From Podcasts to Clubhouse to Amazon Alexa, audio can play a big role in your business marketing plan, here’s how.
When the internet really started to scale in the the mid-90s and businesses were looking for online marketing opportunities, there were limited options – build a website, build an email marketing list and perhaps pay for some flashing banners on other websites. There were no social media platforms or apps to experiment with. Fast forward to 2021 and we have a wealth of different platforms and technologies that allow us to promote our business in more ways than ever before. Some cost money, but others just your time and effort. Audio is one such technology that has been in use for years (hello radio listeners), but recently new audio-focussed apps and platforms have emerged that mean even if you’re not interested in running radio ads, you should seriously consider using audio in your marketing plan. How? Here’s an overview of some of the audio and voice services available to promote your business, and many of them won’t cost you a penny to get started.
Why use audio rather the visual marketing?
One simple reason. Time. People will scroll through Facebook, Instagram and TikTok when they are sitting down and have the time to do so. Audio doesn’t need the person to be staring at their screen (handy when many people are trying to reduce their screen time). Audio can be consumed whilst doing chores around the house, working on the laptop, driving to work, walking or cycling. It’s why the radio is on at work more than the TV.
Let’s have a look at some of the audio tools you can use.
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. The podcast market has exploded and it is highly likely many of the brands or celebrities you like or are aware of now have a podcast of their own or sponsor one. The great thing about podcasts is they give you your own voice platform to share your story, or someone else’s. You may think you need loads of technical equipment to set one up but you can create and distribute a podcast for free and distribute it across Apple Podcasts and Spotify with just your phone. Check out a free app called Anchor (which Spotify have actually now purchased they liked it so much). It will have you up and running with your own podcast in just a few minutes where you can record your own intro, bring in guests, add music and of course link to your website. Hit publish and they distribute it across all the places people find their podcasts.
What should my podcast be about? The same rules apply for all your content and marketing – entertain, inspire or educate. It’s not meant to be one big radio advert about the stuff you sell, it’s an opportunity to build an engaged audience around a topic you or your business are interested in. Run a florist? Start a gardening podcast. Are you a personal coach? Run a podcast on fitness tips and mental health. You can do it on your own or bring in guests to interview who will also then promote your podcast to their audience. Even though no-one listening to podcasts wants to be bombarded with ads, you should make sure you mention your brand somewhere – e.g. open with ‘Welcome to the Gardening Tips Podcast with Tina’s Flowers’, and perhaps mention your website or where they can find you on socials at the end.
With podcasts, the key to keeping them going beyond just the first couple of episodes, is make it interesting for you. Make sure it’s something you want to talk about and aren’t going to be bored of after three episodes. If you like it, chances are there are other people out there that will too.
Here’s another tip if you’re short on time – if you already make videos for YouTube, consider taking the audio from those and hey presto – you’ve got a podcast!
And if you’re not quite ready to create your own, consider reaching out to other podcast creators and see if you can guest on them or sponsor one.
Clubhouse is barely a year old but has already amassed a huge user base. The social app allows users to either listen in to group conversations on a variety of topics or host their own live show where others can contribute or join in with the discussion. It’s invite-only at the moment, which is helping fuel some of it’s growth, but already big names such as Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Kevin Hart and Oprah have appeared on the app.
It’s proved so popular that the likes of Twitter and Facebook are already busy creating their own versions. Like podcasts, Clubhouse helps bring people together with common interests over audio, great for brand building and once you’re signed up the app, you can start your own group chat and discussions, or contribute to others.
Spotify (and Apple Music)
Two marketing opportunities here, one will cost you advertising cash, the other just your time and your Spotify monthly subscription. The first one is Spotify Advertising. Users that use the free version of Spotify hear adverts in between some songs. You can create your own audio adverts for this platform and target certain demographics or specific fans of certain music genres. Spotify even include a bunch of free production tools for creating your ad. You’ll need to spend a minimum of around £300 to run a campaign but it’s a great tool for reaching your target demographic – especially if you’re in the music industry, but is highly applicable to other businesses too.
The second, and potentially far more fun marketing opportunity is Playlists. Here’s what to do. Create a Spotify account under your brand or businesses’ name – you can either rename your existing one or create a second account which you can log into. Slap your logo up as your profile picture, and hey presto – your brand is on Spotify! Now the fun part. Create playlists around themes associated with your market or just playlists you think will appeal to your audience. For example, do you run a skateboarding clothing brand? Create playlists for skaters to listen to when they’re in the skate park. Remember, pretty much everyone likes music so even if you don’t theme your playlists, everyone appreciates a good mix tape – create playlists for people to listen whilst they’re at work in the office or on their daily train commute. Then make sure you share your playlists across your other social platforms. Great brand awareness and a source of entertainment for your audience. And if you have an active community on a platform like Facebook or Twitter, you can encourage them to get involved and suggest songs for your Friday Playlist or Christmas Hits.
Amazon Alexa (other voice assistants are available)
Voice Search is growing. And whilst typing is still the preferred method for most of us when looking up something on Google, there’s no denying that more and more homes have voice assistants such as an Amazon Echo in their home. People will ask Alexa questions and Alexa presents them with results they found on the web – can your brand help answer some of those questions Alexa scours the web for? The difference with voice search compared to Google on a laptop or phone is that you don’t get pages of results for the user to look through – there is only one winner – the one that Alexa chooses to give to the user and read out. This is why brand and people knowing your brand name are so important, so when voice search becomes the norm, your customers are asking for your brand by name – e.g. ‘order me a pizza from Domino’s’ rather than just ‘order me a pizza’ and then Alexa choosing which brand to recommend you.
It’s now pretty easy to make your website voice search compatible and is worth considering for the above reason but Amazon also allows you to offers tools such as your own Alexa Skill – if you run a gaming site, you could create an Alexa Skill so when people say ‘Tell me the latest gaming news from Super Gaming Blog’, Alexa reads out your latest blog post. You can then publish new updates every week for your subscribers.
So there you have it, four low cost ideas for audio marketing you can try.
Got a question about any of the above or need some help, tweet us or find us on Facebook. We’d also love to hear from you if you’ve tried any of the above – let us know and we’ll share with our audience.