How to grow by guest appearing on podcasts
Bonjoro gained over $1M in ARR by guest appearing on relevant podcasts.
What does Bonjoro do?
Bonjoro is a personal video tool that connects to your CRM (or Point of Sale), pulls in relevant info and instantly lets you send a video. The platforms allows video to be a fully integrated part of each individual customer journey step. It’s a personal video tool that works with your existing technology.
Let’s take an example: someone signs up for your webinar, and then gets a ping with a video asking what topics they’re interested in hearing about. Bonjoro has shown this increases conversion rates by between 40% and 70%. Making the videos is fast and easy. You record them in “natural” life, like while you are walking around. It’s actually faster than writing an email, and more personal. You can send personal messages or bulk ones.
👨👨👦👦 Target Audiences
Customer success/account management teams
📝 Briefly describe the growth project
Casey first started by trying to find organic growth levers for team instead of paid channels. Initially, they had some relationships with podcasters and booked the first 3. He wondered what it would be like to approach this as an actual growth channel. Casey began seeking out ideal guests manually and tried to pitch them. He found it was super hard to get responses when you are “new” on the scene. Casey toyed with the idea of using a podcast agency, but at a cost of $250-$500 per podcast booked, it wasn’t worth it. They often times don’t know the level of podcast they are getting.
What really was a game-changer for Casey was discovering podcasts databases. Some have millions of podcasts indexed with contact information and data to pull relevant shows. This was the first key to unlocking podcast guesting as a growth channel. He could send REAL pitches, not just Twitter and Apple outreach. Databases also allow for identifying other similar influencers in the targeted space they could piggy back on.
Once on the podcasts, the product pitching comes naturally. Casey would discuss topics directly related to Bonjoro. That means talking about the content is, by definition, a pitch for the product. These are the kinds of content relationship you want for the channel to work.
NOTE: Bonjoro DID start their own podcast, but this was NOT a part of this growth tactic at all. You absolutely do not need your own podcast to use this growth channel.
📈 How has it gone so far for ?
Bonjoro generated $300k+ ARR directly from podcasts in their first year, although this is probably 30-40% under estimated (tracking is discussed below).
In the last several years, they’ve generated over $1M in revenue with this single channel.
They appeared on majority of relevant podcasts in 2020, intentionally reaching saturation quickly. Guesting slowed down in 2021-2022, but remains their 3rd highest growth channel to this day.
😍 Why is podcast guesting a good growth channel?
Go from zero to 1 VERY fast (launching your own podcast is slow).
Super long tail - grow with the podcasts you appear on.
Very low cost for an early company, and you don’t need any sort of audience.
Builds brand awareness and establishes you and your company as a though leader.
🤔 Downsides to using
Podcasts are notoriously difficult to track.
Your product must be interesting enough to discuss on industry shows.
You’ll need someone who is charismatic enough to be successful as a podcast guest.
You will reach ‘saturation’ faster than most growth channels. But this can also be an advantage, as you can hit all the podcasts in the first year and focus on other growth channels while this continues to work.
🏗 How to build your own
💽 Step 1 - Find a database
Casey used ListenNotes – a massive podcast database that has 1.8M podcasts indexed.
98% have contact information (like an email address).
If you want contact info, it’s $4 a day. This seems expensive, but it’s because you have access to all the data and can pull it immediately.
You can pay for a few days and go nuts sourcing all the shows, then take your time reaching out.
💃 Step 2 - Find influencers
Look at podcasts that other influencers in your space have appeared on (you can pull a list of this on ListenNotes).
Don’t just search for Podcasts, search for PEOPLE.
You get ranking based on users and downloads to prioritize, but make sure your pitch is good before hitting the big ones.
☎️ Step 3 - The Pitch ‼️
Casey pitched hundreds of podcasts in 2020. He had time to refine, talk to hosts and ask what the best pitches they’ve received are. DO THIS!
Always open with some sort of direct connection to the content.
“You guys got me hooked on episode 321, love what you talked about with x about y...”
Hosts care about a) feedback and b) reviews.
Leave them a genuine review, tell them you left a 5 star review with screenshot attachment as a pull. This hook was most people’s favorite ways to be pitched.
You want them to know you have done your homework, and that you are genuinely great and will add value. Think “Topical Authority.”
Make sure you understand their audience, and explain why what you have is powerful to them (credentials, big clients, etc.).
It’s okay to hype yourself, just keep it relevant to the podcast audience.
Suggest SPECIFIC topics. Make it incredibly easy for them to say yes.
“Our CEO would love to chat about x, y, z, etc.”
Very specific, directly tie topics into their audience.
People will give it MAYBE a couple seconds of attention.
Who does the podcasts?
CEO - high level remote culture and vision stuff about product
Head of Growth (Casey himself) - talks practical, challenges, how it can help companies grow
Find the most relevant person and topics to pitch!
Don’t pitch your product as a topic (no one cares).
If you are a good fit for the show, it will come up organically.
👭 Step 4 - nurture relationships
You can follow up, but no kind of automated drip. It’s all custom and genuine.
Focus on building relationships. They may say no now but come back later.
They may intro you to other hosts - ask your best hosts for other contacts!
Offer to put some ad dollars behind the episode.
Don’t have to say how much, just compliment the host that you will promote/push it more than most.
This builds incredible relationships.
More about goodwill than the ad traffic.
Constantly ask yourself how you can support them.
Intro to other guests that are super good and relevant (people in network are also stoked).
😎 Step 5 - appearing on the podcast
Focus on the impact for them and nurturing a personal relationship. Dive deep on subjects you can tie BACK to your product, or problems it can solve.
Then talk about ways you can solve that (including with product).
Don’t be overly promotional. You need to be a thought leader and subject matter expert that ties back to product on the tale end.
There is a learning curve, you’ll be nervous at first.
Start by being SUPER prepared. Some will be super structured, others will be an open ended discussion.
Take DETAILED notes you can bring in. You may not use it, but it will lower your stress.
Only choose subjects that you know incredibly well. If you do, it will be easy to respond to.
Prepare equipment and sound checks in advance so you appear professional.
DON’T use wired headphones, ideally use Apple Airpods.
Use a quiet area with stable internet.
Once you do a couple, you get very comfortable with it.
📋 Step 6 - Attribution and tracking
The easiest way is to just ask manually via intake form after your customer purchases.
Note that MOST people will just Google you, so asking manually is really the only way to get good attribution.
Podcasts are notoriously hard to track. Many people ignore the channel because they can’t add it into their analytics platform. This makes the channel wildly advantageous. Don’t get caught in the marketing analytics trap and miss out on an incredible channel.
Occasionally they will include some kind of link or promo in show notes (often where they talk about tools, sometimes they want affiliate links).
But note that even if you do this, it’s not perfect. You won’t track every sale.
📈 Step 7 - Achieve market saturation (the key to exponential growth)
After around 20-30 podcasts, Casey’s results weren’t crazy. He almost turned it off and gave up! But at around 50-100 podcasts, it changed. It was a saturation effect.
Some will create spikes, but saturation created consistent exponential growth.
Hard to say a specific number, it depends on how specific the niche is.
If you want to use Podcast guests as a growth lever, the best way to maximize market impact is to choose a niche industry (or one of your ISPs), and go.
Start broad, then go smaller. Research will tell you where to explore.
Started “SaaS” → then “Creators” → then “eCommerce”
💡 Advice for someone trying to build something similar?
Do both big and small podcast shows. Big ones are good for instant success (like for SEO) and others can do smaller.
Never pay to appear on podcasts. Treat the costs were all human dollars and small ad spend to promote, nothing more.
Actually reached out to hosts and offered to have them run ads on episodes.