How To Grow Your Newsletter From 0 to 100k In 4 Steps

PLUS: Beehiiv VS Sparkloop, newsletters for startups, free VS paid newsletters, and more

Welcome to The Newsletter Operator!

Before we get started: Do me a quick favor and fill out this 3-minute survey. Your responses will help me better write content and create products for this newsletter!

In today’s email:

  • How to grow from 0 to 100k subscribers in 4 steps

  • 7 more newsletter growth tactics

  • A HUGE new Beehiiv feature

  • And more…

Deep Dive

How To Grow Your Newsletter From 0 to 100k In 4 Steps

How to grow your newsletter:

0 → 100 - Tell Friends, Family, and Co-Workers

This creates accountability to keep writing. I recommend starting with a weekly newsletter you publish on the same day and time every week.

A weekly newsletter is possible to write in just a few hours (or less) per week. It also is sent often enough to keep readers engaged.

Commit to 1 post a day and 1-2 threads a week for 3 months. Focus on posting consistently. Don’t worry about engagement (likes, comments, shares) at first.

Growing on Twitter and LinkedIn takes months of consistent posting. And as you post daily, your post will get better and you’ll more engagement and subscribers.

Also, focus on converting views and followers into subscribers:

  • Add calls to action for your newsletter after your posts and threads.

  • Optimize your profile to drive clicks to your newsletter landing page.

5k → 10k - Cross-Recommendations and Cross-Promos

Find other newsletters in your niche and around your size.

Swap post-sign-up recommendations and feature each other’s newsletters in place of running ads. When doing cross promotions aim for click parity with your partners.

I recommend using Lettergrowth to find partners.

10k → 100k - Paid Ads + All of The Above

Start testing Facebook (Meta) and Twitter ads with a small budget. You should be able to acquire subscribers for $1-$3.

Get good and you can acquire tens of thousands of subscribers for <$2 each.

You can offset (or even profit on) your ad investment by using Sparkloop Upscribe or Beehiiv Boosts.

With these tools, you can potentially earn $2-$4 in revenue for each subscriber you get.

For more on growth with ads, read my Paid Acquisition Crash Course.

Other Growth Tactics That Help:

• Referral Program

This can be a small but automated and high-quality growth source. I recommend giving away a digital product for free when readers get 1 referral.

• Lead Magnets

Give away a cheat sheet, checklist, database, report, swipe file, tool, resource list, template, short video, ebook, etc, .to incentives people to subscribe.

Make sure the resource you’re offering is aligned with the topics covered in the newsletter so people stay and read.

Also, you can use lead magnets with auto-DMs to make them even more effective.

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.

• 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 signup emails to a shared Google sheet with zapier.

The key is that every newsletter promotes the giveaway to its email list and its followers.

• Referral Giveaways

Give away a product (or your time) for free. Readers enter to win by referring. 1 referral = 1 entry to win.

• Podcasts

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.

• 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.

To oversimplify these, they are affiliate networks for newsletters.

Here’s how it works:

  • Decide how much you want to pay per active subscriber (Most newsletters pay $2-$3)

  • Be discovered by other newsletters or partners

  • These newsletters/partners can recommend you to their audience (Usually by co-registration. When someone signs up for another newsletter, they also have the option to join your newsletter too).

  • You pay those newsletters/partners for each new active subscriber they send to you

They cool thing about these is you only pay for “active subscribers”. I haven’t seen how Beehiiv defines “active” (their Boosts feature is only a few day’s old).

However, with Sparkloop you can define what subscribers you accept. For example, many newsletters only accept subscribers from the US and subscribers who open at least 1 email in the first 14 days on list.

If subscribers don’t meet that criteria, you don’t have to pay for them. So many newsletters set a $2 CPA but their actually CPA is closer to $1 because they get many subscribers from outside the US.

The Best Links

📈 Growth

Learnings from writing 30 Twitter threads in 30 days (link)

How ByteByteGo grew to over 300k subscribers (link)

A Twitter cheat sheet to spark new ideas (link)

Stacked Marketer’s growth plan for 2023 (link)

💰 Monetization

How to grow your startup with a niche newsletter (link)

Free Vs. paid newsletters: Which is right for creators? (link)

📬 Engagement

10 secrets of Justin Welsh’s newsletter (link)

Don’t fall for these 3 things most email platforms tell you (link)

📰 Newsletter News

Beehiiv launches Boosts: You can now pay other Beehiiv newsletters to recommend you -- and get paid by recommending other newsletters (link)


Get my free guide on how to grow your newsletter to 1,000+ subscribers in 30 days

Sign up to get instant access to the guide. Plus, more growth tactics, case studies, and industry news delivered to your inbox.

Join 16,000+ readers for free.


or to participate.