💌 Social Juice, welcome email optimization, newsletter growth signals, ...
this is Jakob Greenfeld, creator of Newsletter Story - every week I write this email to help you level up your newsletter game.
I’m testing a new format this week. Would love to hear what you think!
Now let's dive in.
🧙♂️The Social Juice
My favorite quote: “Have no fear of experimenting, you will have a bigger audience tomorrow with a bigger fear of pissing them off with a new experiment. That’s why you shouldn’t be afraid of testing new things.”
📈 Growth Signals
What’s interesting is that his newsletter looked completely different when he started. In the beginning, for example, he was just sending out his own blog posts via email. He went through several pivots before he found his winning format.
James’ advice: “When I started in 2012, I thought I was too late. It seemed like blogs and newsletters had already peaked. It’s not too late. Someone is starting the next 1M person email list right now. If you're thinking about starting, do it.”
Huge fan of Danny’s newsletter. Always actionable, authentic, and entertaining.
Fun fact: I was a guest on Danny’s podcast not too long ago.
Much of the newsletter’s growth is fueled by the newsletters founder’s (who is still anonymous) social media strategy.
The anon account has amassed almost 300k followers on Twitter and around 700k on Instagram, posting satirical memes and news about the often grueling nature of the finance industry for those who work in it.
Jack Raines, who we interviewed a few weeks ago, is also working as a writer for Exec Sum.
💡 Welcome email optimization
Most welcome emails are boring and help neither the reader nor writer.
It's the 1st impression that people get from you. (kind of obvious but easy to forget)
If you get replies, it's a good signal for ESPs that your emails are legit. (nice)
It allows you to build a 1:1 connection with your audience. (important!)
Each reply is a nugget of gold that will help you understand your audience and the challenges they’re facing better. (!!)
Use an action-oriented subject line like “Welcome (response needed)”.
Tell readers what to expect in future emails. (“This newsletter is going to help you …).
Make it skimmable by using bullet points. (people are busy!)
Handle possible objections ("takes only 30 secs") and give them specific prompts to reply to. (What are you working on? What’s a challenge you’re currently facing?)
Emphasize that you’re personally going to read and reply to every single email. (“Hit reply and I'll get back to you with a specific suggestion you can start implementing right now. I respond to every email!”)
Alex’ current welcome email:
🔥 Newsletter Economics in 2022
Byrne Hobart wrote a fantastic deep dive titled Newsletter Economics in 2022. Two key lessons:
The right growth pattern: “Basically any media business is a balance between monetization and growth. Conveniently for newsletter writers, the same raw material can be used as either a way to advertise the newsletter or as a way to harvest that demand. Usually, the right growth pattern is to slowly reduce the share of free content as the newsletter gets closer to saturating its target market.”
Write more: “Writers have a terrible sense of which posts will be popular with readers. […] Because that's hard to predict, and because the impact of a single hit is so extreme that it's worthwhile to up the odds, and doing that means writing more. “So if you're building a business around content, it's a good idea to aim for volume, at least during the growth phase. Building a publication is partly an exploratory process of building an audience, figuring out what they like, and iterating on that. And volume means sample size. It's also a good way to get practice, and a good way to get mistakes out of the way early.”
As always, if you’re enjoying this report, I’d love it if you shared it with a friend or two. You can send them here to sign up.
And whenever you're ready, here’s one specific way I can help you:
If you need some honest feedback on your project or idea or if you’re looking for answers to specific questions about newsletter growth, web scraping, or entrepreneurship you can get async 1:1 help from me here.
Have a great week,