Being a small business owner is tough–more often than not you’re wearing multiple hats, juggling half a dozen hoops, and trying to find a second to breathe in between. So when it comes to exploring a new marketing tactic, it pays to make sure it’s worth your time. Which is what we’re going to do right now–so let’s get started!

First things first: who listens to podcasts?

Well, about 144 million people–including 90 million people in the last month. It’s small compared to channels like  TV, but it’s growing quickly, and is full of interesting, niche demographics. There’s about an even split between men and women listeners. 39% of listeners are between 18 and 34, and 35% are between 35 and 54. Podcast consumers are generally affluent, with 51% employed full-time, and 45% with incomes over $75k–so they’ve got spending power.

How are businesses using podcasts?

Businesses can use podcasts in a number of ways, but before we get into those, it’s important to talk about how podcasts can’t be used. If you’re looking for direct response, or to be able to unequivocally say “this podcast netted our business this much revenue,” you probably want to do podcast advertising versus actually making your own podcast. Podcast advertising is very powerful, but if that’s what you’re looking for, it might be better to use a service like AudioGO.

And that’s because podcasting is a top-of-funnel tool. Your aim with a podcast is to catch people at the beginning of a purchase cycle, and increase your share of mind. That’s a lot of marketing jargon, but you can consider a podcast like a blog post or a YouTube video–people might not stop by your store or book an appointment with you right then, but if you can continue to give them useful or entertaining content, when they do need you, you’ll be at the top of their list. Plenty of businesses use podcasts this way, like the real estate agent who gives advice to first-time home buyers, the contractor who will walk you through DIY home renovations, the fishing supply company interviewing well-known figures in the scene, the BnB owner interviewing other hospitality and tourism professionals in her town, or the farm-to-table restaurant interviewing the farmers who supply the restaurant.

So, is a podcast right for your business?

Knowing who listens to podcasts and how business can use them is helpful, but it might not tell you if one is right for you. When I talk to business owners who are thinking  about podcasting, I generally ask them the following questions:

Do the audiences we outlined sound like your customers? If your customers are older, very young, technology-avoidant or don’t like new tech, they might not be right for you!

Does what a podcast can do fit into your business and marketing objectives? If you want to focus on performance marketing, or are all about direct sales–or even if you’re totally confident with the top-of-funnel content mix you’ve got right now, a podcast might not be right for your business!

Do you have resources that you can dedicate to podcast creation? You can absolutely start small with podcasting, but just like with a blog or a YouTube channel, you need to have some resources, whether that’s a budget to hire a producer, an employee who’s very excited about podcasting, or the time to do it yourself.

But if the audience is right, it makes sense for your goals, and you’ve got time and resources to allocate? Podcasting can be right for your business! You can learn more about getting started on Simplecast here.