Recently I asked him, “How do you do it? How have you made your business so irresistible online?”
His answer was so good I knew I had to share it with you. Here’s the conversation we had.
Jenn: Jon, in one sentence, what is your secret to digital marketing success?
Jon: Everything, simply everything, must be about your audience.
Jon: Yes. When I started blogging, I wrote mainly about how digital had disrupted marketing, permanently. I thought and wrote about what was happening and my position on it, and engaging and responding to my peers.
The ongoing discussions about marketing were fascinating. They still are. But customers – the audience I wanted – don’t want to know about the discussion. They don’t care. They just want the solution.
Jenn: What made you change your approach?
When I started my podcast (it's also on iTunes) that put my focus back on the customer. I think that’s why I’m repeatedly told by customers how important that was to their decision process to hiring me. The podcast really improved my lead generation.
But listeners always tell me they like the solo shows. I would think it’s boring listening to just one voice but I think this comes back to the pedagogical nature of the show. Trying to solve other’s problems.
Jenn: Would you recommend podcasting over blogging?
Blogging is important to getting people to your website in the first place. For the past eighteen months I’ve focused more on the show than on blogging because it’s been so excellent for my lead generation.
Podcasting, whether video or audio, helps customers connect with you, much more so than blogs. There’s the intimacy of audio, in particular. It blows me away the idea of people listening to you wandering around with their earbuds in, walking the woofs, at the gym. It’s kind of intimate.
I wonder sometime what kind of places people are listening because I can the show is downloaded around the world.
The barrier to entry in podcasting now is much lower than it was because of more accessible technology. But it can still be hard to get started, no matter what the podcasting gurus say, because you need to understand how audio works, how to promote your show, etc. My ebook, How to Podcast for Business: A Digital Guide, was written completely from my own experience getting started. I hope you can avoid my mistakes!
Getting noticed is what’s really difficult now. We’re in something of a podcasting renaissance with so many businesses starting podcasts.
Jenn: So how do you stand out in the crowded marketplace of podcasting?
Jon: First, really get to know your audience. Work through their brand archetypes. You must know everything about them and what they need. Only then can you start creating content for them.
Don’t fall into the trap of telling your audiences about your skills. Show, don’t tell. You’ll get a clearer sense of who you are to to them. I truly believe this cuts down on friction during the sales process.
The more you show your podcast listeners you understand their problems and know how to solve them, the more likely they are to become your customers.
Me: How has this worked for JM?
Jon: Just recently we started marketing an American company who, in their approach, told us they’d been listening to the show for over a year. “I don’t think I’ve missed an episode,” the client told me. “I just feel I trust you to help market our product and help our team.”
That is the power of podcasting.
If your podcast reflects the kind of advice or services you would give a paying client who was sitting there in your office, then eventually people will start to view you as someone they could do work with.
Sure, not everyone can afford us, and I have had to learn that sometimes people think you’re giving everything away for free! But on the whole, customers seem to come to view you as someone they can trust and communicate with. It’s like when the conversation starts, they've already been used to hearing what you have to say. I think for me the podcast gets your client further along in the process.
The other thing I really value is that when someone signs with us on a project and they’ve listened to the podcast, they get a pretty good sense of who I am. They know that the woofs are part of the agency’s identity; that we have a sense of humour, but that we’re passionate and very earnest about what we do.
Last night I went to a show at one of the companies we work for. It was a fun evening where they did a bunch of sketches and stuff. One of them was an impersonation of me doing the podcast! That shows people listen and take it seriously. Because they’ve taken the time to really get to know what you’re talking about.
Podcasting is an incredibly valuable part of the work we do for clients and in particular for ourselves.
Jenn: Where, aside from your podcast, can someone learn more about podcasting as a way to turn listeners into customers?
Jon: I'll be speaking about podcasting as part of an integrated content marketing tool at the UK Podcasters 2014 #ukpod14 conference in August of 2014. Hear from me and other veteran podcasters on “Why starting a podcast is the single most important thing you can do for your business this year.”
(Am I the only one who wants to hear the impersonation of Jon?)