Lessons Learned Running A Newsletter

A twitter thread of lessons learned about newsletters

I have been running a newsletter for 4-5 years now, before it became cool. Initially I sent a newletter whenever I published a blog post, which was whenever I wanted to write. In the last 2 years I’ve been regular. I send every Wednesday. I call it “Wednesday Wisdom”

I had 94 subscribers in 2020 Jan I have 2404 subscribers now in 2021 July It is not a lot. But I learned quite a bit in these two years. Here are the lessons.

1. Don’t be a tool-hopper.

Mailchimp, convertkit, mailerlite are all just tools.

  • List what you want to accomplish
  • Research for the best fit (there won’t be a single tool that will meet all your needs)
  • Stay with it for at least 2 years

Lead with value, not with tool

2. Focus more on the conversation that the newsletter generates

None of 👇 matter, if it doesn’t generate conversation - either via email (best) or on social-media

  • open rate
  • click rate

3. Don’t confuse newsletter with e-commerce

  • newsletter: provide value to the reader
  • e-commerce: extract value from the reader

You could have a section in your newsletter for selling, but if it doesn’t provide value, you’ll lose subscribers.

4. Don’t confuse “news” with “letter”

  • Letter - personal, provides value, predictable frequency
  • News - Juicy happenings Unless you are a brand (company like Amazon or famous personality like Joe Rogan), people are more interested in letter than news.

5. Send at the same frequency

I experimented with many timeslots and settled at Wednesday at 10.15 AM IST.

When you send at the same time, it becomes a “habit” for your readers. I have been sending at this time for so long, now readers tell me they “expect” my email ;-)

6. Choose a topic

Internet is so wide, that you can always find folks who are interested in any topic.

  • Easiest to get started is curated letter (weekly collection of best articles in the topic)
  • You can also write your take on a topic in different angle

7. Don’t stray away from the main topic

Don’t confuse the readers with unrelated topics.

If it is a leadership newsletter, don’t send me your “news” about cycling trip you took (unless it is leadership lessons from cycling 😜

8. Create your own niche

Mix interesting categories

  • marketing + technology
  • business + psychology
  • freelancing + India

9. How to get subscribers?

Your newsletter is a stadium. Like stadiums, your newsletter should have many entrances.

  • subscribe form on main page
  • subscribe form on every post
  • two forms on a longer post
  • link on your email signature
  • link on social media

10. Mention your newsletter at every chance

  • I speak at many college events. I mention it as a way to connect with me
  • When someone connects on Linkedin, I mention it
  • Mention on slack groups; facebook pages; forums (all related either to topic or to newsletters)

11. Reward new subscribers with a valuable asset

  • ebooks
  • planner
  • best posts as pdf

Make the new readers feel appreciated as soon as possible.

12. Have a unique url to signup

I used to say, “goto my site and signup”

Now I can share the signup url: https://jjude.com/subscribe/

(while we are on the topic, subscribe using the link)

13. Make your newsletter recognizable

  • I follow the same design
  • I mention where they signedup
  • I mention my name and the newsletter name

With same frequency and same design readers can recognize what the email is about.

14. Have a separate domain to send newsletter

There is a chance that people click your email as spam. Or google thinks it is a spam.

When you have a separate domain for newsletter (from that of email/website), you reduce the possibility of your main emails land in spam folder

15. DKIM / domain confirmation increases deliverability rate

I didn’t know about them until very recently (6 months back). Do them from the beginning

Helpful resources

Two resources that helped me a lot:

Tools I use


Do you have any questions? Ask in this twitter thread.

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Under: #produce , #biz