- Newsletter Operator
- 25+ Ways To Grow Your Newsletter
25+ Ways To Grow Your Newsletter
Here are all the tactics we use to acquire newsletter subscribers
Thanks for joining my newsletter!
Here are the slides from from Traffic & Conversion Summit 2024.
The free resource is below…
After helping 30+ companies add 5M+ subscribers, I’ve seen almost every way to get someone to subscribe to a newsletter.
Here they are:
Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok are some of the biggest growth channels for newsletters. I’ve talked with 10+ newsletters that gained 100k+ subscribers just from Twitter.
2) Lead magnets
Give away a cheat sheet, checklist, database, 1-page report, swipe file, tool, resource list, template, short video, or short ebook to subscribers when they join your newsletter.
Create a landing page where folks can subscribe and download it on the thank you page.
Promote it via social media, on your website, and with ads.
3) Milestone Referral Program
Create a milestone-based referral program where readers can share your newsletter and earn rewards. Rewards are unlocked after readers reach a milestone.
The best tools to make your referral programs are Beehiiv and Sparkloop.
This blog post by Tyler Denk is the best guide I’ve found on how to use them to drive growth.
4) Partner Giveaways
Partner with 3-5 other newsletters. Give away a prize (books, apple products, your product, gift cards, cash, etc).
Create a landing page about the giveaway where users can sign up for all the newsletters to be entered to win. Each newsletter promotes it to its audience.
You can set this up with tools like UpViral, DojoMojo, or Sparkloop Upscribe. Or you can use a landing page builder and send all sign-up emails to a shared Google sheet with Zapier.
The key is that every newsletter promotes the giveaway to its email list and its followers.
Cross-recommend other newsletters in your newsletter. Like an ad slot but for newsletters you recommend.
Use Beehiiv or Sparkloop's "magic link" feature so readers can sign up for the other newsletter with 1 click.
Find other newsletters to cross-promote with using LetterGrowth.
6) Referral Giveaways
Give away a product (or your time) for free. Readers enter to win by referring. 1 referral = 1 entry to win.
Here’s more on why these work and how to set them up:
Recommendations are a feature that lets you recommend other newsletters after users subscribe to yours.
If you use Beehiiv or Substack this feature is included. If you use another ESP you can set this up with Sparkloop.
Here’s a thread I wrote on how to set this up and find newsletters to partner with:
Recommendations are the #1 growth hack most newsletters aren't using.
Set it up once and grow for FREE and on AUTOPILOT.
— Matt McGarry (@JMatthewMcGarry)
Jan 25, 2023
8) Forward to a friend
Ask subscribers to forward your newsletter to a friend.
Include a link to subscribe in your newsletter.
9) Be a podcast guest
Go on podcasts in your niche. Talk about your newsletter on the podcast and ask the host to include a link to your newsletter in the show notes and podcast description.
10) Online Communities
Add value in FB groups, subreddits, hacker news, indie hackers other online communities.
Link to your newsletter at the end of your post, in the comments, and/or in your profile.
11) Content distribution
Repurpose your newsletter content to be shared on multiple platforms and formats (Twitter threads, LinkedIn, Medium, FB groups, Indie Hackers, Hacker News, Reddit, Slack groups, and more)
Check out Harry Dry’s guide on how to do this well.
Partner with a blog or media company to republish your newsletter on their website.
They get new content to share. You get traffic and subscribers from readers joining your newsletter from the links in the syndicated content.
13) Website Conversion
Convert your website/blog visitors to newsletter subscribers with:
Footer sign up form
A newsletter sign up page
Header or nav sign up form
In-line sign up form in content
Bottom boxes with sign up forms after content
When you create a newsletter on LinkedIn, all your connections and followers get the invitation in the “My Network” tab.
Aleksandr did this and got 1,500 subs within 24 hours (and he’s not that active on LinkedIn).
However, you can't export your subscribers’ email addresses, so it’s not truly “your” newsletter. It’s a just newsletter you can distribute on LinkedIn.
Now here’s the hack:
Use a scraper tool (or hire a VA) to get their email address from their LinkedIn page. Then you can add them to your primary email newsletter.
Make sure you’re following the law with this tactic. Don’t spam. You won’t get subscribers that open your newsletter by adding them against their will. You’ll only hurt your sender reputation.
Instead, send them 1 email to ask if they would like to be added to your email newsletter. Because they already “subscribed” on LinkedIn, they’re much more likely to say “yes” by confirming their subscription or clicking to sign up on your landing page.
15) Lead magnets and auto-DM's
Giveaway a PDF, notion doc, or google sheet, cheat sheet, checklist, database, 1-page report, swipe file, tool, resource list, short video, or template.
Make folks comment 1-word to get it.
Auto-DM them with TweetHunter and share a link to an email opt-in page to get access to the reward.
1) Meta ads
Facebook is the #1 paid growth channel for newsletters. Newsletters like The Hustle, MorningBrew, 1440, and many more have each driven hundreds of thousands of subscribers from Facebook ads.
Here’s how to set up a FB ad campaign for your newsletter:
Co-registration is when ads are placed after users “sign up” for a product, offer, or newsletter.
Ads are displayed for other products or publications. Advertisers pay a small fee when a user selects additional products or publications they want to sign up for. (Often by checking a box like in the image above).
Co-reg is sold on a cost-per-lead basis “CPL”. Advertisers often pay between $0.20 to $3 per lead. A lead will include an email address, name, and sometimes other info like an address.
These leads are added directly to the advertiser's ESP.
There are many brokers and agencies who offer co-reg advertising services and connect newsletters with hundreds of websites where they can buy co-reg leads.
Often these are low-cost, low-quality leads. They may cost $0.20-$0.40 per subscriber and have a 15%-35% open rate and 30%+ unsubscribe rate.
3) Quora ads
Quora ads are an underrated ad platform. Their ads look incredibly similar to organic questions and they can drive subscribers for under $2.
Here’s an example of a question-and-answer ad for Trends.co that drove 10k+ free subscribers:
4) TikTok ads
TikTok has been a great ad platform for newsletters like The Hustle, MorningBrew, and Milk Road.
Subscriber cost and quality are similar to Meta ads.
LinkedIn can be a great growth source for B2B newsletters. The CPMs and CPA are much higher here, but your ads can be hyper-targeted by industry and job title.
The newsletter advertisers I’ve talked with are seeing $5-$10 CPAs from LinkedIn ads.
Subscribers from other newsletters can one of the best sources of growth.
These subscribers are newsletter readers and have a much higher open rate than other growth sources. (At The Hustle, we found subscribers from newsletter ads to have a 20%+ higher open rate than average subscribers.)
However, buying ads in other newsletters can be expensive. It’s hard to get good CPAs from newsletter ads. I’ve found CPAs can range from $3-$15
Use Beehiiv or Sparkloop's "magic link" feature so readers can sign up for the other newsletter with 1 click. That will help lower CPA.
Also, instead of buying an ad for a flat rate, negotiate an affiliate deal with the newsletter so you only pay per subscriber you get from them. Sparkloop Partner Program and SwapStack.co are tools that can help you do this.
7) Google ads
Google ads can be a great source of higher cost and higher quality subscribers.
Bid on brand keywords, news / newsletter related keywords in your niche, and keywords of your competitors.
8) Twitter ads
With recent changes to the Twitter ad platform, Twitter ads have finally become a viable growth source for newsletters. The newsletters I’ve talked with are seeing similar CPAs to FB ads but higher open rates from Twitter.
Here are the best practices for setting up your Twitter ads:
How To Use Twitter Ads To Grow Your Newsletter
9) Programmatic email ads
LiveIntent and Jeeng are ad platforms that sell programmatic ad inventory in email newsletters. Newsletters like 1440, The Hustle, The Motley Fool, and MorningBrew have seen success buying these ads to promote their newsletters.
These ads often have a higher CPA than a FB or TikTok ad but generate a higher quality subscriber with a higher open rate.
Example of an ad creative:
10) Sponsored Scholarships
Newsletters partner with scholarship websites, apps, and marketplaces to offer “sponsored scholarships”. To enter to win the scholarship students must subscribe to the newsletter.
The newsletter pays the scholarship website for each subscriber (CPL) or pays when website users (students) click on their ads (CPC).
This can be a low-cost source of automated growth for newsletters.
Subscribers are lower quality because they are incentivized to join the newsletter. However, subscribers from these scholarship websites can “cost” less than $2.00 and have open rates of 45%+.
11) Sparkloop Partner Program
The sparkloop partner program is basically an affiliate network for newsletters.
Here’s how it works:
Decide how much you want to pay per subscriber (Most newsletters pay $2-$4)
Invite existing partners (newsletters, influencers, ambassadors)
Be discovered by hundreds of potential partner newsletters in the Partner Network
These partners recommend you to their audience
You pay partners once a month for each subscriber they send your way
Here’s an example of this in action. This newsletter recommended 5+ other newsletters in the Partner Program. They will earn ~$2-3 for each subscriber they send to those newsletters.
If you found this useful:
1) Check out my other growth guides here.
2) Work with me and my team 1on1 to grow your business here.