3 Big Ways Email Marketing Automation Helped Us Attract and Nurture Show Subscribers

August 6, 2021

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Lisa Marinelli


Evanna Payen


When it came to promoting our original series Show Business, our growth marketing team was in charge of growing an audience for the show. The promotion plan they cooked up consisted of a pre-launch phase, the actual launch, and post-launch marketing efforts.

There were a lot of moving parts, but one played a particularly large role: Email marketing automation, which we relied on heavily to guide subscribers through the Show Business experience.

We chatted with Evanna Payen, Senior Growth Marketing Associate, to get a full breakdown of how we set up different workflows and drip campaigns to drive folks through our 20-episode educational experience.

Read on to learn three major ways email marketing automation helped our efforts and get some helpful tips to make your own show’s launch a success using email!

1. Pre-launch emails captured demand before the launch

Two weeks before the official release date of Show Business, our growth team organized a pre-launch phase to build hype and generate demand from our audience leading up to the big reveal. Capturing demand before the launch helped us gauge interest to see if people were actually going to watch the show when it dropped.

We teased the show with email, social media, paid advertising, sales enablement, and promo kits for our guests. One thing all of these channels had in common was that they all drove folks to a landing page — the hype page — which featured an embed of the teaser trailer for the series and a lead generation form for people to enter their email address to subscribe for updates.

Learn more about the organized process we used to build hype and generate demand from our audience for Show Business before we went live!

Pre-launch email workflow

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

We made sure to focus on our target audience instead of blasting these emails to our entire database. For this show, our target audience consisted of folks with marketing and production job titles at medium-sized B2B companies with 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 strong 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 Show Business and contained context about guests, the available 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 sign-ups and 144 trailer plays during the pre-launch phase on the hype page from April 13th to April 26th, 2021.

Launch email workflow

On the day of the official launch of Show Business, we expanded the audience size for the announcement and sent two versions of the email.

One email was sent to folks who pre-registered during the hype phase. We saw a 40–45% Open Rate and a 30–35% CTR after sending this email.

The second email we sent was a general announcement to everyone else, which saw a 20–25% Open Rate and a 2–3% CTR.

Email became the top-performing channel by delivering 479 new trailer plays and 465 more sign-ups during the first two weeks of the official launch phase.

2. Cross-promotions alerted other relevant lists about the show

Announcing Show Business to other relevant lists in our HubSpot database was part of our strategy to spread the word.

We sent out messaging about the show to our blog newsletter subscribers, as well as to lists we created for our other original shows like Brandwagon and our podcast, Talking Too Loud.

Before Show Business launched, we also started re-promoting our series One, Ten, One Hundred to build an audience we could re-target. We were then able to alert new subscribers in the database about Show Business.

Additionally, we cross-promoted Show Business in follow-up emails for our Channels Webinar Series live event.

“Take advantage of the audiences you already built for other video series, podcasts, or content you’ve created if your show is relevant to those people. You should also be thinking about places where it makes sense to cross-promote your show in upcoming webinars, live streams, product updates, or other marketing efforts. And don’t be afraid to get creative and re-promote an old series to build a database for your new show. New folks might still find that existing content valuable and relevant.”
Evanna Payen
Senior Growth Marketing Associate, Wistia

3. Email workflows nurtured viewers throughout the experience

Show Business is a 20-episode series about show creation, which walks folks through four different phases of the creation process: Development, Pre-Production, Production, and Promotion.

To guide folks through this experience, we turned on email workflows in HubSpot to encourage engagement with the series. These workflows were triggered by user behavior, and we used HubSpot to track users’ content consumption and determine what message to send and when. We monitored these workflows and continued watching folks’ progress and behavior.

Breaking down the workflows, Evanna described that there’s an email specific to each phase of the show (Development, Pre-Production, Production, and Promotion), a re-engagement email, and an email to encourage certification completion.

By watching Show Business, you have the opportunity to earn a free, Wistia-accredited certification in Brand Show Creation.

Here’s an example of an email sent to someone who hasn’t yet watched the Pre-Production phase of Show Business:

Below is an example of the re-engagement email, which is sent to someone two weeks after they haven’t played any videos in the series.

And third, here’s the email encouraging folks to complete the Brand Show Creation certification. This is for anyone who has watched all videos, but not taken or passed the test yet.

Our email workflows are continuously pushing participants through the Show Business experience and encouraging new sign-ups. The average conversion rate from this re-engagement email workflow is between 2–3%. We also have an automated email survey sent to folks who got certified as Brand Show Creators.

“Using email marketing workflows can help you nurture folks through your entire show experience and build a strong connection to your brand.”
Evanna Payen
Senior Growth Marketing Associate, Wistia

Takeaways from ongoing promotion

In the past, we’ve put out original shows like One, Ten, One Hundred; Brandwagon; and Talking Too Loud, to name a few. But Show Business was the first series with which we experimented with marketing automation to nurture show subscribers through a 20-episode experience.

In our promotion strategy for Show Business thus far, email has been the top-performing channel for sign-ups. We’ve found that re-engagement through email during the hype phase and after launch was effective for driving conversion. Experimenting with GIFs in our emails also increased CTRs to our landing page.

Overall, setting up automated email workflows is proving to be successful for attracting people, raising awareness, and getting more folks through the content experience in our ongoing promotion. If you want to build an audience for your show, don’t underestimate the power of email!

Lisa Marinelli


Evanna Payen


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