Lessons from 300+ IndieHackers Posts about Newsletters
As I prepare to launch my own newsletter - More Every Week - this weekend, I went on a deep dive into the fabulous Newsletter Crew community on IndieHackers. Below are my rough notes for what I learned.
Where to Promote Your Newsletter
List of Newsletter Directors from @PaoloAmoroso and @witsuma
- Find Your Newsletter
- Newsletter Junkie
- Rad Letters
- Stack Hunt
- Thanks For Subscribing
- Indie Hacker Newsletter Directory
- Newsletter Stack
Referral Programs for Existing Subscribers
Guest Posting on Other Blogs (h/t @StefanAllDay)
- @qinxie made this lovely Google form to set up collabs on IndieHackers
- Thrive Global
- Buzzfeed (will redirect you to sign up for a free contributor account)
- Social Media Examiner)
- Include "Publisher of XXX.com" in your bio so that it shows up in every answer. Also end relevant answers with "I talk more about this topic on my newsletter" (h/t/ @StefanAllDay)
- Make sure to complete and optimize your Quora bio
- Give in-depth answers with only minimal spamming of your sign up link.
- As @tejas3732 points out, you can link your answers if they are related to drive more internal traffic (e.g. if Answer B relates to the Answers you wrote for Question A, include a link)
- Share stories, gifs, and images to capture people's attention
Reddit + Facebook
- Newsletter Creators Facebook Group
- Your own feed
- Respond to popular posts with relevant comments to bring traffic to your page, where your bio and pinned tweet refer people to your newsletter.
- Product Hunt
- And finally here's a great post from HypeLetter's @andrewkamphy with 10 ways to get to 10 subscribers
- The first two words are the most essential to capture attention. The general advice seems to be to start your subject line with an emoji (to differentiate from other emails) and then your newsletter title (e.g. 👋 More Every Week: Issue #1)
@rita also put together a nice list of helpful tools/resources:
- The Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer — Free tool that analyzes if your headline will emotionally connect with your customers and audience.
- CoSchedule Headline Analyzer — Free tool that analyzes if your headline will drive traffic and increase shares and search results.
- Chris Garrett at Authority Blogger — 102 fill-in-the blanks templates and headline formulas.
- Amy Harrison — 41 classic copywriting headline templates.
Should You Remove Inactive Subscribers?
If you're paying for subscribers, then definitely yes.
If you're not paying per subscriber, then still probably yes, for three reasons:
- Your open rate is the most important metric, since it tells you how valuable your audience finds your content. Having people who never open your emails leads to a muddled metric. Overall subscriber numbers are a vanity metric - open rates show you how effective your content is.
- If someone continually ignores your emails, they might eventually mark it as spam just to stop receiving it in their inbox (since that's easier than actually clicking unsubscribe). That is of course bad for deliverability.
- Inactive readers can potentially hurt your deliverability rate.
But, before you remove anyone, make sure to send a re-engagement email first:
- One way to do it is to send a re-engagement email ("hey, do you want to stay on this list?") before you remove people that haven't opened the last 6 emails
- Great language from @buttondown: In case you don’t remember, you signed up to Newsletter name to find out x, y, and z. Not interested any more? No hard feelings — I’d hate to clutter up your inbox! Unsubscribe here.
- An alternative idea from @xwle - rather than unsubscribing the person, ask them if they'd like to move to a less frequent version of the newsletter
Resending Emails to Non-Openers
- @joshspector has a great article on this here. In summary, he found:
- You'll get an additional 10-15% overall open rate on each newsletter every time.
- To my surprise, I hardly ever get any complaints and actually get thanked by people every week who genuinely missed the newsletter and were happy to get get the reminder.
- Some people will unsubscribe, but that happens any time you see an email and I figure they if they're not opening my newsletter I don't really need them on my list anyway. It's a way to weed out people who aren't really interested from my list.
- I make it clear on the re-send that it's a re-send. The subject line is "Here's what you missed..." and I add a paragraph at the top of the newsletter saying I'm resending it because it may have gotten lost in their inbox.
All About Monetization:
Avenues to monetize any newsletter
- Paid Subscriptions
- Ads (@AndrewKamphey recommends $.05 per sub as a starting point)
- Affiliate Marketing
As per Sam Parr's interview with @courtland, if you're starting a paid newsletter make sure you:
- identify a tiny-but-growing audience who have money to spend
- provide utilitarian content that helps them make more money
- charge a lot (he suggests $500-$1k/year, which seems wild to me but he's the millionaire, not me)
- grow your subscribers with ads and free viral written content
Misc Great Pieces of Advice:
- "Start before you think you're ready" - @simonpblogs
- Include a Feedback Mechanism
- @simonpblogs tracks the following responses with links that tie to Google Analytics
- 👍 YES - I liked it
- 〰️ MEH - Average
- 👎 NO - Almost no value
- @stephenafamo says your length should be "Inversely proportional to frequency". If its every day, its got to be short. If its every month, quite long.
- Include quotes as Tweet Intents. This makes it one click for the reader to tweet out the relevant section.
- Create a simple tagline for your newsletter: "what you do" FOR "who you do it for" (@AndrewKamphey)
Tools for Curated Round-Up Newsletters:
- Goodbits (by @mrrventures)
- Under Cloud (made by @WayneSmallman)
- Revue Chrome Extension
- Google Sheets
- Google Keep
- Roam Research (which I use myself)
- Handy protip from @gordon: use a separate email address to send all newsletters/content to (via @gordon)
Misc Tools and Links I Found Helpful
- Great List of Newsletters by IndieHackers looking to swap exposure
- Mailchimp vs. Email Octopus by @petecodes with a very clever hack to use pop-ups with Email Octopus
- Not a Newsletter, a non-newsletter with tips for writing longform Newsletters
- Creating a Home Page on Top of Substack by @packy
- @ryanh1 made SplashPad which suggests writing for marketing posts (e.g. Product Hunt, HackerNews, etc)
- Add a subscribe option to your Medium Posts with Slide to Subscribe
- List of 50 Newsletter Tools by @marz0
If you want to see these ideas put into practice (and get a set of interesting ideas to consider every week), sign up for my free newsletter More Every Week.
Like This? You'll probably like my newsletter too
Every week, I send out a newsletter with thought provoking articles, videos, and quotes to make your weekend more interesting. It's free and takes 5 minutes to read - sign up below.
You might Also Like
Kubrick, Kash, And More Kash : See / Read / Listen To This: Issue #13
Greetings from Singapore!This issue is a bit more narcissistic than most, as I have two pieces of Kash-content to share. I’m new to the content-creation game, so if you have any feedback (positive or critical), I’d really love to hear it.Read More
Kim Kardashian, Mr. Rogers, And Mike Rowe : See / Read / Listen To This: Issue #12
Brexit, perhaps the most surprising Western political event of the last decade, actually happened, and I in no way saw it coming. So much for my political science degree. I’m not sure the EU has more than 5 years left now, which is a bit terrifying, but on the other hand, I’m currently in Bali, so life could be worse.Read More
Weaponized Artificial Intelligence
There was a time when Western Europe had guns and everybody else didn’t, and it was not a good time to be the “everybody else”. The conquests that occurred during this time were both complete and catastrophic, and that era in many ways is responsible for the shape of the world’s power structure today.Read More