Melina Palmer of The Brainy Business shares how she uses behavioral economics and reciprocity to grow her podcast. Today, her show has downloads in more than 170 countries!
Q & A with Melina from The Brainy Business
When did you start podcasting?
Why did you start podcasting?
When I got my master’s in the emerging field of behavioral economics, it was clear to me why businesses needed it.
No one talked about behavioral economics principles and I knew it was going to be so important for companies to differentiate now (and keep up later).
As a consultant with a behavioral economics degree, adept at applying behavioral economics for business, it was a strategic decision for me to create the podcast to tell people what the term means and why it matters—the warm leads find me (instead of me needing to cold sell a bunch of people who don’t know what I’m talking about)!
What’s the name of your show and what is it about?
The Brainy Business is about applied behavioral economics in a fun way that doesn’t feel like a lecture. This is essentially understanding why and how the brain makes decisions (including why people buy things) and helping companies communicate better with their customers and staff in a way that is what I call “brain friendly.”
What’s your podcasting set-up?
I use an Audio Technica ATR2100 USB microphone, which I have had since the beginning. It has a simple pop filter and I have always had very high praise about my audio quality!
For a long time I had a little desktop tripod I would use with it, but I recently switched to a desk that allows for a boom arm, which is nice and saves time.
When recording solo episodes or my intro/outros for interviews, I record into Audacity.
Interviews are currently being recorded over Zoom, but I am considering moving to something else to have better audio and not have to ask my guests to record on their side to back up the audio for my editor.
While I’ve been a vocalist my whole life, so I know my way around a microphone…I definitely don’t know any of the technical stuff and am so thankful to the team at Pro Podcast Solutions who do my editing, show notes, and ensure everything gets posted where it needs to be.
I can just focus on creating great content and they make sure it sounds great and is everywhere when it needs to be there.
How have you promoted your podcast?
Because I’m a marketer and brand strategist at heart, promotion and strategy in this area comes easier to me than it does to most (and I share this information freely with the world via tips on the podcast!). I would say there are three main strategies to my promotion:
1) Sprinkle It In: During the episodes, I make sure to mention things like “when I work with clients” or “when I talk to audiences” to remind people that I work as a consultant and keynote speaker (this is known as priming in behavioral economics).
I also include client stories and especially early on when I was really needing reviews, I would announce new 5-star reviews on the show (social proof) and thank the person who left the review by saying their name and tagging one of their social accounts, encouraging the audience to go check them out (reciprocity).
This encourages more of what you want (reviews, clients, speaking engagements) but feels very natural and not salesy.
2) Lead Magnet: Because my topic is one where people are coming to learn, I create a ton of free worksheets. It may seem like a crazy amount of freebies, there are close to 100 of them now, but this was a strategic decision as well.
The worksheets are used for speaking engagements when the conference or company asks for handouts. They are also used to create the companion workbook to my behavior economics book, What Your Customer Wants and Can’t Tell You, when it was published in May 2021. I also use them in my teaching at Texas A&M University (a relationship that started because they found my podcast and I gave the director a shout out on the show thanking him for his 5-star review, which launched a conversation).
Having to make all of those at once would be really daunting, but creating freebies for many episodes of the show, one page at a time, creates an impressive catalog very quickly and provides additional value for listeners.
To access the freebies, they join my free membership group, the BE Thoughtful Revolution (where people from around the world talk about their love of behavioral economics, and I put on additional trainings with myself and other experts in the field).
Lead magnets like this are an act of reciprocity: giving something people want so they feel inclined to give back (often an email address and being put on a mailing list).
I also create unique images in Canva for each episode so they stand out. Similar to the shout outs on the show, I tag other people freely in my posts to promote them (when they are guests, if they got a shout out on the show).
In addition, I make sure to proactively look for conversations from key thought leaders in spaces where I want to be known and comment on/share their information (more reciprocity!) without asking for anything in return.
On the occasions when I do ask for stuff, people are very happy to promote and share my requests, because I gave first.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
A podcast has the ability to expand your reach so much further than I ever realized.
When I decided to start the show, I figured a few people in my local networks would listen (or at least be aware of it) and it would pretty much stay within my existing network.
I’m fortunate because I found a blue ocean and was one of the first (possibly the first?) behavioral economics and business podcast in the world.
So, when people would search for “behavioral economics” in any system where they listened to podcasts, mine was the first or only podcast that would show up.
As downloads started pouring in from around the world, I realized this was so much bigger than I ever could have imagined and it has opened up my business in an amazing way as well.
Decision makers from global corporations listen to the show, as well as academic researchers, other consultants, and entrepreneurs.
It has created an amazing network of people who are interested in what I do without me needing to go out and “sell” in a traditional way.
I get to teach and people want to listen (and then get more)! Which is a dream. The Brainy Business has downloads in more than 170 countries now, which still blows my mind.
Behavioral Economics Principles is a fascinating field that is not widely discussed. Melina Palmer from The Brainy Business gives us insight without the feeling that you should be taking notes. Learning how the brain makes decisions and how those decisions affect everything from what color the gum wrapper should be to how a business should set up their store to maximize the customer experience, is fascinating. We recommend you feed your brain with this engaging podcast, you can find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Melina Palmer is an academic with lots to tell you about behavioral economics principles. She knew that by making content in everyday language she could reach a wider audience to educate them about brain science and how it can help you in your everyday life and business. This is how The Brainy Business was born.
You have this idea for a podcast, but you think that podcasts are just for news, music or comedy. Then you are holding yourself back. If you have a great idea and feel like you have something to say that will educate the general public and your community, don’t be afraid. We will help you get started with our Start Your Podcast blog series. If you are ready, we have the best podcast hosting plans around.