Charley: James, I know this is a big topic of yours, and something you’ve preached for a long time is about not having a single source of dependence. So I wanted to talk to you about how you’ve been using your podcast to, I suppose have more of an omnipresence and be on multiple channels.
James: Yeah, it’s been interesting watching the changes over the years, Charley, because I started podcasting over 10 years ago. And there was obviously less people in that marketplace. But I’d been listening to cassettes and DVDs, you know, in the early days of my career, and I knew that was a great place to learn stuff. I think I actually wore out my Brian Tracy Psychology of Selling cassette tapes in the car. I played them so many times. So I wanted to get into that audio market. And I wanted to podcast that, but what I found was, over time, I noticed people were able to distribute their podcasts over different platforms.
So these days, one of the biggest shifts in the last few years, is how people really want to consume that content in the platform that they’re sitting in. So we actually upload the whole episode now natively to Facebook, and to YouTube, and to SoundCloud, and Stitcher, and also Amazon. They’ve got the Alexa platform, so you can actually put it in all different places, and Spotify. So whatever tool or platform people are using, they can consume my content.
It’s made a little harder to track downloads in the traditional sense, but what it does mean is I’m meeting the customer where they’re at, where they want to listen. And you need your audience to listen to you for hours and hours and hours on end, if you want to charge for your services with a very low resistance. So the good thing is if one platform goes down, like if the iTunes platform goes down, we’ve still got subscribers on YouTube, we still have people in Spotify, we still have people on Facebook. So I call this a list guarantee. It’s building up subscribers across multiple platforms, so your overall reach is good.
Of course, I didn’t even mention LinkedIn. But these days, that’s where I’m getting a lot of traction for my podcasts. They’ve got a limit on the video, unfortunately, but you can at least bring them back to your own website. And I still think even in this time of the internet, it’s important to build your own website asset. And I think a lot of people left that over the last five or six years. And they’re now discovering whether it’s watching documentaries, on how much control and manipulation these social platforms have, that sometimes, you know, things change and the platform stops.
So it’s good to be able to have that asset. And of course, when I look into my analytics, and I see where most of my sales come from, it’s the good old email list. So I like to bring people back. I always reference my episode number on a podcast. And there’s always something for my prospect to download, whether it’s simply a PDF of every word we say on the episode, or a cheat sheet or action guide, or template that goes along with the episode.
And people do come to the site, they search for the number and they download that and now they’re on the email list. And I’m able to stay in touch with them whenever we publish a new episode. So yes, being in multiple places, it sounds like a lot of work but it’s not if you have good support. And I’m sure you could talk about how that works, because I know that’s what you do at ValherMedia.com, Charley.
Charley: Yeah, it’s a big topic. It really is. And you just hit on so many points like, this is one of the reasons I love podcasting so much, is I actually think it’s the easiest approach to be omni-channel. It’s easy to take your podcast and allow it to be on all the channels like all the ones you mentioned, and I hope LinkedIn lift that that video duration ban soon, because I’m sure we’ll be on there as well.
James: It’s only a matter of time.
Charley: Isn’t it?
James: I mean, Instagram used to have a one minute limit, but a bit now, of course with Instagram TV, you can use that as a preview and they click for more, which they do. And you can upload the whole thing.
Charley: You touched on something earlier that I think is really important though. This makes me really nervous. I actually have many friends who have businesses, and they’re practically all-in on Facebook ads, or Facebook itself. And I love the diversification a podcast brings. Now, the thing I get back and I keep hearing, I would love your feedback on, a lot of my friends seem to think these parties are never going to end. They seem to think that this is so well set up and Facebook is such a strong platform that why would they change? Why would anyone want to be omni-channel or take into that? How do you feel about that?
James: Well, probably if they’re your age or young, they have never been through a recession. Like, when I was a kid I watched my parents have a financial crisis in the late 80s. And I actually had to leave study, and go and get a job. And then the cycle came around again. And the next time around, I was a General Manager on a big wage. And I could see there’s a global financial crisis looming, and I’m on a high wage in a luxury car segment. I don’t think I want to be dependent on that one wage. And I set up my own business and moved across to it.
The whole time I’ve been online, I’ve seen phases come where platforms just wiped people out. I mean, at various stages, I lost my Facebook advertising account, I lost my Google account, I haven’t lost my YouTube account. But I’ve seen lots of my friends and peers have catastrophes. Entire groups disappear overnight with no recourse. What people don’t realize is at the level they’re playing at, if you’re not a multi-national corporation, you know, like Toyota, or a huge insurance company, you’re not Facebook’s ideal customer. If you’re not spending millions of dollars a month, you don’t really count. If you’re peddling away with a couple of hundred thousand dollars in ad budget, you don’t factor into it. So they might make a change and it might not suit you. And there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s their platform at the end of the day. And then you’ll see other things like government regulations happen.
But I’d say, right now, we are sitting on the brink of another financial downturn. And it will be the first time for a lot of new marketers to go through that. And I’d say, as always, make sure you pay down any debts you have, get ready for a storm to come and make sure that you’re not relying on any one type of customer or any one market or even any one currency, if possible. And definitely not one platform. If you’re a YouTube star, I’d say you want to make sure you at least get people onto an email list.
So in my Own The Racecourse training, I teach people to use those platforms as a place to bring people back to your core and to build your own asset, because ultimately, that’s what’s going to weather out the storm as it has done the last two times around.
Charley: Absolutely. And you touched on something earlier that I want to dive back into as well. You mentioned about having your own website, if you have a podcast or you’re thinking about one. Now, the data I’d got that’s quite amazing is, I can’t believe how many people click on show notes and episodes from, let’s say, these social channels and actually visit people’s website. In your show, you’ve had these for quite a while. Do you see a large amount of traffic kind of making that jump from the social networks onto your site? Has that been a big contributor?
James: It is, I can actually track it specifically. I know for example, I’m like somewhere around $27,000 a month from social network links that link back to my website that I can actually track and I obviously can’t track it all. But that’s enough to know that I should be doing it. So I will continue to do it. But also the primary way we build our email database is people getting show notes.
I don’t have traditional squeeze pages with a big paid campaign leading to a squeeze page via sale, webinar, all the tricky funnels, you hear about. I just published podcast after podcast, we do two a week now. We used to do one a week. We’ve tried three, four, five even. We’ll do about 100 episodes a year. And the primary way people get onto my email database is downloading something extra from those shows. And once they’ve got that, they will be able to find my other solutions but also be alerted when there’s new episodes out.
And we get a very high open rate on our email broadcast. For a house list like that, you know, we’re getting an excess of 38% open rates for notifications of new episodes. When you consider that it’s also being pushed to their phone by iTunes but also to their YouTube account into their Facebook page, then it’s a pretty good open rate.
And what I found, whenever I sit next to someone at a meetup or face-to-face, or they’re at my event in person, and I say, How did you find out about this? Why did you buy a ticket? And they always say, I heard you on a podcast. I mean, like, it’ll be 99% of the case – podcast, podcast, podcast. I think podcast is the ultimate conversion resource. And thankfully for me, I found a way that I can actually just talk and it can be captured and distributed. I don’t even like the sound of my own voice, Charley. But it is a platform I can commit to and stick with. Even two episodes a week, that commits me to about an hour of my life a week to drive a 7-figure business. I think that is the bargain of the century.
Charley: I think that’s leverage of the century.
James: It is leverage. I like the idea that you do something once and that it continues to have a sustained result and my whole business is set up that way.