4 Simple Ways to Grow Your Newsletter

A common concern about newsletters is that no one will read it. What's the point—after all—if no one is reading the hard work you've put into the content? Because even if my team is handling the newsletter, it's still deriving from the hard work you've done in the past to develop and publish articles, podcasts, videos, and threads.

Here are 4 consistent methods I've seen to grow newsletters. Like anything that you want to grow online, consistency beats quality (though consistent quality is the best). So get over your perfectionism and let's start growing.

Social Content

This is anything that starts on social media but ultimately directs to your newsletter. I think Sahil Bloom, Justin Welsh, and Katelyn Bourgoin all do this exceptionally well on both Twitter and LinkedIn.

The same can be said for TikTok and Instagram, just in a video form instead of text. Nick Meyer has driven substantial list growth on TikTok with a free investing guide. If you're on Facebook, there's a use case for Groups as list builders. I recommend Typefully or Hypefury for social scheduling (aff links).

Social Promotion

Similar but different than above. Yes, you have to promote the newsletter as the next step past social content. Note how Sahil used the CTA of "I'll write more about this (life cheat codes) in an upcoming newsletter."

But there's more. You have to talk about the newsletter in long form content, e.g. a podcast and/or YouTube channel. Give a CTA to your newsletter in the first 2 minutes of the video, if not the first 30 seconds. Simply remind the listener/viewer where they can sign up to the newsletter and a free download/guide/course if they join. Tim Ferriss did this for years on his podcast to grow the 5-Bullet Friday newsletter, and Ryan Holiday talks about the Daily Stoic emails in every episode of the podcast.

Optimizing the Opt-in

This could be a whole email—heck a whole month of emails—but I'll give you the basics here. The best way to get more email subscribers is to make your landing page and even the entire website about getting more email subscribers. I wrote a thread about it here, but the mistake people often make is not emphasizing their opt-in pages.

James Clear is an excellent example of this strategy and the outcome speaks for itself — Clear passed the 2 million subscribers milestone in October 2022.

Referral Growth

Another topic that warrants a full deep dive, but for now there are 3 ways we are working with clients on referral growth. This can be reader-generated, cross-promotion, and network-driven. Many of our clients use Sparkloop for referrals, but newsletter platforms like Substack and Beehiiv have similar programs. ConvertKit is in the process of rolling their partner program out and beta users seen positive results. A quick description of each...

  1. Reader-generated: using Sparkloop to offer reward tiers to your readers.
  2. Cross-promotion: using Sparkloop (or manual outreach) to "upscribe" people between newsletters.
  3. Network-driven: using ConvertKit Creator Hub, Sparkloop, Substack recommendations, or Beehiiv.

Simple ≠ Easy

These are all relatively easy to understand. But that doesn't mean they are easy to implement or execute—day after day and week after week—to see results. At the root of it all, the newsletter remains. The newsletter is the money maker and business builder. In a future email I'll tell you about the newsletter content approach that becomes the source material for other content.