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5 Tactics for gaining more subscriber signups

Subscribers are one of the most important metrics for any newsletter. While it’s not the only metric that matters, subscribers are the first metric newsletter senders have to consider. After all, what’s the point of focusing on other metrics before people are even on your list?

If you’re looking to monetize, gaining more subscribers is even more important because more subscribers typically translate into greater revenues (whether through advertisements or a paid membership). But building that audience by generating subscribers is often challenging, especially at first.

To help you along, here are five proven tactics for gaining more subscribers.

One important note before getting into it: subscriber quality matters, and a “good” subscriber is one that’s actively engaged (reading your content). Keep this in mind as we proceed.

5 Tactics for gaining more subscriber signups

Let’s get into it.

Tactic #1: A Referral Program

5 Tactics for gaining more subscriber signups

After creating fantastic content, every newsletter’s priority should be to grow the audience (so more people can read that great content and spread your “message” even further). A referral program is a tactic that’s easy to implement on beehiiv, and typically generates more engaged subscribers.

Why are they more engaged? Because a successful referral reveals a lot about reader quality and engagement..

  • The reader took the time to read your newsletter (opens ≠ reads)

  • The reader genuinely enjoyed the content (otherwise, why share?)

  • The reader thinks others will also enjoy the content (indicating your audience has room to grow)

  • The person your reader sends the newsletter to takes it more seriously because of the personal connection (and opens your emails more often than subscribers from other sources).

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Even better – beehiiv has a built-in referral program for easy setup (takes a few clicks).

Here are the steps:

  1. Create rewards for referral milestones (1, 5, 10 referrals or as many as you want).

    1. Crypto newsletter? Offer early access to exclusive drops.

    2. Finance newsletter? Deliver a pdf with notable stock picks.

    3. SaaS newsletter? Provide a special code to access discounts on software.

  2. Add the referral widget to your newsletter directly from the text editor (no code required).

  3. Let your audience know you have the program and watch referrals come in.

Companies like Morning Brew, The Hustle, and The Skimm use referral programs to scale their audiences. You can do the same without “duct-taping” different tools together (it’s all right out of the box).

Remember that tidbit about engaged subscribers?

Audiences generated from referrals are often more engaged because they typically have higher open rates than other sources. If you’re interested in increasing your open rates, learn more about A/B testing on beehiiv.

Tactic #2: Recommendations From Other Newsletters

5 Tactics for gaining more subscriber signups

Having a reader refer your newsletter to their network is a fantastic start. The second tactic is having other newsletters recommend yours to gain more subscribers. It has the same benefits as a referral program: it’s free, easy to install, and works while you sleep. But there’s one key difference – it scales with the audience of the newsletter recommending you (instead of scaling with your audience).

Suppose someone recommending you suddenly goes viral and gains 10,000 subscribers. In that case, chances are many of them will read the recommendations and subscribe to those newsletters as well (sudden growth for one party benefits everyone).

Recommendations are always net-positive (unless you’re paying someone to recommend). The good news: setting up recommendations is simple with beehiiv.

  • From the dashboard, select “audience,” click recommendations, and the “add recommendation” button is there. The dropdown has a list of all the newsletters on beehiiv, so other newsletter senders can easily find you. Here’s what the recommendations page looks like for reference:

5 Tactics for gaining more subscriber signups

The best approach is to use recommendations and referrals together. As more people subscribe via recommendations from another newsletter, they also enter your referral program. Double the growth opportunities.

Not sure how to get other newsletters to recommend yours? Asking is a good place to start (you’d be surprised how many newsletters are okay with swapping recommendations). If that doesn’t work, Tactics 4 and 5 might be for you.

Tactic #3: Post on Twitter & Engage With Your Audience

5 Tactics for gaining more subscriber signups

This tactic has repeatedly proven to help newsletters gain more subscribers.

Rather than giving the age-old advice of “be consistent,” and “know your audience,” (you should nail both of these regardless), here are examples of newsletters crushing it on Twitter.

  • Exec Sum - Finance content with humor and dank memes.

  • Milk Road - Crypto content with clear breakdowns, summaries of newsletter content, and more. They went from 0 to acquisition in just 10 months.

  • Jasper Polak - Clear breakdowns on project management with refreshing clear and simples takes on an often over-complicated industry. He also 5x his subscribers count after moving to beehiiv.

Note: they also engage with their audience in the comments, dms, and with RTs or quoted tweets.

(Don’t forget that part, it’s important.)

Posting and engaging is a great start, but what about converting your Twitter audience to subscribers? There’s a point of friction when people have to click on the link in your bio and subscribe through your website. Removing this point of friction (the extra clicks) can increase the conversion rate on Twitter.

To do this, we built Pollinate, which creates a subscribe field on your Twitter biography that removes the need for multiple clicks. If you’re thinking of taking advantage of this tactic, definitely sign up for Pollinate. It’s free.

5 Tactics for gaining more subscriber signups

Tactic #4: Guest Posts / Appearances

5 Tactics for gaining more subscriber signups

Many creators are looking for content, especially when publishing in narrow niches. Having someone from the same niche offer their knowledge in a newsletter or blog post is a value-add for their audience, who benefits from another perspective. This can also apply to podcasts, videos, or other content.

Tapping into OPA. Other people's audiences are a very subtle but powerful growth hack.

It requires some work, but reaching out, building relationships, and offering a guest post can benefit both parties. For you, it expands your reach into a new audience that’s interested in similar content and a backlink (which is good for SEO). The focus is about offering complimentary (not competing) content. For them, it’s a value-add to their existing subscribers.

It’s very straightforward to set this up with beehiiv using the built-in “guest author” functionality in the editor.

Guest posting is not only a way to gain subscribers –it can also be an “in” to ask newsletters to swap recommendations (mentioned above).

Ideally, they will re-share the post, which is exposure for you, and a value-add for their audience. Perhaps their audience will want to learn more about you, and subscribe to your newsletter as well. Win-win.

Tactic #5: Feature Guest Authors on Your Newsletter

5 Tactics for gaining more subscriber signups

This is another example of a win-win for yourself and your guests (opposite of Tactic #4). Perhaps they write the post themselves, or you write it for them. The point is to share what people in your industry are doing in a way that exposes them to a new audience where they can add value and gain exposure.

In return, it also helps add more value to your audience with their perspectives or success stories. Some examples:

  • HR newsletter? Share success stories from successful HR professionals.

  • Crypto newsletter? Highlight new projects and founders by having them speak to their products/projects directly on your publication.

  • SaaS newsletter? Showcase users achieving amazing results with your product.

An example of the latter is the beehiiv weekly creator spotlight.

Aside from the direct benefits of exposure to a new audience (or the guest and for your newsletter), there are also long-term benefits of building a community.

Referrals, recommendations, posting on Twitter and engaging with your audience, and guest appearances (on your newsletter and on others) are all tactics that can help gain new subscriber signups.

Look and see where you can apply at least 2-3 of these within your email marketing and newsletter growth strategy.

We hope this was helpful!

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