Podcasts offer an incredible medium for consumers (i.e. investors) to develop relationships with potential advisors. Remember, sourcing a new financial advisor is a massive decision for consumers to make. In the same vein, podcasts provide advisors the opportunity and platform to influence those consumers’ buying decisions.
The reason for my post is, more than anything, to help advisors understand the expected outcomes of their podcast. Your greatest outcomes do NOT require you to syndicate your podcast through iTunes.
It would be nice to think that once you’ve created your podcast, you can simply syndicate it to iTunes and your pipeline will immediately fill up. But this is not a “build it and they will come” situation. iTunes and other podcast communities are busy marketplaces. I wouldn’t say they are saturated, but they are busy. Consequently, you’re not likely to find ideal listeners effortlessly.
The good news is —the financial podcast space is undersaturated, which presents advisors with a great opportunity. But the gold is not in the existing communities, it’s in building your own community: a highly engaged group of people who are connected to each other and the ideas your present in your podcast.
Isn’t it incredible to think that you could have access to your own community by using a marketing tactic that’s affordable, fits your business and life, and builds sustainable momentum for your business?
Here are five reasons you don’t need iTunes to build a successful podcast community that translates into sustainable opportunities for your advisory practice.
YOU ALREADY HAVE A COMMUNITY TO MARKET TO
Your existing network (i.e. community) is a great place to share your podcast. In fact, it’s where your biggest outcomes should be generated. You know people who understand you, are already working with you, have considered working with you, or have referred people to you. Those are the people most likely to engage in and share your podcast right now. Leverage them daily.
YOU CAN PROACTIVELY GROW YOUR COMMUNITY
Most advisors have less than enviable digital networks. Often times these networks have many peers, not ideal prospects and centers of influence. Most of the time this reality limits advisors’ early wins and lengthens their path to success. It’s more difficult to grow your audience and grow by influence.
Boost your network size by consistently inviting ideal prospects to connect with you on LinkedIn. You’ll need a conversational introduction (i.e. invitation-to-connect message) so you don’t come across as needy or pushy. Once you have your ideal prospect’s attention, make sure they know about your podcast — send them a link to the episode you’re most proud of. Few advisors are pushing their podcast because few have one. We’re talking .0001% if I were to guess.
iTunes will NOT help you grow your listenership with an ideal audience. LinkedIn absolutely will. You can try other social networks if that’s where your preference lies.
My company has a LinkedIn Connection Boosting service. We invite 300 ideal prospects (validated through Sales Navigator’s Advanced Search, especially their boolean string). Our advisors typically get 20% of ideal prospects accepting invitations to connect. We typically see 1-3% conversation engagement too; these are people who ask a question or book an appointment.
This proactive approach keeps seeing results while they patiently wait for the better results: ideal referrals and a growing listenership that will turn into sustainable opportunities over the next 2-3 years. Yup, great marketing takes time but that’s where the best results are — in owning expertise in a specific audience and in a specific region.
YOU INSTANTLY BECOME MORE REFERABLE
Guess what, your podcast is likely the “coolest” marketing you’ve ever done. Share it daily and through every medium you control: email, face-to-face, voice-to-voice, events, your newsletter, and any speeches. People will start talking about you — finally. You’ll get more ideal referrals than before all because you’re conversation-worthy now.
YOU WANT TO OWN THE MEETING PLACES
When you syndicate your podcast, prospects will get introduced to your brand on whichever digital platform it resides on; in this example, iTunes. Consider that your iTunes profile is nowhere close to the powerful marketing they’d see on your website, and, to a lesser degree, your podcast channel.
Obviously, it’s a good thing to gain listeners via iTunes, but you’ll have less control over the experience they have. Is it worth the trade-off? More listeners, less brand experience control. The best answer is, it depends.
If you expect the podcast community to search for your podcast’s topic and you’re not particularly concerned about who those people are, I’d lean towards using iTunes versus not. Right now Apple does not allow podcasters to target listeners outside of search. However, they do allow you to pay to have your podcast featured.
BUT, SYNDICATING TO iTUNES DOES HELP
There are three reasons, albeit not incredibly powerful, that could merit iTunes syndication.
1. SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)
iTunes is a powerful hub for users and providers. Search engines, no doubt, give you better search scores if you’re listed there. That’s worth something, especially over a few years. But, there are plenty of other free ways to create positive SEO outcomes.
Plus, people search within iTunes for financial podcasts and don’t necessarily use Google. I don’t know the number of searches because Apple doesn’t share those stats (hopefully they will sooner than later).
“You can find my podcast on iTunes.” has a nice ring to, it doesn’t it?
3. WHY NOT?
Syndicating your podcast to iTunes is easy to do once you have your RSS link. The point of my article isn’t to keep you from syndicating to iTunes, it’s to manage expectations. I find advisors’ expectations play a large role in their long-term marketing success and how efficiently they get there from a cost-and-efficiency standpoint. Not sticking with marketing because your expectations were misaligned or inflated typically means jumping from one thing to the next, which is not only expensive, it’s time-consuming.