How to Turn Listeners into Leads Without Losing Your Mind

Too many business coaches are setting small business owners up for podcast disappointment, and honestly… podfade. You see, they’re selling the common misconception that podcasting should be primary about audience growth.

Spoiler alert: It’s not just about racking up those listener numbers. I’m diving deep into what kind of results you can get from your podcast when you start shifting out of only thinking of it as a growth tool and start turning those eager ears into solid leads. 

In this episode of The More Profitable Podcast, we’re going to focus on the real power of podcasting for brands and small business owners. It lies not just in reaching more people, but in educating those listeners into a decision. Let’s build your plan so you can craft some killer content that does more than just entertain. We’re talking strategy, baby! 

Let’s get your podcast playing the long game. 

1:05 – The dangers of following the traditional advice of using podcasting solely for audience growth.

3:50 – The concept of attract marketing and how podcasting can be used to attract new listeners 

6:15 – Why it’s critical to be creating content that educates and converts, rather than solely attracting new listeners

8:54 – How specific episodes serve as valuable resources and become a key part of your sales process

11:04 – The power of aligning podcast content with business goals by focusing on educating and converting leads

13:18 – The concept of generating, educating, and converting your listeners and the importance of strategic content creation

19:33 – The importance of strategic planning and the offer of podcast strategy intensives to align podcast content with business objectives is highlighted.

Mentioned In How to Turn Listeners into Leads Without Losing Your Mind

Podcasting for Profitability Roundtable

Podcast Strategy Intensive

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Podcast experts and business coaches everywhere are first to talk about how podcasting is a great way to “grow” your audience, and in reality, podcasting is not the powerful attract tool that it's sold as and if we understand that and we understand the things we need to do to really use it as an attract tool, it makes the things it does do really well even more effective and those things are educating and converting when it is set up to do so.

In fact, the thing that might be hindering your growth is treating your podcast as an attract tool only. Let's dig into this. Let's talk about what this looks like. Let's get into it.

Welcome to The More Profitable Podcast with Stacey Harris. I'm Stacey. 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. So let's get into it.

I'm going to tell you right now, I want to hear from you on this one because I think this is such an important conversation and parts of this might make you mad, especially if you're someone who came to podcasting because a coach told you to, because somewhere along the way, someone told you that it was going to be the surefire way to grow your business, to grow your audience, and as long as you grow your audience, then you'll sell more, which we're going to get into.

If this brings up some stuff, I want to hear from you. A great place to bring this conversation is the Podcasting for Profitability Roundtable so head over to uncommonlymore.com/roundtable to reserve your seat for our next roundtable conversation. But an email works, social, whatever, reach out. I want to hear from you because I think this can be disruptive for some people.

We often think about our marketing tools as a way to attract people, as a way to attract new listeners. There are 1000% some elements of a podcast that is going to help you attract a larger audience.

Almost all of them are dependent on you doing something in addition to recording and releasing your podcast episode. We're going to talk about those, like I said, but they take extra steps.

The thing that takes the least amount of additional work is using this as a tool to educate—or if you prefer the word nurture, you can use that word but I think we all know how I feel about that word—we're educating and we're converting. We're giving the listener who's also a lead, not just a listener, but we're giving that lead as much information and knowledge as we can to help them make the decision they need to solve their problem.

Notice I didn't say this is about us solving their problem. It's about us giving the information they need so that they can take the step into the solution, which is probably working with you. But honestly, some of the most important words this podcast does is for the people who aren't ready to work with me yet.

If there are things that your clients need to have in place, understandings they need to have, and languages they need to be comfortable in, then you need to be making sure that you are giving them that information in the podcast. Not just teaching them what you do, not just taking them behind the scenes, but giving them the information they need to understand what their problem really is and identify their next steps, which again may or may not be working with you.

Let's step back a little bit and let's talk about the attract of it all. We hear a lot about attract marketing, attraction marketing, and the attraction stage. This is how people find us. This is how we get in front of people. Most often we think of this as like networking or social media.

These are the things where we can get in front of somebody who's maybe never heard of us before. Like I said, there are elements of podcasting that are attract. You appearing on other people's podcasts is attraction.

You're going and getting in front of an existing audience, people who have very likely never seen you or seen very little of you, and you're attracting them back to your podcast. Notice your podcast isn't what did it. Your appearance on another podcast is what did it. That's how we use podcasting for an attraction marketing.

Now, you may also, with your own show—and you should be—doing things like optimizing titles and show notes for long-term discoverability. That's why when we work with clients on the production side of things, we factor in things like optimizing for SEO and putting the podcast on your website and not just in the podcast players.

We do these things because we do want to—if someone is searching for an answer that you have—we do want people to be able to find that. That's where we do sit on the attract side of things and see results. We do see some of that attract happen from the podcast.

Notice it still takes that extra step of optimizing the show for that long-term discoverability. This is not going to be your fastest rate of growth because we're dependent then on the people who need us, searching it out, clicking, engaging, and going through all the steps then.

So when we talk about using a podcast to grow your audience, that doesn't mean you start recording and dropping episodes down on Spotify, and suddenly you've got 100,000 people knocking down your door trying to buy your products.

Unfortunately, this is often what is being sold to you. This is often what trajectory looks like when you sign up for that webinar on how to use podcasting to grow your business.

The best way to use podcasting to grow your business is to minimize the attract side, be doing things like setting up for SEO, having it on your website, building out content that answers the questions people are looking to get answered when they find your show, and then using the content itself, not to attract so much as to educate and convert.

Because if the attract of that SEO, of that search, of those social shares, of that appearing on somebody else's podcast and saying, "Oh, yeah, we actually dig much deeper than you and I can dig right now on Episode 640 of the podcast, I'll send you a link so you can put it in the show notes," now we're talking about using our podcast for attraction marketing.

When we're in the content, when we're talking about what's happening in these episodes, when we're talking about what we're talking about and how we're presenting it, that's where we're talking about educating and converting.

Where we go wrong is we start building content exclusively for those people who have just found us. We build content to answer the very first questions people have. So they get there, they get attracted, and they're like, "Oh, this is the answer to that question."

But because we consistently just keep putting out content built to attract a new audience, we never actually move that audience down our funnel. We never actually move that audience forward because we've built content that answers that question and then lets them go find their next problem.

When we focus on building content that does a better job of educating and converting, meaning we're answering that first question, but we're talking about it a little differently, we're answering that first question, but we're identifying the potential landmines that they may run into, and then in subsequent episodes, speaking to some of those landmines more deeply, speaking about how our work helps people identify those landmines, how our work helps people move through the frustrations or problems they may be running into, that's where we start to see our podcast actually grow our business.

This is also, quite frankly, where you're actually going to see growth to your audience because now you become a resource worth sharing. You don't become one more person who I hear about my problem from with no real next step, with no real solution, or frankly, worse, with just enough of a solve that you alleviate my current pain and I wake up the next morning with the same problem—or we're treating the symptom and not the underlying issue to put it in full on medical jargon.

I have to take responsibility for the fact that this podcast's job is not to go find me 100 new prospects. What it is built to do is to educate the prospects who I am sharing it with into a decision.

Now, does that mean I'm sending this podcast one-on-one to every person who reaches out to me? Sometimes, not every time, sometimes. Sometimes I'll get somebody in my DMs and they'll ask a question where I dig into it on the podcast and I'll say a brief sort of summation of my answer and I'll say, “If you really want to hear me talk about this, go listen to the podcast. Here's a whole episode we did on this.”

We do this a ton with the Housekeeping series. I send that out all the time. Some other episodes we send this out of the batching episode. I send that to a lot of people. I can't think of any other ones right now that I've sent, I'm trying to think of ones I've sent out in the last week. In the last week, we sent out the Housekeeping series. We've sent out batching episodes.

Oh, the solo episodes that we just recently did, we've been sending those out a lot and they were built because I was needing to send them to people frequently. But these are now assets that answer specific questions to somebody who's in it.

They reached out to me. They were like, “I know you're the resource for this. How do I do this better? How do I figure this out?” Now when they're in their mastermind—and this is a real example—when they're in their mastermind and they're talking about their podcast or somebody else brings up a podcast, they go, “Oh, you have to listen to Stacey's show.” That's how it becomes an attract tool.

Not by me focusing on building content that attracts new listeners. Not at me keeping the podcast exclusively for people who are getting ready to launch their podcast, or who are frustrated with their current production team.

No, it's not exclusively for one of those groups. It's for anybody who's using a podcast to generate, educate, and convert right-fit clients. That generate piece, that attract piece is first, but it only happens because the content is built to educate and convert. That's why the generate works.

If you spend all your time focused on generate and not educate and convert, you will not retain a listenership. You will not grow and you will not see the business impact, and this is the big part, you will struggle to see the business impact, the revenue change from your podcast if you are only building it to grow an audience.

This is one of the biggest reasons whenever you submit your questions, when you book a call with me, either to do an intensive or to do production, you book a 30-minute call with me, that 30-minute call has some questions beforehand.

These are not to qualify you so that I can email you and say, “I don't want to work with you.” They are to make sure that I'm going to be able to be helpful and they allow me to show up ready to jump right in so we don't spend 20 minutes doing small talk and then I just pitch you.

No, it's us discussing your podcast for 30 minutes so that on the other side of that, you have a right next step, regardless of whether that's working with me or not because sometimes it's not. But when you book this call with me, I ask you some questions.

One of those questions is what is the goal for your podcast in the next 12 months? I think it asks for goals. One of the things that is a yellow flag, I will say, one of the things I really watch for is when the only goal is to grow the show because that tells me one of two things is true: best case scenario, you have nailed this. You convert like mad from your podcast. You put an episode, you convert a client. That's how mad, like just consistently this is happening. Release, purchase. That's how it's happening. You've nailed that.

Or the more common is that you believe that if you just got more people to listen to the podcast, more people would convert. Then I go look at your data, and we have our conversation, and I find what's actually true is you're not currently converting anyone, oftentimes because it's not set up to do so.

It's set up, quite obviously, to attract new people into your audience. You are featuring a ton of guests hoping that their audience will come listen to your show. You are avoiding calls to action that get them on your email list or get them to purchase. That's like never ever happening. So they have no next steps.

Your podcast is not built to generate, educate, and convert. It's built to generate. Generation alone will not grow a business because the people most new to you are also the people, generally speaking—none of this is an absolutes. None of this is an absolutes. That's kind of funny. Anyways, none of this is an absolutes. There are exceptions to every rule—but in most cases, your newest audience member is your coldest lead.

Most people don't listen to one episode of the show and hire me. Most people are not listening to this podcast and are 15 minutes in and they're like, "I can't wait to book a Podcast Strategy Intensive with Stacey," and this is the first time they've ever heard my voice.

This is likely true for you too, but you've listened to several episodes. If you're right now thinking, "I've got to book a Podcast Strategy Intensive with Stacey," that's because this content is built to continue to educate you and convert you, to move you through, to sit alongside you during your decision-making process.

I don't sell a $15 widget. It's not what we do. To build something that was built to attract a new listener and convert them all in one episode is not a real thing and certainly not when you're trying to sell when you are marketing and selling a high-end service, a high-end done-for-you service, a high-dollar intensive, or even our small-group program, they're all investments.

They're not the package of gum on the way out of Target, but when we approach this as an attract only, a grow-my-audience only, when that is our core goal, we might actually attract some people but we're not going to retain them and we're not going to convert them.

However, when our goal is conversion first, when our goal is to educate and convert first, the generate happens. That's why we talk about generating, educating, and converting because when we're available for all three, when we're building content strategically for all three chapters of that from the first time you met me, to while you're getting to know me, to when you're ready to jump into the work with me, when we're building content for each of those steps, when we're keeping each of those goals in mind, all of those goals work.

Generate happens fastest when I'm building content that educates and nurtures, when I'm building content that helps the listener make a decision, when I move them through that educate and nurture in a way that is directing them towards conversion. That's when generate works best.

Again, generate is the piece of this that's the least about the content. The generate stuff, yes, we want to be building episodes that can speak to somebody the first time they've ever heard us, it can still be of value to them.

We don't want to be skipping to the middle of the book in every episode. Also, every episode is not for everybody. If the first episode you ever heard is What Working with Uncommonly More Looks Like, and you've never heard of me, you don't know who I am, you don't know what we do, it's probably not going to convert you.

Now, if it's the first episode you've heard because it was a referral from someone else, and I or the person who referred me sent you that episode so that you can get a feel for what working with us looks like, then maybe.

But for somebody just finding that episode, no because that episode is not meant to be the first thing you've ever heard. This one, yes. This could be the first time you've ever heard me. What it's built to do is to get you to listen to another one or recognize very quickly and very early that I'm not for you, and that's cool too, but it's doing its job.

And its job was maybe to get you here if you were searching for this and you found it and voila, but it's not built to go find you in some dark corner and get you to buy production services. It's built to get you to listen to another episode because we're educating you on our brand values in this episode. That's what's happening now.

Now on the flip side, if you're somebody who's been listening to this podcast for weeks, months, or years, this episode is built to move you forward because it's going to fire you up, “You're right, it's time I do this.”

In which case, this is for you. The way we do this starts with strategy. The way we build content that does attract but also does the job of educating and converting is through planning, is through strategy.

This is the work we do in our Podcast Strategy Intensive and I would love to sit down with you for one. We've got some spots open up for the next couple of months. Head on over to uncommonlymore.com/intensive. Grab a spot to have a 30-minute conversation with me, just like the one we talked about earlier in this episode, and we'll see if it's a good fit for right now.

It may be, it may not be. Either way, you and I will have an incredible 30-minute conversation about your show and your business. All right, uncommonlymore.com/intensive. I want you, as you sit down this week and you think about your podcast and you think about what you want to create with it in the next 30 days, the next 60 days, the next 90 days, and the next 12 months, I want you to think about what you want it to do besides grow your audience because when we think about how we want to use it to sell to our audience, the growth will come, and guess what? It'll be better quality growth. All right?

Again, if you're ready to do this work with me, uncommonlymore.com/intensive is the place to go, I would love to sit down with you. Either way, spend some time this week thinking through this for your show. All right? I'll see you right back here next week.

Thanks so much for listening to this show. 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 over at uncommonlymore.com.

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 over at podcastnewsroom.com. The last favor I will ask, because social proof is endlessly important for sure, is to leave a rating and review for the show. If you go to ratethispodcast.com/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. This is just the start of the conversation. Reach out so we can keep it going. Talk soon.

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