Stop Asking For Ratings & Reviews (Do This Instead)

Think back to every time you’ve ever listened to a podcast episode — specifically, one where the host has said “be sure to subscribe to our podcast, and don’t forget to rate and review the podcast in iTunes so we can continue to bring you great content….” etc etc. 

What did you do, immediately following said podcast’s call-to-action?

I’d be willing to bet you DIDN’T immediately subscribe, rate, and review their podcast. And if you’re honest with yourself, if you loved the podcast you might have subscribed. But chances are you still didn’t rate and review.

Why?

Because there is absolutely nothing compelling about rating and reviewing a podcast. What’s in it for the listener? Nothing. Consuming media, by nature, is a selfish activity. 

You feel like you’re just one person, and you rating and reviewing won’t mean much to the host, even if you ARE compelled to help.

There’s absolutely zero urgency. Why do you have to go do it NOW? What will you miss out if you don’t? Nothing.

So drop the “rate and review” call-to-action (at least within your episodes). This is the least likely way for you to monetize your podcast and grow your business.

You might balk at that notion, but listen -- I know you’re here to serve your audience (and if you’re not, you should be). But if you’re reading this post, you’re also running a business… and revenue is a motivator.

Some would argue with me (but they’re wrong) when I say that ratings and reviews are absolutely NOT the best way to lead to increased revenue for your business from your podcast.

Yes, they can increase your rankings in iTunes.

Yes, they tell the few other listeners who check out Ratings & Reviews before listening that your show is worth listening to. 

But this is the trap podcasters fall into. These “easy asks” feel like they’re a low friction call-to-action. And they are, because you’re not asking for email, money, etc. But in reality, not asking for bigger things is sinking your podcast at the same rate that NOT asking for anything would.

So occasionally, you’ll have to think of how you can best serve your audience AND increase revenue for your business.

The good news is, you can do both. Not only that, but this seemingly big ask will get more action than asking for a rating and review.

“Alright, alright already. I get it. So, what should I do instead?”

It’s time to use your precious podcast CTA for more high impact purposes where your listener actually gives a crap.

“Like what, Tim?” (Great, now I’m talking to myself in a blog post)

  • A Content Upgrade (a free download that enhances what your podcast episode talked about, but that they have to opt-in to get)
  • A webinar registration invite
  • An invitation to join your Facebook group
  • A sales offer (if it’s relevant to that particular episode)

This is obviously not a comprehensive list, but any one of these four CTA’s is significantly higher impact and higher value than asking for a Rating and Review. 

For those claiming you can ask for ratings and reviews AND the above actions, it’s time for a reality check — most podcast listeners will only take one action you ask of them.  People aren’t sitting there waiting for you to tell them what to do over and over. “Go rate and review. Now download this lead magnet. Now buy my stuff. Now tell your friends.” And I realize that’s exaggerated — but not by much.

I’m going to go more in-depth on these CTA’s in future posts, but to get you started, I’ve created a free download for you to give you an example of each one of the above CTA’s in a real world application. 

These are some of my favorite examples on actual podcast episodes, and you’ll get to hear how the host offers them in a compelling, relevant, clear way, to give you an idea of how you can incorporate them into your own show.

One last thing. I know you probably still want ratings & reviews. So… should you just wait and let them come organically as people are so blown away by the incredible content in your show?

That’s one way to do it.

But here’s a better way: Use your email marketing. I’m not going in depth on it here, but I’ll give you one tip that’s worked for me.

In the P.S. section of your welcome email, invite people to rate and review your show. Here’s an example:

P.S. If you’re enjoying the show, it’s safe to assume there are others out there like you who would also enjoy the show. Help them find it. Click here to rate and review the show in iTunes. Those people will appreciate it, and you’ll feel great about yourself.

I hope that helps.

Do you have a compelling CTA in your podcast that could help fellow podcasters get great results? Post a link to the episode in the comments section below, and I’ll try and give you some feedback!

Using Your Podcast To Generate Leads

Are you using your podcast to grow your email list? 

If the answer is no... then why not? The world's most successful podcasters (whether the podcast is the entire business, or whether it's a marketing leg of a business) are using their podcasts as a powerful lead generation tool.

If the answer is yes, then you might have noticed that your list isn't growing as quickly as you thought it would. Maybe you've got lots of downloads for each episode, great engagement, people leaving comments on your show notes, etc... and yet people still don't seem to be opting in. What's the deal?

The problem with podcasts:

Podcasts aren't the most efficient tool for list building. If I was starting from scratch and my primary focus was list growth, the first thing I did wouldn't be to start a podcast. There are plenty of other, more effective ways to grow your list.

Think about it - these are people who like AUDIO. We listen to podcasts because they're convenient. But traditional opt-in methods aren't convenient at all, at least not if you're on the go. I don't often listen to a podcast at home sitting at my desk. Usually I'm at the gym, in my car, or in some other place where audio is simply the best way for me to absorb info or get entertainment.

So why am I even talking about this?

Because even though podcasts aren't my favorite method for rapid list building, they are one of my favorites for ENGAGED list building. Studies show that email subscribers that come from podcasts are more likely to open emails, click links through them, and follow through with calls to action. We've seen it at LeadPages, I've seen it here at MakeMyIntro, and countless podcasting friends have seen it.

How to fail at list building from a podcast:

  • "Subscribe now for free updates" -- no thanks. I'm already subscribed to your podcast. I get updates automatically on my iPhone. Why do I want to see the notification of a new podcast episode from the Podcasts app AND get an email about it? 
  • No opt-in forms at all -- Yes, this really happens. If you don't have any opt-in forms, get one up, right now. I'll give some suggestions shortly for what to put on it, but start with something.
  • "Help me out" -- again, sounds stupid, but I see it and hear it all the time. Stop asking people to "help you out." Sure, people are good hearted and well-intentioned... but that doesn't mean you're going to stick in their minds. And the people who opt-in to "help you out" are not the same people who will read every email, click every link, and purchase whatever you have for sale.
  • "Go to www.mypodcastwebsite.com and enter your email address in the form to the right of my website to download the free whatever whatever." -- You're making it too complicated. If I'm at the gym, now you're asking me to put down the massive weights I'm pushing as I continue my journey to getting completely ripped (please read that with the sarcastic tone it is intended with), type in your website address, scroll around to find the form, type in my email, click the button... call me lazy, but that's a lot to do when I'm already in focus mode and trying to listen to your dang podcast.

Better options:

  • A specific call to action with a specific lead magnet on a specific landing page -- Most often, I'm listening to the specific episode I'm listening to at that moment because I believe it provides value to me. Therefore, a lead magnet that increases that value (we call it a "content upgrade") is much more likely to get me to opt-in. Putting it on a landing page that's mobile responsive increases that likelihood even more. Making the url direct to only that landing page? That's a winner.
  • Use mobile opt-in -- LeadPages just came out with an amazing tool called LeadDigits which allows you to collect opt-ins via text messaging. So someone could text "eofire" to 33444, then they'd get a text saying something like "Are you prepared to ignite? Reply with your email address", and when they do, they're now on your list. It's simple, and people won't have to take a bunch of time away from what they're already doing.
  • Make every offer compelling -- Stop using lame calls to action like "help me out" or "support the show" or "share with others so they can listen to this fantastic show." They're fine if you don't really care about results, but if you want to grow your list (obviously you do since you're reading this), give people something they really want. Make it so compelling that they don't care what they're doing because they don't want to miss out on the thing you're offering.

This is just a basic overview of some great list building strategies for your podcast. If you want more posts going a bit more in depth on this stuff, let me know in the comments and I'll make it happen.

Getting Results From Your Intro and Outro

Did you know that there are separate and distinct goals that your intro and outro should be trying to accomplish?

Seriously — and focusing on these goals can help you get whatever results you want with your podcast. Failing to do so could be costing you big time.

Alright, so what are they?

Your intro has two main goals.

Podcast Intro Goal #1: Set the tone for the rest of your show.

Have you ever heard a podcast intro that was just… blah? The recording quality was awful, the music was tinny, and it seemed highly incongruent with what you thought the show was about?

I have, and I’ve clicked off almost every single time. Why is that? Because the intro is the first impression your show gets to make. And if my first impression is that you don’t care enough to have an intro that’s remotely pleasing, then the content isn’t likely to be great either. Sure, there are exceptions to that rule, but in most cases, I’m right.

Besides that, if your show is exciting, I want your intro to excite me. If it’s scary, I want it to frighten me. 

A perfect example from TV — do you remember the old school Nickelodeon show “Are You Afraid Of The Dark?”, because I do! I loved that show when I was younger. One of my favorite parts was the intro. It was (and still is) one of the creepiest intros I’ve ever seen, and it set the tone for the dark, creepy, scary show that was about to start. 

The right podcast intro can have the same effect.

Podcast Intro Goal #2: Get your target audience to keep listening.

The right intro will speak to your target audience perfectly. Got a show about losing weight? The intro should quickly show the listener that you understand what they’re going through, and tell them what results they could get through listening to your show. I’m not saying you should promise them they’ll lose 100 pounds next week… that would be a lie.

But appealing to your audience and letting them know what you want to help them with will ensure that they give your show a fair shake. 

What your intro SHOULDN’T be:

It’s not an “about the host-fest”. Yes, it’s fine to mention a reason why you’re qualified to listen. Back to the weight loss example — if you’re a weight loss expert who has helped over 100 people lose a combined total of 900 pounds or something, that’s a great thing to mention. Or, maybe you were once overweight and now run marathons. Yep, that’s great. 

But we don’t need your resume. We don’t even really need the bullet points. One major thing that shows that I should listen to you, get me pumped, and then get into the show.

Podcast Outro Goal: Get the listener to take action.

It’s a little bit tougher to define this part, because not all podcasts are designed for the same thing. Some are for businesses. Others for fun. Maybe to give back. Whatever your intentions are, the outro is an awesome place to tell people to do something. 

And just a note here — A few people recently have told me that outros are pointless because “no one listens to them” — that’s hogwash. I’ve got thousands of email list subscribers who opted in to an exclusive giveaway only offered in the outro to prove it. People DO listen to your outro, so don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s pointless.

With that said — a COMPELLING call-to-action belongs in your outro. And unfortunately, “subscribe, rate, and review” is not a compelling call-to-action. When people are listening to your podcast, they’re usually doing other things — often they’re not sitting at a computer desperately waiting for you to ask them to subscribe, rate, and review. Instead, they’re out running, driving, doing the dishes, whatever. And hours later, when they finally get to a computer, they’ve already forgotten your request. 

Remember this: WIIFM. What’s In It For Me. That’s what everyone wants to know, even if they don’t know it. People are busy. They’ve got a lot on their minds. So instead of asking them to do something that really doesn’t offer them any value — provide something THEY want in exchange for something YOU want. 

And if I can try and steer you in one direction or another — the best thing you can ask people to do is opt-in (give you their email address). It gives you the opportunity to reach out to your listeners where they already are. There’s no guarantee they’ll ever listen to your show again, but you KNOW they’re not ignoring their email. 

I’ll give you some ideas for really effective ways to get them to opt-in in a future post, but for now — make the call to action compelling, and offer them something of value — an ebook, PDF report, or other gift… but REALLY make them want it. It doesn’t have to take you a lot of time, and it doesn’t have to be the world’s most valuable giveaway, but it does have to clearly solve your listener’s problem.

Phew, this was a longer post than I planned to write, but it’s important. If you’ve read this far, you’re already ahead of so many other podcasters. Now implement. And if you want our team’s help accomplishing the goals I laid out above, just head over to to the pricing page — we’ll write the script, find the songs, and craft the perfect intro and outro for your show, so you can get the progress you work so hard for.

Until next time, podcast on!