Sunday, May 06, 2007

So help me.....

Actually, the proper syntax is probably "So, help me..."

The issue at hand is my podcasts. They aren't selling. I'd like your opinion as to why.

For those who haven't been to the part of me website that deals with podcasts, take a quick look at and you'll see the deal, the range of topics, etc. If you like, you can download the free sample podcast and listen to it.

I developed the podcasts last fall and winter, in response to literally hundreds of requests over the years for tapes and CD's of my lectures. I tested the format and sample podcast with about a dozen nonprofit execs and board members, and asked for feedback (all was very, very good) and suggested pricing...the average was $10 each. I thought that a bit high. As my tech son says, "The diference between free and $1 is huge online, but the difference between $1 and $5 is not much". We started at $7.50 each. And did badly.

I added free powerpoints so that people could look and listen at the same time. I sent out emails to my newsletter list, and included postings on new topics here and in my newsletter.

After the first two months, I cut the price to $4 each and sales rose, for a minute or two. Given the fact that each podcast takes about 6 hours to script, record, mix, create the powerpoint and post on Yahoo, $4 seemed a steal.

Apparently only to me.

Sales were up a bit, but very intermittent.

So, let's look at the numbers for the six months ended April 30:

Free podcasts downloaded: 366
Paid podcasts purchased: 35

Not exactly a revenue stream...more a seepage.

And, during the past two months (March and April) the buypodcasts.htm page has recorded 2700 hits, so the traffic is there...

So here's where you can help. Why are sales so slow? Here are some thoughts that have occurred to me, and I'm sure you'll have better ones:

1. In a $.99 ITunes world, the price should be lower.

2. I'm ahead of the tech curve--most people who are nonprofit managers are over 40--and they don't know from podcasts. (In truth, I did have a couple of people say that (despite the clear disclaimer on the website) that they didn't own an Ipod and thus couldn't listen to them.)

3. My topics aren't the right ones.

4. The podcasts are terrible.

5. Other???????

As I said, please go to and download the free podcast. Take a listen, and tell me what you think, and what you advise. As someone who has spent his life helping nonprofits, this seems like a good match. As a marketing guy, obviously what people seem to need (and ask for) isn't what they want.

Any ideas, suggestions, etc. are really, really welcome.



Jon said...

First off, I read your blog (and newsletter) regularly, and recommend it regularly, and send links to your blog (and newsletter) to quite a few people...regularly. I find it very helpful. So helpful in fact, that it about quenches my thirst for wisdom of the non-profit variety. Thusly, the podcast doesn't fill me with shivers of anticipation. To be fair, I am a pastor of a church, and probably not precisely your target audience....nevertheless, there is my two cents.

Peter Brinckerhoff said...

Thanks, Jon. I appreciate the post and I'm glad you're finding the newsletter and the blog helpful.

Kathy Burmeister said...

I loved the podcasts but had trouble downloading and saving to a computer to use in a leadership meeting. In Media player, it wanted to draw from the internet and not my hard drive. We don't have internet access in most of our meeting rooms (I think typical of many non-profits) so I was not able to use the podcast. Otherwise, I would have purchased the whole set as a companion to our study of your book "Mission-Based Management"

Kathy Burmeister
Accounting Coordinator
Resthaven Patrons, Inc.

Peter Brinckerhoff said...

Thanks Kathy--this is really important feedback. There may well be a problem in the way the files are downloading. Thanks for letting me know!

Deborah said...

Hello Peter, You are definitely ahead of the tech curve for non-profit users. I am 52 and do not own an IPod. Both of my kids have them, but use them exclusively for music and entertainment videos. I had a customer once who developed a software program to do quantitative and qualitative assessment of the efficacy of mental health delivery systems in anticipation of greater scrutiny of reimbursements by managed care proponents. He ended up having to go backward from an on-line membership access or a shrink-wrapped program on a CD to a dial-up modem access interface to sell it to mental health professionals. Unfortunately, he became insolvent and another entrepreneur bought the technology to strip it down to the employee assistance module for a human resource application. I'm not sure where your market is at this point, but I do think PodCasts are way ahead for now.

Bill Cornish said...

Hi Peter:
Until a few days ago I had never heard of you or CAi. I'm a management consultant researching solutions for a client problem and found your GREAT books that I am now summarizing and welcoming your slant on the knowledge. Podcasts? I can't summarize or learn 'in depth' from podcasts or listening to audio - I listen for enjoyment and for incidental learning. The fact that I'm 70 has nothing to do with it. My money would say that the people you target would have similar predispositions, and would avoid what you are offering.

What will they buy podcasts for? Probably 'case studies' - how solution A solved problem Q at ABC Society. Try it - I think you may like it (and build tons of leads that will increase your existing income streams). You may even want to give away these podcasts as lead generators. Have a great day!