Podcast sponsorships have become an increasingly popular marketing channel for SaaS companies looking to generate leads and build brand awareness. As the number of business and technology podcasts has exploded lately, the competition for sponsor slots has intensified. This presents both an opportunity and a challenge - with finite marketing budgets, SaaS marketers need to be selective about which shows they sponsor and optimize campaigns to maximize return on investment.
In this post, I'll share insights and tactics from my experience running SaaS marketing campaigns to help you make smart podcast sponsorship decisions. We'll cover:
- Key factors to consider when selecting podcasts
- Creative approaches to stand out from competing sponsors
- Optimizing landing pages and promo codes for conversions
- Measuring performance and calculating true ROI
Choosing the Right Podcast Sponsors
With over 1 million podcasts and 30 million episodes in existence, the podcast landscape is vast and fragmented. Distilling this ocean of content to find the right sponsorships for your SaaS company requires both art and science. Here are some key selection criteria to guide your decision-making:
This may seem obvious, but taking the time to assess topical alignment will pay dividends. Ask yourself:
- Does the podcast focus on subject matter that our target buyers care about?
- Are the hosts discussing issues and use cases relevant to our product value prop?
- Will the content resonate with our ideal customer profile (ICP)?
Take a close look at the podcast's audience makeup. Many top shows provide audience demographic data and buyer personas. Gather intel on parameters like:
- Company size
- Industry verticals
- Job titles and seniority
This data will reveal whether a podcast reaches your target buyers and decision makers. AI-powered tools like Podchaser can also estimate audience attributes by analyzing content signals.
Beyond raw download numbers, analyze metrics that indicate audience engagement:
- Reviews and ratings
- Social shares
- Episode performance trends
Higher engagement suggests the hosts are connecting with listeners. Look for consistently strong downloads per episode rather than inflated totals from back catalogs.
Cost Per Thousand (CPM)
Podchaser’s average rates for ad spots are more or less the same as AdvertiserCast’s data. For a 25-second pre-roll ad spot, they reveal that you’ll pay about $15 CPM. A mid-roll ad that can be as long as 60 seconds will cost you double that, while a 25-second post-roll ad will work out the cheapest at about $10 CPM on average.
Niche B2B shows often fall between $50-100. Assess whether the audience quality merits higher rates, and negotiate if possible.
Crafting Standout Sponsorship Ad Copy
Once you've picked podcast prospects, your ad creative will make or break campaign performance. Here are proven tactics to stand out from the sponsor clutter:
Avoid bland, product-focused copy. Research the hosts and customize messages to resonate with them and their audience specifically. Some personalization elements that work:
- Local mentions for geography-focused shows
- Industry/role-specific use cases
- Host name-drops
This level of personalization signals to listeners that you respect the show and community.
Lead with Value
Promote useful resources, exclusive discounts and other valuable assets over product pitches. Offer show listeners something helpful upfront, then tie your brand to that value. For example:
- Free tool/calculator/e-book relevant to show topics
- Exclusive discount or expanded free trial for listeners only
- Relevant data study or industry report
Anecdotes and case studies frequently outperform pure benefit statements in ads. Tell a relatable story highlighting how your SaaS solution empowers businesses or solves nagging problems.
Go Beyond The Host Read
Work with hosts to deliver some ad sections yourself rather than basic copy. Bring your brand to life through a real ad representative. Infuse humor and energy into your delivery.
Give Away Fun Stuff
Who doesn't love prizes and swag? Contests, giveaways, and sweepstakes make sponsorship segments more engaging. Offer relevant prizes like:
- Free conference passes
- Popular tech gadgets like smart speakers
- Company swag -t shirts, hats, stickers
Just make sure contest mechanics comply with legal regulations.
Optimizing Landing Pages
Driving podcast listeners to click and convert requires optimizing your landing experiences.
Match Content to Ad Offer
Keep continuity between your podcast ads and landing pages. If promoting a guidebook, send traffic to a landing page focused on accessing that asset. Don't bait and switch listeners with mismatched content.
Spotlight Special Offers
For podcast promos with discounts or giveaways, create dedicated landing pages to highlight those unique offers. Drift regularly ties up with popular podcast hosts and promote their podcast-specific deal.
Reduce Steps to Convert
Minimize friction and fields required to drive conversions. If giving away assets or trials, use form fields sparingly to lower abandonment.
Collect Relevant Data
While minimizing conversion steps, also collect data necessary for sales and marketing follow-up. This includes:
- Job role
Use pixels and cookies on landing pages to enable retargeting across digital channels. Remarketing podcast listeners greatly improves conversions from this audience.
Track Special Codes
Create unique discount codes or offers for each podcast campaign. This allows you to measure conversions driven by specific shows versus general landing page traffic.
Podcast Attribution Models
|How It Works
|Last Touch Attribution
|Give podcast sponsorships full credit for conversions of users who clicked the ad, regardless if they engaged previously
|Simple; Values closing ability of podcast promo
|Prone to overvaluing podcast influence, misses multi-touch journeys
|First Touch Attribution
|Give podcast sponsorships full credit if they were first ad channel user engaged with, even if they convert later
|Values podcast ability to begin customer journeys
|Undervalues podcast's final conversion push
|Uses data science to assign fractional conversion credit across user journey touchpoints
|Accounts for full customer journey across channels
|Complex, lacks transparency, hard to calculate manually
Calculating Return on Investment
Given the multitude of factors to consider, determining the genuine return on investment from podcast sponsorships can be a challenging task. Here's a methodology to quantify performance:
Factor in Direct Revenue
Tally sales directly attributed to promo codes or podcast landing pages. This could include:
- Paid subscriptions and onboarding fees
- Product upgrades or add-ons
- Ecommerce purchases
Estimate Indirect Revenue
Look at web traffic, trials and leads generated from pods. Based on average sales conversion rates, estimate what portion of these users turned into customers down the funnel.
Consider Brand Lift
Harder to quantify but still valuable, estimate the brand awareness, affinity, and recall lift generated through podcast sponsorships. Survey methods can uncover this data.
Compare Against Other Channels
Determine your cost per customer acquisition from podcast ads. Benchmark against your average CAC for other lead gen channels like paid search or social. Weigh the relative value generated.
Review Renewal Rates
For ongoing sponsorships, assess results each cycle. Look for consistent or improving returns over time. Drop underperforming podcast partnerships if cost exceeds value after testing creative, offers, and targeting.
Podcast Sponsorships Done Right
When approached strategically, podcast ads provide a wealth of opportunities to cost-efficiently reach, engage and convert highly targeted audiences. By picking the right shows, crafting effective scripts, optimizing landing experiences and closely monitoring performance - savvy SaaS marketers can yield a high ROI from this emerging channel.
Hopefully, these tips and tactics provide a blueprint to maximize your next podcast sponsorship campaign. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you need help identifying the best podcast partnerships or creative execution for your SaaS brand.
1. How do I determine the right budget for podcast sponsorships?
Answer: Determining the appropriate budget for podcast sponsorships depends on your marketing goals, target audience, and available resources. Start by setting clear objectives, such as increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or acquiring new customers. Consider allocating a portion of your overall marketing budget to podcast sponsorships, and adjust it based on the performance and ROI of your campaigns. It's also essential to research the costs of various sponsorship opportunities and compare them to your expected returns.
2. How do I negotiate podcast sponsorship rates?
Answer: Negotiating podcast sponsorship rates involves researching the market, understanding the podcast's value, and being prepared to compromise. Start by gathering information on industry standard rates and the podcast's listener demographics, engagement levels, and sponsorship packages. Approach the negotiation with a clear budget in mind, and be ready to discuss the value your SaaS solution brings to the podcast's audience. Remember, both parties should feel satisfied with the agreement, so be prepared to find a mutually beneficial middle ground.
3. How long should my podcast sponsorship campaign be?
Answer: The duration of your podcast sponsorship campaign depends on your marketing goals and budget. It's important to give your campaign enough time to make an impact on the podcast's audience. A shorter campaign (1-4 weeks) may be suitable for a limited-time promotion or event, while a longer campaign (2-6 months) can help build sustained brand awareness and credibility. Monitor the performance of your campaign and adjust the duration based on its effectiveness.
4. How do I track the success of my podcast sponsorship?
Answer: Tracking the success of your podcast sponsorship involves monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) such as conversions, promo code redemptions, website traffic, social media engagement, ROI, and listener feedback. Use tools like Google Analytics, social media analytics, and CRM software to gather and analyze data related to your sponsorship. Continuously evaluate the performance of your campaign and make adjustments as needed to maximize your ROI.
5. Can I sponsor multiple podcasts simultaneously?
Answer: Yes, sponsoring multiple podcasts simultaneously can help you reach a broader audience and diversify your marketing efforts. However, it's essential to carefully select the podcasts to ensure they align with your target audience and marketing objectives. Keep in mind that sponsoring multiple podcasts may require additional resources and budget, so be sure to plan accordingly.
6. How can I find podcasts that are open to sponsorships?
Answer: Finding podcasts open to sponsorships involves researching podcast categories, individual shows, and podcast advertising platforms. Listen to episodes from various podcasts to identify existing sponsors and gauge the show's openness to advertising. Additionally, consider using podcast advertising platforms like Midroll, AdvertiseCast, or Podcorn, which connect advertisers with podcasts seeking sponsorships.
7. Should I sponsor a podcast with a smaller audience?
Answer: Sponsoring a podcast with a smaller audience can be a strategic move if the show is highly relevant to your target market. Niche podcasts often have a more dedicated and engaged following, making them a valuable choice for SaaS marketers seeking to reach a specific audience segment. Remember, it's not just about the size of the audience, but also about the quality and relevance of the listeners.
8. Can I collaborate with the podcast host on the ad script?
Answer: Absolutely! Collaborating with the podcast host on the ad script is highly recommended, as it can result in a more genuine, engaging, and effective message. Work with the host to develop a unique and compelling ad that highlights the benefits of your SaaS solution and resonates with the podcast's audience.
9. How can I ensure that my podcast sponsorship doesn't sound too salesy?
Answer: To ensure your podcast sponsorship doesn't sound too salesy, focus on providing value to the listeners and presenting your SaaS solution in an authentic, engaging manner. Collaborate with the podcast host to craft a message that aligns with the show's tone and style. Share real-life examples, customer success stories, or practical tips related to your SaaS product. Remember, listeners appreciate genuine and informative content, so keep that in mind when creating your sponsorship message.
10. How do I measure the ROI of my podcast sponsorship?
Answer: Measuring the ROI of your podcast sponsorship involves comparing the cost of the campaign to the revenue generated from new customers or leads. Monitor KPIs such as conversions, promo code redemptions, and website traffic to determine the effectiveness of your sponsorship. Calculate your ROI by dividing the revenue generated by the cost of the sponsorship and multiplying the result by 100 to get the percentage. Continuously analyze the performance of your campaign and make adjustments as needed to maximize your ROI.