You've stumbled upon the idea to build a email newsletter business and now you're ready to take the next steps.
There's a lot to think about when building a business, so we put together a guide on how to get started, launch, grow and run your email newsletter business.
We also provide you with real-life case studies and examples of founders running successful email newsletter business (and how much💰 they're making today).
💡 Introduction To Starting An Email Newsletter Business
Is The Email Newsletter Business Business For You?
As long as you're able to build a email newsletter unique and different from others in the space, this business can be highly profitable.
Let's look at the pros and cons of starting your own email newsletter business:
- Scalable: With businesses and processes changing daily, there will always be demand for new features and services within your email newsletter business. Additionally, there are several different business models and pricing tiers you can implement that will allow you to reach all types of businesses.
- Flexibility: One of the biggest advantages of starting a email newsletter business is that you can either offer part-time or full-time services. If you like the work and have some initial experience, you can start small and manage all aspects of the business on your own. Or, if you prefer to manage the books and instead delegate work to someone else, you can build and manage your own team to do so.
- Traffic to your website An email newsletter business gives people a reason to visit your website and to keep coming back to you!
- Ability to start your business from home: It's not necessary to have an office space to get your business started! You can do everything from the comfort of your own home, at least in the beginning!
- Little overhead + startup costs required: To get started, there is hardly any overhead. We will go over this in more detail in the startup section below.
- Meaningful business connections: You never know who you will meet or get to feature on your email newsletter business. This could be the start of an incredible business opportunity!
- Crowded space: There is a lot of competition when it comes to the email newsletter business, so it's important that you spend a good amount of time analyzing the market and demand in your area.
- A good email newsletter business requires constant updates: You may find yourself constantly needing to update your email newsletter business in order to stay relevant for your audience and those searching on google.
- Motivation: If you plan to have a sales/content team on board, finding creative ways to motivate them can be a challenge. It's important that you're able to offer great incentives and a good work environment for your employees.
Creating a successful email newsletter business means that you will have the ability to write good content, optimize SEO and have the technical skills to run a email newsletter business efficiently.
How To Name Your Email Newsletter Business
It's important to find a catchy name for your email newsletter business so that you can stand out in your space.
Here are some general tips to consider when naming your email newsletter business
- Avoid hard to spell names: you want something easy to remember and easy to spell for your customers
- Conduct a search to see if others in the space have the same name
- Try not to pick a name that limits growth opportunities for your business (ie. if you decide to expand into other product lines)
- As soon as you have an idea (or ideas) of a few names that you love, register the domain name(s) as soon as possible!
Why is naming your email newsletter business so important?
The name of your business will forever play a role in:
- Your customers first impression
- Your businesses identity
- The power behind the type of customer your brand attracts
- If you're memorable or not
It's important to verify that the domain name is available for your email newsletter business.
You can search domain availability here:
Find a domain starting at $0.88
powered by Namecheap
Although .com names are the most common and easiest to remember, there are other options if your .com domain name is not available. Depending on your audience, it may not matter as much as you think.
It's also important to thoroughly check if social media handles are available.
As soon as you resonate with a name (or names), secure the domain and SM handles as soon as possible to ensure they don't get taken.
Here's some inspiration for naming your email newsletter business:
- Promotional Publication check availability
- National Booklet check availability
- Yearly Bulletins Trading Co check availability
- Bilingual Journal Trading Co check availability
- The Organizational Magazine check availability
- The Regular Publication check availability
- Bimonthly Publication Spot check availability
- Semimonthly Publication check availability
- The Printed Booklet check availability
- LineNewsletter check availability
- Printed Magazine Pro check availability
- The Fortnightly Edition check availability
- Informational Bulletins Trading Co check availability
- FortnightlyNewsletter check availability
- The Newdigate Letter check availability
- FreeNewsletter check availability
- Library Letter Spot check availability
- Online Newssheet Co check availability
- The Biannual Booklet check availability
- Organizational Magazine Spot check availability
- Regular Edition Trading Co check availability
- Comparative check availability
- Semimonthly Leaflet Collective check availability
- The Official Bulletin check availability
- The Based check availability
- Publication Spot check availability
- Feminist Edition check availability
- National Newssheet Trading Co check availability
- Bimonthly Edition check availability
- Indonesian check availability
- Newdigate Booklet check availability
- Latest Bulletins check availability
- Newsletters Newsletter check availability
- ExcellentNewsletter check availability
- The Line Bulletin check availability
- Edition Group check availability
- The Bilingual check availability
- Bulletins Trading Co check availability
- Irregular Edition check availability
- Booklet Spot check availability
- Underground check availability
- The Semiannual check availability
- DepartmentalNewsletter check availability
- The House check availability
- Monthly Leaflet Place check availability
- Bilingual Publication Co check availability
- Edition Collective check availability
- Email Letter Place check availability
- Email Magazine check availability
- National Newspaper Article check availability
- Daily check availability
- Underground Edition check availability
- IrregularNewsletter check availability
- IndonesianNewsletter check availability
- The Mail Newssheet check availability
- Bulletin Pro check availability
- Patient Leaflet Co check availability
- Regular check availability
- UsefulNewsletter check availability
- Journal Group check availability
- The Regular Edition check availability
- International Publication Trading Co check availability
- Semiannual Journal Trading Co check availability
- Departmental check availability
- Electronic Bulletin Group check availability
- Online check availability
- Leaflet Spot check availability
- Informative Booklet check availability
- Informal Bulletin Collective check availability
- The Free Letter check availability
- Page Booklet check availability
- Periodic Bulletin Collective check availability
- Booklet Collective check availability
- The Organizational Newssheet check availability
- The Useful Newssheet check availability
- The Online Bulletin check availability
- Official Journal Collective check availability
- InformalNewsletter check availability
- The Monthly Publication check availability
- International check availability
- Irregular check availability
- Periodic Publication check availability
- Newssheet Group check availability
- The Confidential Booklet check availability
🎬 How To Start An Email Newsletter Business
Setting Up Your Email Newsletter Business (Formation and Legal)
When it comes to setting up your business, you may find yourself in a place where you have to make some financial and legal decisions.
The first thing you'll want to decide on is whether you want to be an LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp.
These three options are found to be the most common when starting a small business, and all serve to protect your personal assets and also provide you with certain tax benefits.
- LLC: All income and expenses from the business are reported on the LLC personal income tax return.
- S corp: Owners pay themselves salaries + receive dividends from profits.
- C Corp: C Corps are separately taxable entities that file a corporate tax return (Form 1120). No income tax is paid at the corporate level and any tax due is paid at the owners individual expense.
Depending on where you're conducting business, you'll also want to consider securing the proper permits, licenses and liability insurance.
Need to start an LLC? Create an LLC in minutes with ZenBusiness.
Determine Which Business Bank Account You Need
There are hundreds of banks out there, and it can be overwhelming to find one that's right for your business.
Here are some factors you may want to consider:
- Location - Is your bank close enough that you can easily make deposits or get cash?
- Low Fees - Make sure to understand any and all fees associated with setting up and maintaining your bank account. Ask for a list - banks usually try to keep this hidden and in the fine print.
- Online Banking Services - Make sure you can easily navigate through your online portal and you have easy access to everything you need.
- Line of Credit - What do your options look like (even if you don't need this now, you may need this down the road).
- Every bank has something that differentiates them from the rest, so make sure whatever that is applied to your needs and values.
Check out this list of the 13 Best Banks for Small Business in 2020 and what makes them so unique.
We've interviewed several different founders in the email newsletter business and asked them how much $ they're making today.
- $48K/year in revenue
- Sells stock newsletter
- 2 founders
- 0 employees
- $1.2K/year in revenue
- Sells personal finance newsletter
- Solo founder
- 1 employee
- $60K/year in revenue
- Sells european tech coverage
- Solo founder
- 1 employee
Building an MVP (Minimal Viable Product)
When building a email newsletter business, it's critical that you first validate your product/service rather than rushing to build it right away.
This could save you months, if not years of building the wrong product/service.
If you're hoping to decrease any sort of risk that comes with launching your email newsletter business, designing a prototype can be a great way to de-risk your situation.
The point of your email newsletter prototype is that it doesn't have to be perfect.
In the beginning stages, it doesn't matter how rough V1 of your prototype is, it's more important to just get started and you can always refine from there based on feedback from your network and most importantly your customers.
How To Build A MVP
Here are several different ways of building a prototype/MVP:
- Start by building a landing page to see if customers actually need your product and if they are willing to pay for it
- Build a very basic version of your idea and ask for immediate feedback from potential customers
- Present a problem and solution via Facebook/Instagram Ads and see what the response is like
Gonzalo, founder of Seedtable dives deep into the process of designing and prototyping their product:
The first key insight I had was that there wasn’t a single publication who covered European tech in an authentic way (think Stratechery, but for Europe.)
The second key insight was that the “startup lists” model works. I stumbled into BuiltIn because of a past gig, so I spent 3-4 hours researching the search volume and the driver behind their traffic and realized it was doable.
If your writing is any good (and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t) it’s the single best way to build a brand online.
Armed with those two things, and a desire to stay close to Europe, it was time to get my hands dirty.
On top of growth, I can code (sort of). So after I came up with the idea, I sat down, wireframed what I wanted and started coding.
Then I realized I didn’t want to code the site from scratch so I deleted my progress, went to Themeforest and bought an HTML template that I could modify in a couple of hours.
The first version of Seedtable was a simple static page and looked like this (minus the logos).
I didn’t have anyone in mind when starting. It was just out of personal interest. But I got lucky.
The third key insight I had is that, as an independent voice, I could say whatever I wanted. I don’t have to answer to bosses, editors or advertisers. As my friend Fabri likes to put it: “You have a unique advantage: you can shit on people.”
How To Find The Right Developer For Your Email Newsletter Business
If you (or others on your team) don't have the necessary coding/design skills to build the product on your own, finding the right developer for your email newsletter business is a critical piece to bringing your idea to life.
Prior to hiring someone, you'll want to:
- Have a very clear understanding of what your product (or MVP) will look like
- Understand what the details of the user experience will look like (pages, how users sign up, backend administrative details, billing, reports etc). It may help to draw out the prototype and UX experience on a design platform such as Sketch
- Understand what features you want to implement now and even those in the future
- Understand the costs and time associated with hiring a developer and set a budget (more on that below)
Here are some ways you can find a developer:
Arielle Frank, founder of Clout Collective talks about her experiences and lessons learned when hiring a developer as a non-technical founder:
My first attempt to find a developer was a massive failure. I was basically screaming to be taken advantage of with my lack of technical knowledge and a heart full of hope. I signed an extremely unfavorable contract with a developer based in Morocco who claimed to offer “discounted” development services in exchange for equity in the company. By “discounted” I mean that it would cost only $40K to build the MVP. At the time I had no frame of reference for whether or not this was normal and justified it to myself.
Luckily, after a lot more internet sleuthing, I found my current developer, Adeva. Working with Adeva was the opposite experience of my initial encounter in every way. At $8K, Adeva’s quote for my MVP was literally 1/5th the cost of the original developer! I decided to save money on a front-end designer for V1 by using a template and designing things where I could in Figma.
I was forced to figure out many of the details and features of the platform upfront since Adeva couldn’t give me a quote without detailed user stories.
When building out the prospective features, I tried to focus on the end result and work backward from there.
For example, the end goal was for a content creator to be able to read a review and know whether or not they want to collaborate with a specific brand. I used this goal to inform the questions I collected for the reviews and the best way to display this info. During this phase, I also relied heavily on my beta testers for feedback about which info would be the most useful for them.
It’s tempting to add a bunch of cool, slick features when you’re building your product, but my brilliant mentor encouraged me to focus on doing one thing extremely well.
How Much Does It Cost To Start An Email Newsletter Business
If you are planning to start an email newsletter business, the costs are relatively low. This, of course, depends on if you decide to start the business with lean expenses or bringing in a large team and spending more money.
We’ve outlined two common scenarios for “pre-opening” costs of starting an email newsletter business and outline the costs you should expect for each:
- The estimated minimum starting cost = $552
- The estimated maximum starting cost = $13,469
|Startup Expenses: Average expenses incurred when starting a email newsletter business.||Min Startup Costs: You plan to execute on your own. You’re able to work from home with minimal costs.||Max Startup Costs: You have started with 1+ other team members.|
|Office Space Expenses|
|Rent: This refers to the office space you rent out for your business. To minimize costs, you may want to consider starting your business from home or renting an office in a coworking space.||$0||$2,000|
|Utility Costs (office space): This refers to the first month's utility bill for your office space. If you are not responsible for this bill, this would not apply to starting your email newsletter business.||$0||$150|
|Office Supplies: Although these may seem like minor costs, things like your desks, chairs, pens, paper, filing cabinets do add up. To avoid these adding up too much, try to be as lean as possible and go paperless!||$25||$1,000|
|WiFi: Whether you work from home or in an office space, WiFi is an expense that's tough to avoid. Although the cost is minimal in most cases, it should be appropriately budgeted for each month!||$10||$100|
|Total Office Space Expenses||$35 (min)||$3,250 (max)|
|Equipment & Supply Expenses|
|Technology Office Equipment: This includes (but is not limited to) physical items such as: laptops, cameras, monitors, microphones, speakers, headsets. Technology needs grow as your company evolves, so to minimize costs, try and only purchase what is needed for you to run your business at the time.||$500||$5,000|
|Total Equipment & Supply Expenses||$500 (min)||$5,000 (max)|
|Training & Education Expenses|
|Online Learning Sites: With a email newsletter business, you and your team may not know all the steps for starting and growing a business. There are plenty of resources out there to help you, such as online courses or learning platforms, but they aren't always free! Starter Story is a great resource for case studies, guides and courses for starting your business.||$0||$1,000|
|Total Training & Education Expenses||$0 (min)||$1,000 (max)|
|Design Programs & Software: These programs might include the Adobe family of design tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and others. This is typically a monthly subscription ranging from $10-$50/mo.||$0||$50|
|Email marketing tool: If you plan to grow your email list and email marketing efforts, you may want to consider investing in an email marketing platform (ie. Klaviyo, MailChimp). We put together a detailed guide on all of the email marketing tools out there + the pricing models for each one here||$0||$100|
|Accounting & Invoicing Software: It's important to have an accounting system and process in place to manage financials, reporting, planning and tax preparation. Here are the 30 best accounting tools for small businesses.||$0||$50|
|Project Management Software: You may want to consider using a project management and collaboration tool to organize your day-to-day. This can also be very beneficial if you have a larger team and want to keep track of everyones tasks and productivity. For a full list of project management tools, check out this full list here.||$0||$25|
|Internal Communication Tool: If you plan to have multiple members on your team, you may want to consider an instant message tool such as Slack or Telegram. The cost is usually billed per month (approx $5/user/month) or there are freemium versions available on many platforms.||$0||$20|
|Social Media Management Tools: If you plan to do social media marketing for your email newsletter business, you should consider investing in a social media automation or publishing tool. This will save you time and allow you to track performance and engagement for your posts. Here is a list of 28 best social media tools for your small business.||$0||$50|
|Online data storage: It's important to make sure the information for your email newsletter business is stored and protected should something happen to your computer or hard drive. The cost for this is affordable and depends on how much data you need to store. To learn more about the different options and pricing on the market, check out this article.||$0||$299|
|Total Software Expenses||$0 (min)||$594 (max)|
|Advertising & Marketing Costs|
|Business Cards: A email newsletter business involves quite a bit of customer interaction, whether that is attending tradeshows, sales calls or simply having face to face interaction with prospective clients. Business cards are a great way to stay front of mind with your clients.||$0||$50|
|Customer Research & Surveys: Many email newsletter business's conduct industry and consumer research prior to starting their business. Often times, you need to pay for this data or hire a market research firm to help you in this process.||$0||$300|
|Networking Membership Fees: Joining local networking groups or your chamber of commerce is a traditional yet effective way to promote your email newsletter business - but these fees add up! It's important to choose the right group(s) that align with your business and help with growth.||$0||$250|
|Affiliate Marketing Commission & Fees: If you want to increase revenue for your email newsletter business, affiliate marketing is a great way to promote your product to a new audience. When determining affiliate commission rates you will offer, you will want to take into account the price and margin for your product to ensure affiliate marketing is worth it for your business. According to Monitor Backlinks, the average affiliate commission rate should be somewhere between 5% to 30%. To learn more about how to set commission rates, check out this article..||$0||$250|
|Influencer Marketing: Partnering with like-minded influencers is one of the most effective ways to grow your social media presence. Many small businesses simply gift a free item in exchange for an influencer post, or pay the influencer directly.||$0||$750|
|Press: If your business and story is unique enough, press and media attention may come to you, but odds are, you may need to do your own outreach and budget for this. We put together a guide here that discusses different press opportunities (both free and paid).||$0||$500|
|Google Ads: With Google Ads you have the ability to control how much you spend by simply setting a monthly budget cap. Additionally, with these ads you only pay for results, such as clicks to your website or phone calls! It's okay to start with a small budget at first and make changes accordingly if you see valuable returns.||$0||$300|
|Facebook & Instagram Ads: With Facebook and Instagram ads, you set your budget and pay for the actions you want (whether that be impressions, conversions, etc).You can learn more about pricing based on your impressions here.||$0||$350|
|Total Advertising & Marketing Costs||$0 (min)||$2,750 (max)|
|A Domain Name: Your domain name is the URL and name of your website - this is how internet users find you and your website.Domain names are extremely important and should match your company name and brand. This makes it easier for customers to remember you and return to your website.||$12||$200|
|Email hosting: Email is a critical piece for running your business. Once you have your domain name, you will want to set up email accounts for each user on your team. The most common email hosts are GSuite (typically starting at $6+ per user, per month) or Microsoft Office (typically starting at $5+ per user, per month). The number of email accounts you set up will determine the monthly cost breakdown.||$5||$75|
|Total Website Costs||$17 (min)||$275 (max)|
|Time!: Time is money! When starting a business, think about how much time you are spending on certain tasks that could be delegated to another team member or automated. Additionally, spending too much time on tasks that aren't associated with revenue is a hidden cost of running a business.||$0||$500|
|Total Other Expenses||$0 (min)||$500 (max)|
|Specific Industry Expenses|
|Ticketing Platform Fees: A great way to promote your event is to use an event platform such as EventBrite or Events.Com. Although there is typically no upfront cost, there can be ticketing fees deducted from the overall sale, which is important to take into account when pricing your tickets.||$0||$100|
|Total Specific Industry Expenses||$0 (min)||$100 (max)|
|Total Starting Costs||$552 (min)||$13,469 (max)|
Since the startup costs to start email newsletter business range between $552 - $13,469, there are ways you can raise money to cover these costs.
Here are a few ways you can secure additional funding:
- Launch your product on Kickstarter
- Raise capital by asking friends and family
- Apply for a loan
- Find an investor!
🚀 How To Launch Your Email Newsletter Business
Build A Website
Building a website is imperative when launching your business, and with the right tools in place, this can be a simple task to check off the list (without having to hire someone).
- Pick a domain name that's easy to remember and easy to type
- Choose a Web Hosting Plan (ie. Shopify, Squarespace)
- Make sure you choose the right theme and design
- Implement the proper page structure (ie. about page, contact page, pricing etc)
To learn more about how to build a stellar website with little stress, we give you all the details on this step-by-step guide.
Squarespace is a great option for small businesses and is known as one of the easiest platforms to use.
You may find yourself in a decision on whether you should choose Squarespace or WordPress.
The main difference between the two platforms is that Squarespace is known to be more turn-key than WordPress, and does not involve as much management and upkeep.
Benefits of using Squarespace:
- Great for beginners who have little to no coding experience
- Flexible and stylish designs
- You can easily switch up templates (and not feel the need to completely start over)
- Over 55,000 plugins
- Personal Plan: $12/month
- Business Plan: $18/month
- Basic: $26/month
- Advanced: $40/month
WordPress is one of the most common platforms for agencies and landing pages.
Here are the main reasons agencies are using WordPress:
- The platform is free
- SEO is built into the platform (automatically generates title tags and meta descriptions for you)
- Hundreds of different themes that are easily adjustable.
- Great blogging functionality
Free to use/open source but you will need to pay for the hosting.
Launch Strategies For Your Email Newsletter Business
There are various different ways you can launch your email newsletter business successfully.
Here are a few different strategies to get customers excited about your email newsletter business.
- Build hype with a landing page: you can effectively do this through waiting lists, discounts, countdown timer etc
- Create a teaser video: even just a 30 second video is a great way to exposure for your email newsletter business, and possibly even go viral
- Reach out to influencers: The right influencer for your product has the ability to reach your audience with just one post, and because of their loyal following, this could lead to a big return for you.
- Get Press: Whether you plan a PR stunt or get exposure through a popular news outlet, this is a great way to attract initial customers
- Launch on popular sites: A great way to get buzz about your email newsletter business is to submit your launch to popular startup sites.
Here are a few popular sites to launch on:
Learn more about how to launch your business successfully ➜ here
Luciano Viterale, founder of Ticker Nerd dives deep into the process of launching the business:
We validated the business by posting in subreddits and Facebook groups. This gave us our first paying customers. But we knew this wouldn’t be sustainable.
We sat down and brainstormed every organic strategy we could use to get traction as quickly as possible.
The winner: a Product Hunt launch.
A successful Product Hunt launch isn’t easy. You need:
- Someone that has a solid reputation and audience to “hunt” your product (essentially an endorsement).
- An aged Product Hunt account - you can’t post any products if your account is less than a week old.
- To be following relevant Product Hunt members - since they get notified when you launch a new product if they’re following you.
- Relationships with other builders and makers on Product Hunt that also have a solid reputation and following.
Since I’m a premium subscriber of Starter Story I had the chance to book a meeting with the founder Pat Walls. I explained our business and told Pat about our plans for the Product Hunt launch. Pat agreed to “hunt” our product on launch day. That was a huge win.
Over the next few weeks, I worked with Sam on connecting with different founders, indie hackers, and entrepreneurs mainly via Twitter.
We explained to them our plans for the Product Hunt launch and managed to get a small army of people ready to upvote our product on launch day.
We were both nervous on the day of the launch.
We told ourselves to have zero expectations. The worst that could happen was no one signed up and we were in the same position as we’re in now.
Luckily, within a couple of hours, Ticker Nerd was on the homepage of Product Hunt and in the top 10.
The results were instant. After 24 hours we had around 200 people enter their payment details to sign up for our free trial.
These signups were equal to around $5,800 in monthly recurring revenue.
🌱 How To Grow Your Email Newsletter Business
The Freemium Model
Offering free trials to your platform is a great way to gain exposure for your business and potentially get new customers!
Finding the right email newsletter business is a big deal for most people, so it can be important for customers to try a free version with limited features prior to making a big investment.
Once your customer reaches the limits of their free account, they're much more likely to invest in the premium version so they can gain access to all of the features your product offers.
There are a few different ways you can limit certain aspects of your product:
- Usage quotas: Storage limits or limiting the number of times they can utilize a feature
- Limited features: Only allowing your free user to utilize certain features vs all features - this is also a great way to upsell during the user's experience
- Limited support: Customer support can be time-consuming, by limiting the level of support to free users this is a great incentive for them to upgrade (and will save you a lot of time and money)!
Build A Blog
One of the most effective ways to build brand awareness and grow your business is through consistently blogging.
We've outlined some useful tips for you to consider when creating content:
Consistency and Quantity
Quality is important, but it should be the standard for any content you publish.
What’s more important is consistency and quantity.
Consistency is as simple as committing to publishing and sharing a certain number of posts per week. For me, that’s three per week right now.
This kind of commitment is key, because one day, a random post will blow up, and you will have never expected it.
The easiest mind trap is to think "I’m posting too much", and “I need to give my readers/audience/this platform a break”.
This is nonsense.
There is no such thing as oversaturation. Well, there is, but it is just someone else’s opinion.
For every person that tells you you are posting too much, there is another person that wants even more of your content.
You should ignore people’s opinions on how much you post.
Patience & Persistence
Keep posting, keep trying, and keep putting out good content on the regular. Your time will come, and when it does, it will change everything.
The only thing you have control over is your content.
You can’t control how people will react to it. You can’t control pageviews, likes, or shares.
So the only metric you should focus on is how much content you can put out in a week, month, etc.
Where to share your blog content
I know it sounds obvious, but the best places to share your content is on your mailing list. It is guaranteed traffic and it is a great way to get rapid feedback from your most loyal readers.
Send newsletters often. I have done once a week since starting, and I’m moving to twice a week soon.
Work on increasing your mailing list as well. Look into ways to increase your conversion rate to your mailing list. I added a flyout popup thing to my site and now I’m collecting ~30 emails per day.
An email newsletter is one of the most powerful assets you can have and it is worth its weight in gold.
Reddit is one of my favorite places to promote content.
It is a very scary place because you will often get banned or heckled, but it can really pay off.
Create social media accounts for your blog, the main ones I use:
Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn
Set up Buffer and share all of your blog posts to all of your accounts. All of these little shares really do add up.
Automate this as much as possible. I automated all of my social media for Starter Story.
When I started out, I put together a spreadsheet of relevant Facebook groups for my niche, and I would post to these groups whenever I had a big story I wanted to share.
Grow Your Email List
The more engaged list of emails, the more engaged customers, which ultimately leads to more sales.
One of the best ways to start growing your list is by providing your customer with something free (or discounted) in return.
This could also be anything from:
- Fascinating case study
- Video series
- Free week of the product
- Discount on the product
Learn more about how to grow your email list and improve email marketing ➜ here.
Add an exit-intent popup to your online store
A great way to double, or even triple, your email opt-in rate and to grow your list is to add an exit-intent popup to your site, and offering a discount or content upgrade for subscribers.
Here's an example of what that might look like:
One thing that I spent years NOT doing, that I now kick myself about, is adding an "exit intent pop-up" to our site, which lets people enter a sweepstakes to win a Xero Shoes gift certificate.
That one idea has added over 100,000 subscribers to our email list, which is one of our most effective marketing channels.
Improve Your Email Marketing
Different types of emails
Here are the most common types of email campaigns you can send to your customers and their benefits:
- Welcome emails - the perfect way to provide information from the start with a clear CTA. Make sure to tell your customer everything they need to know about your product or service.
- Newsletters - a great way to give customers updates or send out your latest content
- Product launch emails - the quickest (and easiest) way to increase sales is by selling to current customers. Make sure they're the first on the list to know about your new product
- Promotional emails - promote discounts, deals coupons etc. Try and make this feel exclusive and for a limited time only
- Abandoned cart emails - give your customers a reason to complete their purchase!
Here's a great resource for finding curated email designs, for all types of email campaigns!
Customer Email Newsletter / Video Marketing
Example from Patrick Sullivan Jr, founder of Jigsaw Health:
The single most valuable tool we’ve utilized for retention is emailing our customers “edutaining” content, which is primarily video-based.
In 2017, we began a weekly series called #FunnyFriday, a video a week -- some sort of short, entertaining skit, song parody, etc. that features our products and/or culture in a unique and clever way. :)
As of July 2019, we’ve published nearly 100 #FunnyFriday videos... We’re like the “Weird Al” of the dietary supplement industry. And we’re definitely the only dietary supplement company with a costume budget. ;-)
To date, we’ve not been able to make these videos work for new customer acquisition, and I’m ok with that. These are for retention, for showing our customers that real people work here. :)
80% of our monthly revenue is from returning customers, and that’s without forced continuity / auto-ship that so many other brands in the dietary supplement industry.
Host A Social Media Giveaway
People love free stuff and love competition. Giveaways and contests are a great way to create awareness for your brand, grow your email list, and eventually convert leads into customers.
If your goal is to gather email addresses, make sure the entry criteria is to "enter your email." You can do this by leading customers to your landing page where they can then enter their email to be in the giveaway.
One of the most important aspects of promoting a successful giveaway is having an amazing prize. The better the prize, the more engagement you'll get.
This doesn't necessarily mean choosing an iPad or an expensive/trendy watch, but instead a prize that is actually relevant to your brand/target audience.
Collaborate With Other Brands For Giveaways
Example from Benjamin Hebert, founder of Natural Stacks
Our customers have a billion choices for supplements out there, so if they decide to use our brand then we have to go the extra mile to help them.
Part of that means creating content they love, like coming up with unique promotions with other brands. Since we’re a consumable product, we naturally want them to enjoy our products and consume more. It’s the best use of marketing and sales dollars.
I think a lot of brands try to avoid working with other similar companies which is dumb. The market is big enough for everyone.
If I take supplements from one company, I’m definitely using others as well. Everyone can win.
The trick here is to offer a nice coupon out to everyone who didn’t win the giveaway. It’s a great entry point for your brand.
Improve your SEO
SEO is not just about driving traffic to your site, it's about driving the RIGHT traffic to your site, and ultimately, converting leads into customers.
One of the most important aspects of SEO is understanding what your customers are searching for, otherwise known as "keyword research."
Here are some tools that can help you choose the right keywords for your email newsletter business.
- Google Ads Keyword Planner invaluable for discovering search trends.
- Google Search Console is very helpful once your website is up as it shows you what words/phrases are generating traffic.
- Ahrefs and SEMRush are paid tools that allow you to look at results of your competitor's website.
Publish Great Content
Finding keywords is an important piece of the puzzle, but Google also ranks your site based on the actual content you produce, as this is what your customers are reading and engaging with.
There are various different "forms" of content that you may want to consider diversifying on your sites, such as blog posts, articles, studies, and videos.
So let's discuss what google considers "good content:"
- Length - This will vary depending on the page, however, generally having a sufficient amount of content helps search engines recognize that your site is a good source for a specific topic
- Engagement - The longer people stay on your website to read your content, the higher Google will rank your website. It's important to have informative and "thick" content that keeps people reading
- Avoid Duplicating Content - Google will recognize this and may consider your content to have low value
- Ensure pages load quickly - This will also help with engagement and time spent on your website
- Shareability - Create content that people want to share, and is easy for them to share, especially to their social media accounts (ie. "click to tweet" is a great example of this).
Another element of creating good content is creating consistent content.
If (and hopefully you are) publishing content frequently, it's important to stick to a schedule - this helps build brand trust and easy user experience with your customers.
Planning out your content with a content calendar is key to staying consistent.
Here are a few great content calendar tools that can help you:
Backlinks are an important piece to SEO, as they allow for other websites to link to your content.
Search engines recognize that other sites are essentially "verifying" your content and essentially rank you higher because of this.
Of course, some links are more valuable than others and can affect your site in different ways.
For example, if a highly valuable and credible site like the New York Times links to a page on your website, this could be remarkable from an SEO perspective.
Aside from organically getting mentioned from other sites, there are other ways that you can increase and earn backlinks:
- Create infographics with relevant data that people want to share
- Promote your content on different sites/look into "guest blogging"
- Contact influencers/journalists/bloggers and ask them to mention you!
- Write testimonials for other sites in exchange for a backlink
- Leverage existing business relationships
How To Optimize SEO For Your email newsletter business:
Example from Brandon Wong, founder of Photo Booth Supply Co
SEO is a pretty difficult world to understand. I suggest finding the best talent you can and letting them do what they’re best at.
Sometimes that means bringing the service in house, sometimes it involves an outside agency. For us, the ROI on our spend here is huge. It goes back to what I said about picking the trade show your customers attend. Pick the channel your customers use.
Don’t worry about what you like, where you think you’ll find them, or anything like that. We started hearing from our customers that they found us by searching and so we had to honor that. It has worked very well. The kind of entrepreneur who does research and compares their options tends to land with us. That’s great. Our SEO has changed alongside Google, of course.
When we got started, a lot of people found us through our photography company. They eventually started landing on us for searches about which photobooths had the best picture quality. It’s a natural transition for sure. Trust is big with Google, and people immediately trusted a photographer to have made a great photobooth. It makes sense.
Word of Mouth
The most tried and true way to grow a email newsletter business is through word of mouth - some entrepreneurs would say it's more important than all social media.
Why you should focus on word of mouth:
- Consumers trust word of mouth above all other forms of marketing
- 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising
- 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe it is the most effective form of marketing
Learn more about word of mouth in our guide: 30 Ways Founders Grow Their Business ➜
Eddie Huai, founder of Flyby Pills explains how customer service directly correlates with word of mouth marketing from existing customers:
One of our biggest acquisition channels is through word of mouth.
Our survey showed that a third of our customers decided to try Flyby because of a friend or family member. For consumer brands, no artificial acquisition channel can beat strong word of mouth.
Word of mouth also compounds with every successive customer, and we’re seeing bigger wins every month.
We try and bolster this by providing an exceptional customer experience from start to finish. Even though we use Zendesk to answer customer emails, I still will read and reply to over 50% of our customer emails.
We also send loyalty packages to our top customers that’ll include freebies, swag and a personalized note... Little things like this go a long way and provide that “human touch” to our brand.
🏃🏼♀️ How To Run Your Email Newsletter Business
Build a Referral Program
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get the word out about your business and acquire new customers. Especially when you are starting out, it’s important to build a solid referral program to encourage existing customers to help you find new ones.
A great way to do that is by offering a reward (ie. credit on your service or cash) to customers that refer you to their friends and family.
A fantastic referral program will help with clout, credibility, and establishing yourself in the space.
Example of A Great Referral Program
Glimpse offers a clever referral program to ultimately get more subscribers to their newsletter:
- Both parties receive something for the referral
- They're offering "free" content in exchange for more subscribers
- This offer feels generous to the subscriber, but doesn't cost the business anything!
How To Retain Customers For Your Email Newsletter Business
Retaining customers is one of the most effective ways to grow your email newsletter business.
Oftentimes, it's easy to find yourself focusing on generating new customers, vs retaining your current ones.
Look at it this way - you are 60-70% more likely to sell a new product to an existing customer than you are a new customer.
That's not to say that finding new customers and revenue streams is not important, however, the easiest (and most inexpensive) source of new revenue is right there in front of you.
Here are some ways you can retain customers for your email newsletter business:
- Responding to comments on social media
- Send discounts (or freebies) to loyal customers
- Provide valuable content, for free
- Write a hand written thank you note
- Provide awesome customer service and build relationships with customers
To find out more tips and tricks on retaining customers, check out this article ➜ here
Diversify Your Product Line
Adding new products to your business is a great way to expand into new markets and grow your business.
It's important to note that adding new products and diversifying may not be in the cards for you right this moment, and that's okay. You can always consider it down the road.
Here are some reasons you may want to considering adding/diversifying your product
- Meeting the needs of your customers
- Establish yourself as a top provider in your industry and stay ahead of the game with competition
- Resistance to downturns/trends fading
- Create new revenue streams
As a brand, you want to deliver an experience that authentic, honest and transparent.
Don't make the mistake of giving your audience less credit than they deserve.
If you go around chasing every trend and only focused on yourself and money, you’re going to lose very quickly.
There have been many times where we have been tempted to do this but stayed true.
Sure we sacrificed sales, but we kept our integrity, played the long game and people saw and appreciated that, and really began emotionally investing in the brand.
We put together the best resources on the internet to help you start your email newsletter business.
- Email tools such as MailChimp or ConvertKit
- Social media tools such as Twitter
- Productivity tools such as Notion
- Platform tools such as Google
- How To Use Mailchimp For Beginners: The Indie Author's Guide To Email Marketing
- How To Start A Newsletter: A Beginner’s Guide
- How To Create An Email Newsletter The Right Way (Step By Step)
- How To Create An Email Newsletter - It's Easier Than You Think!
- How To Start An Email Newsletter With Mailchimp (For Free)
- How We Started A $4.5K/Month Newsletter For Investors That Finds Trending Stocks Before They Blow Up
- On Starting A Reader-Funded Newsletter About Personal Finance
- How I Launched A $1K/Month Newsletter Covering European Tech