How can I double the traffic to my podcast overnight? Oh, and I don’t have any money to spend to market or build awareness of my podcast.

Yeah, when pigs fly. Right? Believe it or not, there’s a way. And it’s not really all that complicated.

Referral Marketing

Consider this scenario. Michelle has been listening to your self-improvement podcast. In fact, she’s been with you since the beginning and hasn’t missed a single episode.

At lunch one day, she shared something she learned from you with her friend Julie. That evening, Julie searched for your podcast and listened in for the first time. Julie loved what she heard and shared the episode link on Facebook.

Next thing you know, Michael, Hannah, Brian, Donna, Shelly, Angie, and Amanda — all friends with Michelle — clicked the link, listened to the episode and smashed the subscribe button.

Boom. Thanks to Michelle’s fandom, you added at least eight subscribers in a matter of hours.

Keep in mind, this scenario happened organically. What if you were strategic in flat out asking your listeners to tell a friend about your podcast?

Constructing a Referral Factory

Oh this is exciting. It’s so simple, you’re going wonder why more podcasters aren’t doing this.

#1… Blow their minds.

For starters, create content that’s worth sharing. If you desire for your listeners to tell others about your work, you have to deliver an amazing experience. If your podcast isn’t ready for “prime time”, now’s probably not the time to start asking for referrals. Now would be a great time to fine-tune what you’re doing and circle back when you are ready to shine.

Consider what is uncommon in the vast land of podcasting. Podcasters are busy people. Often, they’re juggling the craft of podcasting all while working a full time job, juggling life at home, and maintaining a social life. Things like responding to tweets, Facebook messages, and emails slip between the cracks. Make it a habit of responding to every listener touch point.

When you do these things well, the things that other podcasters fail at, you are an uncommon podcaster!

#2… Send a gift.

And no, I’m not talking about a coffee mug (even an overpriced Yeti) with your logo on it. No one needs trinkets.

Now that you’ve mastered the art of “Blowing their Minds” by responding to every listener touch point, you can identify a handful of listeners who connect with you on a regular basis. In the terrestrial radio word, we define this segment of the audience as a P1 listener — or a listener who listens to your radio station more than any other radio station. These are your super listeners who bring extraordinary value to your podcast.

Do some detective work and get a little creepy! Remember back to the example of the self-help podcast that Michelle was a super fan of? Locate Michelle on Facebook or Insta. Scroll through her feed to find the things that she’s interested in. What restaurants does she “check in” to? In the photo that she posted when she checked in, what beverage was on the table? Was it a glass of red in front of her or a craft bottle of beer?

Is she into baking? Perhaps she’s a coffee aficionado. Which band is her favorite? Does she like to travel?

Use this intel and send her a bottle of her favorite red. Send her a gift card to the restaurant that she check’s in to every Friday. Throw her a gift card to Southwest Airlines to put towards her next big trip.

Who sends thank you cards anymore? Extraordinary podcasters. That’s who! In your card, unabashedly ask for your listener to tell a friend about the podcast.

Michelle, I can’t thank you enough for your continued support of the Self Help Weekly podcast. It’s my desire for my story to encourage others! It would mean a lot to me if you’d spread the word and tell any of your friends how you’ve found encouragement through my story. Talk to you soon! -Podcaster

“Junk mail, junk mail, junk mail… wow! Who sent me a handwritten card? It’s not my birthday!”

Your gift doesn’t have to be pricey. It may be that you’ll be able to “surprise and delight” Michelle for around $25. Pick four Michelle’s, at $25 each… and you will have spent just $100 to significantly grow your podcasting footprint.

And you did it by providing value to your listener’s life that’s actually useful and appreciated. Think about the message this will send. You’re being an uncommon podcaster.

#3… Stay in front of your listeners.

And no, I don’t mean by bombarding your listeners like it’s Black Friday with a flurry of annoying MailChimp or Constant Contact emails.

Rather just as you deliver content of value in each podcast episode, deliver valuable content directly to your listener through social media channels, email blasts, text messages, and yes… even direct mail!

Brands that stay in touch with their constituents see the referral tree grow faster. I’ve seen it happen time and time again.

All in all, consistency is key. By continually blowing the minds of your listeners, by hand selecting “influencers” (and not in the Instagram sense of the word) to surprise and delight, and by staying in front of your listeners, you’ll be in your way to doubling your audience virtually overnight!

Free Podcast Check-up and Review
Whether you’re just thinking about starting a podcast, or are hundreds of episodes in, this could be the most valuable hour of your week.


Rick is a dynamic radio programmer and on-air personality armed with nearly twenty years of progressive experience in commercial radio, digital and mobile strategy, format changes, and research. Rick holds a personal winning scorecard as a programmer and is an expert in Nielsen PPM and Diary analysis and implementation. In 2014, Rick was awarded the illustrious “30 Under 30” award from Edison Research.

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