So, you’ve created your financial podcast, designed a promotional campaign, and launched it to the world. Now what?
The resources you have put into the project are considerable. Your time, and that of everybody involved; the software, editors, advertising dollars – it all adds up. In the end, has it been worthwhile?
Measuring the ROI of your podcast isn’t as cut-and-dried as it might seem. The ultimate goal might be to increase your firm’s bottom line, but if it’s about direct sales, you probably won’t see immediate results. People tend to tune out if they sense you’re trying to sell them something – unless, that is, that’s what the podcast is all about.
More often than not, your financial podcast is going to offer indirect value. Knowledge about a financial product, advice on retirement planning, alternative investments, unique market insight – whatever your topic might be, it is providing your listeners with valuable information that they can leverage to their advantage in making financial decisions. The more actionable the information, the more your episode will be heard and shared.
While these aspects are good indicators of financial podcast success, they don’t often translate to immediate sales. How else can you track ROI if an increase in sales is not the ultimate reward?
Getting the Most from Your Financial Podcast
Much like any digital campaign, there are dozens of ways to measure how well your efforts are connecting with your intended audience. Let’s look at some of the more and less obvious ways you can track that action:
1. Number of Listeners, Viewers and Downloads
Probably the most precise way to track podcast success is to look at how many times it’s been consumed. If you have monetized your podcast with advertising, you may be earning money from that as well, which is a measurable thing.
However, the numbers alone do not tell the whole story. If your financial topic is niche-oriented, it may, by its very nature, have a limited audience. In this sense, the number of listeners won’t necessarily reflect the time and effort you have invested, the benefit to your brand reputation, or the thought leadership you seek.
It’s a matter of quality vs. quantity. In other words, your one podcast can have tens of thousands of listeners, but it doesn’t necessarily result in any measurable business improvements. Another can have a few hundred and, based on those listeners, an enormously successful campaign can be launched. Knowing what you’re trying to move your listeners toward is a good place to start.
Are you looking to convert? What are the numbers that you think would make it a success? Are you looking to gain status? Who are the influencers that could help you attain this?
You need to be very clear on what the objectives are and the variables that will help you get there. Consider developing a content marketing strategy for your podcast using SMART goals.
- Besides having your podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcast distribution sites, by setting up a dedicated channel and posting your financial podcast episodes to YouTube can also earn measurable listeners (viewers).
- If your podcast gains enough popularity where you wish to charge listeners for content – for example, back-episodes or special deep dive episodes — Patreon is a service that offers a measurable way to set up a per-episode or monthly subscription model for your loyal patrons, with extra content and value for those who pay for your podcast.
2. Social Proof
Social proof is a measurable gauge of how influential your financial podcast is. It is based on the concept that people tend to gravitate towards things that other people are enthusiastic about. In other words, the more engagement your podcast gets on social media, the more action it will attract.
The vast majority of consumers look at ratings and reviews before they make a buying decision. This is as true for financial products and money management firms as it is for consumer goods on the retail market. The closer you pay attention to your social proof metrics, the better understanding you will have of your audience and how your message resonates with them.
Social proof can be measured in several ways:
- Shares/likes/comments on social platforms
- Reviews and ratings
- Customer testimonials
And the list goes on. The measure of your social proof increases your authority and trustworthiness, which ultimately supports the buying decision.
3. Website Traffic
Your financial podcast should — through CTAs, URLs mentioned in the podcast, and various other actionable directives — drive traffic to your website so listeners can learn more, subscribe, or contact you or your firm with questions. To gain an accurate picture of how your financial podcast is influencing that traffic, it’s critical to know the “before” numbers. That way, you have a baseline benchmark to measure against.
If your site traffic is already quite high, this could be an important metric, outweighing even the total number of listeners.
Engagement metrics can tie into other things, like social proof, but it goes much deeper. As an indicator of how invested your listeners are in what you have to offer, the engagement metric is integral. It charts a path forward, telling you what your audience is most interested in, and perhaps more importantly, what they are not interested in.
Engagement can be tracked in several ways:
- Email open rates. Do you use your email list to let your audience know that your next podcast is ready for broadcast? If so, your open and click-through rates will tell you how interested they are in what you’re saying. This is a good way to measure the value of your messaging and will help inform your future topics as well.
- Shares and comments. People tend to share items that resonate with them. The number of times your podcast was shared should give you a pretty good idea of what’s working and what’s not.
- Waterfall content. Your financial podcast will no doubt raise some questions and discussion among your audience. Those ideas can generate additional thoughts and topics that can be turned into tweets, social posts, or blog articles that expand on the original idea. Pay attention to how your audience responds by picking up the threads they latch onto. This is a great way to extend the conversation tangentially without losing sight of the original intent.
5. Industry Relationships
Your financial podcast can help you establish strategic relationships with thought leaders and influencers in the financial industry. Your ability to connect with these individuals will have a direct and measurable effect on your podcast’s success.
Here’s how you can build valuable relationships through your podcast:
- Research thought leaders and influencers on the topic you will be discussing.
- Invite them to appear in your podcast and schedule them as guests.
- Leverage their insights and their audience to build credibility.
Another way to build relationships through your financial podcast is to create a buyer persona. This will allow you to show your audience how you can help people just like them have improved their financial situation. It takes your message outside of the sales context and positions it as expert advice that has helped others.
Referral partners are another avenue to explore. After a guest has appeared on your podcast, it’s an ideal opportunity to ask for a referral.
You might start by thanking them for their contribution and telling them how much it meant to your firm and your listeners. Then, ask them if they know anybody else that may be interested in being a guest on the show.
If each podcast guest is a new relationship, this provides you with a benchmark for measuring results. How many referral partners resulted in new business? How much did your reach increase as a result of having these people on the show?
In conclusion, podcasting is an increasingly popular way for your financial firm to connect with your audience, but the ROI you gain depends largely on what you are trying to accomplish. If building your brand and gaining influence over your audience is important to you, leveraging a podcast within a defined marketing strategy can set you on the right track.