Producing a good podcast takes an extreme amount of effort. If you’re not seeing your viewership grow, it’s all too easy to give up and throw in the towel on podcasting altogether.
In my opinion, if you’re sinking 5+ hours a week into making a podcast, you have reached the point where you should start spending a limited financial budget to complement your time input. A little bit of spending can go a long way to getting subscribers and ultimately pushing your podcast to the point where you can start to see more organic growth.
These are the three best small investments for anyone looking to spend <$100 growing their podcast.
1. Podcast Cover Art
A small investment on your podcast branding can go a long way. iTunes is still the largest podcast directory, so make sure that your image meets their requirements (i.e. a square .png or .jpg somewhere between 1400 x 1400 pixels and 3000 x 3000 pixels).
Check out Fiverr, which has design gigs ranging from $5 to $300. I prefer it to Upwork or 99 designs because it’s easier to look through a designer’s past work and find a style and price-point that matches what you’re looking for.
The investment: $25
The strategy: Most importantly, make sure people know what your podcast is about when they take a one second glance at it.
Good Job, Brain: The design gets across the general vibe of the podcast. But you would have no idea it was a trivia podcast by looking at the artwork.
Serial: Great podcast with a fantastic hosting crew and excellent production. I don’t get any of that from the cover art.
Good Beer Hunting: Another great podcast and the artwork should have been a gimme. But the cover art gives off Serial vibes, not Good Beer Hunting vibes.
Crimetown: Absolutely nailed it. A strong DC landmark with an eye-catching design and a clear title. Admittedly, this Gimlet podcast artwork probably required a highly skilled designer, but we must have something to aim for.
Unsolved Murders: Simple. You could make this with a photo from Unsplash. Still, it gives you a sense of exactly what to expect when you subscribe.
Puck Soup: Again, really simple. If I’m looking for a podcast about hockey, I know to look here.
When it comes to Facebook and Instagram marketing, Wavve is the best way to get clicks, period. If you haven’t heard of Wavve, it’s a tool that lets you create videos which have animations synced up to your audio. You can create some seriously eye-catching content, especially if you use Canva to make your background images. Videos created with Wavve consistently get 5x better click through rates (CTR) and 5x cheaper cost per click (CPC). Wavve runs on a “freemium” model where you can create up to 60 seconds of video. You can upgrade to a premium plan with 10 minutes of video per month for $10/month.
The investment: $10/month for 10 minutes of video per month
The return on investment (ROI): I get the same number of clicks on FB and Instagram as I used to when I spent $40/month advertising static images.
The strategy: For weekly podcasts, I’d recommend creating somewhere around five to seven 30 second clips from each episode, and then posting these to Facebook and Instagram throughout the week. For podcasts with daily episodes, I would create one or two clips for each episode, depending on how much content you have.
3. Overcast Ads
In my experience, it has been difficult to target podcast listeners through Facebook ads, and it typically requires at least a $500/month to tune your posts and get the cost per click down to a reasonable level.
Overcast is an affordable and much more efficient way to spend a limited budget. Overcast is a podcast player for iOS which sells ad slots that appear at the bottom of the ‘Now Playing’ and ‘Add Podcast’ screens. When a user clicks on your ad, they’ll be taken to your in-app podcast page where they can subscribe directly. This offers two advantages over Facebook: (1) because Overcast embeds ads directly in their player, you’re starting off with a much more targeted group of people, and (2) it’s dead simple for people to subscribe to your podcast after they click.
The investment: Ad packages start at around $70 and go up to as much as $2200.
The ROI: It depends a bit on your podcast category, but in general you can expect around $0.10 per ad click, and $2 per new subscription (assuming an average 5% conversion rate).
The strategy: Overcast makes it pretty straight forward, check out their current ads for sale.
Good luck on your podcasting journey!