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Once your DTC business has the core elements of your marketing strategy implemented, it’s time to expand your top of funnel channels. The next layer of expansion can include podcast advertising, streaming television (formerly called OTT), direct mail, and various strategic media partnerships.

We love podcast advertising but see too many brands try it only to see no results and give up on the channel. The difference between success and failure with podcast advertising is subtle but very important. We’ll tell you the must-do’s to succeed with podcasts below.

Maybe your agency or CMO decided that podcasts are a channel you should expand to, they picked a handful of shows, hired an agency and they start buying ad space on these shows. A couple months later, there is no revenue lift and no post purchase survey responses attributing sales to the channel. This is all too common.

Now lets get to the point – here are the big three must-do’s to position yourself for success with podcasts:

  1. Host read: Your ad must be read by the host of the show.
  2. Mid roll: Your ad must appear during the episode rather than in the beginning or very end.
  3. Baked in: Try getting your ad baked into the episode rather than buying dynamic insertion.

The majority of agencies will not lobby for the above three points. If you are a direct to consumer brand, these are must-haves. The only way you can avoid the above three points and still have success is if your product has such wide appeal that your TAM is everyone or you have a freemium offer (think Zip Recruiter or Amazon).

How To Start With Podcast Advertising

Start with a list of all the shows and categories your target audience and existing customers listen to. The main categories in podcasting are news, politics, comedy, sports, entertainment and business. Comedy, sports and entertainment tend to be more difficult for DTC businesses to make work but its possible.

Once you’ve identified the shows you want to advertise with, either reach out to the show producers yourself or have an agency pursue the deals for you. If you’ve never negotiated a podcast spot, then you should use an agency. They will charge their standard 10 – 20% fee but it’s worth it in order to make sure you are having a knowledgeable entity negotiate on your behalf.

Podcast Advertising Cost

Typical podcast CPMs run $25 – 35. During your test, don’t agree to anything above these rates. As you get more experienced and see success on this channel, you can consider more expensive shows.

Once you’ve negotiated reads with the right shows, make sure you schedule an intro call with the show’s host and producer. Come into this meeting with your brand talking points and product value propositions. Share these with the host and tell them to package these talking points in the way they believe will resonate the most with their audience.

A show’s host knows their audience better than anyone so do not try giving them an exact script to read. Just give them 3 – 5 of your best talking points and let them work their magic.

A good testing cadence is to start with two ad spots per show. After two ad spots, you will know if a show’s audience has potential and when you find your winning shows, you’ll scale up with them.

This is the simple yet effective formula to succeed with podcast advertising for DTC brands. If you have questions, ask them in the comments or send us a message. We love helping brands succeed in this channel.