To say your podcasting business has a lot of moving parts is an understatement.
You have to come up with ideas, find guests and sponsors, write your script, record each episode, edit everything, and then promote it. Growing your podcast and engaging with your audience is exhilarating. Still, we’d all be lying to ourselves if we didn’t admit it was sometimes exhausting and pulled us away from creative work.
Keeping the plates spinning becomes more complex (but more critical) as you grow. While doing everything from scratch works initially, there comes a time when you need to think about automation.
Using a little strategy and simple tools lets you set up parts of your business to work on your behalf so you can get more done in less time.
4 signs it’s time to automate your podcast
Before you dive into building your first automation, it’s natural to wonder if they’re the right fit for you.
If any of these sound familiar, you could benefit from email automations:
You feel overwhelmed
The more you create, the more ideas you have. The more ideas you have, the less likely you are to act on them all. If you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed with your workload, implementing automation can help you manage your time and avoid feeling burnt out. Getting ideas out of your head and to-do list and onto autopilot frees up your time and attention for the more fun parts of your creative business!
You want to take your business to the next level
If you’re ready for a new challenge, automation can help you break into the next level of success. Since podcast newsletter automation helps you engage with subscribers at scale, you can increase engagement beyond what you could manage as a solo creator sending manually.
You have multiple services or income streams
Do you have a podcast, ebook, course, and coaching option? Automated emails that deliver information and product pitches to engaged listeners help your audience go deeper into your work. Emails that make the most of every subscriber relationship also let you earn more without growing as large of an audience.
You want to boost listenership and engagement
If your growth or engagement has stalled, getting creative with how you interact with your audience can reignite growth. Podcast notification emails and engagement automation also gives you more data points to learn what resonates with your audience and what doesn’t, so you can iterate and learn. Plus, the more engaged your audience is, the more likely you are to land podcast sponsors.
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5 automations to grow your podcast (even while you sleep)
Before exploring your options for implementing email automation to grow your podcast, let’s lay a ground rule. You don’t need to start with a Rube Goldberg-level automation strategy.
Yes, you can create email sequences and automations for the entire customer journey. There are also some exciting personalization tactics you can experiment with. I don’t want you to get overwhelmed with options, though. You can start with a single automation, get comfortable with it, and grow from there.
The best news is that there are automation templates for each one of the series we’re about to cover. That means ConvertKit creators can set up podcast newsletter Automations in just a few clicks. The list below is even set up roughly in order of simplest to slightly more involved, so you can follow it like a checklist.
Spending a few minutes today to set up automation can benefit you even when you aren’t actively working on your business.
#1 – Welcome new subscribers
Welcome emails are the perfect place to start automating your podcast emails. These messages go out to subscribers as soon as they join your newsletter and give you a chance to introduce popular content, reiterate when new episodes come out, and promote your other social channels.
For example, when someone joins the Assembly Call newsletter, the instant welcome email includes a note to subscribe to their live broadcasts and podcasts.
You could even create a general welcome email for anyone who signs up for your newsletter versus a podcast-specific message on episode landing pages. Including information about your content, like Assembly Call does, helps you cross-promote your work with new subscribers to maximize engagement.
Make it your own:
- Change or add your newsletter forms. If you use multiple entry points for your newsletter, you can add them to the top of the automation.
- Create an introduction message. Your welcome message could be a single email or a series to get new subscribers up to speed.
- Add to your new subscriber series. After your initial welcome email, you can send a series of messages to introduce yourself and learn more about subscribers. Don’t worry if you’re unsure what to write about—the automation template has ideas and tips listed in the email draft.
#2 – Promote evergreen content
Once you’ve welcomed a new subscriber to your community, you can begin to share evergreen content.
Your options for content promotion are only limited by your imagination. You could set up a triggered email to pitch a paid course, or share your most popular episode on a topic after someone clicks a specific link in an email.
For example, imagine you host a podcast about gardening and cooking. Adding link triggers to episodes across categories lets you segment listeners by interest. Suppose someone clicks a link for an episode about your favorite jam recipes. In that case, you can tag them as someone “interested in food preservation.” After they’re tagged, you can kick off a pitch sequence to introduce your canning cookbook.
To help narrow down your options, ask yourself what action you’d want a subscriber to take next. Your subscriber journey depends on your podcast business model and goals, such as using your podcast to drive traffic to a paid community. Once you know what you want subscribers to do, you can work backward to set up an email sequence to encourage the action.
Make it your own:
- Decide when to pitch subscribers. The automation template begins once someone completes a welcome series. However, you can change the entry point to a time delay after signing up or add a tag to a subscriber interested in a topic.
- Create a pitch email sequence. Your pitch emails need to introduce the product, what subscribers can gain from it, and how to buy or listen to it.
- Decide if you want to downsell. If a subscriber goes through a pitch sequence and doesn’t buy, you can offer a lower price product or payment plan.
#3 – Introduce a new podcast
You’ve put in the work to grow your email list—now you can use it as a content distribution channel. Each time you drop a new podcast episode, go ahead and let subscribers know. If you have a new podcast coming up, you can use email automation to get everyone excited.
Let's think back to our gardening and cooking podcast example. Email automation could build excitement for a new podcast mini-series. You could set up a new landing page plus send the information to anyone tagged as interested in the topic.
Your sequence can introduce the podcast before it launches, send a link once it’s live, and then follow up with subscribers based on whether they listened or not. These podcast email automations let you deliver a personalized experience at scale (without managing follow-ups yourself).
Make it your own:
- Choose subscribers to receive the automation. Who do you want to let know about your news podcast? You can kick off the automation with a tag, such as all subscribers or current podcast listeners, or with a form.
- Write your launch emails. The automation template comes with a separate series to introduce the podcast before launch and announce it once it’s live.
- Follow up with people who didn’t engage. You can set up a link trigger that tags people who click to view your new podcast. You can send an automatic reminder message to check it out if someone doesn't have that tag.
#4 – Pitch your paid podcast
Do you have a paid podcast or community? You better believe you can use email automation to pitch and deliver your recurring product. You can start the series by sending a sampler episode or promotional email to people tagged as podcast listeners.
If listeners opt into your premium podcast, your automation branches off to deliver the exclusive content. If they don’t buy, you can follow up or put them back into your standard newsletter to keep delivering value.
Make it your own:
- Decide when to pitch subscribers. You can add a time delay to pitch your paid podcast after a subscriber has been around for a while or use Liquid personalization to target your most engaged listeners.
- Write an email about your paid podcast. Introduce your paid podcast over a couple of messages that give background information, testimonials, and details on joining.
- Set up the content in ConvertKit. You can end your pitch automation with an email with instructions on accessing your paid podcast or community.
#5 – Grow your audience with a referral program
Want to hear something cool? Your current subscribers can help you grow your email list. Setting up an email newsletter referral program lets you incentivize current subscribers to share your content with friends. Your subscribers win freebies for sharing, and you gain more subscribers. Win-win.
The Room Where It Happens uses a referral program to grow their podcast audience by offering access to an exclusive community.
If you want to grow your podcast, you can offer early access or exclusive content for listeners who share your show with their network. You wait to pitch the referral program until a person has been on your list for at least a few weeks. Then, if they refer a friend, the new subscriber will start at the top with your automated welcome series. It’s like one big circle of podcast growth and engagement.
Make it your own:
- Set up a new campaign in SparkLoop. ConvertKit Creator Pro users get free access to the newsletter referral tool, SparkLoop. Setting up a new project on SparkLoop syncs information into your ConvertKit account.
- Customize the time delay. You don’t want to ask brand new subscribers to refer you, so it’s best to add a time delay.
Write a referral introduction email. Dedicate at least one full email to telling subscribers about your referral program, what they need to do, and what they can earn.
Grow your podcast audience with ConvertKit
As your business grows, it pays to invest in tools that help you work more efficiently and effectively. With ConvertKit Creator Pro, you can promote your content, manage your audience, and grow your business all in one place. Having multiple business tools work seamlessly together makes your workload easier to manage.
Want to see what podcast automation can do for you? Try it out today with a 14-day free trial of ConvertKit.