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The Problems With Podcast Marketing Funnels
Episode 2525th August 2021 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
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Evo Terra:

A lot of podcast marketing advice starts and ends with: build a

Evo Terra:

funnel and keep feeding people into it!

Evo Terra:

And while that can and does work for some, it'll frustrate a lot of podcasters.

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Here's why:

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Evo Terra:

Hello, and welcome to another Podcast Pontifications with me, Evo Terra.

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All models are wrong.

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Some happen to be useful.

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And that's how I feel about marketing funnels, specifically, how I

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feel about marketing funnels that podcasters can use, the podcasting

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implementation of the marketing funnel.

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Now, I'm not going to bore you with the vagaries of a marketing funnel.

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If you're not aware of them, the big idea if you need to know it is just

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simply this, the funnel moves people from awareness to consideration to purchase.

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That's it.

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So for podcasters, the marketing funnel idea is making a lot of people aware

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of your podcast, then getting them to consider your podcast, and then,

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probably not purchasing anything unless you are selling a subscription, but

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certainly listening to your podcast.

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And that makes sense, right?

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Well, yeah.

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There's a few problems, a few flaws I see in that particular model.

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The first is this entire idea of a funnel.

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I don't know about you, but I use a funnel on occasion every now and again,

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and unless I'm not careful, the funnel's job is so that I don't spill anything.

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That's the whole reason I stick a funnel in my squeeze bottle, and then

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pour olive oil into it, as opposed to trying to eyeball it in there.

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A better model for this idea of lots of people coming in and then winnowing

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down, might be a sieve or a filter because not every single person who

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is going to be made aware of your show is worthy of considering your show.

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It just may not be for them.

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I mean, how many billboards do you drive by that aren't for you?

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How many television commercials do you see, or radio spots, or podcast ads for

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that matter, that aren't relevant to you?

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Yes, there's the awareness.

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Good job.

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But if they're not relevant, why is anybody wasting any

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time on them whatsoever?

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So again, the idea of a funnel would keep everybody in there.

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They can't get out and they need to get out.

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And I think that matters for your podcast efforts as well.

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I think you, just like me, should make it abundantly clear and very quickly

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clear when your show isn't for someone.

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I can't stop the awareness from happening, but I can certainly block

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it before it goes to consideration.

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I don't want people who are looking for advice on how to buy a mobile

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home to listen to my podcast.

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It makes zero sense whatsoever.

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So if you're out there using mystery and intrigue as part of

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your awareness content, you might want to reconsider doing that.

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I'd make it very, very plain.

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You should make it very, very plain as to whom your content is actually for.

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Now, another flaw in the funnel model is that there's only one

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entry point to a funnel, the top.

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You have to pour things in from the top of the funnel and then they filter down.

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But in reality, people discover podcasts from many different points.

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They enter their own funnel, if you will, from lots of places, not always

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from that top awareness campaign.

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Sure, they might see a social post thanks to an algorithm.

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Or maybe a friend shared it.

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They'd never heard of you before and that's great.

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But where do you drop them into your funnel process?

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Because if you're sharing a link, it might be an audiogram you're sharing.

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It might be your episode, but who knows what it is?

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You need to ask yourself that question, what are they seeing?

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Where and whatever you drop them off to, where is that in

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this funnel that you developed?

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They might be searching for a topic using a search engine to search for something

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and your episode details page pops up.

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It's the very first interaction they have with you is that episode details page.

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They have no idea, maybe, it's even a podcast.

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What's that experience like?

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Or maybe they're on YouTube watching videos and your video from your

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podcast, whether it's a clip or the entire episode, maybe that

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was suggested to them by YouTube.

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YouTube, you'll recall, is the most often cited service people use to

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listen to and discover podcasts.

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So are they going to click and watch?

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What's your imagery look like?

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Does that entice them to click?

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Should they be clicking?

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And if they do click and watch the video, now what are they going to do?

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Finally, there's the problem of gravity.

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I know!

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Gravity, physics talk in a podcast conversation!

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You see, a funnel assumes refinement.

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Again, awareness, consideration, and then finally purchase.

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But I've done enough attribution modeling and actual click path analysis

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in my time, which is way too much, and I can promise you that individuals

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bounce around through content with randomness and zero discernible

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patterns on an individual level.

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It is completely impossible to predict what someone is going to do

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once they've entered your funnel.

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Yes, there are probabilities, but an individual will do weirder things than

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you can possibly imagine, I promise you.

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Now en masse, sure, behaviors of people get fairly easy to predict en masse, and

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that's why so many marketers are able to set up successful funnels, but we're

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talking about individual efforts here.

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That gets a lot more sticky.

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Successful podcast funnels are by no means a quick fix, and what works for a SaaS

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company may not work for your podcast.

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So choose very wisely.

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Can we talk about podcast conferences for just a moment?

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Specifically, ShePodcasts taking place in October.

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Yay October!

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It's coming up like right around the corner in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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Scottsdale, if you don't know, is a Phoenix suburb.

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And if you also don't know, I live in Phoenix.

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So yes, I'm going to be attending.

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And let me get the elephant in the room out of the way first.

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I am not the target market for ShePodcasts attendees.

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No.

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Their target is - reading this from them - female, female-identifying,

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and non-binary podcasters, audio content creators, and storytellers.

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Well, I'm the last part of those things, but I'm not female,

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female-identifying, or non-binary.

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That doesn't mean that cis-gender dudes aren't welcome at the conference.

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They want us to attend as well.

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So please do.

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I'm going.

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I'm going to be attending all the parties that I can get to.

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I'm going to be watching the presentations, and generally doing

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what I do best at podcast conferences, which is conversing with other

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podcasters and evangelizing the need for everybody to make podcasting better.

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So if you're coming to ShePodcasts, please drop me a line and let

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me know evo@simpler.media.

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Also, make it a point to stop by the table.

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I'll be staffing the entire time because I've got some really,

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really cool swag special just for people that I meet in-person who

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listen to Podcast Pontifications.

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So definitely come by and say hi.

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If you want to come and you haven't yet booked tickets, I talked Jess into

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giving us a great coupon code - AZPOD.

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If you type in AZPOD at the beginning of your checkout process, you're going to

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save like a hundred bucks on your tickets.

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So sweet!

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Yeah, shepodcasts.com/live.

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There'll be a link, obviously, in the episode notes.

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And no, by the way, this was not a paid-for ad spot.

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This is just me promoting something I think that you should attend.

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Now, if you got value out of today's show, please return some of that value either

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by using the value-for-value enabled listening apps to send me some Satoshis

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- ooh, I'm almost up to 20,000 sats, baby!

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Sats, not dollars.

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Dollars would be nice, but I'll take the sats so I can spread them around as well.

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And if that's not in the cards for you because, let's face it,

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the onboarding process for the

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value-for-value stuff is way too complicated

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for just about everyone out there.

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Then please visit BuyMeACoffee.com/evoterra and

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sign up for a virtual coffee contribution or 12 of those.

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That'd be nice.

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That's it.

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I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications cheers.

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Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra.

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He's on a mission to make podcasting better.

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Links to everything mentioned in today's episode are in the notes

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section of your podcast listening app.

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A written-to-be-read article based on today's episode is available at

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podcastpontifications.com where you'll also find a video version and a corrected

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transcript, both created by Allie Press.

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Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.