you are more popular on mobile which in return gives you a better CTR (Click Through Rate) and lower cost per click.

A few tips to optimise your ads for mobile include:

  1. Click to Call – When running a search ad, make sure to add the “Click to Call” extension. This will allow customers to call your business or support line with the click of a button.
  2. Call to Action – The clearer your call to action is on mobile banner ads are, the higher your CTR will be. That will help bring your cost per click (CPC) down and increase conversions.

5Responsive web design

In Part 2 we talked about SEO and what you can do to optimise your website for search engines. One of the first things on your checklist needs to be ensuring that your website is 100% responsive to the different mobile and tablet screen sizes.

If it’s not, I can promise you that there are a bunch of annoyed customers out there that are about to consider rather buying from a competitor.

A few tips to optimise your email for mobile devices include:

  1. Expanding Menus – Include menus that expand rather ones that take up real estate on the page and might distract the customer.
  2. Short Titles – Due to limited space, make sure that you don’t over think titles and make them sweet and short.
  3. Images – Don’t overload your website with unnecessary imagery as that might just slow your web page down, and annoy your customer.
  4. Don’t Make Them Guess – So many websites aren’t clear on what they want the customer to do when they are on the page. Be clear, ensure to say, ‘Give us a Call’, ‘Click Here to Learn More’,
  5. Screen Sizes – Consider the different resolutions devices have. High resolutions screens will demand high-resolution And smaller screens would want smaller quality images to load faster.

There are numerous other ways to ensure you maximise mobile and its marketing capabilities, but as a beginner, I suggest you start with the five mentioned above.

By implementing the following tips and strategies, you will help narrow the gap between you and your competitors.

Having started his own digital marketing company at the age of 22, and selling it at the age of 25, Jandre pursued his passion in the health and fitness industry. Jandre and is now the marketing and creative director at CHROME Supplements & Accessories.

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Implementing 2 Advanced Google AdWords Strategies

Find out how Dynamic Search Ads and Call-Only Campaigns can give you that competitive edge you need on Google AdWords.

Perry Marshall

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Let’s explore two advanced Google AdWords campaign types: Dynamic Search Ads and Call-Only campaigns. Give these two campaign types a try. They’ll let you squeeze even more from your AdWords account.

Dynamic search ads (DSAS)

Dynamic search ads are magical keys to reaching your customers. And the best part? Using them is easy once you master the setup.

What Are DSAs?

Google knows it’s hard to keep your campaigns perfectly in sync with your website. If you have an e-commerce site with thousands of products changing regularly, it’s a chore to be constantly creating new keywords, new ad groups and new ads inside your AdWords account.

DSAs were created to fill this gap. They let you show ads to excellent prospects who might be searching for items you sell on your site even if you don’t have a corresponding keyword for them in your account.

Related: The Secret to Building A Profitable AdWords Campaign

Why should you set up a DSA?

As long as you set a low cost-per-click, dynamic search ads typically have a decent CPA and provide additional relevant traffic. They’re also great for research as you get to uncover new search terms that people are using to find your site. (You can use this intelligence after the fact to add new keywords to your account.)

Let’s say you’ve just started selling wrought-iron fire pits on your e-commerce site but you don’t have the keywords for them yet in your AdWords account. A new prospect – we’ll call her Kim – is currently online searching for this by name. Kim types it in verbatim: “wrought iron fire pits.”

If you have a DSA campaign set up, you’re in luck: Google instantly recognises that you sell these but don’t yet have keywords for the purpose. Thankfully, you don’t miss a beat with Kim – Google shows her your Dynamic ad, then she clicks, comes to your website and makes a purchase.

How do they work?

It starts with Google regularly scanning your website and keeping an index of all its pages. When you’re starting out, you can choose to point Google to your entire site – we recommend this for your first DSA campaign – although later on you can target specific categories within your site.

Google knows what keywords are in your account and, more importantly, what keywords are not there. This means they can make accurate judgments about when to step in and show your DSA ads.

When setting up DSAs, Google creates the headline and you write the description. They choose the final URL and you set the bid.

Related: 7 Questions To Ask Before Hiring An Adwords Agency

Here’s how to set up a DSA:

  • Create a new campaign. One of the options you’ll see is to create a DSA campaign. We suggest not using that as it would limit your options further along. Instead, create a new Search campaign with “all features.” Your plan will be to only use DSAs inside that campaign.
  • You’ll need at least one ad group to hold your DSAs, and one is typically enough if you’re just starting out.
  • You still want to be split-testing, even though Google chooses your headline for you. So, create two different DSA ads with different body copy in each.
  • Choose the target. Start with the “all webpages” default. Save the advanced target­ing for later.
  • Add in ad extensions just as you would for a regular campaign.

Ongoing management of your DSA

dynamic-search-ads

Review your data. Keep an eye on the search queries Google chooses, particularly in the first few days. This lets you add any new negative keywords that you don’t want your ads shown for. And it’s a good way to identify and add new keywords you hadn’t yet thought of for other functioning campaigns. (You can add these new keywords as negatives in your DSA campaign, which forces that keyword traffic over to new campaigns in your account. Your DSA campaigns won’t be affected.)

Call-only campaigns

These allow you to create search ads where Google shows your phone number rather than a headline. As such, they only show on mobile devices capable of making calls.

A person clicks on your ad, which starts the process of calling your business directly from their mobile, rather than taking them to your site.

Related: 3 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Google Adwords

Why use call-only?

Call-only campaigns force people to call your phone number rather than visit your site. If generating more phone calls is high priority for your business, call-only campaigns are worth testing.

How to set up call-only campaigns

Setup is simple. You can create a new campaign from scratch or just copy your existing search campaigns and change the ad type. Replace regular ads with call-only ads.

Tip: Google wants to see individual ad groups with a reasonable number of impressions at the ad group level. So a small number of ad groups with more keywords in each one – generating more impressions per ad group – will work better for call-only campaigns.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com

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The 5 Characteristics Of Social Media Websites That Go Viral

There is no formula for a site that goes viral but you can see what’s missing from those that don’t.

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With the advent of the web 2.0 comes a shift from simple and bland web pages to dynamic and interactive web platforms. It is now possible to create a social media site that does not only attract new businesses, but also foster relationships and create opportunities for other people.

The possibilities are endless and the barrier to entry is becoming ever thinner that one has no other choice than to key in to the new phase. Or rather, the new craze.

Every day, we see another social media site popup with the claim to become the new Facebook or the new Instagram. Even more, we are bombarded with jargon such as likes, comments, shares and viral content – words previously that never had any significance in the grand scheme of things.

But internet entrepreneurs are not giving up on the dream to create their own social networks using newer ideas and strategies. According to get2growth, there are about 472 million entrepreneurs worldwide running 305 million start-ups annually, out of which 1.35 million are internet based.

Some of these entrepreneurs, who run social media networks, have found that the proven path to success is to have an intuitive idea plugged into a quick go-to-market strategy. Nevertheless, most importantly, finding the sweet spot between what’s important for the customer and what intrigues them is an important trigger for virility.

Related: 4 Ways You Can Use Social Media As A Customer Engagement Tool

That is why the easiest way to create a social media website or forum today is to create a platform that is positioned to go viral. So, how do you go about that? This article provides some useful tips.

1Know what’s important to the users

What the user needs is the first consideration when you want to create a social media website that goes viral. Without fulfilling this need, there will be no need to create an online community in the first place.

That is why the first question to ask is, why should people use your site instead of the other available platforms? How do you create a unique social media site so that users will always have a reason to come back?

Think of it this way: Will a user become so excited about a feature or tool on your site that they encourage their friends to use it too? Or will your site help the user connect with their friends in a way other social networks do not?

If you can find the things that are important to the users and create your site around those things, then you would have a community that others will really want to be a part of.

2Integrate features that encourage interactions

Online interactions are the fuel on which online communities thrive. The desire to interact is why there will are forums and social networking sites, so it’s important that you integrate features that foster interactions and encourage users to create exciting content.

A good way to do this is to use a platform that provides powerful tools for creating beautiful social networks. Here you have two options: Use white-label social network creators; Ready-to-go solution like Ning; or build-it-yourself frameworks like Django (Python) or CakePHP (PHP).

The most important features to consider are the site layout, community building options (such as forums, pages and groups), call-to-actions, and the site navigation. The plan is to intuitively provide users the freedom to choose how they want to interact.

Related: A Guide to Optimising Your Business’ Social Media Usage

3Provide powerful visual and creative tools

social-media-marketing-visual-elements

Users make the rules when it comes to what is shared or recommended online, so it’s wise that social networking sites provide the tools to encourage required users’ behaviours.

For example, users tend to spend more time on sites that encourage some creative activity. If that activity produces a visual result and the option to share, the user will be more likely to share it with a friend.

A survey published on Adweek revealed that users are more engaged on Instagram than on Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. Instagram is cozy. This lends credence to the claim that visuals and creative tools can help keep social network users engaged and even more willing to recommend content.

As you may know, Instagram allows more visuals than all the other platforms, with users sharing full-size landscape and portrait photos that may fill the whole of a viewers screen. This gives more content visibility and increase in user engagement and sharing, which is no surprise seeing the immense growth recorded by the platform even before it was acquired by Facebook.

4Push notification is a must-have

Creating a social media site that goes viral requires keeping users updated on the activities happening in their network. You never know which notification about something a user cares about will trigger an engaging discussion with potential to go viral.

Push notification provides real-time access to content on devices, especially mobile, and encourages return visits and more on-site activity, which are useful metrics for the growth of social media sites and any other site type for that matter.

Not incidentally, users tend to value push notifications more when the content delivered is useful. According to this survey, 70 percent of users were happy to enable push notifications on their favorite apps. This reportedly doubled click through rates when compared to email notifications and a higher response rate compared to when notification was not deployed.

Activities such as these improve the chances of making a social network go viral and quickly increase user growth.

5Create the set-up with “shareability” in mind

Building a successful social network requires that the end is considered right from the beginning. All functionalities must be planned according to the user behaviors anticipated. A social network set up to go viral will therefore, have to consider shareability right from the beginning.

The site setup should include layouts that allow users to easily access, interact, and share content. Features such as sharing buttons, call-to-actions, tagging, image size, and site layout can encourage sharing among groups and help position content in places where they are more visible.

The better user-interface, the easier it is for users to navigate through the site and access more useful content, which increases user engagement and shareability. However, do not forget to analyse and measure your social activity – the Holy Grail of engagement.

So, what plans do you have?

Creating a social media site that goes viral is never an easy task, but if you know what you are doing from the beginning and have a workable plan, you should be able to find some success.

You just need to come up with a strong idea that your users believe in. Something like a unique selling proposition that actually feels a need for the majority of users.

A simple change in the way a user report a story, tag photos or share their passion can be enough to make your social network the rave of the moment. But you need to have a unique plan to take you from zero to hero.

So, what is your plan?

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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How To Talk Your Way To Success With Podcasts

Podcasting is taking the world by storm. Not only can it be extremely profitable, but it can be a great way to grow and market your business.

GG van Rooyen

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The rise of the average Joe

Some of the most successful podcasts in the world were created by relative unknowns.

Tim Ferriss’s 2007 book The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich was a phenomenon. The self-help/business book spent more than four years on the New York Time’s bestseller list and has been translated into

35 languages. To date, around 1,3 million copies have been sold. It’s fair to say that every author on the planet would be happy with this sort of success. When it comes to book publishing, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Now compare the success of The 4-Hour Workweek with that of Ferriss’s podcast, The Tim Ferris Show. At the end of 2016, the show reached 100-million downloads, meaning that since the creation of the show, individual episodes have been downloaded more than 100-million times through iTunes and other podcasting channels.

Ferriss hadn’t anticipated that level of success. In fact, he started podcasting on a whim, just to see what the response would be.

“I was burned out after The 4-Hour Chef, which was nearly 700 pages, and I wanted a casual but creative break from big projects,” says Ferriss on his blog. “Since I enjoyed being interviewed by Joe Rogan, Marc Maron, Nerdist, and other podcasting heavies who really move the needle, I decided to try long-form audio for six episodes. If I didn’t enjoy it, I would throw in the towel and walk.

Related: 7 Podcasts Every Entrepreneur Should Be Listening To

“My rationale: Worst-case scenario, the experience would help me improve my interviewing, which would help later book projects. This is a great example of what Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, would call ‘systems’ (win even if you lose) thinking.”

So, he saw it as a win-win. Even if the response wasn’t great, it would have been a worthwhile experience. Ferriss also applied one of his regular approaches to podcasting, asking himself: What would this look like if it was easy? Some popular podcasts, like Freakonomics Radio, for example, are highly produced and have a strong narrative structure.

Ferriss knew that he was most likely to stick with it if he made it as easy as possible to do. So, instead of a complex podcast that required a script and heavy editing, he opted for a freeform conversational structure. He simply turned on the microphone, and started talking to people.

Monetising a podcast

Monetising a podcast

Even though podcasts are generally free to download, they can create a nice revenue stream. But, as is often the case in the digital sphere, it’s a numbers game. You need some real traction before the money starts to roll in. Like banner ads, podcasts work on a CPM (cost per impression) model. Popular podcasts have sponsors who pay for a pre-roll message/ad at the start of the podcast. A typical figure is $18 (R234) per 1 000 downloads for a 15-second spot, or $25 (R325) for a 60-second message. Many podcasts have more than one sponsor, so you could make more per 1 000 downloads. Also, as the popularity of a podcast increases, the CPM rate also goes up.

“Premium podcasts tend to charge between $25 and $100 CPM. By ‘premium’, I mean high-converting, single-host, iTunes top-50 podcasts,” says Ferriss.

So, if your CPM is $50 and you’re getting 100 000 downloads, you multiply 50 with 100 to get an income of $5 000 (R65 000) per sponsor per episode.

Tim Ferriss could be making millions a year from his podcast alone, but he chooses not to monetise too aggressively.

“If I wanted to fully monetise the show at my current rates, I could make between $2 million and $4 million per year, depending on how many episodes and spots I offer. So why only ‘if I wanted to fully monetise?’ Because ‘fully monetising’ — bleeding the stone for all it’s worth — is nearly always a mistake, in my opinion,” says Ferriss.

“I want to convert casual listeners into die-hard, fervent listeners, and I want to convert casual sponsors into die-hard, fervent sponsors. This requires two things: Playing the long game, and strategically leaving some chips on the table. As a mentor once told me: ‘You can shear a sheep many times, but you can skin him only once.’”

Indeed, if you want to create a successful podcast, it’s important not to try and monetise too early.

“Novice podcasters (which I was) and bloggers get too distracted in nascent stages with monetisation,” says Ferriss. “In the first three to nine months, you should be honing your craft and putting out increasingly better work. Option A: You can waste 30% to 50% of your time to persuade a few small sponsors to commit early and stall at 30 000 downloads per episode because you’re neglecting creative. Option B: You can play the long game, wait six to twelve months until you have a critical mass, then you get to 300 000 downloads per episode and make 10x per episode with much larger brands. If you can afford it, don’t be in a rush. Haste makes waste. In this case, it can make the difference between $50 000 per year and $1 million per year. To reiterate a phrase more often used for blogging: Good content is the best SEO.”

Of course, you could argue that a self-help guru like Ferriss has a much easier time launching a podcast than your Average Joe, and he certainly has an existing audience, but he believes that anyone can start a great podcast. Being a ‘famous’ person doesn’t guarantee success, and some of the biggest podcasts around were created by relative unknowns.

“Coming to the party with a pre-existing audience isn’t enough. Celebrities, YouTube icons, and bestselling authors start podcasts every week that get abandoned three weeks later,” says Ferriss.

“Like everyone else, at one point, I had zero readers and zero listeners. We all start out naked and afraid. Then your mom starts checking out your stuff, or perhaps a few friends give a mercy-listen, and the fragile snowball grows from there.”

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Podcasting But Were Afraid To Ask

Creating your own podcast

Starting a podcast is relatively simple and cheap. All you really need is a microphone, a guest and an iTunes account. As mentioned earlier, it’s better to start small, gain momentum, and then think about monetisation down the line.

“Upload at least two or three pre-recorded episodes when you launch your podcast. This appears to help with iTunes ranking, which — like bestseller lists — can be self-propagating. The higher you rank, the more people see you, the higher you continue to rank,” says Ferriss.

He also recommends that you keep things simple. “Most would-be blockbuster podcasters quit because they get overwhelmed with gear and editing. I decided to record and publish entire conversations (minimising post-production), not solely highlights. I also use a tremendously simple gear set-up and favoured Skype interviews for the first 20 or so interviews, as the process is easier to handle when you can look at questions and prep notes in Evernote or a notebook.

“As Tony Robbins would say: Complexity is the enemy of execution. You do not need concert hall-quality audio. Most people will be listening in the subway or car anyway, and they’ll forgive you if recordings are rough around the edges. Audio engineers will never be fully satisfied with your audio, but 99,9% of listeners will be happy if you’re intelligible and loud enough.”

Other ways of making money

The CPM/sponsorship model is not the only way to make money with podcasting. You are, of course, also free to approach companies about sponsorship outside the CPM model. If you’ve got a podcast that will align well with a specific brand, you could approach the company about funding the show.

You could also ask your audience to sponsor the show. Neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris has a popular podcast called Waking Up, which is created entirely through audience contributions. Harris doesn’t believe in the CPM model, since he thinks it can sometimes seem a bit greedy and also forces listeners to sit through a lot of ads.

The popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast typically has around 12 minutes of ads, while The Tim Ferriss Show usually has about six minutes of ads. Harris has no ads, but does ask his listeners for donations. Of course, only a fraction of listeners will ever decide to pay for the content you create, but if you have enough listeners (Harris has around 800 000 every week), a relatively small number is enough to make it worthwhile.

You can ask for donations through your own website, or through a service like Patreon, which is an American Internet-based membership platform that provides business tools for creators to run a subscription content service.

You should also keep in mind that a podcast can be a smart investment, even if you make no money from it whatsoever. A podcast can be a great way to position yourself as an expert or thought leader in a particular industry. So, instead of trying to monetise your podcast directly, you can use it as a form of content marketing to promote your products and services. Importantly, though, you should not be too aggressive in your marketing. If the podcast feels like nothing more than an extended ad for your business, listeners will be put off. Instead, focus on creating great content that will drive people to your online channels.

A podcast can also be a great networking tool. You might not be able to get a meeting with a successful CEO, but you could invite him or her onto your popular podcast. Once that relationship has been created, talking business becomes easier. You could also offer your podcast to customers as a platform to discuss their own business successes and challenges. Regardless of how you choose to utilise the medium, podcasting provides an excellent opportunity to speak directly to an audience that no entrepreneur should ignore. EM

“Like everyone else, at one point, I had zero readers and zero listeners. We all start out naked and afraid. — Tim Ferriss

Related: 10 YouTube Channels Every Entrepreneur Should Follow


Did you know?

Podcasts are the single fastest growing medium in the world.


Lessons Learnt

The rise of Gimlet Media

Gimlet Media in the US was created a few years ago specifically as a podcasting company. Gimlet’s first season of its first podcast show, Startup, follows the launch of the company. It’s a warts-and-all look at how the company tried to secure funding, find offices and hire staff. If you want to get into podcasting, it’s definitely worth a listen.

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