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5 Experts Reveal Their Secrets

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5 Experts Reveal Their Secrets

Are you one of the 7.8 million Americans who commute to work every day? If so, I’m guessing you’ve listened to a podcast or two. You’re not alone. According to Infinite Dial, U.S. podcast audiences listen to an average of four to five podcasts per week.

The podcasting industry continues to grow YoY. In fact, Infinite Dial reports that, in 2021, 7 million more people were listening to podcasts than in 2020 alone.

That’s why it’s important to consider podcast advertising for your brand. Here, you’ll learn everything you need to know about podcast advertising — from top podcast advertising strategies to advertising rates and networks.

Podcast Expert Advertising Strategies

Before you get started with podcast advertising, consider this advice from the experts.

Use podcasting for brand awareness, not lead generation.

Rebekah Bek: As a UX writer for Ahrefs, Bek was put in charge of podcast sponsorships. She writes her advice for podcast advertising strategies in this Medium post. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Rather than being a tool for lead generation, podcast advertising is a tool for gaining exposure and brand awareness.
  • It’s not always about measurable ROI.
  • Organic, not scripted, mentions perform best.

Understand your audience may have eclectic tastes.

Midroll: Midroll, a company that matches advertisers with shows , gives their advice to advertisers. Here is the key takeaway:

  • It’s wise not to adhere too strictly to a category. Don’t assume that comedy audiences aren’t also entrepreneurs or that listeners to a sports podcast aren’t interested in a comedy special. You may be surprised at how broad and eclectic your audience tastes and needs are.

Ads read by the host perform better than third-party ads.

Jason Hoch: Former Chief Content Officer at HowStuffWorks, Hoch revealed what type of ads work best for their brand in an interview with DigiDay. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Ads read by the host perform better than scripted, third-party ads placed in the podcast.
  • Listeners feel like they are being shouted at with third-party ads.
  • Consider producing organic mentions for better results.

Test and measure the success of your campaigns.

Kurt Kaufer: Partner and CMO at Ad Results Media, a podcast advertising agency, Kaufer wrote a survival guide for podcast advertising in this Forbes post. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Measurement is the key to determining success in a podcast advertising campaign. Use promo codes, custom links, and post-checkout surveys to track success.
  • Be comfortable knowing not every ad will work at first and that a breadth of shows will need to be tested to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Measuring the success of your podcast campaigns is best done with a tool, like Casted, that gives you an overarching view of critical metrics. With the tool, you can access behavior metrics, demographic data, and traffic information that helps you understand your content’s true value. 

You don’t need to sponsor the biggest podcasts, you can reach the same people on smaller shows.

Sam Balter: Former podcast marketer at HubSpot, Balter wrote about his podcast advertising learnings in this post. Plus, I spoke with him about his top podcast advertising strategies. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Pre- and post-roll ad spots are generally cheaper than mid-roll and take less time. In addition, most ads have some sort of call-to-action that prompts listeners to go to a specific URL or use a discount code to get a discount.
  • Podcast popularity and listenership will only continue to rise and so will the opportunity to connect with people in a new and novel way.
  • When sponsoring podcasts, trust the host to deliver a message in their own voice.
  • It’s better to go for frequency than reach. Pick a podcasts where you can purchase three to five ads versus one on a large podcast.

Podcast Advertising Rates 2022

The amount you pay for podcast advertising will vary depending on the length and type of the ad.

It’s essential to know that podcasts offer different pricing structures. Ads are sold on a cost per mille (CPM) or cost per acquisition (CPA) rate. CPM is the cost you’ll pay per 1,000 impressions or downloads. CPA is the cost you’ll pay to acquire a customer. Most ads are priced on a CPM model.

The current average cost of podcast advertising is a CPM of about $25.

AdvertiseCast notes that the average CPM for 30-second ads is $18, and the average CPM for 60-second ads is $25.

podcast advertising cost 2022

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Podcast Advertising Networks

A podcast advertising network is an agency that connects companies or brands with respected podcasts on which to advertise. The goal is to take away the friction in podcast advertising by helping brands promote their products on podcasts and helping podcasters monetize their projects. A few examples include:

1. Midroll

Midroll, now part of SXM Media, is used by over 800 brands to buy ad spots on 300+ podcasts. With such a wide variety of shows, advertisers have the opportunity to use audience-based buying to ensure ads align with podcast topics most relevant to your brand, helping you accurately target relevant users and maximize reach.

Your ads can be pre-recorded or host read, the ladder being a valuable tool for generating brand trust as audiences trust hosts and see them as a valuable source of social proof. 

Midroll prices ads on a CPM model, so you pay based on the number of certified downloads each episode receives. Its website notes that prices can range from $18 to $50 CPM, with higher performing shows being more expensive. 

The advertiser portal also gives you an overview of campaign metrics, helping you see important data like forecasted downloads and ad placement cost per show. 

podcast advertising network: midroll

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2. Podcast One

Podcast One sees more than 2.1 billion annual downloads and 350 different episodes produced weekly, making it a high-impact platform for podcast advertisers. 

It offers pre-recorded and live host endorsements, and you can use its geo-targeting and copy-split capabilities to ensure you target the right audiences and pick placements for your ads that are most relevant to your business. 

With PodcastOne, you also have the unique ability to use visual integrations for your ads in the form of a sponsorship splash, an ad banner, or a forced video ad.

3. Megaphone

Megaphone offers powerful podcast advertising tools with the Spotify Audience Network, helping you target the most relevant listeners that are likely to drive the most impact across a wide variety of podcasts. 

With the service, you can:

  • Reach listeners according to their interests, purchase behavior, and things like apps, devices, and platforms that they use.
  • Get actionable campaign insights that help you understand performance to ensure you have the right strategy.
  • Use dynamic ad insertion to populate ads when downloaded so messaging is fresh and relevant.

Contact Megaphone to obtain pricing information.

4. AdvertiseCast

AdvertiseCast boasts 2,300+ podcasts, a 150,000,000+ monthly listener reach, and 4,200+ available ad spots to choose from, making it a valuable tool for podcast advertisers as you can select target audiences that are the best fit for your business. 

You also have three different podcast ad opportunities to choose from: 

  • Baked-in host-read ads (its most popular option), where podcast hosts read your ads within the episode. Pricing is based on length (60 seconds or 30 seconds) and whether you select mid-roll or pre-roll placement. 
  • Dynamically inserted ads, which are pre-produced, pre-recorded and scheduled to be inserted into podcast content. Pricing is based on the average number of downloads in the first 30 days. 
  • Custom podcast ad units where you can be as creative as you’d like, like a social media plug for your profiles, a 10-second shout out, or a 90-second baked-in mid-roll ad. 

AdvertiseCast also offers an end-to-end ad campaign platform that you can use to manage your ads and view detailed metrics that help you understand campaign performance. You can also make use of the full service solution, where AdvertiseCast manages the process for you.

Podcast Advertising Statistics 2022

1. There are around 2,000,000 podcast shows and over 48 million podcast episodes as of April 2021. (PodcastInsights, 2021)

2. 75% of the US population is familiar with the term “podcasting,” which is up 5% since 2019. (Infinite Dial, 2020)

3. Half of Podcast ads lasted longer in 30 seconds in length. (Interactive Advertising Bureau, 2021)

4. A survey of 300,000 listeners found that 63% of people bought something a host had prompted on their show. (AdvertiseCast)

5. Cost per mille (CPM) or cost per 1,000 listeners is the most common pricing method for podcasts. (AdvertiseCast, 2021)

6. Dynamically-inserted ads increased the share of revenues from 48% to 67%. (Interactive Advertising Bureau, 2021)

7. Streaming audio and podcasting is projected to be one of the channels with the largest growth in 2022, with a 17.8% increase. (Inside Radio, 2021)

8. Host-read and pre-product ads increased share of revenues from 27% to 35%. (Interactive Advertising Bureau, 2021)

9. Local advertising for streaming audio and podcasting will outperform targeted banner advertising and broadcast TV. (Inside Radio, 2021)

10. U.S. Podcast Ad Revenue is set to exceed 2 Billion by 2023. (Interactive Advertising Bureau, 2021)

Podcast advertising is a marketing tactic that is continuing to grow. As a majority of people have listened to a podcast, and engagement rates are increasing, brands can no longer ignore podcast advertising.

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

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So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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