Welcome to the intro episode of our new ActiveGrowth podcast!
We've been hard at work this year creating a totally different kind of internet marketing podcast to go along with the new ActiveGrowth brand.
You see, podcasts are great, but we're fed up with how they all follow the same passive consumption formula. Interview a different expert each week, ask the same questions, have the expert give a short pitch for their new book or whatever.
Rinse and repeat, forever, across more podcasts than you can shake a stick at.
So we asked ourselves: can we do something completely different and still succeed?
Well, that's what we're going to find out...
Subscribe & Download
Listen on the go! Subscribe to the ActiveGrowth Podcast using your favorite app:
Click here to download this episode (mp3 format).
Welcome to the very first episode of the ActiveGrowth podcast. Let me start with a rant. If you're into online marketing and you like to listen to podcasts, then I'm sure you've encountered this problem as well. Online marketing podcasts, well, there are many of them, of course, and they're sometimes difficult to tell apart from each other. There are many formulaic “episode of the week”, “interview an expert” kind of podcasts. Honestly sometimes I don't know which podcast I'm listening to because it seems like they're always talking to the same experts. They're always asking the same questions. Often they're so formulaic that they even ask every single guest the exact same questions.
Sure, these kinds of podcasts… probably the problem is that they're made for passive consumption. The idea is that maybe you're on your commute. You're in your car. Maybe you're at the gym or something and you have some noise in your ears which is this podcast. It's mildly entertaining. They talk about stuff that is somewhat related to what interests you, but really they're made for this kind of passive consumption. They're made for helping you get through your commute. Then you just forget about it.
I feel like there's something really missing in podcasts which is that they're actionable. That they're actually useful. That I come away from a podcast feeling like, "Yes, I've actually learned something. I'm going to do something different now. This has benefited me and my business." That is really, really rare. To me, personally, what I find worst is if a podcast basically tries to be inspirational and motivational. I'm not a huge fan of motivation because motivation is just like this brief boost that just fizzles out. It makes you feel good in the moment. It's like a little hit of a very mild drug but it doesn't actually do anything. It just fizzles out and goes away.
I think there's even another problem. Actually I love consuming podcasts. I'm a super huge listener to podcasts, and the thing is I have different podcasts on my iPad, but they all seem the same because they are actually interviewing the same people who are, at that moment, in some kind of book release or some kind of online program that they are promoting. This gives the same interviews with the same guests with different podcasters and this gives also a lot of fluff information because the guests will only tell you why you should do something but not how to do it because they are in this promotion mode. They want you to buy the book or they want you to buy the online program to actually learn how to do something.
In the end, it seems to be that we have a very bad signal to noise ratio in podcasting. There's a lot of podcasts but really not that much information to go around. There's another thing about podcast which is that they are a one-way communication. It is the podcast host and the guest talking to you and the communication only ever flows one way.
Now, the ActiveGrowth podcast is an experiment. We want to see if we can do the exact opposite of almost all of that and still have a successful podcast because let's be honest, these podcasts are all very similar. They're formulaic because that formula works. We're looking at them going, "Can we do something totally different and still make that work?" We don't know whether the answer to that is yes or no so this is an experiment. We're going to try with the ActiveGrowth podcast something totally different and want to see if you like that.
Now, I mentioned one-way communication. For me, if you have followed me before, if you have any idea about what I do, then you know that for me this dialog, this two-way communication is extremely important in everything I do, and I want to see if we can establish that in a podcast because for me I know that this is one of the basic things about marketing that I hold true and hold to in the way I run my businesses. I know that I cannot develop a good product unless I get regular honest feedback from the people who'll be using that product. Look, a podcast is just another product. Sure, it's free but you pay for it with your time and you essentially have to make a purchase decision in terms of where do I spend my limited time when you choose a podcast to listen to.
Really this is just another product and I know that I cannot create a good product by just thinking about it and talking about what I think matters and answering the questions that I think you might have. The only chance I have to create a really good product that's really worth your time is if I get feedback from you. I have to hear from you. I have to get feedback from you to find out: Was an episode any good? Was it useful for you? Did it make sense? Do you have other questions? Are we basically talking past the thing that really matters to you or did we nail it? Without regular feedback about that, the podcast is always just going to be lukewarm. That's one of the goals we have here. We want to see if we can make a podcast where communication flows both ways and where we can build content, and topics, and episodes around your questions, and around your input, and around what matters to you, and what is really useful to you.
Also, a problem with podcast is the shallowness. If you have a different guest and a different topic and a different thing every week, you can never really go deep. We want to see if we can do the opposite of that as well. We want to identify topics that are really crucial to entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and online marketers and see if we can do a deep dive on those topics and provide you with real actionable insights with stuff that actually makes a difference in your business. That will mean that sometimes we will spend several episodes talking about the same topic because that's what's needed to really go deep and not just provide some surface level feel good information.
Also, quite simply, we want to see if we can make this more than just once a week you listen to a few people talking to each other because that's quick and easy to do. That's one of the appeals for a podcast creator. It's like, "Oh, yeah. Let's just hit record and talk a bit and then we have got an episode. We've got a new piece of content. That's easy." We want to see if we can make a podcast that's more than that. Those are the goals we have for the ActiveGrowth podcast, and we're really excited to have you here on the intro episode.
By now, you probably understood that this is not going to be just one simple interview per podcast. This is going to be content series, and this is actually almost going to be like mini courses that we're going to do about different topics and let's take a look at some of the topics that we are already planning on covering in the following episodes.
The first series of episodes we're calling Forget About Traffic. In this, we want to address one of the big problems that many online businesses face. If you are looking at your online business right now and you're thinking, "What I need is more traffic," then this is going to be very, very important for you because there's a traffic delusion. People think they need traffic when really they need something totally different. This we've identified as one of the most common and one of the most critical problems that starting online businesses have and that's why we are covering it first and in depth.
In the second series, we're going to talk about another problem and that is about shipping things. What do I mean by shipping? Well, that is that you actually have to produce something. You have to put something out there. You have to be able to get people to see it, and that's where many entrepreneurs go wrong. They stay in the wantrepreneur phase and think about their thing, but they never put anything out into the world and that's what we're going to cover in the second series.
The third series we plan is to talk about what really is a good offer. If you ask a conversion expert, they will often tell you that the most important thing on your page is the offer itself. If you have a fantastic, irresistible offer, then even if your landing page isn't that great, and your graphics aren't that great, and your copy isn't that great, people will still sign up for it. If you have a bad offer, a boring offer, then you can try and dress it up with great copywriting and stuff but people are still going to be difficult to convince. What does that really mean? What makes a really good and irresistible offer? That's what we're going to examine in series number three.
These are already three topics that we identified as being super important for online businesses but it's not the end. It's just the beginning and everything else will depend on your questions, on your comments, on your feedback that we get in this series, so we will really need you to participate and to make this the best podcast possible for you.
All right. Apart from all that, we will also have some mixed up episodes outside of the serial content. We might do some questions and answers type episodes or talk about some things as they come up. That is roughly the plan for the ActiveGrowth podcast.
By now you might be wondering who you're actually listening to. Well, I'm here with Shane. He's the founder of ActiveGrowth and CEO of Thrive Themes. And, over the years, he has built a ton of online businesses and learned how to improve and become better with each one of them. If you ever see him in the streets, don't bother offering a beer. A green tea or a slice of vegan cake will be much more appreciated.
And, the much more charming voice you'll be listening to is Hanne. She is the head of the marketing team at Thrive Themes, and I don't know anyone who gets more excited about online marketing strategies, funnel diagrams or even spreadsheets filled with analytics data than she does. She's also an enthusiastic traveler and a staunch defender of Belgian beer over any other kind of beer.
That's our grand plan for the ActiveGrowth podcast. This right here is just an introductory episode. We wanted to make a short episode to give you an overview of what we plan to do and let you know what you can expect. What you can do right now is you can go to activegrowth.com/0. That will take you to a short show notes page about this episode where you can also leave a comment. You can let us know what you think of the plan that we've laid out. Do you think this is great? Are you looking forward to listening to every single episode or do you think this sucks? Either way, let us know by leaving a comment.
What you can also do is you can go and listen to the first real episode which is already live when you're listening to this. You can go again to activegrowth.com/0 where you can also find links to sign up to this podcast on iTunes, or Stitcher, or wherever you prefer to listen to podcasts, and you will find that the first episode is already there waiting for you and ready to listen to.
Also worth noting is that we're doing a podcast launch experiment. We want to see if we can get into the new and noteworthy category in iTunes. For that, of course, we will want you to rate and review our podcast, but actually we don't want you to do that yet because this isn't a real episode yet. It would be too early for you to judge. Go ahead and listen to the first episode, and there we'll tell you more about what you can do to help with our podcast launch experiment.
In any case, thank you very much for spending this time with us, and we really hope you tune in for the first real episodes.
Enter the ActiveGrowth Podcast Launch Experiment
Here at ActiveGrowth, we love using challenges as a way to learn important lessons for our followers and businesses so we decided to turn our podcast launch into an experiment.
As you might imagine, we're shamelessly trying to vault the podcast into the New & Noteworthy section of iTunes against much larger players in the internet marketing space. The experiment is to see if we can actually do it!
As a supporter of ActiveGrowth, you can join our team by signing up here for the Podcast Launch Party and AMA webinar with Shane on the podcast launch day – Monday, June 26th.
If you're reading this post launch party, you can still help us out by downloading all of our available iTunes podcast episodes, giving them a listen, leaving an honest review and sharing it with your friends...but only if you want to ;-)
Setting the Stage for a New Kind of Podcast
In Episode 0, we introduce what's behind our drive to create a new type of internet marketing podcast along with our goals for what we want to achieve with it:
- Can podcast consumption transition from passive, morning commute entertainment to action focused content?
- Can we start an immediate 2-way feedback loop with you, the ActiveGrowth audience? Creating great products – including podcasts – is all about gaining valuable insights from customers as quickly as possible.
- Can we identify the subjects most crucial to entrepreneurs, solo-preneurs and internet marketers in order deep dive into those topics with multi-episode series? The last thing we want to produce is another surface level podcast that addresses the why to do something, but never the how.
Do you have any comments, ideas or feedback about the podcast and what you'd like to discuss in upcoming episodes?
If so, let us know by leaving a comment below!
See you in the next episode,
The ActiveGrowth Team
P.S.: If you want to get started listening to our first podcast mini-series called Forget Traffic!, check out the show notes page for it here!
Good luck with your new podcast! I love you guys and will listen to every episode.
Thank you for your support, Emil!
Been looking forward to this for ages, but link doesn’t work for Overcast on IOS.
Can’t find you in the directory?
Any chance you could check please, as want to get on this ASAP
Cheers& good luck!
Thanks for your comment! You can find the podcast on Overcast, here.
Sweet. Looking forward to this developing. I already subscribed on iTunes and plopped a 5-star review on there!
So far, I like the podcast trajectory.
Ach so! I forgot to ask: why SoundCloud (as opposed to self host or libsyn)?
We’re using Libsyn to host the podcast. I’m using the SoundCloud player because I think it’s quite a nice player and it has an integrated download feature.
I’m not married to it, though. We may replace it with something else in the future.
Thank you very much for your support, John!
Great to see the new ActiveGrowth and looking forward to a breath of fresh air in podcasts! I’m sure it’ll be up to your usual high standards! Best of luck with the experiment!
Thank you for your support, Seán!
Congrats! The new brand podcast is looking great so far!
Thank you, Fran!
Do you have any suggestions and /or strategies for organizing all of the landing pages and offers and email drip campaigns, when one starts creating the smart links and lots of pages… I just get overwhelmed. Soo overwhelmed…..how do you name your offers? And name your Pages so they are easily managed?? Thanks soo much!
That’s a great question, Samantha.
So, I have somewhat of a system for organizing all that stuff, but I have to admit that it’s far from perfect. It is indeed difficult to stay on top of all that stuff, as you build our your site and offers etc.
Something I’ll have to think about some more.
Amidst all the regular internet marketing “mumbo-jumbo”, please do not forget to make it a fun and gratifying experience to follow along.
Looking forward…. #ActiveGrowth
Are you saying I’m not naturally fun and charming? :P
Joking aside, we’ll do our best to keep the podcast interesting and worthwhile to listen to. :)
Hey, Shane and Hanne
This is great! I think you hit the nail i.e. normal podcasts are one way…
Love the ability and choice to comment, rant, rave, whatever…
AND know it will be read, unlike many others…
Listening to #1…ATM
Thank you very much, Sherwood! Great to know that our concept resonates with you. :)
We’re all about ranting and raving, Sherwood :)
Awesome! Real stuff…
Thank you for your comment!
Excited to see how #ActiveGrowth is going to evolve – have already listened to the first couple of podcasts, subscribed and left a review. You are keeping it real – Keeping it practical and Giving Value – Thank you :)
Thank you very much, Jaki!
I forgot to ask – we are working primarily with charities and community projects in the UK and our aim is to get them to take action to add their details to an ‘Interactive Community Map’ (for free) – I am struggling with getting the steps right to get them to take action – any suggestions, thoughts, etc?
We would be happy to be a case study if you would like :)
In Gratitude – Jaki :)
You describe an interesting problem. What comes to mind right away is that you need a better elevator pitch. If I was one of your prospects, I wouldn’t get excited about “adding my details to an interactive community map”. I don’t know what that’s for or what’s in it for me.
So, I think on the podcast, we need to talk about how to sell/pitch intangible products at some point and hopefully, those lessons will apply for you as well.
I am used to both your voices from ThriveThemes videos, so it is pleasant to have a podcast where I feel I know the speakers. Personally I like the ‘passive’ podcast because I am often doing boring stuff on my site and am not looking to be challenged. I prefer to be challenged on a video because my attention is totally focused then.
But let’s see how it goes. You have both already taught me so much that I am game to try whatever you suggest.
Thank you for your comment, Sheila!
You make a fair point. I can see the use for this kind of passive/distraction podcast as well. But I hope we can make something that’s more useful on a practical level, too. I’d love to get feedback from you on this, once you’ve heard a few of our episodes. :)
Great idea ! I am at the beginning of my journey with online business and hope this podcast will be very useful for me.
czesz, Wojtek! I misheard Shane during the webinar and thought he was trying to say Wojczech… I told him Voy-check….
Shane — it’s voy-tech sorry I told you wrong on the webinar comments!!!
Haha, no worries at all, John! I think my pronunciation was beyond saving, anyway. :)
Thank you, Wojtek! Super happy to have you on board.
Also, sorry for repeatedly mangling your name during the webinar…
AWesome. I totally agree about the fomulaic podcasts in the internet marketing realm. I stopped listening as they got boring, full of pitches and all around not really of any use. Thank you for treating the subjects we request and doing so in a way that makes sense and steps we can apply.
Thanks for your comment, Ali. I hope we can really provide something different with the ActiveGrowth podcast. We’re certainly not about to do any formulaic pitch-fests. :D
As usual you have an excellent “nose” for what needs to be talked about. In my case that would be actually getting products out there. So I will be looking forward to upcoming podcasts.
Thank you, Paul. We will definitely have a lot to say about getting products out there. :)
I stopped listening to most podcasts for the same reasons.
Really looking forward to listening to the first few episodes guys.
Shane and Hannah – when we get a chance to meet, I’ll definitely buy you a green smoothie or a beer :P
Thank you, Tung! We’ll definitely keep away from the “guest of the week” formula and I hope you’ll find our podcast more interesting and useful.
Great idea, Shane and Hanne.
Thank you, Lysette!
Great first start Shane and Hanne, looking forward to listening to the other casts. We love your thrive products! :)
Thank you, Tom!
I’m a user of Thrive products and I’m so glad someone has the guts to produce a podcast of a different format. I’ve listened to the first episode and I’m thrill to listen to the rest and follow all your future episodes.
Thank you and looking for to interact with your podcast.
Thank you, Wiki! It’s great to know that our idea resonates with you (and that it’s not just us who are fed up with the same old podcast format). :)
I think you nailed it! I loved the zero podcast and am looking forward to hearing more. You wanted feedback? Getting launched doing online classes can be overwhelming. How about a podcast on identifying priorities for the structure that needs to be in place before you go live? What those steps or items should be so nothing serious falls through the cracks. Thanks.
Thank you for your encouraging feedback, Trish!
A product launch can indeed be overwhelming. I like your topic suggestion and will add it to our project list. :)
It’d be great if you can submit the podcast to Google Play so I can subscribe there. It’s super easy and will probably get approved in a day or so (I did it for my podcast last week).
It seems to not be available for my country. :/
Love the format & concept! Shane, everything you produce is so extemely valuable! I’m sure these wil be also! I started “backwards” and listened to the “mix-up” one first…so I just caught your introduction. ;-)
2 comments more:
#1: Shane, the “rehashed content” not only extends to podcasts, but also to website articles in general! I get the same topics from the few email newsletters I still receive (except Thrive & ActiveGrowth)! “How to write headlines,” “how to increase traffic,” “how to make your content go viral”… What you’ve said about not knowing which podcast you are listening to could be said about blog posts as well…and these are from BIG companies! They all just seem to copy each other! Same topics, slightly different verbiage…
#2: Yours are the ONLY webinars I ever watch..and all the way through! I have the very same feeling about your podcasts! You never waste my time with 10-15 minutes of “intro” and useless conversation… You get right to the point and all the information is incredibly useful…
The concept of “deep dives” is great… Only you could figure out a way to make podcasts a true “dialogue!” ;-) LoL!
I have subscribed on SoundCloud because the UI was better… (Hate iTunes and Stitcher was difficult just to create a new account!)
Huge fan of all things Thrive! Wish I had found you years ago!
Thank you for your comment, Karen!
This is very encouraging feedback, thank you very much for this! It’s an interesting point you make about blog content. I don’t follow any blogs regularly anymore, I only check in every once in a while. I think it’s in part because of what you describe: content often feels generic and samey. Also, a lot of content that’s published simply doesn’t serve my business goals. I don’t give a hoot about how to grow my Instagram followers or how to get more traffic or many of the other typically trending topics, because I’ve built my business around different goals and KPIs.
Anyway, I’m happy that you’ve enjoyed the content so far and I hope we’ll be able to continue to delight you with what we have coming, on the podcast.
I’m **sure** you will continue to delight and educate me, Shane!
As I’ve said in comments on other threads (both here and on Thrive), your emails are the ones I rush to open immediately, knowing I will learn something useful! Like someone else wrote in their comments here, your emails (& now podcasts) are like Christmas presents every time I receive them! No exaggeration!
I am a huge Thrive team / Shane fangirl! ;-) I’m even thinking of *requiring* my clients (I teach WordPress) to purchase the entire Thrive package of tools! ☺
Thank you very much, Karen. I appreciate your support very much.
Early listener. Love the podcast. We are a sourcing agency specializing in electronics, photonics and hardware sourced from China. Other than guides for customers on finding the best suppliers and avoiding scams (which we offer for free), I cannot come up with a “customer first” idea. Help!
This sounds like a B2B product. If that’s the case, then “customer first” can be interpreted to mean “sales first”. Before you even full define your product, you need to know what problems you can solve and what businesses have those problems. What business is perfectly positioned to benefit from what you offer?
Then, it’s time to get on the phone or hit the road. The first thing you need to do is have an effective sales process. You need to know whom to reach out to, how to reach them, how to get them to schedule a call with you, how to explain your offer to them, how to customize it to suit their needs etc. Through the sales process, you can refine your offer and when it starts working really well, you can start adding marketing to the mix.
Gotta say… Loving the podcast so far. I’ve always just thought of myself as someone who “doesn’t like podcasts,” for the very reasons you listed here, and have always leaned towards audiobooks as a consequence.
But I’ve really enjoyed the few episodes I’ve listened to of yours so far — it’s been really great having actionable bits of information. I feel like I’ve already had some very tangible take-aways that I’m applying to my biz.
Glad my gf kept encouraging me to listen ’til I finally broke and gave it a go. :P