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10 Ways to Launch a Newsletter

And Grow It
Brett Friedman

A few weeks ago we started The Experimental Method newsletter. To learn how to best grow it from scratch, we turned to ten marketers with their own recently grown, successful newsletters. They told us how they first launched their newsletter and how they grew it to their current size.

Ken Wong, Founder, Sfoundation

"We started our newsletter 2 years ago and now it is sitting at about 2,300 recipients.

We are in a niche market - help startup founders to accelerate their startups.

We started when we saw a need for founders/entrepreneurs who need to find information fast from a single source. We also found out that founders like to attend startup events so we list our events in the newsletters - this helped to retain and grow our newsletter distribution list.

We are still growing at about 5% every month since we started - about 100 subscribers every month.

We are a B2B business catering to entrepreneurs and not consumers."

Maeva Cifuentes, Founder, Flying Cat Marketing

"1) I grew a newsletter to 1,600 subscribers with only 4,000 monthly visitors and only posting once a month

The trick was to:
- Hyper target my readers. Pick a very specific niche (freelance translators) and stalk them on all the groups and interact and talk with them so I knew what their issues were.

- Create lead magnets/content upgrades that were directly related to the blog post they found my page by and convert them with strong CTAs"

Anna Barker, Founder, Logical Dollar

"Starting a newsletter from zero may be daunting, but we've all had to start at that point - including me. Our mailing list now has several thousand people on it, but it certainly started slowly and took a while to build.

The best strategy I've used for growing my mailing list has been to have incentives throughout my site that people can download for free, which also involves them signing up for our newsletters at the same time. Things like templates and other printables are always popular, as are short e-books.

Ultimately, it's simply a question of figuring out what you audience needs and making a product available that addresses this problem. Then, once they choose to download this and you have their email address, regular newsletters that continue to respond to questions they may have are the best way to make sure they stick around.

It takes some practice to find your writing style as well as some testing to see what your audience prefers. However, step by step, you'll definitely see your mailing list grow by following this fairly straightforward strategy. It's certainly worked for getting our newsletter and mailing list to where it is today."

Dawn LaFontaine, Founder, Cats in the Box

"I'm currently using email to disseminate a blog-based newsletter called Kitty Contemplations, which covers information pertinent to cat owners. I actually started emailing my newsletter as a way to generate organic traffic to my website early this year and have enjoy a 10X increase in organic traffic as a result."

Janice Wald, Founder, Mostly Blogging

"How did you get started?
After seeing the movie Julie and Julia years ago, I decided I wanted to start a blog. The movie was about a blogger, so I was inspired. I had just completed my Master's Degree and was empowered by the confidence I gained in the program about my writing abilities. I spent months trying to figure out a blogging niche. In order to succeed as a blogger, I studied blogging. I've been a blogging tips blogger ever since.

How did you grow it from where you started to where you are now?
Today, I have thousands of readers. Growing the newsletter all came down to a matter of creativity. I thought of optins so valuable readers in my niche would gladly pay for them but instead give up their email address to get them.

For instance, I coach bloggers. Bloggers promote on social media. Today, I offer an exclusive Community Pinterest board as one of my optins. Notice the use of the adjective exclusive. People love to be included in exclusive things."

Elliot Callighan, Founder, Unlock Audio

"I took an existing contact list I had built up over years and used it to start a newsletter for a new business."

Molly Wilcox, Founder, Mrs. Molly Wilcox

"I started a weekly newsletter a little over a month ago. I started to gain subscribers by creating a landing page and promoting my newsletter to my Instagram followers. I use mail chimp to send out the newsletter weekly, and I also use mail chimp to create the landing pages I use to gain subscribers. Staying consistent with my newsletter has been the best source of growth. People expect to hear from me weekly on Monday mornings. I try to engage with relevant conversations in my newsletter and I always encourage my subscribers to pass it along to someone else. I think getting started with writing a newsletter is easy, and it’s staying consistent that will naturally bring growth!"

Ambreen Sharif, Founder, Workplay Digital

"One of the ways we were able to grow our audience was by developing a landing page for our newsletter. The landing page, featuring well-positioned CTAs and thoughtful reasons why our audience should consider adding *yet* *another* newsletter to their inbox, has performed exceptionally with a conversion rate of over 80%.

In terms of the promotion of the newsletter, social media has been a massive help! We shared our first newsletter on our company's social media pages as well as on colleagues, employees and friends' personal accounts. By word of mouth, we were able to grow our newsletter within just a few weeks of launching."

Angela Ash, Content & Digital PR Specialist, Flow SEO

"There are numerous ways to start a newsletter, but we find that it's much more important to place an emphasis on the quality of names on our list, not the quantity. Therefore, we like to know that our list is teeming with individuals and companies who are generally interested in what we have to offer.

We have really grown our newsletter in the past from live conferences where our founder and SEO expert, Viola Eva, was a speaker. However, in today's environment, we have turned to creating expert roundups on a variety of topics, where we encourage those who find the content interesting, to sign up for our newsletter. It can really be as simple as that."

David Bakke, Founder, Dollarsanity

"There are plenty of things that go into starting an email newsletter (designing the template, determining the correct size) one of the biggest challenges will be finding content for the newsletter. And while your blog can be a great resource, it shouldn't be the only one. You might use social media content as long as it's different from your blog, or you could create content strictly for use in your newsletter.

Folks love hearing about the meat and potatoes behind your business, so maybe a newsletter or two could feature your personal thoughts about why you got into your chosen industry or quick interviews with other high-level employees. Bottom line is that it needs to be engaging and creative. To grow your email list, put a button on your blog for sign up, and put calls to action at the end of your social media posts for how to sign up. You could also include a sign-up link with your email signature. Also, asking your current subscribers to forward your information to their contacts can be beneficial as well. Offering a freebie like an e-book for email sign up is an effective strategy as well."
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