Building a loyal following is not an easy feat. Today’s guest knows a thing or two about how to keep a podcast audience. Chase Clymer is the co-founder at Electric Eye and host of Honest Ecommerce, a weekly podcast for online store owners with honest, actionable advice to increase their sales and grow their business with over 240 episodes. In this episode, he sits down with Tracy Hazzard to chat about how he grew his show to be a staple in a niche market. Tune in as they discuss engagement, monetization, and more practical tips in getting to know your audience that you can implement to boost your brand. Plus, Tracy explains Chase’s Binge Factor and what makes their show stand out.
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Dive Deeper In Getting To Know Your Podcast Audience Like Chase Clymer Of Honest Ecommerce
We are going to talk about the Honest Ecommerce Podcast with Chase Clymer, who is my guest for this episode. This is coming about where we have interviewed a couple of different people in the eCommerce space. I’m glad to see a resurgence because there used to be a lot of shows in the space, and then a lot of them podfaded. Over 2019 and 2020, I have started to see some more pop in. Chase and his show are one of those that has taken off.
The reality is that even though industry and a niche might be hot like eCommerce in 2017, right around that time and all of these podcasts would emerge in there, the ones that stick around and continue to support people after the trend are the ones you want to reward with listening. You want to reward them by becoming binge listeners because they know what works now and what worked yesterday. There’s a comparison for that.
That’s always something that I strive and look for. Chase has got a great podcast that looks at what it was before and asks tough questions about what it’s like now. It’s one of my favorite questions that he asks on the air. Chase Clymer is the Cofounder at Electric Eye, where he and his team create Shopify-powered sales machines from strategic design development and marketing decisions.
He is also the host of Honest Ecommerce, a weekly podcast where he provides online store owners with honest, actionable advice to increase their sales and grow their business. They are also on YouTube, so there are videos as well in the model of things. I am always interested in someone I can learn from, and this is the great part about it. With 240 episodes, I could skip around and find some great episodes that interested me so that I could sit here and learn something new about what was going on in the eCommerce world, not just learn all about Chase and the podcast, Honest Ecommerce.
Chase from Honest Ecommerce, thanks for joining me. As I was introducing you, I was thinking that you’ve got the podcast that people are going to come back to where they might have taken a hiatus. You have over 240 episodes. Congratulations. Great job. When you have that many episodes, some of your longtime listeners fade because they are like, “I got this. I’m in control. I’m doing well and fine,” but so much is going on in the eCommerce area that’s not working. This is the time for them to come back. You are going to start seeing spikes in your show again.
It’s funny with the downloads that get cyclical every year. As we head into Q4, which is giant for retail, it goes high every year but what’s cool is it sticks around a bit. There is a rollercoaster every year where it goes up when retail is more top of mind for merchants like, “What should I be doing before Q4 hits?” The advice is to start whatever you are doing back in Q2, and your agency would like you a lot more.
That’s one of the things that I say to a lot of our sports podcasters. What they don’t realize is how important the opposite of their season is. They think, “I want to be podcasting during the season.” The reality is that everyone has more time in the offseason and is looking for something. We have to be thinking about those timeframes.
When I was doing my Product Launch Hazzards Podcasts, I would do the May and June timeframe where we would talk about the forecast for the next year, which seems crazy. If you don’t start planning your new color and product development at that time, you are already probably too late. You should be at color final selection but that’s the way I would have been. In that eCommerce world, you can go a little bit longer. That’s when I would give that advice. I give the new trend and color forecast in May and June of each year for the following January’s forecast.
Unfortunately, a lot of small entrepreneurs and merchants are wearing too many hats. When it does get into the busy season, they don’t have the time to execute on any of that stuff. In Q1, they are recovering from the craziness that is Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday sales season. I try to at least be like, “Spend this time planning what you are going to be doing.” It’s when I get a little more specific about those and plan my episodes a bit better. I have so many in the can recorded at all times. I will be talking about things right after a holiday, and it won’t come out for two months. I struggle a little better at that.
You might have to delay. I don’t like replays. They go badly with your subscriber base. I know from having done replays on a show but that’s no reason to not remind them of episodes. To do an episode at the holiday time, that’s a drop in quick five-minute that says, “Don’t forget that we have these episodes from last year, which are going to inform you about what you need to be thinking about this year.” That would be useful for a show like yours that is so cyclical in its nature.
These things come up again and again. While you want to be talking about the new, you do also want to reference them to the framework of the old. That’s where I love what we do at Podetize. We have a multi-feed where you could do a whole feed that’s just for Q4 topics.
Curate some specific lists. That’s a good idea.
We do a lot of one-on-ones for the basics. Once you get over 100 episodes, it’s too hard for someone to find their basics.
Especially with the types of interviews that I have. Most podcasters, when they start, anyone that will come on their show is a guest but I’m a little more specific about the type of interview I want to do. Mostly, I want to tell a merchant story because I’ve done that interview way more than 100 times. I know what they were going to say before I even asked the question half of the time. I do it to paint a narrative like, “It’s hard work. These are the things you have to do. Do things that don’t scale in the beginning.” I want to help other merchants that are a few steps behind them. Maybe they will hear the one thing that they are stuck on to get them to that next step.
I love that you do that. That’s your Binge Factor right there. It’s an unusual place but because you have so much experience in this world of eCommerce and the people that you are bringing on have walked the path already, you are able to dive in and hit on that single point that your audience needs to hear. I love that what you do is say, “Did you hear what he or she said? What we have been talking about is how hard or how much more difficult this is.” Starting an eCommerce brand in 2022, I have heard you say that multiple times on different episodes. It’s true. It’s the same thing with podcasting. It’s so much harder to start now. When did you start your show?
Annette, a friend of mine, pushed me into doing it. If you listened to some of the first earlier episodes, Annette and our Project Manager, Andrew, were like, “You can get up and talk to anybody. You should do a podcast because you hate writing.” I tried it. It got my sea legs going on it, and I figured it out. When I started to take it more seriously, Annette and I parted ways but we are still on great terms. I’m going to get Tracy to have Annette on because her new podcast is wild. You will check out what she’s doing in the Airbnb world.
Once I started taking it seriously and realize the cool things you could do with podcasting outside of creating content, it was a lot of fun. Honestly, it got good because I kept doing it. I’m good at it because I can have a conversation and know the questions to ask but maybe if you put me on a different interview show where it was something out of my adept, I wouldn’t know what I was doing.
When you were looking at somebody’s binge factor, it’s like, “Chase is going to be my guide.” You are going to be my guide to give me what I need here. There are all these interviews shows out there. They are going to go into the backstory and be the story-based telling but when I’m trying to learn something, I’m trying to get that takeaway, and you are not going to let me miss it. That’s a binge factor in and of itself. That’s why people will come back to listen to your show. You have over 240 episodes, so you’ve certainly earned the right to have people say, “I’m new to this world. Who am I going to pick?” They are going to pick you.
During the pandemic, I doubled down on content where I was putting two a week out. To answer your original question, it started in January of 2019. I released one every week. I maybe missed 1 or 2 weeks because it fell during a holiday or something but we have been pretty specific about it. I’ve got an awesome team that helps me. I have two VAs that help speak the content out.
The show itself has evolved. The binge factor of it is purposeful. Merchants are busy, and I like to call out those golden nuggets. There’s only going to be a couple of them in each episode but when you put it behind the narrative of trying to present a business’s growth as the hero’s journey, which is what I do in the back of my head when I’m having all these interviews, that’s cool. People can crush one out on their subway ride to work or in a car. Business podcasts get a little long in the tooth sometimes, and no one cares. They don’t want to hear a three-hour thing. They want to get those nuggets and have them in a little more palatable form.
I was wondering if you are starting to think about a shorter format. TikTok has shifted things.
I don’t know shorter per se but they’ve historically gotten shorter. They were around 45 to 1 hour when I first started. I then changed the length of my Calendly invite to 30 minutes, so I get it done in under 30 minutes to force myself to be a little more specific about it. I also don’t like when podcasts knee under at the end. I like to end with people wanting more.Other people have bigger audiences than you, so go on other podcasts and talk about your show and you’ll get more listeners. Click To Tweet
Let’s talk a little bit about how you’ve got started. It’s like launching a brand. I know you know a lot about launching a product, and so do I. That’s why I approached my show like that. What did you find as the most difficult part of launching your podcast?
The most difficult part was being comfortable with it like getting comfortable on the mic and camera. Ours is a video as well. A lot of entrepreneurs get stuck in the choices like, “What mic and software do I need?” None of it matters. What matters is getting into the rhythm of producing the content in whatever cadence you are doing it. Finding guests to interview is honestly not that hard. I had a million partnerships or contemporaries in the space to reach out to and be like, “I’m starting this thing. Would you want to be on it?”
You never say no because you are leading with value. You evolve further onto it and get to more specific guests. I interviewed the CMO of SmileDirectClub. I never thought I would do that years ago but it’s pretty easy once you know how to spend the game, lead with value and play PR agencies at this point. I don’t think any of it was hard. It was more about getting started. Going from 0 to 1 was a difficult thing.
You’ve certainly mastered that and come a long way on it. Let’s talk about your three things because I’m sure you have, and you hinted at the one that I want to know. I ask everyone how they get great guests. You said something about play PR agencies. I want to know what play means.
I don’t play them but I learned that if you have a podcast, you have an email address that’s openly out there, and you are going to get people submitting themselves if you have any actual downloads on your podcast. When you hit a certain threshold, PR agencies will reach out. I usually would say no if it weren’t a good fit, but now, I’m like, “This guy or gal isn’t a good fit for these reasons but this is what I’m looking for.”
They are like, “Here are ten people that might be a good fit for you. You can pick, choose and do what you want there.” I have an onboarding form, and so do you before a guest gets on the podcast. In that form, I say, “Who else should I interview? Who do you want to introduce me to?” It’s like 5 degrees of Charlie Sheen or whatever it is. You are going to end up interviewing some crazy people.
You must be the next generation because it was Kevin Bacon in my day. I haven’t heard the other version.
It’s probably wrong. That one has worked out well. This one is the more advanced one that I had started doing a lot more. I had a VA for a while helping me scrape. I had an ideal guest avatar I put together. We had some lead generation files that we purchased, scraped, and then found the correct contact information for the exact target people I wanted to interview.
We did cold email outreach campaigns to get more specific store founders that I wanted to interview as well. That’s why I alluded that I’ve shifted away from doing subject matter expert interviews or interviewing apps in the ecosystem and narrowed in on telling that founder’s story because it’s a lot more fun.
It’s a lot more real path for the listeners. It’s more matched to them.
Let’s not lie. A podcast is a business tool, and my agency helps Shopify store brands and founders grow their sales. The easiest way to have an organic conversation with our ideal clients is by interviewing them on the podcast.
You’ve got a guest funnel going, and so do I. A podcast is a model for a guest funnel. I love that you were straightforward about it. That’s honest eCommerce. Let’s be straight with it. When you are talking with those agencies, are you straight with them like, “I’m not going to just have anyone on the show?” How straightforward are you with them?
I’m pretty specific like, “I’m looking for a founder.” For example, with SmileDirectClub, we are not going to work with SmileDirectClub. They are not even the tech stack that we use. That’s a cool name that I want on the podcast. It’s going to get some more listeners to come in. That’s one example but when I’m reaching out to some of these other PR companies, they will send me a list of people.
I can make some guesstimates about their size, what they are doing, where their weak points would be and be like, “They would probably be a good agency client, so they would make an okay podcast guest.” I will select them in that regard too. At this point, I set aside four timeslots a week to record the podcast because I like to meet new people to try to keep our funnel going. As long as they hit some of the criteria that I’m looking for, I will have a conversation with anybody.
That’s why you are recorded so far ahead because you’ve got four slots a week. I only have two.
I want to go on a very long vacation. Some might call it a sabbatical.
Increasing listeners is the hardest thing. Every single podcast that I talk about is like, “I’m not as successful as I would like to be here. This is the area.” What are you doing to increase listeners and grow engagement with them?
First and foremost is to release content on an expected cadence. We’ve released an episode every Monday for the past years. You can see that the trend line is always going up but this took me a little bit longer to realize than I should have, which was other people have bigger audiences than you. Go on other podcasts, talk about your podcast, and you will get more listeners.The worst thing that could happen is it didn’t work out. But the thought of not knowing if it could is always going to eat at the back of your mind. Click To Tweet
We lean heavily into that years ago. That’s helped kick up the thing there and also through partnerships and doing bonus episodes with other people in my industry. I don’t do as many interviews with apps or subject matter experts but I’m starting at bonus episodes, which increase the downloads. Also, the partners are sharing those with their network, which will hopefully bring back more listeners to the show as well.
Let’s talk monetization. You’ve got your own ads in your show. I hear some that are maybe associated or partners of some kind but I’m not sure if they are straight sponsors or partners?
Every sponsor of the show is a very strong partner of our agency.
You have experience with them.
We are using these products a lot within our builds, retainers or what we are doing. They are very good partners with ours. We are in such a very niche field. I can charge rates that someone in a broader category probably couldn’t. I know for a fact who’s listening to my show and who you want to use your products, whereas something that’s a little broader, you couldn’t get the same levels for the investment. I want to make it valuable to them, so I spice it up a little bit. We do some co-marketing stuff and email trading as well. I want to make sure that they are getting the value out of it as well. I want a long-term partnership. I don’t just want a quick win.
We usually do blog, email, and social as part of the sponsorship packages when we do that.
We want to do a webinar every quarter and some blog trading.
It’s a deeper partnership and sponsorship. That’s a great association because you know what return they are getting.
I can share a bit more. We do the video and the audio. You can give me a script, and I will record it or you can give me stuff, and we will edit it together to make it better. I pushed them all to make a landing page with my face on it with a quote. Give me a custom Honest Ecommerce coupon code, then I’m like, “Do all these things to make the message to make it more seamless because I want them to get the click-throughs, the money, and the return for their investment.”
I’m interested to know the podcast itself, in addition to the sponsorship dollars, which are bringing monetization in, which is helping to cover the cost of the show. What’s that conversion rate for you from the guests and the audience in terms of clients?
With this type of outreach, not everybody is buying at all times. You are looking at less than 10% of people that are even looking for something, and it’s probably like whatever your close rate is at your agency. Out of every ten episodes that I record, there’s a decent chance that the conversation might continue to some engagement.
A lot of people are okay with whomever they are currently working with or it’s not the right time for them. I have had people come back months down the line and be like, “We talked about that one thing. It’s still a problem.” It’s a numbers game like any outreach strategy. Just because the first couple doesn’t work out doesn’t mean it’s not going to work.
That’s probably the same case here. When we looked back in 2021, I only have four guests a month, so it’s not a lot but when we looked back at it, it wasn’t just the monetization of those guests. It was that those guests referred other people to us. Even if they didn’t come on, they referred people to us because of the relationship that we built on air, and that has been useful.
Marketing investment content creation, regardless of how you are doing it, is a profitable channel for an agency.
How are you repurposing the podcast?
The podcast is audio through all the normal things. We also have it on YouTube. We use the software. I am a huge fan of Riverside.fm. We use it for all of our content creation beyond the podcast. It’s super fun to do that for 2-party recordings or up to 4 and screen share, to be honest. That one’s awesome to use to help create the content.
It ends up on YouTube. We have the blog where there’s a quick synopsis, and then it’s transcribed as well for the SEO content. The video ends up in the podcast player. We have a newsletter. We already pushed out each episode every week. We are pushing it all through the socials. We used to get a little more granular with how we did the distribution and cutting stuff up a bit more. We did some split testing, and it got the same results to do less work, so we stopped doing more.
On which things did you decide to cut?As a marketing investment, content creation, regardless of how you’re doing it, is definitely a profitable channel. Click To Tweet
With our niche and the organic reach of the content doing short-form stuff and pushing it out through, say, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, it wasn’t pushing the needle on total downloads for the full-form content.
That’s an interesting observation of how your client base is. That’s probably similar to mine. Usually, the short-based content does drive subscribers but the long content drives clients. It’s a little bit different as to what they are looking for.
It’s the niche nature of our audience and the content that we are putting out. I don’t think that many people that follow me on some of these social networks even know what my job is.
There are a lot of people who want to sell their stuff. They are merchants who are using their podcasts. What have you found to be some of the best ways to do affiliate links to sell products from podcasts? Have you found any tactics that work?
Going back to what I said on what I like to do with our sponsors is to make sure that whatever the coupon code is or whatever you are telling them to do, the call to action is as easy as possible. We used to have a sponsor where the URL we were sending them to was confusing. I’m like, “Stop it. What can we do to make this your website slash our podcast? That’s what it needs to be.” We changed it and got that solved.
Have you thought about doing it the other way like doing a forwarding URL?
It would be HonestEcommerce.com because everybody knows that. They are already there. They are your listener. Forward slash whatever you want to send them to. Some of my clients have a single page, so we create a single page for them where it’s like HonestEcommerce.com/sponsors. It’s got everybody there, and you can just click out, so then it is easy to change up. There’s still only one URL for your audience to remember.
This is why you go on podcasts so you can learn. That’s a fantastic idea. Make that call to action very easy and straightforward. Wherever they end up having, your face or whatever they are so the marketing message is matched. Then they are like, “This is why I’m here. This is the thing I’m doing.” That’s a landing page trick from paid advertising that I brought over into this world.
What you will see oftentimes is people will have a lot of cool videos on Facebook ads in a certain style. People will click on it and land them on a collection page where they don’t even see that product. It’s a different vibe. They feel like they went to the wrong places, go back, and don’t continue forward with whatever they were doing. Whenever you are doing any marketing, do whatever is taking them there to continue upon the page, so they realize they are in the right place.
Thank you so much for sharing that with us. I appreciate that, Chase. The last thing I want to talk about before I get to your final comments is looking at the podcasting world itself and its future of it. With everything that’s changing with the iOS, Facebook ads not working, and email being harder and harder, are you starting to see more people flood into podcasting because of that? If so, what’s your game plan for your clients and others with that?
Every tech app in my ecosystem is launching a podcast or has launched a podcast. The more, the merrier. They will either produce some cool content, and it will be fun. I can go be a guest on their show or they will realize it’s a lot of work and give up. Legacy is not the right term but we have been doing it long enough to where it’s like, “We’ve got episodes. This is a real thing.”
Oftentimes, what people are looking for is how many episodes does this thing have? When was the last time they released something? If I’m going to subscribe to some new stuff organically, I want to make sure that I don’t get sucked into some world that’s not going to exist anytime soon. To stand out, I like the stories that I’m telling, those merchant journeys, and the hero’s journey as the backdrop. It’s fun for me, and the audience is resonating with it, so I’m going to double down on what’s working.
Do you have any advice for aspiring podcasters or existing podcasters who are turning it out but having difficulties?
Number one, the hardest thing is to get going. If you are thinking about it, do it. That’s the hardest part of anything like starting a business, going out on your own, and freelancing or leaving a corporate job. The worst thing that could happen is if it didn’t work out but the thought of not knowing if it could is always going to eat at the back of your mind, so just do it. Other than that, you don’t even need a cool mic or camera to get started. You can use your iPhone. Some people are doing that to diverse content. Once you find your voice, the story you want to tell, and the types of people you want to interview, maybe then start to invest in some cool tools.
Chase, I’m so glad you came to the show, and we got to meet each other. Honest Ecommerce is a great show, going to be more and more valuable. I want you to report back to me. Send me a tweet or message somewhere telling me that your listener spiked because I guarantee you it’s about to happen.
I will let you know.
There was so much to unpack there. He was trapping little bits of things. I was trying to make sure that I didn’t miss any. I love those with the PR agency tip and ways that they are using video and the fact that they have learned that longtail works better for their client connection. Something that we don’t spend enough time on as podcasters are getting to know our listeners.
It’s hard because you don’t have your listeners but when you’ve created a podcast where those listeners are going to reach out to you, where the guests are your clients, and some of the listeners are your clients, you have a good idea of who you are targeting and who’s likely to be the right people. You can start to ask the right questions and get a greater understanding of that audience base.
Dive deeper, as Chase is doing, into that space where you are feeling success, comfort, and on the edge of your learning. If you are learning in the space, then that means your clients and listeners are learning as well. When Chase asks his questions and dives deep into that hero story, he’s getting at the thing that he wants to know too. He’s curating that for his audience and himself, which keeps you engaged in your podcast. This is how you keep going and don’t podfade. You keep it being valuable to your business, who you are, what you are bringing to the world, and those out there, listening and guesting on your show.
Go check out Honest Ecommerce. If you are looking for an agency in the eCommerce space, Electric Eye is out there too. You want to go there as well. Check out how he’s doing ads. The ad section is about five minutes, so it’s extra-long, and I don’t always recommend that but in his particular space, you could probably get away with it. Maybe think about mixing it up more and using them on different shows. When you have 240, you can do that. It might be a better strategy but listen to those ads because of the way that he’s doing them. Add that personal touch and the in-the-know information. He’s adjusting and creating ads that are more relevant to his audience. You want to listen for that as well.
There’s always something new out there. Chase was so gracious to refer me to one of the podcasters he mentioned on the show. That’s so wonderful when you can get another guest right out of the gate before you end your episode altogether. Don’t forget to ask for that. That was another great tip that Chase shared with us.
Don’t miss Chase Clymer and the Honest Ecommerce Podcast. As always, go back to TheBingeFactor.com, and check out all of the resources that we would provide for you and all of the connections so you can connect with wonderful podcasts like Chase’s. Connect with them and learn from their shows, especially if you are in that niche and space. Thanks for reading, everyone. I will be back next time with another bingeable podcast host.
- Honest Ecommerce Podcast
- Electric Eye
- YouTube – Honest Ecommerce
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- Product Launch Hazzards Podcasts
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