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Grow your startup by building a newsletter audience πŸ“ˆ


If you have already read the preface on the email, directly start reading from here.

You know my love for newsletters. In fact, I have already written an article about how one should go about writing it too.

I received many replies to it and then again in the past few weeks. The recurring question has been - how do we build a newsletter audience? Fair question - after working hard on writing a quality newsletter, you do want it to be read by as many people as possible.

So today, I thought of sharing how we gained 5k subscribers for Remote Tools and 1.5k subscribers for Entrepreneur's Musings.


Power your newsletter growth

To succeed in user acquisition, you need to target the right channels. However, it doesn't just stop there. You also need to adapt your approach to the particular channel you are targeting instead of one-size-fits-all tactic.

We built our audience for Remote Tools first. This also meant that we learnt a lot more in its growth. So while I share lessons gained from both journeys, to make this a coherent read, I have shared screenshots only of Remote Tools.


A) Channels


1) Product Hunt (PH)‍

No surprises here - Product Hunt is great to find new subscribers. The aspect that works for the platform is that its users are looking to subscribe and engage with new products. So the intent to find something new is already there.

A point here based on my experience: PH is better for free signups and subscription, than for a proper sale. So, even if you are doing it for a sale, do have a backup option where you offer the user something for free. You at least get their details to give you another chance to convince them in the future.

The PHΒ launch of "The Remote Weekly"

And we got a lot of subscribers from Product Hunt. We didn't launch just launch our newsletter, but each of our offerings. This included our tools product, Remote Work Guide, Remote Worker stories, etc. - each ended up being in the Top 5 popular products of the day.

Also, each of our launches not only allowed us to market our newsletter but also the fact that we generate good content overall.


2) Twitter

Of course, cross-posting is key and Twitter is a great channel for that. Of course, don't just copy-paste it - adapt it to the platform.

A couple of our tweets did extremely well and added a few hundred subscribers themselves.

Our "State of Work" tweet which got good traction

Typically, we have noticed that tweet threads do really well. I think they work because:

  • Being a tweet, content is naturally concise
  • Yet, it allows you to not cram all your content into a tweet
  • Also, each tweet stands independently and needs to give interesting content
  • Thereby, nudging a user to read the next tweet in the thread

I post a tweet thread for each article I publish. It takes additional effort, but it is worth it.‍


3) HackerNews (HN)

Not a big fan of this channel. People are pretty unnecessarily abrasive. But when it clicks on HN, this beats any other channel hands down.

The key to succeeding in HN is consistency. Success on it is unpredictable and hence regularity is one way to solve for it.

Also, some posting rules:

  • Don't make overtly clickbait post titles
  • Keep the post title similar to (better, same as) your article title
  • Post around 6am PST
One of our few HN posts that received some engagement

Our experience with this wasn't great and we didn't do very well. A couple of times, we got average traffic.‍


4) SEO

SEO drives a good amount of traffic to our website. This started a year back when we started working to improve our Domain Authority.

In the beginning, the most reliable method was to write guest posts. Over time though, others started to link to our content organically too. This was driven by some really solid guides that we wrote (~10k words).

Remote Tools' Domain Rating has grown from about 4 to 49 in a year

Now, we have started ranking for a variety of keywords, giving us good traffic which converts to subscribers. Of course, we do our part in aligning our pages' design with subscriber conversions - more about this part in a bit.‍


5) Build loops in sign-ups

Of course, if you have a product, people will sign up for an account. Through such users, we drove more subscribers to our newsletter

Upvotes driving new subscribers

For example, our upvotes feature on Remote Tools incentivises users to ask their network to join our platform to support them. Some of our top products have even 200 upvotes, which meant an addition of 200 new subscribers to our list.

Find other such areas in your product where you could utilise the goodwill of your existing subscribers to bring new users to you.

B) Other key aspects

These channels are largely focused on driving traffic to your website. That is one part of the story. The other part is to be able to convert the traffic and to then deliver on the promise.


‍1) Good lead capturing pages

As mentioned earlier, we have subscription boxes (you would have noticed it on the website) on a lot of pages. These are quick to sight and easy to share details through.

Cleanly placed subscriber boxes


2) Consistency

Our newsletter goes out each Wednesday without fail and covers really unique topics. It is truly handcrafted and follows the points mentioned in this post.

Consistently sending our newsletter for over 40 weeks


So, start using some of these techniques and let me know how they worked for you. If you learn something new, please share it with me too in the below comments:).