How Email Marketing Can Help You Grow Your Podcast

How Email Marketing Can Help You Grow Your Podcast
How Email Marketing Can Help You Grow Your Podcast

Jul 11 2019 | 00:14:32

Episode 0 July 11, 2019 00:14:32

Hosted By

Stuart Barefoot

Show Notes

You're all set up with your microphone, headphones, and hosting software. You're creating awesome podcast content. People will listen to you because of that, right? Unfortunately, no.

In the past year, podcasters have added 10.5 million new episodes to 150,000 new shows, bringing the total to 700,000 active podcasts with 29 million episodes.

Competition is fierce, and you have your work cut out for you to compete with the best podcasts. But you can do it. And email can help.

There are a few essential email marketing methods you need to get familiar with in order to actually see results. This article will give you a complete, step-by-step guide to how you can ensure your podcast succeeds with an effective email marketing strategy and tactics.

But first, we'll dive into why this channel is important piece to your podcast marketing strategy.

Why Email Marketing?

It's simple. Email marketing works.Between $32 and $44 is made for every $1 spent on email marketing (depending on who you ask).

49% of consumers say they're happy to receive promotional emails from the companies they like at least once a week.

To make matters even better, 73% of millennials say email is their preferred business communication platform, and it's the preferred platform compared to post, social media, texting, or phone calls:

The majority of respondents preferred to receive B2C communications via email.

There were 281.1 billion emails sent and received each day in 2018. By 2022, email experts anticipate that number to hit 333.2 billion. 

To stand out as a podcaster who effectively drives listeners and customers with email marketing, you have to do it well. 

How To Build An Email Marketing Strategy

Email marketing has its own set of tactics and best practices that differentiate it from social media or paid advertising. Building a subscriber bases asks more from the user than just clicking on an ad. Ahead, we've laid out the essential steps to start building your list and effectively marketing your podcast.

Step 1: Build an email list for your podcast

Lead generation, or email list building, is often a full-time job for a marketer who provides professional marketing services.

So you can do it all while creating great podcast content, here are the key elements to generating email subscribers.

Create a lead magnet

A "lead magnet" is a piece of valuable information that you provide to people in exchange for their contact information. In this case, we're looking for their email address.

Here are a few lead magnet best practices:

  • If you have existing content related to your podcast subject (blog articles, for instance), compile that content into a single, comprehensive resource.
  • Create a lead magnet related to your podcast subject. If you try to promote your entrepreneurship podcast to Justin Bieber fans, you're going to have a bad time.
  • Make your lead magnet comprehensive. If you decide to start a blog, it's best practice to promote your lead magnet within your posts. Consider language like "For a complete guide to [subject], check out our new ebook, "[Title]."

If you need to start a new website to house your lead magnet, use one of the top website builders like WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly to create a website without having to be a coder or designer. 

If you already have a website, you can add a new landing page for your lead magnet using a page builder plug-in. 

Next, you'll need a tool which enables you to create lead magnets worth providing an email address for.

Google Slides can be an effective ebook creation tool. The best way to get started is to download an ebook from a publisher you love then put their pages side-by-side to Google Slides, and try to duplicate what you see.

Step 2: Develop custom landing pages for higher conversion rates

Once you have your lead magnet, you need to put it behind an email-gate on an optimized landing page, and then drive traffic to it.

  • An email gate is a simple tool which delivers your lead magnet content after people provide the required information (in this case, an email address).
  • A landing page is simply that, the optimized page you send people to in order to access your lead magnet content.

Landing pages can be created in-house by your developer, but most podcasters and digital marketers use a landing page builder. These tools create templates that are optimized for conversion.

Some landing page optimizations include:

  • A value proposition or unique selling point, which makes it very clear what value your visitors can expect to get from your lead magnet
  • A single call-to-action (CTA), which focuses your visitor's attention on your goal (submitting their email address in order to get your lead magnet)
  • Limited navigation options, so your visitors don't get distracted by other links
  • Visual cues like high-contrast color on the objects you want to draw attention to
  • Hidden, or few forms. The example below, for instance, includes a click popup which will only show when the landing page visitor clicks on the CTA button "Book Free Demo."

Examples of optimized landing pages

Here are a couple great examples, which are optimized for conversion that you can draw inspiration from. 

Housecall Pro
Housecall Pro optimized landing pageHousecall Pro's optimized landing page to collect email addresses.

Housecall Pro is a software provider for plumbers. This landing page is simple and clean, with a clear value proposition and high-contrast CTA.

Clicking the CTA opens up the email-gate/form:

Housecall Pro popup lead magnet form example.

It's important you only ask for the information you'll need to turn your new contact into a podcast listener (name and email address). More form fields tend to result in fewer conversions.

Lendio's homepage landing page example.Lendio's homepage optimized for users to complete a questionnaire.

Lendio, a new business financing tool also keep their landing pages simple. It tells visitors exactly what to expect and has a contrasting CTA button and four-piece benefit-list above-the-fold.

The call to action here sends visitors through to a secondary step, a questionnaire, but this page is focused only on the single objective: viewing loan options.

To do this, you're going to need a good landing page tool. For that, we recommend OptinMonster, Unbounce, or Instapage

Step 3: Drive traffic to your landing page with social media

Now that you have your lead magnet and landing page, it's time to start driving traffic. The first option to do that is with social media.

No matter your podcast's subject, whether it be a marketing podcast or politics podcast, your prospective listeners (and prospective email subscribers) will be on social media.

But wait, why should I turn social media users into email subscribers? It's a good question, but there's a simple answer:

Email is better than social media at driving listeners to your podcast, and it's not even close.

Chart showing effectiveness of email marketing versus social media.Email marketing engagement versus social media.

If you get someone to subscribe to your email list, you'll average a 22% open rate. With social media? You're lucky to have 1% even see your posts when you release a new podcast episode.

Use a social media scheduler and batch out your content to automatically post so you can easily drive social media users to your lead magnets.

Build a Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest profile for your podcast, then focus on creating awesome posts focused on the value your lead magnet delivers.

Share at least seven posts per lead magnet you create:

  • 3 Audiograms/Gifs: Audiograms are static images made into videos/gifs by placing audio and transcriptions over them. Record snapshots of your lead magnet content to create these. Audiograms have shown to generate 5X the traffic than static posts.
  • 4 Image Quotes: See below for examples. Consider including people in your images, as this has shown to increase conversions by up to 95%.

Step 4: Drive traffic to your landing page with PPC

If you have a bit of budget and are pushing for a big launch of your new podcast, PPC may be the way to go.

There's no more effective way to drive targeted traffic to your lead magnet and email list than with Facebook Ads or Adwords display ads.

Here's an example from AdEspresso, advertising their new lead magnet:

Exmaple of AdEspresso's Instagram ad promotion an ebook.AdEspresso advertising their free e-book that requires users enter their email address to receive the content.

Through PPC you can funnel in tons of traffic to build your email list and turn them into everyday listeners. 

Use Email Marketing To Turn Your Subscribers Into Listeners

You can't just write "Go listen to my podcast" in an email and expect your new list to head straight there.

This section will give you a step-by-step guide to turning the contacts you got with your lead magnet into podcast listeners.

Write better content

The quality of your email content will dictate whether users will regularly open and engage with your messaging. Use the below best practices to write better copy:

  • Write for intent: What do your email recipients want to learn? Communicate the value of your podcast at the top of every email.
  • Write for your audience: Who is your audience? Are they young professionals, or older management-types? Should your tone be casual with emojis, or professional?
  • Use emotion: People respond to emotion far more than neutral language.
  • A/B test your subject lines: Nothing has a more significant impact on your email effectiveness than the rate at which your new subscribers are opening your emails. Be sure you're using an email tool which enables subject line A/B testing, and keep track of what works!

Personalize each email

If you ask for the first name of your new email subscribers, use it!

A simple merge tag could have a huge influence on your email's open rates. Let alone the effect on reduced unsubscribe rates, click-rates, and general loyalty to your podcast.

"79% of companies that exceeded their revenue goals also have a documented strategy for personalization." 

Always use personalization to your advantage. 

Send thank you and welcome emails

With an average open rate of 61.73%, thank you emails are between 400 and 500% more impactful than regular emails. 

Welcome emails are even better, with a reported 82% average open rate.

As soon as someone subscribes, send a thank you or welcome email with a call-to-action to subscribe to your podcast.

Chart depicting open rate and click through rates of welcome and thank you emailsOpen and click through rates of welcome and thank you email campaigns.

They may be the only email they ever open from you. Make sure that email prompts them to check out your podcast.

Track your successes and misses

Keep track of what's working in your emails. What types of subject lines drive more listeners, which call to actions garner the best engagement, what images work best?

Here are a few relevant tools to turn email subscribers into listeners:

  • Grammarly: Grammarly's "set goals" feature allows you to tell the tool what you're looking to achieve with your email. After setting your goals, copy and paste your emails into Grammarly before you hit send to make sure our copy lines up with your objectives.
  • MailTracker: MailTracker by Hunter is a simple and free email tracker for Gmail that lets you find out who opens your emails. Once you've added the extension, your emails are tracked via Gmail. Then once someone opens your email, you can check out the details and assess what emails are working or not.

Use Email Marketing To Turn Podcast Listeners Into Customers

Many may stop here, wanting to focus on getting more listeners to get paid ads or monetize later. If your goal is increased sales in addition to listeners, you'll have to take it a step further.

This section will give you a step-by-step breakdown of how you can use email marketing to turn podcast listeners and email subscribers into customers.

Don't send bad emails

This may seem like common sense, but you'd be surprised.

The first and most important thing to remember when using email marketing for podcasting is to avoid losing subscribers you've worked hard to get.

You can't monetize your email list if your unsubscribe rates are through the roof.

From a tool perspective, it's important to choose a provider with high, and consistent email deliverability.

Here's an example of a good podcast email from Hotjar:

Email example from Hotjar promoting their podcast episode.

What's good in this email? Let's break it down: 

  • The quote at the top of this email is an example of pure emotion. There's no way to more effectively grab your email subscribers than with emotion.
  • The high-contrast pink draws the eye very effectively to both links to the podcast. And having two links is also best practice.
  • Though it's not shown (as this is an example taken directly from Hotjar's email marketing tool), the space before the comma at the top shows us there would normally be a first name merge tag there. Personalization is crucial to continued engagement from your contacts.
  • Starting with a question. Questions are fantastic hooks, as they inspire people to keep reading - either to see if the question is answered or (having answered it themselves) to see if they got it right.

Reward subscribers with discounts

You could choose to make your subscribers automatic premium members, or prompt them to pay to access your premium podcast content.

Either way, keep your subscribers loyal with additional value exclusive to them. And don't beat around the bush when you talk about the offer's exclusivity.

Exclusivity is part of a psychological phenomenon called the scarcity principle, which states that the rarer something is, the more valuable it is (even if there's no real additional value).

Use the P.S.

If the main call to action in your emails is to listen to your podcasts, your second should be to complete some kind of purchase or advance down your business' sales funnel.

And that call to action should go in the P.S. of your email.

There's something called the Zeigarnik effect, which says that humans have a desire to complete tasks. Uncompleted tasks (like not reading the P.S. in an email) creates tension. 

In short, people pay close attention to the P.S. in your emails, so make sure they see the value of making a purchase.

Relevant tools to turn podcast listeners into customers

You're going to need a good email tool, either to send single emails or to automate once you get too many for individual emails to be scalable. 

Here are the top two email marketing software options.


Mailchimp is the premier email marketing option for early-stage business owners and entrepreneurs.

They offer beautiful email templates and simple automation, alongside a free plan for up to 2000 email subscribers.


Hubspot is described in Intercom's ultimate marketing stack as "As a low-cost (and in some cases free) platform, it's particularly popular with small businesses who can’t afford the wealth of software options that more mature companies can." - Intercom

Hubspot offers offer a wide variety of plans that give their customers everything from basic email and CRM integrations all the way to enterprise-level marketing automation.


Email marketing can be the difference between a successful podcast and a flop. Use multiple channels to generate more traffic and convert them via lead magnets.

Then, craft compelling, personalized emails to ensure your podcasts get the attention they deserve.

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:08 Hello. And welcome back to the audience podcast. I'm your host Craig Hewitt from <inaudible>. And this episode, we're going to be talking all about something that many of us have a love, hate relationship with, but is an extremely effective means of communication. And that is email whether we love it or hate it. And sometimes both of those happened in the same day. Email is the preferred communication tool for many of us in many parts of our lives. Some reason data showed that even amongst millennials, 73% say that email is the preferred medium of communication for business, uh, far surpassing social media, postal mail, uh, text and SMS messaging, and surely the regular phone. So here in 2020, the question is how can we build an effective email marketing and communication strategy for our podcast? And in this episode are going to walk kind of soup to nuts, everything from kind of what email marketing is, how to get it started and implemented for your podcast, and then how to effectively kind of fine tune that over time. So let's dive in. Speaker 1 00:01:16 Okay. So I think first it's great to kind of lay the groundwork with some definitions of what is email marketing and what is the goal of using email alongside our podcast? You might be saying, Craig, I thought this was a podcast. Why are we talking about email? I want a podcast and talk and have my, my listeners consume my content while they're walking their dog or at the gym or driving in the car. And that's absolutely right. Your podcasts really first and foremost is an audio medium. And we want to use email. Like we use a communities like Facebook groups or Slack channels or discourse groups as a way to continue the discussion and reach your audience and new and different ways to, to really relay different types of messages. So email marketing is the term that we'll use for connecting with your audience via email in between and around your regular podcast episodes. Speaker 1 00:02:07 So first things first to start an email marketing campaign, we have to have email subscribers on our list and we have to be able to send them emails, talking about kind of tools and gear here, email marketing tools like MailChimp are very popular here at Casos. We use a tool called drip, which is a little more advanced tool that lets you do some marketing automation things, but you've probably heard of MailChimp or a Weber, constant contact convert kit, active campaign or drip. Uh, these are all really popular email marketing tools, any, and all of them will do the job that most of us need for our email marketing services for podcasts. And, and I think certainly MailChimp is a place that most people start with when they start with email marketing. It's a really simple but powerful tool, which coming from someone that runs a software company is a very hard thing to achieve, which is powerful but simple for users to use. Speaker 1 00:02:58 So if you haven't started down this road before MailChimp is a great place to start, they have a free tier that lets you get started without any costs out of your pocket. So once you've got an email service provider picked out such as MailChimp or drip, you'll want to start collecting email addresses. And the best way to go about this is to create some sort of a, an incentive, um, an internet marketing worlds. This is called a lead magnet. I think that's a terrible term, but we'll call it an incentive for someone to sign up for your email list. You giving your email on someone's website is really like the first step in a relationship that you're building with with this brand. And most of us don't give that up lightly, right? We don't take that first step in a relationship very lightly. We have to have a reason or an incentive to give someone our email address. Speaker 1 00:03:43 And usually that is the promise of them giving something in return that is a value to us. And so think about what that might be for you and your brand and your podcast and the message and the value that you're trying to relay. So I'll just give a few examples. Say for us to cast dose, we might give a kind of a crash course on how to get started podcasting. So we have a bunch of videos and email tutorials on how to get started in a podcast. If someone comes to our website and lands on certain blog posts, we might present them with this opt in offer to say, Hey, drop in your email here. And we'll send you this five or 10 day course on how to get started in podcasting completely for free, right? It's just, we just need your email so we can send it to you and is a great way to, for us to help people get started podcasting. Speaker 1 00:04:30 And in return, they've given us the privilege to contact them via email through this course, and then afterwards, in some cases with other offers or updates or announcements about podcasts like this that we might have. So we'll link to a couple of blog posts on our site and on other sites that go into much more detail about this kind of opt in incentive and what that really means and how you might think about it for your site and your brand and your kind of messaging. But just start to think about like what is something that you can offer typically in a digital format, um, like a white paper or a report or a course, or an email series, or maybe hidden content. Maybe you've recorded a couple of podcast episodes that aren't live in your feed, but that you could give only two email subscribers. Speaker 1 00:05:15 That's a really interesting idea. So these are just a few ideas of things that you can offer as incentives for people who come to your website to opt into your email list, they'll get that incentive. And then afterwards you can send them other email messages about again, you and your brand and your messaging and what you're trying to achieve with, with your podcast and your kind of greater brand. So talking about tools for this opt in, we use a service called right message, right on our site. That is a little bit, I'll say smarter. And that, uh, it kind of keeps track of site visitors and things that they have done or shown interest in on our site to say like, Hey, I know you mentioned last time that you're just getting started podcasting. Maybe the next time they come to our site, we'll show them something specific to a beginner podcaster as opposed to someone else who comes to our site and says, Hey, I really am, you know, a professional podcast already. Speaker 1 00:06:07 I'm just interested in monetization. Maybe next time they come to our site, we'll show them a message about monetization. So write messages and maybe a little bit smarter opt in widget that you can use in your site, but things like or optin monster are really great tools that do this. And a lot of email service providers like MailChimp or drip have these widgets that you can put on your site that do a lot of this functionality natively. So in terms of tools, something like MailChimp might have you covered. If you want to get a little smarter, a more sophisticated tool, something like right, message, maybe a good tool to look at. The other thing that I really like when it comes to creating a compelling offer and incentive for people that listen to your podcast to subscribe to your email list is to have a dedicated place for them to go to. Speaker 1 00:06:51 And so this is called a landing page and kind of online marketing parlance, but it really is just a dedicated page on your site. That is its only purpose is for people to go to it and opt into your email list. Um, so as opposed to having a little pop up widget that goes, comes up on every page, this is a single page on your site. That's optimized and dedicated to offering this incentive to visitors and in turn them dropping in their email to get the thing, the incentive, the offer that you're proposing. And so using landing page tools like Unbounce or lead pages might be a good option here. A lot of if you're using a tool like WordPress or Squarespace, a lot of them have the ability to craft landing pages kind of natively built right into the tool, but just think that this is not a regular page, like a blog post on your site. Speaker 1 00:07:38 This is a page whose purposes to convert visitors into email subscribers. So now that we have a, an email service provider picked out a way to collect email addresses and a place to collect those and landing page, it's time to start thinking about how to get more people to that page. And this is where I think going outside of email is a really interesting approach and what we like to do here and what a lot of kind of modern savvy marketers do is use social media, either organic social media. So you and your brand posting on their account or using paid advertising on social media, such as Facebook or Instagram to drive new people that maybe aren't aware of your brand to these pages, to present them with this incentive offer to join your list. Uh, and so driving social media traffic again, where, whether it's organic, you posting regular content from your accounts about your message and your offer and, and encouraging people to go to this landing page or to use paid ads, to reach new people that are outside of your audience either way. Speaker 1 00:08:41 I think social media is an interesting way to kind of broaden that umbrella of your brand, either in social media, but ultimately to, to gain exposure and to gain email subscribers, uh, via these landing pages and opt in widgets. And I think the thing to consider here is stick with where you are already connecting with your audience. So if your audience is all on Instagram, then go to Instagram and do organic and maybe do some paid posting on Instagram. If you're showing your audience is more on the techie side, maybe Twitter is the place to go. Uh, and so just think about kind of where you already connect with your audience on social media and stick with that channel and that platform for either the organic or the paid postings. So once we've started getting new email subscribers, it's time to write some emails to those new subscribers, to tell them about our podcast. Speaker 1 00:09:27 And I think that a lot of time and care is to is needed here to create really good email content. A lot of us get a lot of emails every day and a lot of them are terrible. And I think that this is the place to let your personality in your brand and your shows personality kind of come out and shine. So, so don't be afraid to, to be creative, write funny and snarky and different type of emails and have different kinds of language and your messages to, to your new subscribers. And the point with a lot of this is if they're not already a subscriber to your podcast, to get them to become a subscriber and to do that, you have to show what value your podcast has to them. Right? All of us have a certain amount of time. We can listen to podcasts. Speaker 1 00:10:11 And so really these emails are a chance for you to say, whether they've listened to a podcast or not, Hey, this is what my podcast is about. This is who it's for. This is why you might, should listen. And this is what value you'll get from it. And so this is going to be different for everybody, but that's really the framework that I like to use for when we're creating emails, think about like a what's in it for me is what you should be thinking about from a, from your email recipients perspective to say, I want to write this email to tell them exactly what my show is about and why they should subscribe. And of course, in these emails, we want to link to the episode that is most relevant to our subscribers or to kind of a landing page for our podcast as a whole, that shows exactly kind of why people should listen, what the show is about and how they can subscribe on the platform where they already listen to other podcasts. Speaker 1 00:11:00 And then on an ongoing basis, I think email is a great way to let folks know about new content that you're putting out, uh, maybe new events that you're going to have for your podcast or your brand, and just kind of new things that are going on in your world. And we'll link to a blog post that we wrote about how to effectively promote your podcast to your email list. And we have some examples of some great ways that folks have done this in our worlds, that you can take some inspiration from and say, Hey, yep, I'm going to take a little bit of this. I'm going to take a little bit of that and I'm gonna take a little bit of the other and I'm going to create my own way to do it. But I think that this is a great way to kind of keep reinforcing your message and your brand and keeping your podcast top of mind to your subscribers, uh, is, is via email, letting them know about new episodes that are coming out. Speaker 1 00:11:46 Because the reality I think is that we're busy and a lot of us forget about certain things going on in our lives and our podcast. But if you get an email that really strikes a chord with you to say, Hey, in this episode, we talked with, you know, Jack reciter from the dark net diaries, you may say, wow, I forgot not that anyone would do this, but wow. I forgot about the audience podcasts, but I have to listen to this episode with Jack or with the gals from the ladybug podcast. Right? And so seeing that email in your inbox might just kind of spark and bring back that, that kind of brand awareness for, for a podcast, for your, for your subscribers and your email recipients. So it's just another way to, to stay in touch with your audience in a different way, in a different medium, but to bring them back to your podcast, ultimately, and if your goal with your podcast is to do something different with your brand, maybe your podcast is for a conference that you run or it's for a software company like Castillo's or it's for your apparel brand or your eCommerce store, then using email to kind of bridge podcast listeners and people that come from your podcast and have subscribed to your email list to then kind of take them over into your business intent and your business goals say, Hey, I know you listen to the podcast. Speaker 1 00:13:01 This episode was really great because we talked about this thing in this episode, we also referenced, you know, this thing that my software tool can do, or this, um, this new line of clothing that we're releasing in our eCommerce store or this new charity that we're supporting at our church and such, this is a great way to kind of bridge those gaps for people that come to your brand, kind of from different places and might have different intents originally. But you can, you can share with them different things that you and your brand have going on and provide value to them and that they will be really interested in organically. So that's a bit about how we think about email marketing, both from a starting an email list, capturing email addresses via some sort of an incentive or an opt in offer, uh, what to do with our new email subscribers in terms of sending them email messages, and then kind of how to tie all of that back into the greater brand or mission for your podcast and the overall kind of organization that your podcast serves. And so, again, these are a little bit different for all of us, but hopefully that's a good overview of kind of how we think about using email for, for our podcasts and our brand. And I hope that helps you implement some of these email marketing strategies for your show and your brand as well. Any questions? Just shoot us a message. We're at castoffs HQ on social media, or drop a comment and below for this episode. Thanks so much. We'll see you next time.

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