You’ve planned out your supporter or membership program and now are ready to announce it on air. One problem: You’re not sure what to say. Here are some tips to keep in mind and some best practice scripts from podcasts who have been in your shoes.
We’ve got a few pieces of advice, no matter what your supporter or membership program is:
- Emphasize how easy it is to sign up: We’ve seen multiple emails and tweets from listeners who said they would have supported a particular show earlier if they knew how simple the process was. One way to position it might be “It’s dead simple and will take no more than 30 seconds. Click the link in the shownotes, pay with Apple or Google pay, and click the link of the podcast player you want to use. You can listen anywhere, in any app.”
- Iterate on your call to action over time: The most important part of kicking off your member program is starting. Don’t be nervous to kick things off, because you’ll have a lot more chances to appeal to your listener base. With every episode, modify your call to action slightly, learn what does and doesn’t resonate, and iterate over time based on what you see work for your audience.
- Put the link everywhere: Put a link to your Glow page at the top of your show notes and communicate why they should subscribe here. Prominently feature a link to your Glow landing page on your website and communicate the value proposition there, too. Tweet/Facebook/LinkedIn the announcement you make on the show. Here’s an example tweet from the Acquired podcast. We recommend you do something similar and pin the Tweet to the top of your page for at least a month after launch.
- It builds over time: You’ll see some fans subscribe immediately, but you’ll continue seeing substantial growth even 3-6 months after you launch your program. The key is consistently including your call to action and experimenting with what gets listeners excited to sign up. We see substantial increases in subscriber rates 8-12 months after shows launch, so be sure to give your listeners plenty of opportunities over time to support you.
Most importantly, this is about your show, and your relationship with your listeners. Keep the call to action authentic, learn from what your listeners love about you, and don’t be afraid to experiment with it (in fact, we encourage experimentation). Here are some of our favorite examples of calls to action from shows that are purely asking for listener support, or are offering a premium benefit, such as ad-free feeds or bonus shows.
Example #1: Asking for listener support
You’ve had fans ask you how they can support the show. Now, you’ve made them one. How do you tell your listeners about the program and why you’re asking for their support?
Poda Bing is a show about The Sopranos, and kicked off their listener support program by acknowledging to incredible role that listeners play in the making of the podcast. In addition to calls to action in the regular show, the host Vik Singh also released a short episode in his feed to draw attention to his request for support.
Here’s the script or listen to it here.
Hey listeners, I have an ask of you. Between the frame by frame recaps, one-on-one guest interviews, and trivia show, this podcast takes time, effort, and resources to share with you every week.
I’m humbled and grateful for the listener and sponsor interest over the past several months, and the scores of messages received letting me know that this podcast has incrementally improved your day or week has been inspiring. Special tanks to the community for engaging and interacting with the show, in many instances, daily.
I want to keep the podcast focused on content that informs, entertains, and is mindful of your time. One way to accomplish this is direct listener support. Your support would help the show grow and, to quote Tony Soprano, “lead it into the 21st century.”
I’ve set up a link where you can quickly and easily support the show. The whole thing will take 60 seconds. It’s glow.fm/podabing. That’s glow.fm/podabign. We’re asking for $5 a month, but you can contribute as much or as little as you like….If Podabing is a part of your day or week, and you love what we’re doing, please visit glow.fm/podabing and support us, any way you can, today.
Example #2: Offering an ad-free premium feed for members
You’ve decided to kick off your membership program by giving your listeners the chance to support you while also getting access to ad-free episodes. What’s the pitch for why they should pay for ad-free, and how do you combine that with explaining the need for listener support more generally?
TechMeme Ride Home is a daily show about technology news that used the following call to action to kick off their ad-free premium program and achieved impressive results.
Here’s the script or listen at the 18:32 mark in this episode
From almost day one of this podcast, people have been asking me for an ad-free version of the show. Well, today I have an exciting announcement: we’re going to launch one.
It’ll cost $5/month and you can subscribe to it very simply. The very first link in the show notes today says, “Subscribe to the Ad Free Premium Podcast Feed.” If you tap on that, you can subscribe in a couple of super simple steps, right inside your podcast app itself. Super easy.
So, why pay $5/month for a premium feed? A few reasons.
First, maybe you just appreciate this show being a part of your life every day. Maybe you want to give me a tip to show your appreciate, and indeed, I would appreciate that. As you know, we haven’t gotten to the point where we can bring on Chris or someone else full time to help. So, every day...I organize the most important stories of the day, it is all just me. I write all the stories, I write the script, I edit the show…..and I get that all done every day, hopefully, by 5pm.
….But, speaking of getting value. I crunched the numbers….and each show is about 19 minutes long on average. So, if you listen to me faithfully every day, then you’re spending 570 minutes with me every month, or 9 and a half hours. Do you watch 9 and a half hours of Netflix every month? Do you listen to 9 and a half hours of Spotify?...Well, $5 is less than you pay to those guys, and I hope you get as much value out of the show, or even more….
Crunch the numbers again. Each show on average has 2.5 minutes of ads. So, if you listen to each show, each month, you’re listening to 75 minutes of ads. An hour and 15 minutes. So, if time is money, would it be worth $5 to save an hour and fifteen minutes every month?
Example #3: Offering bonus or exclusive content for members
You might be using your premium program as a way to offer additional content to your biggest fans. The Acquired podcast is one of the pioneers of this model. They offer two regular episodes a month, and two bonus episodes where they give premium subscribers the chance to get an insiders view of venture capital and building product, as well as extended interviews with theirs guests. Today, Acquired has 4.5% of their listeners paying for their premium program, and it started with a two-minute call to action at the launch of their program in fall 2018.
Here’s the script, or listen to it in the first two minutes of this episode
Hey Acquired listeners, we have a big announcement today. We’re launching a bonus show. For $5/month, you can become what we’re calling a ‘Limited Partner’ and get access to it.
We’re excited to use this new episodes format to do all sorts of things that don’t fit into our normal episode format and dive deeper into a lot of company building topics. Our first LP bonus show is on the jargon of what venture capitalists say and when words don’t just mean what the dictionary says they’ll mean.
We are super excited about this, not only because it’ll give us an avenue for creating new types of episodes, which we’ve been wanting to do for a long time. But, because it’ll give you all a way to support the show and make it even better. To date, with Acquired, we’ve taken every dollar we’ve ever made and plowed it right back into the show: better equipments, software, ads, travel, etcetera.
If you’d like to become an Acquired Limited Partner, you can click the link in the show notes of the podcast app of your choice or go to glow.fm/acquired.