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Are podcasts worth it? Evaluating the ROI of being a podcast guest

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Have you considered evaluating the ROI of being a guest on a  podcast?  As an independent business owner, you may be wondering how being a guest on a podcast can into your existing marketing strategy. There are so many podcasts available on both B2C and B2B sides. And it’s easier than ever to be a guest on a podcast show regardless of your end goals.

It’s also easier than ever to spend your time and energy producing content for someone else’s podcast without seeing a return on your efforts. It’s time you start evaluating the ROI of your podcast guest strategy. Being a podcast guest can be an advantageous marketing effort. However, it’s critical that you get a good ROI from your guest episode efforts. Easier said than done, right? After all, the podcast doesn’t belong to you. Plus, as an audio medium, it can be difficult to track how many listeners convert to inquiries and, ultimately, booked clients.

With some careful planning and deliberate data tracking, you can determine the true return of your podcast push. However, before you can start crunching numbers, you need to first get strategic and identify what you hope to accomplish with your guest episodes.

There are generally two ways to select podcasts to be featured in. You can select from topic-specific podcasts and audience-specific podcasts. Let’s talk about evaluating the ROI of being a podcast guest between those two types.

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Topic-specific podcasts

Being a podcast guest is an opportunity to draw attention to your services. For example, you might run a business consulting company. You can speak to operational processes, marketing, leadership, team building, and other business topics. You can talk about these topics from the context of the business consulting services that you’re offering. Therefore, you’re not necessarily speaking only to your target audience. Those who are interested in your services may visit your website. Others may just be seeking business tips.

How to track the ROI of being a podcast guest

It can be challenging to track ROI for topic-specific podcasts. You can’t ascertain how much of the audience is actually interested in your business. The easiest way to track ROI is typically to offer the podcast host a freebie to share with their audience. This is usually a lead magnet or download that captures email addresses. Craft a lead magnet that appeals to your ideal client

Pro tip:

You can also offer discounted services so you bring in buyers immediately.

Audience-specific podcasts

Another way to take advantage of podcasts is to seek out those that already appeal to your ideal client. These tend to be more effective than topic-specific podcasts. You’re going right to the source of your client base. If you’re selling marketing services, get on a marketing podcast. If you’re selling wedding services, pitch to podcasts that speak to engaged couples. You get the gist. Rather than hoping to appeal to a percentage of a podcast’s audience, you can be fairly certain that everyone listening falls into your target market.

With audience-specific podcasts, you can offer targeted lead magnets that you know will appeal to your listeners. Engaged couples will be interested in a wedding to-do list. Business owners will want to know how they can optimize their marketing funnel. You can skip the pretenses. Instead, you can get right to business tracking your conversions through that downloadable.

But, first, you have to make sure your funnel is in place. That’s where the tracking magic happens.

Tools for tracking podcast guest appearance ROI

A great lead magnet will draw attention to your website and lead to inquiries. However, by itself, it cannot tell you how many people converted from a single podcast episode. This is especially true if you’re using the same lead magnet as a freebie for all podcasts. Evaluating the ROI of podcast guest appearances goes a step deeper. There are three ways to effectively track traffic specific to each podcast.

A custom landing page

It can be as simple as creating a new page on your website. Use a URL that only listeners will follow. For example, any traffic that goes to a simple link like can be linked directly to a specific episode. You can track how many people visited the page. You can also track how many converted and signed up for your lead magnet.

A text-to-subscribe service

Another way to measure ROI is to have people text you to receive their downloads. There are plenty of online platforms that offer text-to-subscribe services, like Podium or ClickSend. The great thing about text messages is that your listeners can quickly connect with your brand and get their freebie, even if they are walking their dog or running errands. You can then easily add them to your email marketing funnel and start tracking how many signups you have through the texting platform.

Once you’ve determined the method of tracking you want to use, you can start to reverse engineer your marketing funnel with Google Analytics to ensure that you’re gathering the data that matters when you’re evaluating the ROI of podcasts.

Tying Google Analytics to your podcast guest approach

Google Analytics (be sure you’re migrating to GA4!) is quite robust and there is a lot you can learn within your dashboard and your reports. Data overload is real, though; so, for this purpose, it’s best to keep things simple. You will need to set conversion goals in Google Analytics to track the traffic and inquiries that result from a specific URL.

The easiest way to do this is by having them sign up through a standard form on your website, likely one that is similar to your existing contact form. They hear your website, type in the URL, and fill in the form to get their download — simple. Once they do, you can then deliver the download on a separate thank you page.

Having a separate thank you page allows you to create a destination page goal in Google Analytics that tracks only the visitors that have completed your form. Since the form is podcast-specific (remember:, you’ll be able to determine how many actual inquiries you’ve captured from each episode simply by looking at your thank you page’s traffic.

Pro tip

When creating your thank you page, make sure it is not indexable by Google and avoid using a basic URL like Instead, make it a little funky so people can’t just find it elsewhere on the internet, as that would distort your conversion values. The only way to reach that page should be by clicking ‘submit’ on your podcast-specific form.

Set up auto-responder emails

From there, you can set up an auto-responder email sequence for users that have downloaded your lead magnet. I recommend starting with three basic emails: the first speaks to the client’s problems and what a solution looks like, the second is to share your expertise (i.e., “The biggest mistake I see clients making…”) and the third is the call-to-action, whether it’s to purchase a product or service or hop on a strategy call with you.

You can then measure open and click rates for each email, as well as conversion rates for the final email. When you step back and do a bit of math, you can determine a few things:

  • Traffic-to-download rate: This is how much web traffic you earned from a podcast episode and the percentage of that traffic followed through to share contact information and download your lead magnet.
  • Lead-to-conversion rate: This factors in how many people signed up to download your lead magnet and the percentage of that group that actually converted as booked clients or paying customers.
  • Traffic-to-conversion rate: This skips the middle step of the lead magnet and looks directly at how much traffic you saw from a podcast and the percentage that converted. This will give you an idea of how well that podcast drives traffic, turns it into leads, and converts leads into sales.

Turning data into decisions

Your traffic and conversion rates are only valuable if you put them to use; otherwise, they’re just numbers. However, once you start to pair these numbers with patterns, you will start to see the most effective avenues for your podcasting efforts. When you begin evaluating the ROI of being a podcast guest, you’ll see which podcasts that drive traffic, leads, and sales to your business.

Beyond that, you’re also learning what topics are driving traffic, leads, and sales to your business. Look across all of your podcast pitches to see how well similar topics perform. If you understand which topics and podcasts drive conversions, you can start experimenting with similar podcasts and additional topics around your core content category for other pitches.

Additionally, the lessons you learn from podcasting can also inform the content strategy you use with your own channels. If you know a topic has worked well to convert listeners on a podcast, there’s a good chance it would perform well on your own blog or social media. A podcast can help you amplify your message and get the word out to new audiences, but it can also serve as a proverbial test kitchen to identify the topics that result in the best ROI.

Simply put, podcasts are an impactful addition to every marketing strategy. A few guest appearances can increase brand awareness and position you as an industry thought leader, while also helping you to refine your business and niche down in a way that is both meaningful and profitable.

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