So you’ve started your own Substack newsletter and you’ve sent your first email. The only thing missing are subscribers.
This is the point where you realize all the work you’ve put in so far was a walk in the park compared to the challenge that lies ahead: getting people to subscribe to your newsletter.
While there’s no doubt that setting up your Substack newsletter is much easier than getting subscribers, don’t be put off. As long as your newsletters are worth subscribing to, you’ll be able to grow your subscriber base.
To help get you kick-started or speed up your growth, try following these five suggestions:
1) Offer a mixture of free and paid content
If your goal is to grow your number of paid subscribers, then it might seem counterintuitive to offer a free subscription option. But by offering a mixture of both free and paid content, you’ll be able to much more easily demonstrate the value you provide.
That’s because people are more willing to sign up for your free newsletter than paying for something when they don’t know what the quality will be like. As you grow your number of free subscribers, you can then work on converting them into paying subscribers.
To do this, you’ll obviously reserve your most valuable and appealing content for your paid subscribers, which will provide a compelling reason for people to upgrade.
One way you can help convince your free subscribers to upgrade is to offer them access to your paid newsletter for free for a limited time. You can do this with the ‘give away paid subscription for free’ found under Subscribers Tab > Add Subscribers Button.
If you’re providing genuinely valuable content, then once their free trial is up, you’ll find plenty of people converting to paid subscribers.
2) Spread the word on social media
Of course, to be able to convert free subscribers into paid subscribers, you first need to build an audience of these subscribers. That’s why it’s important to spread the word about your Substack newsletter.
Social media is your clear friend here.
But instead of just creating accounts and spamming links to your Substack newsletter, you’ll find that putting more thought and effort into where and how you post about is the key to results.
For example, try commenting on relevant threads on Twitter. That way others reading the thread will see your tweet and you’ll receive much more exposure than if you just tweet about it on your own account that doesn’t have much of a following yet.
You could also try to reach out to influences in your niche on various social media platforms.
Doing so is hard as most of your attempts will go unanswered, but if you’re not obnoxious about it and instead try to offer something of value to influencers, you might strike gold.
3) List your newsletter on Sendy
Another great way to grow the number of subscribers to your free email newsletter is to create a listing for it on Sendy.
Sendy is a newsletter platform that lets people find newsletters on topics they’re interested in and manage their subscriptions. As a bonus, for the emails that they read, they’re rewarded for their attention with Sendy points that can later be redeemed for gift cards.
Thousands of readers today use Sendy to find awesome newsletters and manage their subscriptions. All you have to do to reach them is create a Sendy listing, and your newsletter will be promoted without any ongoing effort from you.
This makes it a much easier way to grow your subscribers than constantly posting about it on social media.
4) Run a promotion
In addition to offering free subscribers a preview of your paid newsletter, Substack also lets you run promotions.
You can find this option by going to the Settings Tab > Special Offers. From there, you’re able to create a special offer such as giving people a certain percentage off your paid newsletter or offer a limited-time free trial.
You can also run a promotion in the style of “the first 100 paying subscribers will get 50% for the lifetime of their subscription” if you’re only just getting started with your Substack newsletter.
5) Collaborate with others in your niche
One of the best things you can do to get more Substack subscribers is to leverage someone else’s audience. Especially if you’re just getting started.
In essence, this means cross-promoting your newsletter with someone else’s newsletter, blog, etc. in the same or similar niche that you’re in.
One way you can do this is to mention each other’s Substack newsletters at the bottom of your newsletter along with a short spiel about why people should subscribe to it.
Another great way to collaborate is to offer to write guest posts for blogs your target audience is likely reading.
Most blogs have trouble maintaining a steady stream of new content, so if you’re a good writer, they’ll likely appreciate your offer of help creating content. While you shouldn’t shill your newsletter in the post, at the end most sites will let you add a short author bio where you can include a link to your Substack newsletter.
Growing your Substack newsletter is by no means an easy task. But as long as your newsletter is offering subscribers with engaging content that they value, then you’ll be able to grow your subscriber base.
Even the best newsletters out there still needed to get the word out about their existence in their early days. This means utilizing social media platforms, reaching out to influencers, and collaborating with others in your niche.
Once people know about your newsletter, the last step is getting them to subscribe. You can make this last hurdle easier by offering a free version of your newsletter and providing people with promotional discounts on your paid newsletter.
All of this is doable if you put the time and effort in. So best of luck!