How Effective Calls to Action Impact Podcast Profits

Today, we sit down for a heart-to-heart to unpack a major issue for business owners stepping into the podcasting world – the art of the call to action. 

It’s not just for acquiring new listeners or friends. Nurturing warm leads and keeping your existing fans engaged is just as, if not more, important. 

Let’s end those throwaway calls to action we’re all too familiar with and make our episodes drive results for our business and listeners. We must remember that part of delivering on the promise of our podcast is giving them the next step, moving them into some kind of action.

In this episode of The More Profitable Podcast, I’ll explain how (and why) we place our calls to action for this show and listen closely. There’s homework you get right at the top of the show because you’re going to take action TODAY by putting together a review of your own podcast CTAs.

02:00 – Start taking action right now. Grab a pen and use this episode to build your own checklist

04:20 – The key to becoming a better podcaster that most want to skip (even me)

06:30 – Don’t let your podcast turn into drivetime radio by skipping ENGAGING calls to action

11:20 – The structure we use for CTAs in The More Profitable Podcast 

13:00 – What I promote in my first CTA block

15:20 – The role the listener plays in how I choose what to promote and when

18:20 – Why I record the CTA right in the episode instead of running a pre-recorded midroll ad

20:15 – The overall structure of The More Profitable Podcast and how it makes the 2nd CTA more impactful

23:00 – How calls to action are effective even for listeners who aren’t ready to buy

27:40 – Focusing only on value is the core of your podcast frustrations

29:30 – Book your Podcast Strategy Intensive for next year and secure THIS year’s rate

Mentioned In How Effective Calls to Action Impact Podcast Profits 

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Stacey Harris: We're having a little heart to heart today. That's right. You and me are gonna have some tough talk. I have been having some conversations and talking to podcasters who assure me they are definitely using their podcast as a sales tool. However, when we get into a podcast strategy intensive and I sit down to do the audit, I immediately figure out why their current sales plan or marketing efforts are not getting them where they want as far as results from the podcast. And it's generally because there is either no real call to action or because there is sort of what I call a throwaway call to action as they wrap up the episode. Sort of a and if this is interesting, let me know, or it sounds like what you hear at the very end of this show. But that's it.

Stacey Harris: That's the only call to action is that pre recorded outro, which, as I explained in our outro on the more profitable podcast right here, not many people listen to that, so they're not actually seeing results. However, they're going through motions that feel like they should be effective. And so that's why I want to break down calls to actions today. That's what we're going to talk about. We're going to dig into how to make your calls to action effective. Welcome to the more profitable podcast with Stacey Harris. I'm Stacey, and this is the spot to learn more about the strategies, tactics, and tools you need to build your more profitable podcast. My team and I work every day with podcasters like you to shift shows from frustrating time sucks to productive members of your sales team because your show should be built to generate and convert leads.

Stacey Harris: So let's get into it. I'm going to assign homework right up front because what I want you to do when you are done listening to this episode is go and audit your most recent episode. And I'm going to tell you that now because I want you to, as we're talking through this, be creating your checklist, creating your priorities. Because the reality that no one wants to acknowledge is that there is not a magic list of boxes we need to check to make sure we get exactly what we want out of our podcast. There's not a magical set of steps that guarantee success to anything. I think as business owners, we know that really well and spend a lot of money trying to prove ourselves wrong in buying up the must have course and the must have checklist. And the reality is, there's not one magical checklist. And that's why, as I go through this conversation today, I promise you, you're not going to hear at this timestamp, do this.

Stacey Harris: Or structure it like Madlib style and say, if you just fill in these blanks, you too can get results from your podcast. So you've got to be building the audit that works for your show. I will have, as we get into this, some recommendations. I will have some foundational things that are spots that you can take advantage of. But ultimately, you decide what works for you, what works for your audience. Look, to bring this to the conversation you're having with the people you trust to help you make decisions for your podcast. If that's a podcast producer, if that's your OBM, if that's somebody in your team, if that is your podcast producer, if that is you and I sitting down for a podcast strategy incentive, whatever it may be, start building out what you want your audit to look like. Do it on a couple of your episodes.

Stacey Harris: Yes. I promise it will not kill you to listen to your own voice. I understand that it's not fun. I hate listening to old episodes of this show. I'll be completely honest with you. It's not my favorite to listen to myself talk, contrary to my chatty, chatty reputation. But it is how we get better. It is how we make change, and it's how we get perspective over what we're actually doing.

Stacey Harris: Because I sit down with clients all the time, every month, I'm going to be completely honest. This mostly comes up in podcast strategy intensives. But we sit down and they're like, yeah, I've got tons of call to act. We have a call to action in every episode. I am already on the right path to be using this as a sales tool. It's just not clicking yet. So we just need to dial it in. And then I do their audit.

Stacey Harris: And occasionally there's straight up no call to action, no zilch. But more often than not, there's kind of a throwaway. And if this was helpful or at the end of their podcast, there's that pre recorded, and it's an ask to get on the email list or join a free Facebook group. Yes, I still hear those. But there's not really a meaningful. Here's the next step. They deliver all this value and they share all this fantastic experience, expertise, and then it just kind of falls off a cliff waiting for the next podcast episode that is going to roll through their player. Roll through their player.

Stacey Harris: And that's where we turn a sales tool. That's where we turn something that is at the core of our marketing engine into drivetime radio. Do you remember drivetime radio? Do you remember driving home listening to. I mean, I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, so I'm so old. White guy yammering on between the occasional musical break and a boatload of commercials. Yeah, I remember the commercials. Couldn't tell you their content. I remember that there was somebody blabbering at me, rarely absorbed the content, and when I was done with it, it got turned off and it completely left my mind.

Stacey Harris: And I don't want that to be what happens for your listener when they get done listening to your show. I don't want them turning it off and it just disappearing. Because I know that your show is impactful. I know that your expertise is valuable. They do too. That's why they hit play. However, when we format our shows to be all about value, when we format our shows to fire hose at our listener how smart we are, and we don't give them clear and actionable next steps. They turn off the car, go in the house, and the drivetime radio disappears.

Stacey Harris: Sitting in the car waiting for them to come back, right? But it doesn't impact their day to day lives. It doesn't change behavior, doesn't change perspective. It doesn't change results. What does is the next step. And that's why these calls to action are so critical. Reminder, before we dig into some structure stuff, this is a conversation that comes up, not infrequently in our podcasting roundtable. So if you would like to join us for the next one, make sure you head over to roundtable and reserve your seat. There is always, always an opportunity to get your questions asked on that call, and if you know what it is right now, you are not going to have to wait to ask it.

Stacey Harris: When we get on the call, feel free to use the link in the email you got confirming your spot to leave that question for me if it's pressing. If it's urgent, I often will email you and reach out. Otherwise, we will talk about it in our next roundtable conversation. I tend to prioritize questions rather submitted before the call and then by people who are on the call live. And then we tend to dig into anybody who's on the call live with questions and then I'll go to any questions that were submitted but the person hasn't been able to join us on the call. But what I want you to note there, the takeaway here is all questions are answered. So head on over to roundtable. Reserve your seat, submit your question and we will talk very soon.

Stacey Harris: Again, this calls to action conversation, one that comes up a ton. So don't feel like you're going to be the only one with questions about this. Bring them. That's what makes us better. All of us, even me, is getting in, asking questions, breaking this stuff down. And not only is that what makes us better, but it's what makes us most ourselves. Because through asking questions and having conversation and hearing other people's questions and hearing other people's answers and perspectives and getting feedback from each other, we start to develop our own filtration system, our own checklist, our own preferences. This is what works.

Stacey Harris: This is what I like. This is what doesn't work. This is what I don't like. This is what feels executable. This is what feels like. It's not for me, whatever it might be. Okay, so again, Roundtable, I would love to see you there with that. I'm going to do the thing that I said I wasn't going to do.

Stacey Harris: This is as structury, pretend it's a word and sort of like black and white, hard and fast rule as I am going to get. For me, in my opinion, which, let's be honest, is great. Every podcast episode, every single one, regardless of whether it is a sales asset, social proof, education, values match, mindset, focus. Whatever the content of the episode is, there needs to be two calls to action. Two. There are two points of time in which I want you to be giving them, being your listener, something actionable. And because we're in this episode, let's just use this episode as an example. We just got through one.

Stacey Harris: I know it didn't fly right by you and you didn't notice. Like we shifted gears. I went from speaking about our content as a whole, getting you on board with what we're going to talk about in the course of this episode, to giving you something outside of this episode to do. And that is, in this case, to join me at the podcasting Roundtable. In this show, it is most often either that or the podcast newsroom. Those are sort. Again, I'm not even going to pretend that this is not anything other than wildly transparent. This is how the sausage is made.

Stacey Harris: We're just going to tell you. Those are my email list options. Those are the ways that I can get line of sight on a listener raising their hand, honestly saying, I'm on board, I'm in, I can do this, this is what I want. And so that we can move them from interested, we can move them from consuming into conversation. Because that for me, is where conversion happens, is when I can talk with you, because then we can get to what do you need, what do you want? And once I know that I can give you the next step to get there, I'll be completely honest. That's not always working with me. However, if I can get you in conversation, I can get you to the result you want, even if that is through a referral to someone else. Because ultimately, that's what's most important to us as experts, right? Is that the people who we're talking to get where they need to go.

Stacey Harris: And by not giving them these calls to action, we're not telling them how to get where they need to go to get the results. And so, yes, I could absolutely stack a paid right now we've got our price increase rolling out, and we could absolutely be talking about the fact that now is really your best time to book podcast strategy intensives for 2024 because you're going to be able to secure 2023 rates. I could absolutely be talking about that in that first call to action. Spoiler alert. That's what we're going to talk about in the second call to action. But for me, I want to make my easiest ask first. I want to make the ask that is the least lift for you early in the episode because I don't know how long you've actually been here. As much as I try to make this show feel like it's just you and me and that I make this show just for you and I, and that you and I sit down together every week and talk, just you and I.

Stacey Harris: There's lots of you and I's and some you got here yesterday and some you got here ten years ago. Now, because we just celebrated our ten year anniversary a couple of weeks before this episode gets released, we're like right at it. It's exciting. And so I certainly want to make a call to action to a purchase, but doing that in the first eight minutes of an episode, if you just got here, not going to land real well, but eight minutes in, I might be able to get you on an email list, I might be able to get you to come join us for a roundtable. And I hope it did. roundtable. Make sure you have your spot reserved. So where does this first one go? For me, this first one goes after I spent some time really making it abundantly clear what we're talking about today, because obviously you get a little insight from our hook that sits at the beginning of the episode.

Stacey Harris: Then we've got our pre recorded intro, and then I want to come in and I want to talk to you. I don't want to go right into selling you somEthing, even if that something is free, because I haven't bought that attention yet. I haven't bought that time yet. I'm still executing on the promise of what this episode might be from the title. Right. We've talked about sort of what each element of the show kind of buys you as far as attention and capacity. And so I want to spend some time really getting you on board. And so that is going to go in once I feel like I've done that.

Stacey Harris: There's not a minute mark. There is not a. It goes in at four minutes in. It's when I've made my initial point, which is to sell you on taking in the larger. Well, really the smaller point. So it's the big picture. I have to sell you on the big picture so that I can take you through the steps I had to sell you on. The idea of talking about effective calls to action before we got into this, where I'm talking about timing calls to action or how many there should be.

Stacey Harris: Then we go back into the meat of the episode. We're in and out. I try to be in and out as quickly as I can while making the point I need to make. The question that most frequently comes up here is why I do that. Instead of running a mid roll ad, there's no music and pre recorded ad and then music and then we come back into the episode. I don't run it like a commercial. I ingrain it in the episode. I do that because I like it better.

Stacey Harris: Seriously. And I say this because I want to highlight for you that that's not necessarily the right way. Doing it prerecorded is not necessarily the wrong way. We have several clients who we do that for who see fantastic results from their podcast and that structure, especially those who occasionally have like, affiliate offers or sponsorships that they're highlighting in that spot, or who run midroll ads that are dynamic, meaning there is a timestamp built into the episode and we run a dynamic ad that pops in at a certain point in the episode. There's not one right way to do this. I do it this way because I'm building trust with you. I want this to feel like I'm leaving you an obscenely long Voxer. I want this to feel like you and I are talking and I've just really run away with it, which is possible.

Stacey Harris: Right. And so that is why ours is structured that way, because I want it to be right inside our conversation as a whole. I want it to fit right in later in the episode, generally at the end of the episode, right before you hear the pre recorded outro, which, by the way, also has calls to action in it. I have a paid call to action. If you've ever listened to any of this show ever before, you know this structure already. And I apologize in advance for the fact that you will not unhear it now when you listen to future episodes. But I go through my sub points that support my larger point, and then I tie it into whatever we're offering. That, for me, allows me to, again, do it in conversation, do it in context of the episode as a whole.

Stacey Harris: The other reason I like to have it there is this. Generally, whatever that paid call to action is, whether it be a podcast strategy intensive or the profitable podcaster Mastermind, or podcast production services with our team, you've heard it. You've heard the language. You've heard the name, you've heard the title. You've heard me use all of those words already in the episode. I have planted seeds. So now when we close out the episode and I have my just as a reminder, or this is a great thing to do in, or this is what we cover, or whatever that bridge is that I use to get us from content to call to action, and I say, join us now. Reserve your spot now for a podcast strategy intensive in 2024 and secure our 2023 rates.

Stacey Harris: Yes, you will hear me say this in a couple of minutes. It's not the first time you've ever heard podcast strategy intensive. So your question now is not, oh, what's that? Your question is, oh, yeah, that's what she mentioned earlier. And a part of that was what we were talking about today. You already have context for what the offer is because I've talked about it in the content, and that's one of the biggest reasons that that paid offer sits at the end of the episode and not in that spot in the middle, beginning ish, because I'm going to use the content to give you context. That way it's easier for you to convert because now you understand, you know, what's happening. I'm not tricking you. We're not trying to get you to sign up for something before you fully understand what it is.

Stacey Harris: I don't want that. And so I've laid in, I've planted seeds, some language and some context that I'm going to ask you to rely on when I get to that call to action. This is why your 32nd outro talking about how you've got space now for one on one clients isn't converting because strategically you're not aligning your content with the call to action. You're just saying, oh, hey, here's now. Instead of really using your content to get them to a point where they're like, yeah, that's what I need now, full disclosure, and I know you already know this, but I'm going to say it anyways because I love you. This does not mean that every single person who listens to every single episode buys every single thing every time. There is such a thing that we don't talk enough about called buyer readiness. And so that call to action, any call to action, really is only going to work when that listener is a ready buyer.

Stacey Harris: When they're still working through that readiness, the content simply helps them move in the direction. And this is why I get people in my DMs on the regular telling me that production with our team is on their wish list for that year, the next year, whatever it may be, because those calls to action are working, it is helping them decide, understand, give context to how we may be helpful to them when they're ready. It's not us building trust and them getting information. And then one day, out of nowhere, I start going, you know, you could pay me. And they go, what? No, that's not what's happening. They're getting educated into a purchase decision, even if that current decision is not yet, because not yet is not the same as no, this is by buyer readiness matters for some people who listen to tOday's episode, and you may be one of them, I hope you are. It'd be a blast when I get into what we're going to get into right now and talk about the ability to book your podcast strategy intensive for Q One of next year and secure the current rates, there's going to be somebody who goes, yes, love me a deal. Let me do this.

Stacey Harris: Put the deposit down and book my date for Q One. Absolutely. And for some people who listen to this episode, it's going to be closer to, I would love to do a podcast strategy intensive, totally putting Matt on my wish list for 2024. I know it's not time yet, but that's how I want to work with Stacy when I decide to work with her. And that is still what I need. That's still good. That's how we sell podcast strategy intensives in Q Two and Q three and Q four and over and over and over and over again, because for every person who's saying yes, now's the time. There's also somebody going, not yet.

Stacey Harris: Not yet. It's not a no, it's just a not yet. And so these calls to action, tying together these offer, these offers, rather with the work we do, getting a peek inside of what we talk about in those offers. That's how this show is effective. Even for those not currently ready. Those calls to action still have to exist, are still important, are still impactful, are still helpful to the listener, even if there are a not yet. And more importantly, from a conversion business standpoint, if I only focus on value because I decide that every listener to this show is a first time listener and I don't want to get too salesy too soon, I will never convert the listeners who are here for weeks or months or years because I'm so afraid to scare off the person who just found the show that I'm not converting my biggest fans, my warmest leads, because I'm not giving them an opportunity to raise their hand. And that's the problem, is when you leave it to that last little 32nd and we have spots available now for one on one work, and that's it.

Stacey Harris: This is why you're frustrated with your show. This is why your show is not delivering the results you want and quite frankly, need it to deliver to be sustainable. And this is the work we do in podcast strategy intensives, maybe most often. Is this calls to action work. Yes, we're building your twelve week strategy. Yes, we're coming up with content ideas. Yes, we're doing the audit. But this is often the bulk of the audit.

Stacey Harris: It's not your cover art, it's not podcast titles, it's not your show description. It's your lack of calls to action. It's the lack of clear next steps for the listener. And that's why I want you to make sure this isn't the case for you. By joining me for a podcast strategy Intensive, I have opened up the calendar for Q One so that you have the opportunity to book in 2024 dates at 2023 rates. Yes. I had initially decided I was going to open up just Q One for intensives and you would be able to book at this current rate for Q One, but anything outside of that would need to be at next year's rates. I have changed my mind.

Stacey Harris: It happens occasionally. As long as you book your 2024 intensive before December 15, you will get the current rates. Doesn't have to be paid in full. We have payment plan options but if you want to book the date for any point, I have opened up the calendar for the whole year for 2024. If you want to get those at 2023 rates, you can book them now. And I had someone ask today, so I'm going to include this here as well. If you would like to book more than one, you can do that too, and take advantage of our current rates. If you have questions about this, if you want to know more about what a podcast strategy intensive looks like, don't worry, we get on a conversation before you book.

Stacey Harris: When you head on over to intensive, you're going to fill out your information so that I can go take a little looksy so I know who I'm getting on the phone with. You and I will decide your next best option. You and I can decide timing. You and I can decide that together. And if this is not the best fit for you, if maybe the profitable podcaster mastermind is A better fit, I will let you know. If production services are a better fit, I will let you know. We can talk through it together. So don't struggle to decide which option.

Stacey Harris: Book a conversation, let's have a chat, and you can grab your intensive for 2024 right now and save. Because again, this is so much of the work we're doing in those attensives, because almost none of us, myself included, are a real good judge of our own call to action. Because oftentimes it feels like we're being really salesy. It feels like we did nothing in the entire episode but talk about our services. But that's not always the fact. And that's why when we started this episode, I said, as we're listening, I want you to pull out the things to me that like, or the things that you hear me say that are like, oh, I want to check for that. I wanted you to build your own priority list. What do you want this to look like for your show? As you hear about how I do it on this show? What about that resonates? What feels good? What's like, yeah, I like that structure.

Stacey Harris: And what about that was like, no, Stacey, I don't want to do that. Cool. Build your own checklist. Start reviewing your episodes. Where are you now in relation to where you want to go with those calls to action? Because judging your memory and your feelings about how you feel you're doing not going to give you an accurate perspective. This is why I do an audit. Seriously. This is why I go in and I listen to at least a couple of episodes before we sit down for your intensive so that I can come ready to go right off the top with any quick changes that need to be made.

Stacey Harris: And if we have to have the conversation about calls to action, we can have it right at the front so that we can then start building episodes that build in calls to action really easily so that you can start getting in the habit and building the muscle of doing this. Because that's what it is. It's habit and muscle. You know how you get better at doing it? Doing it simple as that. Head on over to intensive to book a conversation for the two of us to figure out timing, best option, all of that together. And let's get you on my calendar for next year because I'm stoked to sit down for your intensive, intensive. I will see you right back here next episode. Thanks so much for listening to the show.

Stacey Harris: Remember that content consumption does not make changes, so commit to doing something from today's episode. Maybe it's taking action on what we talked about. Maybe it's reaching out to me and learning more about podcast strategy intensives or what podcast production looks like with our team. All of that is And if you haven't yet signed up for the podcast newsroom, I want to remind you that is a great next step. If you're not really sure what comes next, hang out over there. Get those exclusive private episodes. That's

Stacey Harris: And the last favor I will ask, because social proof is endlessly important for sure, is to leave a rating or review for this show. If you go to more, that's the easiest way to do it. But I would love to hear what you thought of the show, what you think of the show, and if the show has been helpful for you, I can't wait to chat with you. So this is just the start of the conversation. Reach out so we can keep it going. Talk soon. You it.

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