Building the Hype: How to Generate Demand for Your Show before Launch

Lisa Marinelli

Creative

Evanna Payen

Marketing


Launching our biggest video series yet, Show Business, wasn’t quite our first rodeo here at Wistia. The Wistia Studios team has put out One, Ten, One Hundred, Brandwagon, and Talking Too Loud, to name a few. One major thing that was different this time, however, is that we used an organized process to build hype and generate demand from our audience before we went live.

It may sound wild, but we’ve never had a tried-and-true pre-launch process before now. This time around, our growth marketing team organized a pre-launch phase, which began two weeks before the big reveal.

In this post, we’ll walk you through all the channels we used to pull off our most organized and documented pre-launch to date, with insights from Senior Growth Marketing Associate, Evanna Payen. From the creation of our “hype page” and emails to advertising and sales enablement, learn how we raised awareness and registration for Show Business. Plus, we’ll dig into some of the results we saw!

Check out Show Business! In this one-of-a-kind series, marketing and creative experts teach you the skills you need to create a compelling video series or podcast for your brand.

Website

One of the most important parts of the pre-launch phase was establishing a hype page for Show Business on the Wistia website, which would later redirect to the main landing page when the show officially launched.

On this pre-launch landing page, we featured an embed of the teaser trailer for the series, followed by a small paragraph of intentionally vague information about what folks could expect. We wanted to give them just enough to get their attention without giving away too much info. Then we included a lead generation form for people to enter their email address to subscribe for updates.

“The pre-launch landing page helped us gauge interest to see if people were actually going to watch the show when it landed.”

This page helped us gauge interest to see if people were actually going to watch the show when it landed. The hype page was a super important asset we included across our other channels during pre-launch. Here’s what the Show Business hype page looked like!

Email

For our email strategy, we invited a segment of our database to the hype page twice during the first week of pre-launch. Those who registered received a series of three emails the following week that teased content and encouraged them to spread the word about Show Business.

We often talk about the importance of marketing to a niche audience, and we followed that advice here. We made sure to focus on our target audience instead of blasting these emails to our entire database. Our target audience consisted of folks with marketing and production titles from medium-sized B2B companies of 50–200 employees.

“We made sure to focus on our target audience instead of blasting these emails to our entire database.”

The first two emails were Wistia-branded; we crafted them to be vague and mysterious in order to spark intrigue. Whoever didn’t open the first email received the second, which contained a different subject line and different content. We saw a stronger open rate of 34% for the first email and 18% for the second.

After someone subscribed for updates on the hype page, they’d receive a subsequent workflow of three emails. These emails shifted branding from Wistia to our Show Business branding and contained context about guests, Show Business certification, and additional resources, respectively.

One of our emails also included a GIF as a header instead of a static image. In the past, for our series Brandwagon, we used a static image in our email outreach before launch, which saw a click-through rate (CTR) of 5.1%. In contrast, the Show Business email had a 10.4% CTR. Playing around with GIFS in headers could be something other folks could test to improve engagement!

Overall, email drove 78 signups and 144 trailer plays during the pre-launch phase on the hype page.

Social media

On the organic social side of things, we chatted with Wistia’s Social Media Manager, Frank Emanuele, to find out more about his strategy for drumming up interest and pushing people to the hype page.

We learned from Frank that the main channels for pre-launch were LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. We shared teaser content across those channels, pulling back the curtain more and more with each post over the course of two weeks.

Take a look at some of our top performing posts:

In the pre-launch phase, organic social contributed 45,000 impressions, 515 engagements, and 222 link clicks. This resulted in 228 trailer plays on the Wistia website, and 137 signups for Show Business.

The week leading up to the launch of Show Business, Wistians hosted daily takeovers of our Instagram Stories to share a sneak peek of the topics covered in the show. Normally, it’s not uncommon to see viewership dip when we post long Instagram Stories on back-to-back days. But in this case, our viewership actually increased by 71% over the course of the week, indicating that people were interested in learning more!

Get Inspired
Show Business accounts for more video views on Wistia’s social channels than any other content we’ve shared to date in 2021!

Sales enablement

We also turned to our sales team to share two to three social posts during the pre-launch phase to help garner sign-ups.

Additionally, we utilized a feature called Snippets in Outreach.io for personalized prospect and contact invitations. Outreach.io is a sales engagement platform that can help your team drive efficiency and optimize customer engagement throughout the customer lifecycle with tools like email templates.

This is an example of the Snippet copy we created for our sales team to add to their emails. Snippets get added to an existing sales email in the Outreach platform; they’re not meant to stand alone.

Promo kits for speakers

Lastly, we gave our show talent and speakers promo kits to encourage them to post on social before launch. Each promo kit included trailers with highlights from the show, headshots they took on set, copy we drafted for them if they wanted to use it as a template, and swag!

As our guests posted on social, we saw some buzz as folks began to recognize faces on the show.

See how Rand Fishkin, co-founder of SparkToro, had a ball with the promo kit we gave him!

Results

To wrap up the results we saw: From April 13 to April 26, our pre-launch period focused on driving hype and delivered 9,378 sessions, 8,422 visitors, 570 total trailer plays, and 337 signups.

The top three performing channels were Organic Social, Paid Social, and Email:

  • Organic Social delivered 137 signups (41% of total)
  • Paid Social delivered 92 signups (27% of total)
  • Email delivered 78 signups (23% of total)

Top takeaways

So, what did we learn from this experience? Well, you don’t have to wait until your official launch day to start building your show’s audience. Generating demand for your show before launch can help you gauge interest and make a bigger splash on the big day. Starting your promotion in advance can also help you spread out the work, inform your strategy, and make launch day a little less hectic.

Also, be sure to get your show talent excited about the launch and make it easy for them to help you generate buzz with their networks! Finally, remember to remind those who expressed interest during your pre-launch period once your show is out in the world in all its glory.

Lisa Marinelli

Creative

Evanna Payen

Marketing

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