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How to Turn Your Small Podcast Audience Into Big Business

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Most podcasters don’t have a huge audience. But they still want to make an impact and sell their services using this platform. Join as Ina Coveney shares how she was able to monetize her business to 6 figures without ever cracking the 1K follower mark on any social media platform. In this talk, Ina explains how to position yourself for success with only a tiny audience.

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What I am about to tell you is something that most podcasters are not willing to share with you.

I do not have a thousand followers on any of my platforms. I do not have a thousand email subscribers. I do not have a thousand Instagram followers.

I do not even have a thousand subscribers to my podcast. I have a tiny audience, so to speak.
Yet, to date, I have hosted four podcasts where I have interviewed the greats in the industry: Pat Flynn, John Lee Dumas, and Laura Belgray.

In addition, I have generated thousands of dollars in recurring revenue from my business. In fact, within the first year, I had my first business podcast, I hit the six-figure mark. How was all of this possible? That’s what we are going to talk about today.

But first, you need to make sure you really want this. How much do you want to prioritize your fundraising efforts?

A lot of people want to grow the podcast first and then monetize it when it gets big. Personally, I decided to go a different route when I realized that all the rules that apply to big podcasts do not apply to me.

For example, sponsors only care about your podcast when you have big numbers. This forces you to focus on growth.

But there is another way.

Instead of trying to act like a podcast with a large listenership, I act like a small business whose goal is to monetize the listenership it already has.

Let me share my top 3 rules for monetizing a small audience.

Rule #1: What is your mindset?

We will start with something I hate to talk about. And that is the mindset. It’s not a sexy topic for me. You see I come from a corporate background. I was a project manager in a software firm. For me, logic and strategy are my strengths. Just tell me what to do and in what order. And I will do it.

But through experience, I realized how crazy it is that 80% of success is in the mind. When I decided to invite Pat Flynn, Laura Belgray and Rachel Luna on my podcast, I had to tell myself not to white-knuckle and just do it.

I had to go on a quest to find my confidence. I found that I am really confident about one thing: I love interviewing people! It’s something I am really good at. Doing research on a guest. That’s something I love to do. I love surprising them.

For example, I remember asking Rachel Luna, who is a big name in the coaching world, to be on my podcast. Probably like most people, I expected her to say no, or not sure. But Rachel Luna said yes!

After a fantastic interview, I asked her, “Would you sit down with me again? I did not even get halfway through the questions I wanted to ask you. Would you do it again with me? We will make it a two-parter, a double-decker episode to close the season with you.”

She said yes! A week later, she showed up again, and we recorded the double-decker episode. By the end of that episode, she was so excited about my ability to interview her and surprise her with tidbits that she asked me to interview her for her podcast!
This was an incredible opportunity that should not come to people with small audiences like me.

But it was the mental work I had to do on myself to remind myself that I know what I am doing. I do not need numbers to validate that I know what I am doing. And I know that you can achieve just that. I know you can achieve that confidence for yourself.

The most important rule in monetizing your small audience is to realize that a number does not define you. You can be that big personality from the get-go.

Whatever you do will be awesome because what you touch turns to gold. All you have to do is reach out and actually touch it.

Rule #2 Talk about your offer

You could do everything I describe in this post, but if you skip this step, monetization just won’t happen for you.
Here it’s:
The money has to come from somewhere!
It’s not just about growing your podcast, it’s about monetizing it. The money has to come from somewhere. A lot of times, you make money by selling something.

Maybe it’s already set up. Maybe you’re a coach and you’re selling your services. Maybe you’ve a course.
You already have something that you’re selling, but it’s not selling. It’s almost like you’ve given it a mandate to sell itself. No, my friend, you’ve to sell it.

More than a year ago I went to my husband and told him, “Honey, I didn’t make any money this month, but I know why. It’s because I didn’t sell anything. Not because it didn’t sell, but because I didn’t sell it.

When was the last time you talked about your offer, your value proposition on the podcast, online with your audience or mailing list, when was the last time you published an offer?

Your offer must always be clear and concise.

Let’s go back to mindset because you may be thinking, “I don’t want people to think I’m selling them something all the time.” Let me tell you a secret: If you’re thinking that, you’re not selling nearly enough.

That could be why you’re not making money with your podcast. You need to be able to mention your offer multiple times before people take you up on it.

For example, my husband is one of those people who takes months to pay for something. He does months and months of research.
One day I noticed on our bank statements that he was paying for a Patreon subscription worth $2. That seemed very out of character for him. So I asked, “Why are you paying for that?”

He said, “Well, I’ve been listening to this podcast that keeps mentioning this link, but I’m never able to click on it because I’m driving or doing something else.

So one day I was sitting at my computer and remembered it, typed it up and decided to contribute. I thought that would be a nice thing to do.

It would never be possible if these podcasters only put this link up once a month. It wouldn’t be possible if my husband wasn’t able to remember and make a mental note, “Oh yeah, I want to contribute to these people because I love them.”

That’s what you do when you remind people of what you’ve to offer. You remind them, “Hey, this is something you wanted to do. Here’s another opportunity for you to do it.

Rule #3 Talk to your audience

The final rule of the tiny audience monetization is one you’ve heard before and probably don’t use often enough. And that’s:
You need to talk to your audience every day. You need to talk to them every week.

There are some things that big accounts can’t do. For example, if Joe Rogan goes on his podcast and says, “Hey, by the way, send me a DM, so we can chat about anything. Tell me what your favorite guest has been so far, or tell me someone I haven’t interviewed yet. Who should I interview next?”

He’d be inundated with DMs!
Now you may be thinking, “If I ask people to send me a DM, I may not be able to keep up with the load.” That’s not scalable. That’s not something I see Joe Rogan doing, so I’m not going to do it either.”

Here’s the thing. It’s something he can’t do. He doesn’t have the luxury of doing it. But you do. With a small audience, you’ve the ability to talk to your people.
If I were to ask you right now, “Who’s your ideal audience?” You’d probably give me an avatar description: Professional, two and a half kids, house in the suburbs, sports enthusiast and loves their spouse.
They probably have three dogs and a cat, right?
If you asked me to tell you who my audience is, I’d tell you, “It’s Lette, it’s Heather, it’s Tasnim, it’s Marie.” These are people who either listen to my podcast or who’re clients. They’re people that I know and I’m in contact with every day. I know what they want to hear about. What’re their fears?

What’re their concerns? What’s going on in their lives? I don’t have a generic idea of my ideal client or my ideal podcast listener. I’ve specific people in mind. So when I create content, I can tailor it specifically to people’s stories. Sometimes I even mention their name, which they love to hear.

There you have it. That’s how you monetize your small audience.

You get to know your audience. You’ve to know who they’re, how many kids they’ve, what they’re going through, what they want to hear and what they want to hear next. That’s how you do it.

Because believe me, you don’t want to live in a world where you’re just pointing fingers at everyone else who’s putting roadblocks in your way. When the limitations are self-imposed, that’s a really tough reality to face. So bring out your self-confidence. Don’t let them hold you back.

Number two, sell something and sell it all the time. Do you want to make money? You’ve got to sell!

Number three, talk to people. Talk to your audience and get to know them. You can step into that power now.

You don’t need to wait until you have the numbers. So let’s do it. Welcome to the great, wonderful universe of monetizing your small audience!


About Ina Coveney

Ina Coveney is a business coach and host of The Global Phenomenon Podcast. She helps up-and-coming online coaches monetize their tiny audience through organic lead generation strategies before they invest time and money in audience growth. Ina reached 6-figures in her business before ever cracking 1,000 followers on any of her platforms, and her mission is to help coaches do the same.