Announcing Dynamic Subscriber Messaging

By
Emma Mays and David Stern

August 22, 2020

Supporting Cast is thrilled to announce Dynamic Subscriber Messaging today. Podcasters can send targeted, personalized audio messages, like thank-yous for joining, warnings about expiring credit cards, and invitations to upgrade to higher priced tiers. This feature will drastically improve the premium podcast subscription experience, reduce member churn, and grow subscription revenue meaningfully for our clients over time.

What if you could send a recorded welcome message directly to a specific member’s podcast player? What if, as the member’s renewal date approaches, they heard a message from the show host in their feed thanking them for their ongoing support, or reminding them to update their payment information? That’s what Dynamic Subscriber Messages allow. They’re delivered as mini-episodes via members’ podcast apps based on where the user sits in their subscription lifecycle, so that they’re only heard by the people meant to hear them, at the exact moment when they make sense.

Let’s make this more concrete. Imagine you’re a Scriptnotes Premium member whose credit card is about to expire. The following message from the hosts, John August and Craig Mazin, appears in your podcast app as a mini-episode at the top of your feed.

(If you’re not wearing headphones, the gist is “Please update your card to maintain access to our premium content!” But funnier and more eloquent than that.)

Think how powerful this message is at that moment. Perhaps you’d been on the fence about re-upping your membership, or perhaps you thought “I’ll do it later.” Hearing the hosts issue a call to action in their own voices via Dynamic Subscriber Messaging, with all the personality you’re used to hearing on the show, will significantly increase the likelihood that you’ll act.

Currently, podcasters primarily use email to communicate with members about their subscriptions. You get a confirmation email when you pay for a podcaster’s membership service, you get an email asking you to update your credit card when it expires, and so on. Email will remain an important way to provide subscribers with updates about their accounts, of course, and Supporting Cast provides a seamless way to send these transactional emails to your members. But a lot of email goes unread or ignored.

The best place to communicate with your listeners about their membership isn’t email — it’s your podcast itself. Dynamic Subscriber Messaging offers two key advantages that will make your message much more likely to be heard — and acted upon.

The first is that it lets you deliver messages in your own voice. Listeners have a close connection to you through your voice, dear podcaster, not your words. Your listeners buy the products podcasters promote in host read advertisements and join podcast membership programs specifically because the ask is made with your voice. Indeed, we would argue that listeners’ emotional attachment to podcasters’ vocal persona is what drives the bulk of the podcasting industry today.

The second advantage of Dynamic Messaging is that your audience is used to meeting you in their podcast player, not their inbox. It allows you to reach listeners where you know they are spending a lot of time, and where they’re used to engaging with you. You can insert audio messages appropriate to each member's circumstances directly into their premium feeds, as episodes that only they can see, at the exact moment when the message is most relevant to them.

During the feature beta, Supporting Cast lets podcasters create many different dynamic messages for their members. Here are some of the reasons and moments when you can message your audience:

  1. To welcome new members
  2. To thank a member who has just hit their one-year anniversary
  3. To invite a member to upgrade to a higher tier plan
  4. To let a member know their credit card is expiring soon and how they can update it
  5. To let a member know their credit card has expired and how they can update it
  6. To confirm a member has cancelled their account and explain how to rejoin
  7. To let someone with a gift subscription know their gift period has expired and how they can reactivate their account.
  8. To let members know we’ve revoked their feed because it’s been shared, and how they can quickly get a new one.

We can deliver a particular message to all members of a podcast network who match the target criteria, or we can deliver show-specific messages only to the folks who only listen to a single podcast.

We've got lots of ideas for how to use this feature, and are excited to hear podcasters' feedback as we continue to build on it. Let us know how you'd like to incorporate Dynamic Subscriber Messages into your member communications to improve retention and grow revenue! Send us a note at hello@supportingcast.fm or contact us below.