In our productivity-driven, fast-paced world making multi-tasking a necessity, audio content has found its footing. With the abundance of information and content available scrolling through page after page of content has become a chore. At the end of a long day our eyes instantly dart to the scroll bar upon landing on an interesting article. Too long and it will be forgotten in the endless sea of forgotten tabs. Audio content lets people listen while getting other tasks done.
Audio marketing means using audio to advance your business key goals and results. Like other forms of marketing there are numerous ways to incorporate audio marketing into your content strategy.
Audio content’s portability and convenience make it ideal to increase your brand awareness, expose your thought leadership and increase your user engagement.
While at the time of writing this article most commutes have been all but eliminated because of the COVID-19 pandemic, at some point things will return to normal. When that happens people will resume their normal pattern of listening to podcasts on their daily drives, playlists during their workouts, or audiobooks while completing their chores at home. All of these mediums are accessible by repurposing written content into audio formats.
In this post, we discuss why audio is a great fit for your brand, how to implement an audio marketing strategy, and what makes audio marketing such a beneficial addition to a valuable content strategy.
Who is audio marketing for?
The most important rule of marketing is the customer defines your success by exchanging their money for your service or product. Knowing your customer and audience is integral to successful marketing. Without knowing your audience your business will be in the dark on many things including if audio marketing will be effective for growth.
Once you have a basic understanding of who you’re targeting here is what audio will help you achieve:
Connect with your younger audience
Does your target audience include GenZ, millennials and GenX? Great news. Audio marketing will work wonders for your business. Why?
- People enjoy listening to audio
The amount of time Millennials listen to audio rivals TV/streaming consumption. Namely, each week millennials consume 18 hours of audio content. They are eager to build connections with the brands they love. Audio is a great way to nurture that relationship.
Moreover streaming music, online radio, and podcasts is the preferred source of audio content for GenZ and millennial consumers. Middle-aged Americans are also tuning in with 40 percent of GenXers listening to podcasts monthly.
All this to say if you’re looking for an eager audience, there are perked ears for all types of audio content.
- People want to be heard
The past few years have shown voice technology playing an increasing role in consumer habits. There are now over 53 million people in the U.S. who own a smart speaker and nearly a third use their devices several times a day.
If you’re targeting Millennials and GenXers the stats get even better. About 65% of Millennials and GenX audience consider themselves heavy users of their smart speakers, this means they’re relying on voice technology multiple times a day.
When voice and audio technology permeates your target customers daily life, it’s hard to deny its impact. Voice technology has not only landed in people’s homes, and cars but it’s made itself an integral part of their daily lives, far surpassing the toothbrush test.
Audio marketing lets you meet your audience where they are through your brand’s digital audio presence.
Make an impression on the go
Now try to picture this, your target customer – say a professional in their mid-30s – is surfing your website for hours on end.
Pretty unlikely, right? At most they’ll keep the tab open and return to it whenever they remember about it (hopefully).
These days we’re all too busy to indulge in endless scrolling on websites. Multitasking in today’s fast-paced modern life is not just a necessity it’s integral for most looking to be productive.
Audio is engaging and portable.
Even during passive listening, what we hear remains in our minds 5x longer than things we see.
People are never too far away from their devices and headphones. With Americans spending close to 5.5 hours on their smartphones every day and most of that time spent on audio consumption, sound is the most portable way to get your content in front of your audience.
While someone’s eyes won’t be glued to your site for 20 minutes, you can get their attention through their ears.
Accessibility is often forgotten by most. Yet as the current pandemic has demonstrated, it takes little to change our world and requires all to shift their work strategies in a couple of weeks. Brands that over-emphasize accessibility value it not just for the population living with a disability, but because it improves the user experience for everyone.
Salesforce is one of the brands doing this exceptionally well. Salesforce’s founder and co-CEO, Marc Benioff, believes “Equality is accessibility.” This message permeates all through Salesforce’s products and offerings.
Audio and voice technology are essential to a holistic marketing-led digital accessibility strategy. Using voice search is about 4x faster than typing making it critical for folks with limited dexterity whether it is temporary (like searching while driving) or permanent.
Similarly, for people with limited to no vision or those living with illiteracy, on-site text-to-voice audio players make consuming written content possible.
Digital accessibility is vital for people with disabilities, but it also creates a better user and customer experience for all.
How to do audio marketing well
Just because something can be done and should be done doesn’t mean it will be done well. We’ve all seen examples of brilliant marketing campaigns and less than brilliant ones. Audio marketing is no different. Below are a few tips to make your audio marketing outshine the rest:
Microcasting & Podcasting
Genuine human connections are important and difficult to get right in a digital first world. People crave brands that showcase their human elements and build personal connections – almost three quarters of consumers feel more connected to a brand when its employees share information about the brand.
Over the past few years podcasting has grown substantially and now there are over 60 million weekly listeners connecting brands to an eager audience. Podcasting is an audio marketing trend that’s here to stay.
One prime example of this is Code[ish] created by Heroku, the cloud platform. The podcast features Heroku employees and works to elevate the business-customer relationship from transactional to personal. Each episode covers topics including team culture, insider tips, helpful tools, and interviews with fellow industry professionals. The podcast not only elevates the brand from a recruiting perspective but enables the team to share what’s on the horizon thus serving as a potential sales tool also.
Many companies utilize the power of audio to foster human-to-human interactions between brands and consumers. By learning how to start a podcast of your own, you too leverage audio content as a tool for engagement.
Microcasts are just as they sound, mini-podcasts. They are practically made for social sharing. Because of their short duration they can be easily added to music playlists. While an half an hour long podcast might seem chunky when compared to the 3 minute songs, a short blurb from a podcast inserted alongside the latest music hits could fit right in. Think of them like a movie preview. You can use them for a single topic, brand announcement, or for some extra pep for your amazing podcast episode.
Blogging remains one of the most important resources in a marketer’s toolbox. Though content writers can spend upwards of 4 hours writing a blog post, readers typically spend on average about 37 seconds reading it. Yep, you read that right only 37 seconds. You spend longer stuck at a red traffic light or waiting for your show to come back on during a commercial break.
Audio marketing can help here.
You may not want to jump right into an audio first strategy, but you can meet your audience where it is by providing your content in audio form. While folks may spend less than a minute reading a post, digital audio consumption takes close to an hour and a half of their time.
While text content demands our full attention, audio content enables folks to take the content with them on the go as they multitask.
For example, content marketers can discover easily digestible articles on Convince and Convert and here on InspireFirst.
You may have noticed the player at the top of this article. This on-site player generates an audio version of every article for easy listening and meeting your audience where they are.
This goes without saying but everyone loves music. To get specific, we spend about 18 hours a week listening to music. That’s A LOT of music. In late 2019 the top music streaming app, Spotify, boasts 248 million monthly active users. This number was only improved by the COVID-19 pandemic where people were listening to music every day like it was the weekend.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a song is sharing a picture and feeling all in one happy medium. Music is an almost perfect medium for brands to create personal relationships with an audience. The best way to get started? Playlists. As a part of almost everyone’s digital audio experience, playlists are one of the best examples of audio branding.
Create a brand playlist
While it often goes unnoticed, sound is essential for brand identity. Many of the most popular brands have an associated ring or note or jingle. Walking into a store, the music playing sets the tone for your shopping experience. Playing music your audience loves, signals to them that they are in the right place.
Don’t have a brick and mortar store? Replicate the effect digitally by curating a brand playlist. This will develop your brand’s voice and credibility.
A great example of this is athletic apparel retailer GymShark. They curate many workout playlists on Spotify for all music genres. When GymShark is in your ears during your sweat sessions it’ll be hard not to think of them next time you need new gym gear.
GymShark goes one step further by expanding its reach beyond its existing customers by partnering with leading fitness influencers who create tracklists with the brand. The collaboration gives credibility to both parties and shows the customers that GymShark knows the #fitlife well.
Reap the benefits
You now have several tactics to get you started in creating a great audio marketing strategy. You’ve done the leg work. You know your audience. You know which audio strategies you’re going to employ. What can you expect on the other side? Like everything, results will vary but here are a few of the highlights from our findings:
Increased User Engagement & Time on Site
Creating valuable content is the first step in communicating a clear message. Equally important is having an engaged audience. We’ve mentioned before that folks aren’t spending less than a minute reading the well researched, well written, profusely edited blog posts we all publish. There is no denying that these days everyone is looking for ways to engage with content in ways other than reading.
If your audience skews younger, this is more so exacerbated with GenX, millennials, and GenZ preferring audio and video content over text. Embedding audio content drives user engagement on your blog posts.
User engagement, usually measured as average session duration, shows the success of content on your site. When your content resonates folks will spend longer on your site and (hopefully) visit your site more often. This will increase your average session duration and user retention metrics.
Adding audio in your content marketing strategy is an effective way to engage your audience to interact with your content. Having eyes-free, hands-free content available on the go is a great way to increase engagement and meet your audience where they are.
From our analysis, most sites can increase their time on-site anywhere from 2-7 minutes by adding audio to blog posts. Though not all folks that visit your website will listen to audio, those that do will end up staying on your site longer.
For those of you who are catering to international audiences, you’re in luck. The impact to time on site is increased a further 23% when English is not the reader’s native language.
Increased Brand Perception
Can you remember the first website you visited during the early days of the web? Yeah, me neither. That was a long time ago. I can remember that it had a lot of blinking text and everything was parading across the screen like a game of snake.
Even back in the early days of the web we judged a brand by their website and we still do. First impressions matter in the physical world and they matter in the digital world also.
A well-designed, informative and user-friendly website positions a brand with a sense of credibility and trustworthiness. This is an advantage for younger businesses as well as established ones. A beautiful website puts you on par with the best in their industry and shows that you’re competitively minded.
For content marketing, having visual media on blog posts signals you invest in content for more than just SEO purposes. Audio content shares similar signals. The BingeWith audio player offers both style and function. The sleek design of the audio player elevates the way visitors view your brand while also making your content more portable.
We’ve outlined a few ways you can take the first steps to building a great audio marketing strategy along with the benefits you’ll reap once they are implemented. Don’t stop here though, take the first step and share what you learn along the way. Whether you choose to start a podcast or add audio articles to your blog, any marketing strategy’s success is backed by the strength of the brand behind it. Building a strong brand isn’t difficult, it just takes proper planning and consistency. Get started by learning more about how to build your personal brand and stand out in your industry!