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Turn Podcast Listeners Into Customers Using SMS Marketing

The first step in your podcasting journey is to build an audience. The second step? Turn them into customers. Here's how SMS marketing can help.

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The podcast gold rush is showing no signs of slowing down.

In early June 2018, Fast Company wrote an article stating there were over 525,000 active podcasts

Fast forward to October 2020, and there are over 1.5 million podcasts. That’s 185% growth in just over two years.

In 2024, we launched a very own small business podcast.

A ton of money is pouring into podcasting as companies, and advertisers express more interest in the medium. 

The question is no longer whether to podcast or not: It’s how you can turn your podcast listeners into customers.

The answer is SMS marketing.

Businesses Struggle With How to Integrate Podcasts

There are many podcast listeners–more than half of all US consumers above the age of 12 listen to podcasts–but only 44% go on to buy anything because of one. 

Not only is it a difficult transition to make, but a lot of producers focus most of their attention on attracting listeners with the right guests and sponsors.

There’s less strategizing on how to turn these listeners into customers. In other words, podcasting is an excellent top of funnel strategy that often doesn’t have a natural connection to the rest of a sales and marketing engine. 

Your customers are discovering your brand, realizing a problem you might solve, and even beginning to trust you. But then they hit a wall, and that’s where texting comes into play. It helps bridge the gap between that trust you’ve created and the actual decision to do business with you.

Source: Cashflow Podcasting

Why Most Podcast Calls-to-Action (CTAs) Don’t Work 

To understand how SMS marketing helps turn listeners into customers, think about the last time you listened to a podcast: were you sitting in front of your computer?

The majority of people listen to podcasts while walking their dog, cooking, or even at the gym. In other words, they’re multitasking.

Yet you’ve probably heard people reel off three or four CTAs like this on podcasts:

  • “The link to my website is…”
  • “My new book is called…”
  • “I have a Facebook group called…”
  • “I’m on Twitter…”

These types of CTAs don’t work as people don’t tend to stop what they’re doing and join a Facebook group.

On the other hand, one targeted CTA like text “PODCAST” to “47177” tends to work much better because:

  • It’s memorable and clear.
  • Everyone has their phone on them and can send a text quickly.

How Do You Use Text Marketing In a Podcast

You’re going to need a SimpleTexting account at this stage. You can sign up for a 14-day free trial and follow the below steps. (We don’t ask for your credit card, so no strings attached.)

1. Set Up Your Keyword

We mentioned SMS keywords above with our text “PODCAST” to “47177” example, but we never explained what a keyword is.

A keyword is a word or phrase that your customers can text to your phone number to subscribe to future texts.

This help center article walks you through setting up a keyword. You can also watch this short video.

2. Write Your Auto Response

When you’re setting up your keyword, you get the opportunity to create an auto response. This is the message people receive when they text in the keyword to your phone number.

What you include here will depend on your call-to-action. For example, if you’re going to offer people early access to a book chapter, you could create an auto response like this.

Thanks for your interest in my new book, “The Podcast Chronicles.” You can get exclusive access to Chapter 1 here:

3. Reiterate Your CTA Throughout the Episode

Let people know they can text in your keyword more than once, i.e., the beginning, the middle, and the end of your episodes. We recommend this because some people may not listen to an entire episode.

What Should You Text Your Listeners

The first step is collecting phone numbers. Now it’s time to turn them into paying customers. That all starts by regularly sending your customers messages. 

1. Let Your SMS Subscribers Know When You Upload New Episodes

The first campaign you should send your new SMS subscribers is an update when you launch a new episode or podcast. 

Thanks for your interest in my new book, “The Podcast Chronicles.” You can get exclusive access to Chapter 1 here:

Here’s how straightforward it is to send a text like this to your subscribers.

2. Share Valuable Content

Depending on your business, it’s possible to charge people to receive your texts because you share valuable information. It’s the strategy that our customer the Cut Maker Pod takes, with four weekly text messages costing his subscribers $25 per week.

If your podcast is about healthy nutrition or financial planning, you could charge customers a small fee to receive advice from you on a weekly or daily basis.

You can also give this advice away for free to your audience and continue to move them along the buying journey.

3. Run a Text-to-Win Sweepstakes

This is a tactic that is borrowed straight from good ol’ fashioned radio. It takes minutes to set up, and winner selection is automatic. This two-minute video walks through the process.

We recommend tying the prize to your product or service. For example, if you’re a marketing consultant with a podcast on marketing automation, you could tie the prize to a free marketing audit. 

It’s a way to gauge how many of your listeners are actively interested in what you provide and can help you test the waters before you send more “promotional” content.

Thanks for entering! We can’t wait to see who wins the grand prize of a month’s free service. We’ll announce the winner on 12/08.

4. Send Out a Special “Podcast” Discount

If you’re launching a new product or service, you can use your text message campaigns to send your podcast listeners special discounts. 

You could send a message only to the people who entered a competition or to people that clicked on a particular link.

We’re launching a new episode today, “The Beyonce Chronicles,” that explores the life and music of Beyonce. It’s hosted by The Ringer staff writer Tyler R. Tynes; you can check it out here:

5. Survey Your Listeners

A final way you can use texting to market to your listeners is to get feedback from them. During a podcast, you could say something like, “I’d love to know what topics you’re most interested in. Text “TOPICS” to [Insert Your Phone Number].” They’ll then receive a response like this.

Thanks for entering! We can’t wait to see who wins the grand prize of a month’s free service. We’ll announce the winner on 12/08.

All the customer needs to do is respond with their choice, and you now have a greater insight into your listeners. This video explains how to create your first SMS survey.

The Wrap on Podcast SMS Marketing

Your podcast is your chance to be heard. Once you have listeners, though, it’s time to make those listeners count.

It takes work and patience–especially if you want to turn your podcast into a revenue stream. 

With SMS marketing, you have a way to learn more about your subscribers, offer them valuable content, and even share special offers.

If you still have other questions about podcast texting, our team of experts would love to help. We’re available seven days a week. Text or call us at (866) 450-4185 or use the chat at the bottom of your screen.

Drew Wilkinson
Drew Wilkinson

Drew Wilkinson is the Head of Marketing at SimpleTexting. Drew has more than a decade of experience managing successful integrated marketing programs to build brands, raise awareness, and generate demand.

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