You’ve put some serious time and effort into making your business great. Part of that effort was growing your email list. Showing up in your audience’s inbox on a regular basis is one of the best ways to ensure that your podcast is getting to a solid, dedicated listener base. Here’s what you need to know to get started using your email newsletter as a means of podcast distribution.
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Why Use an Email Newsletter?
Compared to other distribution strategies, setting up a newsletter is cheap. If your show is just getting started, MailChimp’s entrepreneur package allows you to send up to 12,000 emails per month for free if you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers. That’s a great place to start. Once your audience starts to grow larger, the cost of using MailChimp or Drip is low compared the the reach and focus you can achieve.
You get instant analytics
Most good email marketing platforms will give you instantaneous analytics to measure the success of your strategy. Conversion rates, click rates, unique open rates, bounces and unsubscribes are among the key performance indicators you should be tracking. Knowing these numbers (as opposed to simply noting your number of downloads) can help you learn more about which episodes are successful.
There’s a higher response rate
If someone is signing up to subscribe to your email newsletter, they’re interested in what you have to say and will be more receptive to your podcast (and your sponsors). If you see your unsubscribe rate increasing, you’ll know you aren’t providing the content your audience wants and need to tweak your approach.
What to Consider When Creating Your Podcast Newsletter Strategy
Your audience and your content
You already know that you have a captive audience of people who have signed up for your newsletter. But what type of audience are they? Are they peers or prospective customers? These are both important audiences, but depending on your industry, the messaging can be very different.
Likewise, ask yourself, “What questions do my prospective customers have? How can I answer them? Are they looking for best practices? Are they looking for industry news and events?” Providing content that answers your audience’s questions is the best way to engage with subscribers. People who subscribe to your newsletter are giving you permission to show up in their inboxes. Honor this privilege and give them access to special benefits as subscribers.
In addition, think about which emails you open and which you delete right away. Are you more likely to click through in an email that’s interesting and gets to the point quickly, or one that rambles on for pages after pages before getting to the good stuff? Make sure your newsletters are giving your subscribers something they can’t get by just adding your show to their podcast app.
How often does your audience want to hear from you? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? There’s no right or wrong answer. If you’re not sure, using a newsletter as opposed to a simple RSS feed offers you the opportunity to use A/B testing to see what worked the best. If you’re not sure how often you can commit, start small and grow over time. Consistency is more important than frequency, so make sure to stick to your editorial calendar and publish on a regular basis.
Steps to Setting up Your Email-Distributed Podcast
1. Set expectations on your “Subscribe” page.
Before you send someone their first episode via newsletter, make sure you’re properly communicating to them what to expect by setting up a clear and concise subscription landing page. Tell potential subscribers exactly what will be in the newsletter as well as how often they should expect to hear from you. For instance, on your subscribe landing page, write a description of what’ll be in the newsletters and give potential subscribers a preview link.
As a subscriber, wouldn’t that be great? You’d go in knowing exactly who you’ll be receiving email from, what they’ll be sending you, and how often they’ll be sending it. As a podcaster, having this information up front will help diminish your unsubscribe and spam rates. It’s a win-win.
2. Don’t get too creative with email subject lines.
Even if your subscribers sign up for your emails, there’s no guarantee they will open them. Try increasing familiarity with subscribers by keeping the subject line in the same format every time, like having the name of your show, the episode number, and the title.
3. Keep design and copy minimal.
The trick to keeping your newsletter focused (and increasing your clickthroughs and downloads) revolves around two things: concise copy and leaving space in the design.
Clear, short copy is key because you don’t want your subscribers to have to read your email all day. You want them listening to your podcast! Concise copy gives your subscribers a taste of your content, like show notes or a short guest bio, but it leaves them wanting more (so they’ll go listen to the show).
White space is key in email newsletters because it helps keep the email from feeling cluttered, and on mobile, makes it easier for people to click the right link.
4. Make it easy for people to unsubscribe.
This seems counterintuitive, but it’s key if you want to maintain an active, engaged subscriber list. Don’t hide an unsubscribe button behind an image. Make it clear and easy for people to unsubscribe. Besides keeping your list healthy, having a clear unsubscribe process will help ensure your email isn’t marked SPAM before it hits the rest of your list’s inbox.
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Putting It All into Action
Now you’ve got a show packed with great, engaging content and a way to get it into the inboxes of your most loyal fans. Utilizing an email newsletter distribution strategy for your podcast can be a great way to widen your reach and increase your downloads. What strategies are you using to get your podcast out there? Let us know in the comments, or tweet at us (@PodcastMotor)!