Do you ever feel like technology is passing you by, no matter how hard you try to keep up? Like you’re peddling your bike as fast as you can down the middle of the business super highway, but still cars whiz by you so fast that the breeze just knocks you into the ditch?
Now I’m a pretty high-tech kind of guy. I pride myself on having all the latest and greatest techno gadgets for my personal and business life; including multiple laptop computers, the most modern cellular phone, and a Global Positioning System in my car to always tell me where I ain’t. I know, it’s supposed to tell me where I am, but my brain doesn’t work that way.
But only recently have I cemented my position among the true entrepreneurial technorati by adding a podcast to my business marketing repertoire. What’s that you say? You have no idea what a podcast is or how it can help add dollars to your bottomline? Then peddle faster, my friend, and I’ll explain it all while you catch up.
A podcast is a digital audio file that you record using your computer, recording software, and a microphone. You then upload that file to a podcasting web service so listeners can download the file or subscribe to the podcast feed and listen to it on their computer or audio player.
If that’s too techno-babblish for you, try this; a podcast is like an internet radio show that you produce and post to the web so people interested in what you have to say can listen to it on their computer or download it to an mp3 player.
Now the big question: why should you care to know what a podcast is? Because used wisely, a podcast can become a powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal. It can help establish you as an expert in your field, drive traffic to your website, bring new customers in the door, open up new opportunities, and create a new revenue stream that you might have otherwise missed.
Why am I so excited about podcasting? Trust me, it’s not because I love the sound of my own voice. As my Mama says, “Some people talk just to hear their head rattle.” I believe she was looking at me the first time she said it.
I’m jazzed about podcasting because podcasting is today where email was ten years ago. Many people ridiculed email as a geeky fad and refused to believe it when the experts predicted that one day we’d all be using email to communicate with everyone from our bosses to our grandmas. It was also hard for the average Joe to imagine how anyone could make money with email. Now, not too many years later, entrepreneurs who understood the potential of email marketing and got onboard early are generating millions of dollars a year selling to customers around the globe; all through the magic of email.
I believe that podcasting actually has more potential than email because of what I call, “The Passion Factor.” With a podcast you can hear the passion in a person’s voice and get excited about their message. And podcasting is much more user friendly than email. You don’t have to read or deal with mountains of spam and you don’t have to be in front of a computer. All you have to do is listen; and you can do so anywhere by using an iPod or other portable audio player.
I started producing a weekly podcast for my Internet Marketing business about six weeks ago. The point of the podcast was to drive traffic to my websites and customers to my sales pages and eventually use it as a platform to promote my book. My podcasts are generally 20 to 30 minutes long and consist of me talking for a few minutes on a business related topic and an interview with an expert in the field related to that topic. I record my portion of the show using a headset microphone and a computer. I record the interview with the expert using a cable that connects my telephone to my computer. Once recorded and edited, the podcast sounds much like a radio show (on an amateur scale, of course). I then upload the podcast to a website called Podomatic, which makes the podcast available to the world via RSS (real simple syndication). Listeners can download my podcast to their computer or iPod and take me with them wherever they go.
What has the podcast done for my business? I have averaged 50 to 100 new subscribers to my podcast each day and have noticed a nice spike in traffic to my website. I’m seeing increased sales and getting more inquiries from potential customers. I am establishing my credibility as an authority on small business and I’m having fun doing it. And isn’t fun the best thing to have?
Here’s an example that illustrates the potential of podcasting: I met a couple at a recent seminar who have a counseling practice for divorced men dealing with child custody issues. This couple started a podcast on the topic of father’s rights and posted it to several podcast feed sites. Before long their podcast was being downloaded by hundreds of listeners each day. And at the end of each podcast they prompted listeners to visit their website to learn more about their products and services. As a result their little counseling business added over $100,000 in new revenue in just a few months. They are on track to do several hundred thousand dollars this year, thanks to the attention their podcast brings.
How could you use podcasting in your business? If you’re a dry cleaner you can record a podcast on getting tough stains out of clothes. Have listeners mention the podcast to get a discount on their next visit. If you’re a car dealer do a podcast describing the new models. If you’re a CPA do a podcast on tax tips. If you’re an attorney do a podcast giving legal tips. The possibilities are endless. You are limited only by your imagination.