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Build Your Newsletter from Scratch with Google Search Ads

0-1,000 Subscribers in 90 Days

Every day, over 8.5 billion people hit “search” on Google – that works out to about one search per day by every single person on earth.

With 99,000 searches happening on Google every second, there’s no doubt that it’s one of the most visited (digital) places in the world.

And, with 84.6% of the search market, Google continues to dominate year after year.

What does this mean for you, as a newsletter operator or business owner?

The only way to grow your newsletter is to get in front of potential subscribers. Google’s search engine is one of the most popular breeding grounds for finding an audience, so tapping into it to grow your list is one of the best options.

At beehiiv, we believe the best (and fastest) way to grow your email list is to use a combination of both organic (free) and paid growth tactics.

Google Search Ads are one of the best ways you can get lift off with your list growth without having to spend thousands of dollars to get started.

Whether you’ve got a daily budget of $10 or $100, Google Search Ads can be a viable path to kickstarting your newsletter list growth — and it’s not as difficult as you might think!

Table of Contents

The primary objective of this guide is to help you grow your email newsletter’s subscriber base to 1,000 people in 90 days. 

Whether you’re starting your list growth from scratch, or you’ve already started growing your email list using free tactics, this guide will help you navigate leveraging Google Ads to double down on your list growth.

This guide is designed for newsletter operators and growth marketers looking to fast-track their list growth for their email newsletter. 

If you have a specified budget that you’re able to invest in growing your newsletter, then this guide is for you. 

By investing money into paid growth like Google Search Ads, you can gain rapid traffic to your newsletter website, enabling you to convert more visitors into subscribers, so you can hit the 1,000 subscriber mark within 90 days.

Google Ads is a division of Google that was formerly known as Google AdWords. Google Ads is an online advertising platform that includes a variety of different ad formats including search engine ads (that we’ll cover in this guide), as well as banner ads, YouTube ads, video ads, and other display ads.

Google Ads appear all across the web — in both Google’s search engine and millions of Google partner websites.

With 27.1% of the market, Google Ads is the largest digital ad publisher in America, followed by Meta (19.5%) and Amazon (12.9%).

Google Ads offers pay-per-click (PPC) ads where advertisers (including newsletter operators) can pay for ads based on the number of user clicks on their ads.

As the largest source of digital ad revenue online, Google Ads is a proven and effective way to drive traffic to a website. 

For newsletter creators, implementing a Google Ads strategy is a great paid strategy to grow your email list.

With Google Ads, you can boost your site traffic, convert more visitors to subscribers, and generate more revenue from your newsletter business.

Google Ads offers a variety of ad types: search ads, display ads, video ads, and more.

In this guide, we’ll cover the OG Google Ad: Google Search Ads.

It’s the most basic Google Ad type. But, that doesn’t mean it’s outdated or ineffective. It’s one of the longest-serving ad types because it works so well.

Here’s what a Google Search Ad looks like by typing in “nft email newsletter”

You’ll notice there are no images. It’s nothing fancy. It actually looks a lot like a normal result in the search engines except you’ll notice a bold “Sponsored” title right above the ad. The search ad is placed right in between organic results so it kind of blends in.

Responsive Search Ads

Responsive search ads are a style of search ads that have been created to offer more relevant ads to searchers.

Here’s how they work:

Responsive search ads are just like regular search ads. Except, instead of having the exact same copy used on each ad, you can write a few variations of your ad that Google can display based on what people are searching.

Google will show the best possible variation of the ad based on their robust algorithm to offer the best ad components.

Remember that ad above where we searched for “NFT email newsletter”? Well, here’s what happens when we search “non fungible tokens newsletter”:

The same ad pops up for Bankless shows up.

Or is it the same ad?

If you look closely, you’ll notice a few alterations:

The headline changed from “The #1 Crypto Newsletter” to “Join the Bankless Nation - The #1 Crypto Newsletter”.

The copy in the meta description is also different between the two ad variations.

With responsive search ads, Google can show variations of your ad to convert more searchers into email subscribers.

The main benefit to leveraging Google Search Ads is that you’re showing an ad in the place where millions of people search for information: Google. And, the ad appears to look very similar to a regular, organic result, meaning that it’s able to effectively drive clicks and generate traffic.

Why Listen to Me? I currently run a niche website, Hockey Question, that gets over 50,000 visits per month. I’ve also managed two ecommerce email newsletters over the years including one with 100,000 subscribers and one with 30,000.

Brandon Rubeo

Before we dive into the specific tactics to use Google Search Ads to grow your newsletter, we need to talk about your audience.

In order to connect with your people, you need to know who they are, what they like, and what newsletter topics they’re interested in.

If you decide to launch a newsletter on the most bizarre topic, like ear hair, you can pour as much money as you want into Google Ads, but I guarantee you that the ads won’t convert.

This is because you have to first start with your newsletter content. You need to know who you’re targeting and what topics they’re interested in. It’s a good idea to pick a niche, even if it’s smaller. But, you want to make sure there’s enough demand.

Then, it’s time to understand what kind of topic they’re after.

One tool you can use to identify popular newsletter topics is Google Trends.

The tool shows you a rough estimate of the search volume for specific terms. But, the primary function is to show you whether or not a particular topic is becoming more or less popular over time.

If you have a newsletter about AI, you can start plugging in your core topic and then narrow your searches into long tail keywords to identify subtopics to write about.

Google Trends’ data dates all the way back to 2004, so you have about 20 years worth of trend data to analyze. Here’s the term “AI” and how it’s trended over the years. 

Look what happened around 2022 to 2023. Probably what you’d expect with the explosion of AI technology in the past year.

Now, let’s check out some AI topics but with a more recent timeline to identify potential subtopics. Recently, Elon Musk announced its own AI bot: Grok.

You can use Google Trends to compare how they’re trending:

As you can see, X’s Grok is being searched far more than ChatGPT 5. This could be a good angle to write on right now. But, Trends isn’t a one-and-done tool to use. You can use it regularly to see how things are trending. Maybe ChatGPT 5 will overtake Grok as a topic to write about with a major company announcement.

Here’s a good example of why it’s important to test out different keywords:

While “Grok” is trending much more than “ChatGPT 5” right now, the term “OpenAI” is still more dominant than “Grok”, meaning people are still curious about what OpenAI is doing in general.

Now that you understand more of what your audience wants, and you’ve got a content strategy in place to write about what your audience is after, it’s time to use Google Ads to draw them into your subscriber pool.

Here are eight crucial tactics you need to use when implementing a successful Google Search Ad strategy to grow your newsletter:

Keyword Optimization

Understanding the topics your audience wants is one thing. 

Knowing the right keywords to use in a Google Ad is another.

To ensure your ads are most effective, you should spend some time conducting keyword research using one of the many keyword tools available. 

Google Keyword Planner

There are free and paid tools, but the easiest place to start is with Google’s very own Keyword Planner tool.

The key is to find high-volume search terms relevant to the core content of your newsletter. While Google Trends may have helped you find some key topics to write about, Keyword Planner can also be used in conjunction to find even more topics.

You’ll likely find some long tail keywords here that people are searching for related to your newsletter niche that could be golden opportunities.

For instance, if you type in “AI” into the keyword discovery tool, here are the top results:

You’ll notice that Midjourney and OpenAI/ChatGPT are some of the most popular keywords.

But, if you scroll down a bit further, you’ll see a phrase that keeps repeating in different variations: chatbots and chatbot AI.

This appears to be a foundational topic you could write about — and use ads to target people searching for information related to chatbots and AI.

Try to focus on terms that may indicate a high intent to subscribe to related content. For instance, if you see a keyword related to “newsletters” that’s a golden opportunity. But, any longtail keyword related to newsletters like “content, blog, education, learn, news, trends” would be great options.

If you can’t find any terms with high intent, don’t worry. You’ll still be able to convert searchers because people searching for a topical term are most often looking for more information on that given topic — which is something your newsletter helps them with.

Ad Copy Excellence

Now that you’ve got some keywords to use in your Google Ads, it’s time to create the ads.

Remember, with Google Search Ads, we’re only really dealing with copywriting. You don’t need to worry about images or design since it’s a simple text-based ad.

That means you need to put all of your creative effort into your copy.

Craft clear and compelling ad copies starting with the headline.

Here are a few examples:

  • Subscribe Now for Free [your niche] Tips

  • Get the Latest News & Trends in [your niche]

  • [Your Newsletter Name]: Top Newsletter for [your niche]

Remember, when crafting your headline, try to go beyond simply telling people to sign up. Instead, show how someone who subscribes will gain value. This is your chance to highlight your offer. What benefit will someone get from clicking on your ad and subscribing?

Always remember WIIFM: “What’s in it for me?” and put yourself in the reader's shoes.

Once you’ve got your headline down, it’s time to craft compelling description copy. You want to expand on the benefits of your newsletter here. Keep your copy short and sweet, and remember you want your copy to:

  • Convey value

  • Elicit an emotional response

  • Speak your reader’s language

  • Have a clear call to action

  • Include the keyword(s) you’re targeting

Here are two examples of Google search ads for email newsletters. Which one do you think is better?

A: AI Revolution

B: The Hustle

First of all, it’s nice that AI Revolution has a call-to-action-based headline. But, the main problem is their grammar. “Join to the AI Newsletter.” It’s distracting because it doesn’t make sense. And, it reduces their trustworthiness and credibility.

The Hustle, on the other hand, is describing themselves as the “No Nonsense Daily Newsletter” conveying the value of the type of content you’ll expect.

In terms of description copy, I’d say both are pretty good. AI Revolution lets you know that you’ll see:

  • “real use cases”

  • “AI trends”

  • “Breakthroughs”

  • “gain a competitive edge”

The Hustle does a great job:

  • “news that professionals actually want to read”

  • “refreshing, original new way to consume today’s top stories in business, tech”

  • “Join 2.5M+ Readers”

When you’re stuck on ideas, go and check out what your competition is doing. Or… simply check out what other newsletters are doing with their ad copy even if they’re not in your niche.

Utilize Ad Extensions

When crafting your Google Ad, there’s one more element besides the headline and description copy that’s important to optimize: ad extensions.

Otherwise known as sitelink extensions, or sitelinks, these are links you can place at the bottom of your ad that can take the searcher to a page on your website.

In the example above, Morning Brew has their main link (within their headline). But, they also have a handful of links below the description:

  • “Contact Us”

  • “Explore Our Courses”

  • “Have Questions?”

  • “Sponsor Your Team”

  • “Business Writing”

This area is a great opportunity to provide the searcher with a few different options based on what they’re looking for. 

For example, you could place a link to your About page, Contact page, or even to your top newsletter to let the reader sample your publication.

Think of these ad extension links like a search-based navigation that allows your users to enter into a custom journey. Maybe they aren’t ready to subscribe yet and just want to read an issue. Or, maybe they want to read your story. Maybe they have a few questions related to your niche.

While these ad extensions are optional, they’re a great way to help you serve your audience better (and also stand out from other ads and organic search results).

Landing Page Conversion

Now that you’ve got your ad done, it’s time to move on to the next step in the funnel.

Once someone clicks on your ad, where will they land?

Your landing page!

This means you have to ensure you have a great email signup landing page setup to convert visitors.

This is your chance to get creative with both copy, design, and images to help convert visitors into newsletter subscribers.

The AIDA formula in copywriting stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. While it commonly applies to a single piece of copywriting, you can think of your entire funnel in the AIDA formula, with your Google ad taking the place of the first “A” — Attention.

Now that you’ve got your prospect’s attention with your Google Ad, it’s time to build their interest and desire with your landing page.

This is where you’ll hype up your newsletter even more, expanding on the benefits of signing up, what’s included in your newsletter, and how often you’ll send it, followed by a call to action to sign up.

With beehiiv, you can create a custom landing page that’s custom-tailored to convert your audience.

Here are a few ways to spice up your landing page to increase conversions:

  • Give a one-liner value proposition (i.e. “Get smarter about Crypto”)

  • Tell your readers how often you’ll send the newsletter to set expectations

  • Tell your readers how in-depth your newsletter is (i.e. 2-minute read or in-depth publication)

  • Include testimonials if you have them

  • Add striking visuals

  • Learn from the best newsletter landing page examples

Your Google Ad is only one part of your growth strategy. It’s how you get your readers in the door. The experience you give your readers on the other side (your landing page) will ultimately determine whether or not they sign up for your newsletter.

Budget Allocation

How much does it cost to run Google Ads for your newsletter?

Well, the sky's the limit. It’s completely up to you.

You can spend whatever you want. But, we’d recommend starting with $10/day to test out different keywords and ad copy.

Once you start to see what ads and keywords are working well, gradually increase your budget (if you have the funds available) to up to $100/day.

The most common way to pay for ads is using a daily budget, similar to using Facebook Ads to grow your newsletter.

While you may have a monthly amount you’d like to spend on your ads, Google asks you to insert a daily ad amount. The easiest way to do this is to take your monthly budget and divide it by 30.

For instance, if you want to put $500 into Google Ads, your daily budget will be:

$500 / 30 = $16.66 per day.

But, you won’t be charged $16.66 every day.

You may pay more or less on any given day of the month for your ads.

However, Google will ensure you aren’t charged more than 30 times your daily budget in a single month.


There’s one more incredible strategy you can (and should) use with Google Ads.

It’s called remarketing or retargeting ads.

This is an ad that you can show to users who have clicked on your Google Ads before but haven’t subscribed to your newsletter yet.

To set this up, simply upload a CSV of your email subscribers into Google Ads. From there, Google can determine which users have clicked on your ads in the past but haven’t subscribed.

You can serve these people — who have shown more interest than the average searcher — and offer them more touchpoints with your brand to convert them into subscribers.

Google’s remarketing tech allows your Google Ads to essentially show off your ads in Google’s search engine as well as any website that uses Google Ads (through display advertising).

How well does retargeting work?

Well, the average click-through rate for a Google search ad is 0.07% while the average click-through rate for a Google retargeted ad is 0.7%. That’s a 10 times increase in clicks from retargeted ads!

Performance Monitoring

Once you’ve got your ads running, your job’s not over yet. If you’re serious about reaching 1,000 subscribers in 90 days through Google Ads, then you’re going to need to track your ad performance.

There are two primary metrics you need to track with Google ads for newsletters:

1. Your ad click-through rates.

2. Your landing page conversion rates (for those who came through your Google Ads).

The way you can track conversion rates from Google Ad visitors is by setting up conversion tracking. That way, you can monitor how many visitors are converting to your newsletter list from your ads.

Google allows you to do this by placing a snippet of code on the page users reach. When users take a certain action like subscribing to your list, this is tracked in the code snippet and you can then see this information in your Google Ads analytics.

A/B Testing

Now that you’re tracking your ad performance and you have a better picture of your newsletter growth analytics, what’s next?

A/B testing.

Tracking your ad performance is pointless if you don’t take action to improve it.

The best way is by A/B testing.

There are three primary areas you should A/B test:

  • Keywords

  • Ad copy (headline, description, ad extensions)

  • Landing page (copy, images, design, etc.)

Continuously test different ad copy, landing pages, keywords, design elements, and calls to action to find the most effective combination for gaining new subscribers.

Once you find some winning combinations, it’s time to double down on your budgets and invest more money into growing your list.

To ensure you’re set up to hit the 1,000 subscriber milestone within 90 days, you need to leverage the right newsletter platform.

beehiiv is the newsletter platform built for growth.

Created by the same team that built and scaled Morning Brew to millions of subscribers, beehiiv offers newsletter operators a suite of world-class growth tools:

  • Integrated referral program

  • Recommendation network

  • Boosts

  • Magic links

  • beehiiv Ad Network

  • And more

With beehiiv, you get access to a user-friendly platform, the best newsletter list-building tools, and a devoted customer support team.

  • Google Ads Help Center: Provides guidance and support to help you navigate Google Ads, offering information on advertising best practices, troubleshooting, and account management.

  • Google Trends: A tool that shows a search query's popularity over time.

  • Google Keyword Planner: A tool that helps you find relevant keywords for Google Ad campaigns, giving you insights into search volume, competition, and potential costs.

  • Moz Beginner's Guide to SEO: Comprehensive online resource on search engine optimization, giving practical tips to improve your search engine optimization (both organic and paid tactics).

  • Copyblogger: Website with tons of educational content, resources, and training on copywriting, content marketing, and building online businesses.

  • PPC Hero: Blog and resource hub that is dedicated to Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, which is packed full of PPC insights, particularly around paid search campaigns.

  • CXL: Courses on Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).


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