Ditch the Sales Pitch and Generate Leads Through Educational Podcasts with Bob Sparkins

by Darrell Darnell | Pro Podcaster Stories

“The Lead Generation Podcast gives us an opportunity to showcase the types of entrepreneurial journeys that people are on.” -Bob Sparkins Click To Tweet

Today’s Episode:

A big pain point for small business owners is generating enough leads. What if there was a free educational resource and a tool to help do that? Bob Sparkins is the lead evangelist for Leadpages a software platform that helps generate leads by building landing pages, campaigns, and even creating text opt-ins for podcasters. It’s Bob’s job to spread the word about Leadpages. 

Bob is a speaker, webinar presenter, and marketing teacher. He is also the host of The Lead Generation Podcast a podcast that shares marketing wisdom and educates small business owners, coaches, and consultants. This podcast is the second incarnation of the Leadpages podcast. The first Leadpages podcast was called Conversion Cast and featured professional voice artist Tim Paige. 

Bob was able to convince his boss at Leadpages that they needed to restart their podcast, and he was the guy to do it. The focus of his show is educating small business owners through interviews of people who have overcome obstacles in their businesses. He is also an entrepreneur, so he thought he would be the perfect host for this show. 

This podcast generates leads for Leadpages, but not in the way you would think. The show is purely educational with no sales pitch. Leads are generated when interested listeners go to the podcast website to learn more. Bob is no stranger to education. He is a former high school history teacher. On this episode, he explains the evolution and purpose of his podcast, his setup, benefits of the podcast, and shares a little bit about Leadpages. 

Bob is the author of Take Action! Revise Later: A Simple Guide to Success in Business, and he lives in Bloomington, Minnesota with his wife and their two kids. You may have heard of Bob through his social handle Bob the Teacher.

“We are really just trying to tell the stories of people, let it resonate, and we know that our machine in the background will do the selling part. We don't have to use the podcast for that directly.” -Bob Sparkins Click To Tweet

Show Notes:

  • [04:03] The Leadpages Podcast has always been an opportunity to share marketing wisdom and knowledge with small businesses, entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants and people doing own marketing. 
  • [04:29] Leadpages was founded by Clay Collins. He hired Tim Paige to start the Leadpages podcast called Conversion Cast. They had 180 episodes over four years.
  • [05:31] Tim left and Bob took over the podcast. They first went YouTube style for a studio podcast. This only lasted 12 episodes, and then they pursued other content marketing. 
  • [06:17] In february of this year, Bob wanted to start the podcast again. He wanted to target people who are doing their best to ramp up their digital marketing knowledge. People who are their own brand. They called their core avatar the Lead Generation. They just released episode 29 of The Lead Generation Podcast. 
  • [07:35] The podcast is promotionally adjacent to Leadpages.
  • [08:03] Most of the guests are Leadpages clients. Some are well known like Pat Flynn and Ramon Ray and on the rise like ChihYu Smith.
  • [10:32] They keep track of the stats and traffic generated by the podcast, and it’s also an opportunity to leverage the audience. 
  • [11:22] They do use retargeting and ads. 
  • [12:33] Any room can give a great sound. 
  • [13:18] Their office was a WeWork space. The glass presents sound challenges. Now it’s a room in Bob’s house. The microphone is on an arm and Bob can stand. He uses a Yeti mic which is prone to pick up external noises. 
  • [16:00] The visual show took too much time and effort to pursue at the level they wanted to do it at. 
  • [16:41] Bob is responsible for championing the software and the success that the customer’s have. 
  • [17:00] He also uses his microphone set up for webinars. He uses Leadpages for getting podcast guests. The thank you page includes a Google form and a booking calendar. He also uses Zoom and Calendly. 
  • [19:38] The post show followup includes an affiliate link and photos for social. 
  • [21:34] Bob pushed for restarting the podcast. He is his audiences avatar. He’s familiar with what it’s like to be responsible for your own revenue. 
  • [22:58] He also was part of the making of the Lead Evangelist role. He was also customer number 43.
  • [24:02] Being flexible in the questioning makes a good podcast host.
  • [24:59] Bob was the logical choice to be the host of the podcast. 
  • [26:22] Leadpages provides the software that small business owners can use to build their website, make campaigns and landing pages, and to easily generate leads from their podcast with opt-in text.
  • [27:13] They try to keep things streamlined and function well with other software products. They are cloud based and super reliable. It’s an easy way to get your web presence up and running and to create campaigns. 
  • [29:43] The podcast generates lead, but they aren’t heavily selling in the content. 
  • [30:28] Their target audience are people who specifically need education and better tools. 
  • [33:02] Podcasts give great content that is leverageable with show notes and transcripts for search engines and education.
  • [33:14] Pro Podcast Solutions edits the audio. Bob gets his transcripts from Rev.com, he then edits and pulls out some takeaways and headings. They have a designer create a thumbnail, and they create an audiogram.
  • [38:29] Bob is currently reading Superfans. He recommends Influence. 
  • [41:19] Bob’s parents taught him to be self-reliant and to do the work.
  • [42:45] Bob’s dad taught him to change oil, but he didn’t need that because he was going to delegate. 
  • [45:23] Darrell’s takeaways: Keep it simple. Bob had the skill set needed to revive and keep the podcast going, and he convinced the higher ups of this. They have a unique take on using transcripts as show notes by creating subtitles and including keywords. His parents reinforced his eagerness to delegate. Do what you do best and hire out. 

“We don't require our guests to promote the podcast, but there's a natural sharing that happens in social media channels and sometimes in email newsletters and things like that.” -Bob Sparkins Click To Tweet

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