Running a newsletter is another opportunity to provide value at scale so make sure you do it right
“You have to start collecting emails today,” Sinem Günel told me in one of our first coaching sessions.
I had just published my first article, and asking my 7 readers to sign up for a non-existing newsletter seemed hilarious.
But Sinem insisted: “Now is the right time to start one. If you’re trying to make money online, your email list is one of your biggest assets.”
A year and 1K+ subscribers later, I know she was right. Platforms change. Emails don’t. Your follower’s email address is their most permanent online identity.
Whether you run a newsletter or are about to start one — the following tips will accelerate your newsletter’s growth.
1) Build a High-Converting Newsletter Landing Page
Many creators rely on their e-mail provider’s pre-built landing pages. But by sticking to the default option, their newsletter looks like any other. Potential subscribers might bounce off.
With an existing follower base, the Substack default option will still work for you. If you, however, start from scratch, there are a few things that can help you achieve higher conversion:
- social proof such as a subscriber testimonial that highlights your newsletter’s value or relevant personal proof (e.g., Janel’s “I read 150+ articles each week”)
- actionable wording for your subscribe button (e.g., join the community, subscribe for free, unlock the secrets)
- examples of previous newsletter issues
Your landing has one goal: make your visitor sign up for your newsletter. Add anything that supports the goal. Remove everything that doesn’t, including other products or services, social media share icons, links to other websites, and bland filler fluff.
2) Optimize Your Newsletter Welcome Mails
First impressions matter. Within seconds the other person forms an opinion about your writing. Here’s how you can use the 50% average open rate for welcome emails to make a great first impression:
- Choose an engaging subject line.
(Hint: A specific Welcome to the [Name Of Newsletter] community is always better than the generic Thanks for subscribing).
- Thank your new subscriber for signing up.
- Explain your newsletter’s content and frequency.
- Link to other social media channels.
- Provide an overview of your best articles or newsletter issues.
- Optional: Add a question to engage your new subscriber.
What follows are two welcome emails by content creators who’ve mastered the welcome mail.
3) Include Social Share Options
An efficient way to grow your subscriber base is by making existing subscribers spread the word. Here’s how Anne-Laure from the Maker Mind applies social share options in her weekly Maker Mind newsletter.
By adding social share options, you offer an easy way to share your content on other social media platforms.
I subscribed to [your newsletter landing page]by [@your twitter handle] and joined fellow [your newsletter's community name].
Looking forward to receiving valuable [your value proposition].
4) Engage Your Audience By Asking Great Questions
In his book, Superfans, Pat Flynn describes how you can transform your audience into loyal followers. In essence, it’s all about relationship building. And a great way to build relationships is by starting a conversation.
The easiest way to do so is by asking questions. You can ask for opinions and feedback. Or you can learn more about your subscriber’s needs and wants by sending something along the lines of What is your number one challenge when it comes to [topic of your newsletter]?
When you get answers, make sure to be helpful. By returning every handshake, you start building relationships. Plus, you will be surprised to learn things you haven’t thought about before.
An additional benefit of asking questions is deliverability. When a person replies to your email, your next mail will land in their inbox instead of the spam folder.
“Learn the language your audience uses — especially how they describe their pains, problems, and needs — and put it into action.”
5) Leverage Your Social Media Accounts
This advice might sound trivial, but using your social media can help you grow your newsletter list. I neglected this trick until I heard Janel’s talk about self-promotion in a Newsletter mastermind./media/1d560191dd4ba9bd5f7f375d1aaddde9
Add your newsletter link on your profile’s bio section. Your visitors will see your page as one of the first things. Additionally, you can tweet your newsletter’s value proposition and pin it on your profile page.
Add your newsletter link as a website to your profile’s bio. Go to your page, click on ‘edit profile’ and navigate to ‘update your information. In ‘contact and basic information, you can add a link to your newsletter’s landing page.
You can link to your newsletter in your Medium bio. Additionally, you can write a CTA at the bottom of your articles. These are some of my favorite examples from fellow writers:
- “Wonder Tools is a useful free newsletter focused on sites and apps that make life a tiny bit better. Written by a former Time Magazine reporter who now teaches journalism, it’s for anyone who doesn’t have time to test every new site or app but wants to know what’s most useful. Subscribe free here.” — Jeremy Caplan
- “Want to improve your health, one habit at a time? My newsletter will help you to create the momentum you need to move towards a healthier and happier future.” — Ashley Richmond
- “Join the Self-Letter, a weekly email that helps you learn more about yourself, embrace your creativity, and make money while you live in alignment with your personal values.” — Julia Horvath
- “Get access to exclusive self-improvement and relationships content, subscribe to my free newsletter here.” — Sira M.
Running a newsletter is another opportunity for providing value at scale. If you want to grow your subscriber base, consider doing these five things:
- Creating a high-converting newsletter landing page.
- Optimizing the first impression.
- Leveraging existing subscribers by adding social share options.
- Building relationships by asking great questions.
- Displaying your newsletter on various social media profiles.