What follows is an affordable, $5 a day strategy which guarantees subscriber growth at a rate of non-zero. What I mean by that is that I cannot guarantee your content is good enough to inspire wildfire-like growth, that’s on you, but I can guarantee that this strategy puts people in front of your Apple Podcasts “subscribe” button better than any other*.
Step 1: Have a Facebook Page and a Facebook Ads Account
I’m not going to walk you through these steps because it’s something I know you’ll be able to figure out without a 20-step tutorial. You likely already have a Facebook Page for your podcast, if you do not have an ads account visit https://www.facebook.com/business/ and “Create an Ad” — if you don’t have an ad account already, you’ll be prompted to create one.
Step 2: Know your target audience and know it well
The more niche your content the easier this is, so use those Behavior, Demographics, and Interests filters intelligently. I cannot tell you how to do this, I don’t know your audience (you do), but I can tell you it important to do this well.
Tip: Recognize it’s about the low-hanging fruit
Advertise on Facebook because it’s cheap. Target America because it’s easy. Focus on Apple Podcasts because it’s a “big enough” share of the market. Yes you could create ads that take people to your Stitcher page, but why would you do that if you’re trying to get as much growth as possible, as quickly as possible, and in as affordable a manner as possible? Subscribers who live in Bulgaria and listen to podcasts on PocketCasts only are absolutely worth your time — but they will be a lot more expensive to reach and convert. You want easy and cheap first. It’ll make hard and expensive less difficult later on.
Step 3: Create an image or video (<20 seconds) based ad that links directly to your podcast on Apple Podcasts
First of all, why? Because out of all the podcast listeners who listen to podcasts on their smartphones, 54% of them are on Apple’s iOS ecosystem. That means if they click on your ad, they’re going to be directed, immediately, to the native Apple Podcasts app and they’re going to be staring your subscribe button right in the “i”.
Second of all, how? By using this filter when creating your audience in your Facebook ad:
This Behavior has ~250M Facebook users in it. When you narrow it down to America 21–55, it has ~40M people in it. Add additional filters to get it even more tight:
Anyone who sees this ad will surely love tennis, will surely be on an iOS device, will already be familiar with podcasts and likely listen to them, and will more likely than not be interested in my podcast (if it’s good which, again, is on you).
And that’s really all there is to it. As you get results and become more talented with Facebook advertising, you can begin to use pixel data and to re-target interested individuals.
Hope this is helpful. Take care!
*Based on our anecdotal experience with our portfolio of clients. Copy matters. Other strategies are more successful but they are more expensive and more complicated. This is intended as a beginner’s solution.