They Actually Subscribed! Now What?

When a listener reaches the Subscriber stage of The Listener Lifecycle, it’s a huge deal for a few reasons:

  1. You now know who they are and can better understand your audience
  2. You can now contact them directly, so your audience is becoming more portable
  3. You are one step closer to monetizing your audience

Some people reach this stage when they become paid Subscribers of your show, and others sign up for your newsletter. Both routes are great but the question remains, where do you go from here? And how do you keep getting more listeners to convert to Subscribers?

Adding Value to Subscribers (and Advertisers!)

Listeners become Subscribers because they see value in your content, and they want more of it. Hopefully, by this point, you’ve already given some thought to what value your show provides. But if you haven’t, go back and check out Season One of The Humble Podcaster.

So how do we add value to your Subscribers? The simplest answer is to provide more of what you already create. Typically, all listeners are looking for a newsletter as another way to keep in touch with you and the work you do. If you can provide them with that, plus something extra that makes reading your newsletter more entertaining than just a link to your latest episode, you’re off to a great start.

The same is true if you’re just providing a paid version of your podcast. While, for some, just getting an ad-free version is worth the price of admission, doing something additional for your paid listeners will attract more people to your show. Providing exclusive paid episodes is one good example of this. You could also include additional segments for paid members or other bonus content. What’s important here is that you, again, provide more value. Make it worth their time to sign up and invest in the content you’re creating. 

The Importance of Audience Portability

If we’ve learned anything from the whole Twitter debacle, it’s that you can’t rely on one single platform to build your audience. You need to create an audience that will follow you to whichever platform you find yourself on. We’ve seen this before on platforms like Vine and MySpace – the creators who had audience portability are the ones that have continued to succeed in the ever-changing internet landscape. 

As you look to monetize your podcast, audience portability becomes critical. That’s why we celebrate the Subscriber stage – you now have direct access to your Subscribers. Even if you lose your social media accounts, you still have access to everyone in your newsletter, and, even if you lose your newsletter host, you can still save all those contacts to a spreadsheet in case of an emergency.

However, it’s important to note that audience portability starts way back in the Curious phase by having all your social media contact info easy to find on your website and by creating a LinkTree or a similar link-sharing service.

Understanding the Value of a Subscriber

Subscribers are an important part of your podcast lifecycle because it’s at this stage that you start generating real revenue from their engagement with your show. If you’re doing a paid podcast, that feedback is immediate and obvious – it’s a simple transaction. 

With a newsletter, it’s a little more complicated, but essentially you are building another audience that can be monetized on its own; at least doubling the places you can offer advertising. This is where knowing your audience is especially useful. Advertisers will want to know that if they advertise on your show that it will bring them a return. Knowing this information in advance (and tracking it along the way) will set you up for success. 

Plus, understanding demographic information is extremely useful as you think about how to grow the show, market to your existing audience, and what content you create in the future. The information goes well beyond advertisers. 

To find demographic information for your podcast subscribers, you can compile information from a variety of social media sources as well as some podcast apps. Outside of your social media accounts, there are three core places to find this info. The first two are the easiest: Spotify & Apple both provide demographic information, and this is a pretty decent representation of your audience given that, on average, the majority of your listeners will be on these apps. The third place to look is Podtrac. They provide you with a survey that you can send out to your audience to fill out. This is a little more of a manual approach, but it also provides you with the added benefit of seeing just how responsive your audience is to your CTAs. 

Beyond the financial value, Subscribers are also your avid fans. They’ve bought into your show either literally or figuratively at this stage. They’re more invested than someone who is simply Curious, Exploring, or Following your show because they’ve got skin in the game. This also means they’re going to be willing to do a lot more than just listen and click a button. They’re going to interact with you and promote you. Whether it’s buying merch or tweeting about your latest episode, your Subscribers will be willing to share your content with the world. This will ultimately begin to make new people Curious about your show, and this will continue to generate new listeners for the show. As your listeners get more invested in the content you create, they can even reach a new level of Subscribers that we call the True Fan… and we’ll learn more about that in our next episode.