Podcasts are one of the most diverse and seemingly limitless forms of media emerging from the Internet. These individual, downloadable programs span all genres and topics, and have become not only an entertaining way to beat boredom; they have emerged as a reputable source of education.
I find it very helpful as a means of learning new tools, tactics and tricks for my own business. It's also a great way to hear how other entrepreneurs have overcome similar challenges
We researched the e-commerce podcast landscape to find out which podcasts are popular with business owners, and why and when they tune in.
Podcasts offer tricks and tactics
"I am an avid podcast listener," says Peter Friis, founder and CEO of ESSIO, which Friis says offers the world's first aromatherapy diffuser for shower use. "I find it very helpful as a means of learning new tools, tactics and tricks for my own business. It's also a great way to hear how other entrepreneurs have overcome similar challenges."
Some of Friis' favorite podcasts include eCommerce Fuel, Ecommerce Influence and Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield.
"Surprise, surprise, but I usually listen to my podcasts while in the shower," he says. "It's where our idea for ESSIO came, and it's usually where I have some of my best creative thinking, especially if tuned into a good podcast."
Expert provides insight
Allen Walton of SpyGuy Security also praised eCommerce Fuel.
"It's the best e-commerce podcast currently out there," he says. "Andrew, the host, is extremely knowledgeable about e-commerce and always has guests on who are experts in related areas, like PPC, Web design, and so on. The best part about the podcast is that anyone can listen to it! You could be a 'wantrepreneur' learning the ins and outs of e-commerce, or be the owner of a store doing six figures monthly (like me)."
Liran Hirschkorn of Chooseterm.com, an independent life insurance broker, described eCommerce Fuel's podcast as "excellent interviews with people in the fields of conversion optimization, email marketing, shopping cart choices and business models (from drop shipping to manufacturing)."
Andrew has done some amazing interviews, while also highlighting his own entrepreneurial experience
Another podcast that kept appearing over the course of our research is Andrew Warner's Mixergy. Providing "business tips for startups by proven entrepreneurs," the popularity of the show is undeniable. Warner, with his brother, founded Internet startup Bradford & Reed, a company that at one point generated $38 million in sales.
Joseph O'Neill, Marketing Communications manager of The Expert Institute of New York City, says Mixergy is his go-to e-commerce podcast.
"Andrew has done some amazing interviews, while also highlighting his own entrepreneurial experience, and he always gives multiple perspectives on the 'right' way to start and grow a company (the 'mix' in Mixergy)," he tells us. "As a startup employee with the goal of starting my own venture in the near future, I cannot recommend it enough."
Brecht Palombo of distressedpro.com notes that Mixergy is on his short list of the best e-commerce podcasts, and he kept his reason for coming back succinct: "in-depth interviews with successful (mostly online) entrepreneurs."
So, when do people listen?
Palombo, who also hosts his own online business podcast, adds that he recently emailed his listeners to determine when people usually listen. The No. 1 response came as no surprise: the morning and evening commute.
"I usually catch up on podcasts on my commute to and from work," comments Chenell Tull of Brightcents.com. "It's about 35 minutes each way, so I do get a lot of listening time there."
Podcasts connect listeners with their interests and provide a direct line to content, with the host and listener forming a relationship that feels much closer
Another popular answer: at the workplace. Simon Ponder of Image Freedom, a San Antonio-based SEO firm, listens during work hours.
"While I work I have an ear bud in one ear listening to one of the podcasts I subscribe to," he shares. "Often times I will hear an idea for something I can use for one of our clients."
Perhaps that could serve as a great argument as to why listening at work actually increases productivity and creative thinking. We have been avid podcast listeners since the mid-2000s and also do much of our catching up on the road. Other times we find ourselves cueing up our favorite shows in the gym, while taking walks and as background "noise" while surfing the Internet.
What was perhaps initially written off as an inferior alternative to radio has been established as one of the heavy hitters of episodic programming. There are many appealing qualities of podcasts, but one of the main draws has to be the ability to listen to exactly what you want, when it's convenient for you.
Podcasts connect listeners with their interests and provide a direct line to content, with the host and listener forming a relationship that feels much closer than that of your favorite morning DJ. Whether you listen for pure entertainment or to help grow your business, the possibilities are endless. Podcasts have filled an information void and are definitely here to stay!
Note: Ethan Schepp contributed research for this article.