Have you heard? Audio marketing sounds great for B2B

Winning hearts and minds is always the aim in marketing, and one of the best ways to reach both is – of course – through the ears. So why isn’t B2B making more noise?

There’s a good chance you’re listening to something right now, like your favourite DAB radio station or a curated playlist to help you focus. And if you travelled in to the office this morning, it’s likely you enriched your commute with a podcast.  

People are hardwired to listen. It’s what we used to do, gathered around the campfire back in ye olden times, and around the radio back in more recent olden times. And while technology itself is not cyclical, human behaviour has a tendency to repeat itself – and right now, an appetite for audio content is once again in the ascendant. 

You may have seen that Earnest is an agency that strives to ‘drive the humdrum out of B2B marketing’. The reason is simple – business audiences are still everyday people, they just happen to be at work. And the thing about people is they want to be entertained and engaged in whatever context they find themselves in.

That’s why we’ve been banging the audio marketing drum for some time now, even though it’s still an under-utilised aspect of the b2b marketing playbook. Here, then, are some ways you could bring audio into your marketing strategy:

Get your own podcast going

I know, I know, everyone has a podcast now. In fact, a recent tally puts the number of individual podcasts at 2.8 million. No room to shine, right? Except that 44% of these podcasts have produced no more than three episodes. The right intentions but no staying power. And in more good news for you, guess what topic is in the top 5 most listened-to podcast genres? That’s right – it’s business.

Producing a podcast for your business is a great way to share valuable and relevant content that connects you with your target audiences’ interests and makes your brand more favourable to them. But if you approach podcasting like a 20-30 minute long ad, don’t act surprised when no one wants to listen to it. Remember, people want to be informed or entertained. And if you can do both? Even better. 

Get behind someone else’s podcast

If the thought of starting a podcast for your business genuinely fills you with insurmountable dread, you can always go ahead and sponsor someone else’s. But not quietly in the background, with a ‘this podcast is brought to you by’ endorsement. Nope, you’re going to put an audio ad in there.

Because research has shown that the listen-through rate of audio ads as part of audio content consumption experiences – such as listening to podcasts – is an extremely encouraging 91%. So get to finding a podcast that’s already talking to your kind of audience, and create a sponsorship deal with them that includes a 30-second spot to promote your business. 

Read your blogs out loud

You may have noticed a ‘Listen to this article’ button appearing at the tops of pages you visit. This not only supports the needs of people with visual impairments but also provides a way for people to consume your content without having to commit their full attention to it, so they can ‘read’ your blog whilst cooking, or travelling, or working. 

Considering that only 28% of B2B companies don’t have a blog, I’m going to assume your company does have one and recommend breathing new life into your existing content by adapting it to audio. You can do this by using text-to-speech software or getting your blog authors to record them. Either way, you get to harness people’s heightened enjoyment of audio-only content and create opportunities to form deeper bonds with your target audience.

Speak up on Twitter Spaces

The stratospheric rise of the Clubhouse app in 2020 showed everyone how great the appetite for real-time audio engagement had become, which prompted all the heavy hitters to get to work on their own knock-off live audio features. 

If your company’s Twitter account has passed the 600 follower threshold, you can try out Twitter Spaces – their live audio chatroom feature. Tap into the live audio boom by using Twitter Spaces to lead discussions on key topics for your industry, or harness the real-time value of gaining audience insights and feedback faster than a traditional focus group.

Deliver the news with Flash Briefings

If you’ve got an Amazon Echo at home, you may have subscribed to a few ‘flash briefings’. These are 3-5 minute mini podcasts produced by businesses and organisations to share topline news and insights, like the 5G flash briefing series we made for Vodafone Business.

The flash briefing opportunity remains. It’s a way to make your brand a regular part of your target audience’s day by being a source for relevant information. To do this effectively, you need to have processes in place to produce your flash briefing consistently, and build a listening habit your audiences know they can rely on.

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(Header photo: Salman Hossain Saif on Unsplash)

I know that taking on any of these audio marketing practices means having to move out of your comfort zone a little. But seriously, when has anyone ever changed their fortunes for the better by staying comfortable?

And if you ever want to get in touch to talk about your audio marketing strategy, or how to make your marketing work harder for you overall, that’d be music to my ears.

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(Header photo: Salman Hossain Saif on Unsplash)