- Newsletter Operator
- My Newsletter Predictions For 2024
My Newsletter Predictions For 2024
The future of newsletters
My Newsletter Predictions For 2024
Let’s talk about the future.
Emanuel Cinca recently wrote a great post about his newsletter predictions and I was inspired to share my own.
Here are a few things I believe will happen next year:
1) SaaS, service, and high-ticket education businesses will start newsletters
Right now, most newsletters are started by media companies.
But that’s changing.
Other business types are starting to see the value of newsletters as a marketing channel.
Here’s what I mean:
Imagine you’re an enterprise SaaS company, agency, law firm, or even an investment fund.
All these businesses have a customer lifetime value (CLTV) of $5,000+ (or many times much more).
They can use a weekly newsletter to:
1) Nurture existing prospects and customers with helpful content
Often businesses have an email list of 10k+ or 100k+ that they rarely send to.
That’s a gold mine of potential new or returning customers.
2) Bring in new customers by using the newsletter as a marketing funnel
A great newsletter is like a lead magnet on steroids.
Prospects give you their contact information AND they’re expecting to hear from you every week.
The problem with lead magnets is that they’re bribes. Often people come for the lead magnet, get it, they never open your emails again.
They signed up for the lead magnet - not your content.
Newsletters are the opposite.
If you create a newsletter that delivers valuable content to your ideal customers, they’ll happily hand over their email address (and more information) AND keep reading your content every week.
Then, with each newsletter, they start to know, like, and trust you more.
Plus, you have an opportunity to tell them about your product in every newsletter you send.
3) Create a new revenue stream for your business
When a software or service company builds a large enough audience they can sell sponsorships in their newsletter.
Or they can use the newsletter to do partnerships, affiliate sales, or cross-promotions with other businesses.
Plus, you can outsource all of this.
There’s no need to write, build, and grow the newsletter in-house.
If you have a thriving business and a CLTV of $5k+ I believe a newsletter is a must-have marketing and distribution channel.
(In fact, I’ve used this newsletter to build a very successful agency).
You can completely outsource this and make your investment back by adding 1-2 clients per month from your newsletter.
2) More creators and celebrities will start newsletters
This is already happening but we’ll see it much more in 2024.
Creators want to escape the algorithms. Newsletters are the best way out.
We have already seen a massive wave of creators move to podcasts.
Newsletters will be next.
Newsletters (and email) are the best way to:
Own and reach your audience
Sell your products (premium content, courses, membership, etc)
Start building an independent media business, separate from a personal brand
It's still early but sharp creators are catching on:
Tim Ferriss has 2M+ subscribers
Ali Abdaal has 400k+ subscribers
James Clear has 2M+ subscribers
Sahil Bloom has 500k+ subscribers
Codie Sanchez has 500k+ subscribers
Matthew Berry has 300k+ subscribers (and raised $2M for his media company)
I’ll bet we’ll see 10+ creators who grow their newsletters to 1M+ subscribers in 2024.
3) Newsletters without business models and unique content will die
Now for some negative predictions…
Newsletters that just regurgitate the same content are not going to make it.
You have to have unique, valuable, and original content to build an audience that actually cares about you.
Most newsletters don’t.
More importantly, you have to build a business model that works…
Sponsorships are not going to be a viable business model for most newsletters.
Facebook and Google are kings of customer acquisition. If your newsletter ads aren’t performing better than Facebook and Google for your clients, you won’t get renewals and your ad rates will get lower and lower.
This is already happening for many newsletter operators. They’re selling sponsorships at $10-$20 CPMs.
It’s hard to make any profit when ad rates are that low.
The newsletters that win big will have 2 paths:
1) Build valuable niche or B2B audiences that advertisers can't target on Facebook or Google.
These newsletters can sell ads, leads, and custom content at a much higher rate. Advertisers who need to get in front of this audience will happily pay for it.
2) Expand into other products or services
Newsletters that can’t do #1 should start courses, subscriptions, events, memberships, physical products, coaching, software, agencies, etc.
They need to find out what subscribers want and sell it. It’s simple but not enough newsletters are doing this yet.
Also, the best “newsletters” will do both.
4) Buying failed newsletters will be an acquisition channel
In the next 12 months, there are going to be hundreds, many thousands of newsletters that burn out or shut down.
(Because they didn't follow or execute the 2 paths above).
We’ll see successful newsletters buying these inactive newsletters and merging them into the bigger newsletter.
Houck has already done this. I’m working on a deal like this now. There will be many more next year.
It's a paid acquisition play.
You can acquire these newsletters for $1-$3 per subscriber. That’s similar to what we pay for subscribers from Facebook ads now — but they’re already newsletter subscribers so they could be higher quality.
5) Legacy media companies will start more newsletters and improve their newsletter strategy
Social media and search traffic to legacy media companies has collapsed over the past year.
Facebook is no longer pushing news.
Twitter is dramatically suppressing links.
Google search results are ending in fewer clicks to publishers.
Legacy media companies are extremely dependent on these channels for traffic.
Publishers will look to newsletters to retain the audience they’re rapidly losing.
We’ll see a lot more newsletters that look like something from MorningBrew, Axios, or 1440 from older publishers who didn’t think of newsletters as their primary channel until now.
6) Newsletters will regret relying on co-reg and recommendations to grow
There are a ton of newsletters that have grown to hundreds of thousands of subscribers with 90%+ of that growth coming from co-reg and recommendations.
This is a massive mistake.
Why? Because not all subscribers are equal.
Very few of these co-reg and recommendation subscribers will:
Provide value to advertisers by clicking links and buying
Buy a product or service from the publisher
I’ve seen newsletters with 100k+ subscribers from co-reg/recommendations that get fewer clicks than a newsletter with 10k subscribers.
Newsletter operators need to realize what matters.
Clicks, sales, and reader feedback
Not subscribers and opens.
Open rates are inflated by Apple Mail Privacy Protection, and most people don’t understand its full impact.
That said, it’s fine to use co-reg and recommendations as a part of your marketing.
I recommend and use these channels as part of a diversified growth strategy.
But if you’re relying on them — and most of your growing is coming from them…
You can’t build an audience that cares about you when most of your subscribers are added to your newsletter because they signed up for something else.