Case Study: How Camber App Grew Its Community & Brand Using beehiiv
Here’s How Mady Maio Supercharged Her App With a Newsletter
What’s the one thing a company needs to succeed?
The right product? Good marketing? Enough startup capital?
You could arguably make the case for any of those examples.
But, what’s the one thing a company can’t live without?
A dedicated community.
When Mady Maio launched her travel app, she knew she needed to foster a community of superfans to make it succeed. So, she started a newsletter on beehiiv. Fast-forward to a year later, and Maio has grown her local newsletter to over 8,700 subscribers with an incredible 71% open rate!
In this beehiiv case study, we interviewed Mady Maio, founder of the Camber App, to explore the reasons why she launched her newsletter, LA Happenings by Camber, on beehiiv and how she achieved success early on.
In Maio’s view, “[beehiiv] helps brands and writers create beautiful newsletters that are tailored to their brand and helps them grow their audience and really supercharge their newsletter growth. And it is a very easy, drag-and-drop, templatized way to create a newsletter.”
And, don’t forget to check out the Creator Spotlight we did about Mady to learn how she spins her audience from TikTok to her newsletter and back again to build her brand.
Camber App: An Overview
The Camber App is a map app like Google Maps with a unique spin: it’s a community-driven social app. Camber’s goal is to provide a fun and user-friendly way to explore the world around you. It’s all about bringing people together by enabling them to adventure through their surroundings in a new, unique way.
What Camber App offers is summed up in this one line from the website, “It’s for tourists that want to feel like locals and locals that want to feel like tourists.”
In about two years, Camber has amassed over 60,000 followers on TikTok and Instagram and over 8,600 beta testers for the app.
LA Happenings by Camber Newsletter Backstory
Mady Maio, the founder of the Camber App, also launched its related newsletter, LA Happenings by Camber as a way to build up the brand and foster a community around the app.
The newsletter covers a wide range of topics, including trendy, local eats, the latest events, and things to do in LA. As mentioned on the LA Happenings by Camber landing page, Maio’s newsletter is all about the “Things to do & places to be in Los Angeles.”
In Maio’s own words, “[Camber] is a travel recommendations app. It is essentially a social version of Google Maps, and we started our newsletter to focus specifically on Los Angeles and things to do and places to be within the Los Angeles community. So it's a better way for our community here in LA to tap into our brand and get to know the coolest spots to be in that week.”
Similar to other successful beehiiv newsletters, like the Inverse Cramer newsletter and the Brink newsletter, Maio’s traffic strategy began with a strong social media presence.
Maio shared, “So Camber helps you discover your next favorite place, and we've grown tremendously on TikTok; sharing recommendations, lists, and guides for things to do in Los Angeles. And we found that there wasn't a centralized place to be listing out all these cool popups or all these cool new spots in LA and things that were happening.”
She went on to say, "We also noticed a ton of events and pop-ups and cool chef crossovers and things that are happening in LA. And there was not one space to view all of those events and view things on a weekly basis in a calendar view."
Maio continued, “I didn't really wanna create a calendar or a shared calendar, because that seemed a bit messy. And I also wanted to insert my voice, which is friendly and silly. I wanted it to come across as a brand touchpoint. So a newsletter was really the perfect extension of all of that, and one single place that can come out on a weekly basis to make sure people have all the resources and list of things to do in Los Angeles for that week ahead.”
Mady Maio saw the need for a local travel information hub. And, when combined with Camber App’s community and brand goals, it made for the perfect opportunity to create a weekly newsletter.
How Camber App Monetizes Its Newsletter
The LA Happenings by Camber Newsletter is an extension of the Camber brand. In terms of monetization, the newsletter itself isn’t monetized. Instead, it drives the growth and engages with the Camber app community.
Maio shared, “The newsletter is not our main product. Our main product is a mobile app. So our mobile app is the main destination for where you experience Camber. You can list out all your favorite places by city, follow friends, and then see everything on a map view. So the newsletter is definitely an extension of that. When we think about monetization, it's going to live in our app. That's the main product and the main line of revenue.”
However, Maio commented on how she’s open to tapping into newsletter-specific monetization in the future.
She mentioned, “[The beehiiv Ad Network is] something I think about. I've seen tons of newsletters be successful with brand sponsorships. That avenue feels more authentic to us. A lot of brands have [already] reached out to ask our rates to include them in the newsletter."
Maio shared how brands have already begun reaching out to say, "We want to be in the newsletter. We want to be in the TikTok recap, and we want you to come in and film the store."
She continued, “[Brands] love the newsletter, and they know that people follow it. They know that people go to the events that I post. So there's this influence there; it's been piquing brands' interest. I think that in terms of monetization, sponsorship would be the next step for us. It's all been inbound and organic, but if we were to prioritize monetizing, I think the brand partnerships would be leverage for us.”
Challenge: Foster a Community With a User-Friendly Newsletter Tool
Before starting LA Happenings by Camber, one of Maio’s primary challenges was finding the right newsletter platform to foster the Camber app community. She found that other newsletter tools were too bulky or complicated.
Mady Maio understood that if she was going to grow a close-knit community with a newsletter, it needed to be simple. It had to be easy to use while offering personalization and customization. And, unlike typical newsletters, where the newsletter is the product, Maio created her newsletter to drive the growth of her app and her community. Everything needed to align with those goals while staying on brand.
Maio shared, “beehiiv, to me, feels a lot more accessible to other communities rather than just writers or journalists. I feel like beehiiv can be used for a brand. I've seen it being used across multiple companies and brands. So I think there's a lot more accessibility when it comes to that.”
She continued, “beehiiv, to me, [has more of a] community aspect; this more niched,
specific use case. And that's why it worked so well for the Los Angeles newsletter specifically… For newsletters, [beehiiv] is the easiest.”
One challenge of creating a successful newsletter is making it stand out from the crowd. This isn’t always easy, especially if you don’t know how to code. However, with beehiiv you can customize your newsletter to match your company’s branding with ease.
Maio pointed out, “The biggest thing with the other email platforms was the lack of customization and the fact that I had to create every single email with image blocks. It just got really tiring cause I couldn't figure out the dimensions, and the pixels, and making sure that it looked nice in an email. So being able to use beehiiv so seamlessly felt really great.”
beehiiv’s simple setup allows you to customize your newsletter to match your branding and aesthetics without the use of integrations, coding, or even the need for a graphic designer. You just plug and play your branding palette and it’s done.
Further customization to tweak your branding can be done right in the beehiiv email editor in seconds.
Maio shared, “We have a very specific brand. Making sure that [a newsletter tool] follows our brand colors and our ethos and what it looks like [was important]. I was able to make it exactly how I wanted it to look, but in a template, so I didn't have to do those image blocks. So [beehiiv] just checked all the boxes for us.”
beehiiv releases new products and features regularly, and Maio notes that the team behind the platform is a major reason she chose beehiiv in the first place.
In Maio’s view, “I've been surprised at the feature rollouts and how quickly and how often they come. I am, again, surprised that every feature is [released] with the customer in mind and the content creator in mind.”
Maio also shared, “These features are so valuable in terms of growing a newsletter. I feel like with other platforms, it's on the onus of the content creator to increase their following and to promote themselves and market themselves. Whereas yes, of course, I continue to market our newsletter and subscribers. [But], there's something internal and inherent on the platform that helps drive that growth as well. So from a technical standpoint, beehiiv is always helping us increase our awareness and exposure. So for that, I feel super grateful.”
She continued, “I just see the type of founders and brands that use beehiiv and I feel like I'm amongst the right group.”
Results with beehiiv
Since launching on beehiiv, LA Happenings by Camber Newsletter has seen impressive results. Maio was able to grow her newsletter to over 8,700 subscribers in just over a year! In addition to the rapid subscriber growth, she’s also seeing solid engagement.
LA Happenings by Camber is seeing open rates of 71% and click-through rates of 14.9% which is amazing. In addition to the impressive newsletter engagement and growth, Maio has also received several offers from potential sponsors to advertise in her newsletter.
Maio shared, “In terms of results for our newsletter, the open rates have been well over the average. And so I feel really excited about that.”
While Maio shared her excitement about the numbers, she also touched on the bigger picture in terms of providing value to the Camber community as a whole.
She mentioned, “I think [the newsletter] helps with loyalty. It helps with understanding that people are actually engaging with our content and think it's valuable. I think people find it really reliable, and it's a trustworthy resource for people in Los Angeles specifically.
She continued, “TikTok followers or app downloads are our main metrics of success. But the newsletter has—very organically, and with no marketing and no dollar spent behind it—grown so much. And so I've been super grateful for everyone that comes to us. The open rate is so successful, so I know that everyone that's actually coming to our newsletter is a loyal subscriber and a loyal person.”
Maio went on to highlight some of the positive feedback on her newsletter, sharing, “I've been out in LA and people have recognized me and said, ‘Oh my God, I'm obsessed with the newsletter. It's the first thing I open every single Monday morning. It comes at 5:00 AM and I'm so excited. I devour it, and read every single word.’”
In Maio’s view, “I think people are very skim-based when it comes to newsletters. So I feel very fortunate that people are actually taking the time to not miss a single thing on the newsletter.”
Favorite beehiiv Features
beehiiv’s Intuitive Email Editor
One of the top features, according to Maio, is beehiiv’s email editor. Maio has tried other newsletter platforms, like MailChimp and FloDesk, but found that their editors were too complicated and difficult to use.
Maio shared, “We twiddled around with a lot of different platforms. I honestly became really frustrated with email marketing and other platforms. We used MailChimp, we used Flodesk. I attempted to use Klaviyo, but it was really expensive, especially for a startup. And honestly, even though there are drag-and-drop tools within other platforms, I still ended up finding myself creating image blocks… And then uploading… And then making sure it was linked—and making sure everything was loading. It just felt like such a heavy load.”
Maio shared, “[beehiiv] is a very easy, drag-and-drop, templatized way to create a newsletter.”
beehiiv’s Advanced Email Capture Forms
For Maio, one of the top features was beehiiv’s built-in growth tools, like the advanced email capture forms.
Maio shared, “I love the new scroll and pop-up [feature] where people can subscribe. People could go to the customized landing page and read the content, but it was given for free. Whereas, [with beehiiv’s pop-up form], it stops you in your tracks and forces you to give your email [address] in order to read the rest.”
From this one feature alone, Maio has seen plenty of growth. She commented, “I've seen a major difference. That’s definitely why my subscriber count has gone up in the past couple of weeks because we've been starting to use that feature. It's just such an easy thing—that I just pressed a button—and now my subscribers are growing.”
Maio continued, “Everything that beehiiv does, and what I've noticed and felt really supported by, is you guys. The team is really focused on rolling out features that help with growth, that help with the content creators—that really help with that growth of not only your subscribers but the value that you're adding. And I feel that pretty immensely. Every feature is something that you can easily use. We've built this for you so that you can grow 10x. I don't have to piecemeal it or hack the system to make people subscribe.”
beehiiv’s SEO Optimization
beehiiv’s editor includes a simple SEO sidebar that lets you optimize your site and your web-based newsletters for search engines. Since beehiiv’s newsletters can be published on the web, this allows you to be found by new readers and expand your reach on autopilot.
Maio shared, “The SEO component—I appreciate it so much. I don't know how to do SEO. But the fact that it's literally just right there spelled out for me of what to write and where to put it is super easy. I don't even have to think about it. I just appreciate all of these features that are being rolled out with the consumer's needs in mind.”
Enjoying this case study? Learn how the founder of Inverse Cramer used beehiiv to launch, newsletter, scale, and get his newsletter acquired all within one year. Read the full case study here.
Looking forward, Mady Maio’s plan for the Camber app and LA Happenings by Camber is to continue using beehiiv to build up the core community.
Maio shared, “So right now it's been about the community extension—How do we make sure it's super niche? Where do people go to find all this information in one place? And that's what beehiiv solved for us. It's been such an incredible experience on the platform. I know we will continue to use [beehiiv]. This will be our community hub.”
Maio also mentioned plans to expand the newsletter into new cities. She shared, “In terms of growing the newsletter, Camber, right now, is focused on Los Angeles to build that localized community. And then, we will expand to different cities. What I intend to do is create a newsletter for each major city that we expand to so that people, again, have that hub of things to do in their local community.”
When asked what cities she’ll expand the newsletter to, Maio shared how data from her newsletter subscribers is giving her insights into where to launch next.
She shared, “When we expand to other cities, we'll create different email lists for those cities. We haven't decided which city we'll expand to. I think New York is probably the most obvious. But what we've been seeing is a lot of people that either subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on TikTok are new residents of Los Angeles.”
Maio continued, “They've just moved here less than six months ago. So we've been looking into cities that have this influx of new residents. So Austin, San Diego, Miami, Denver. So obviously, I think New York is definitely the next step, but those are the areas we're looking into.”
A little over a year ago, Mady Maio launched her first newsletter on beehiiv with a mission to foster an engaged community on an easy-to-use platform. With 8,700+ subscribers in just over a year, 71% open rates, and 14.9% click-through rates, Maio is already on track to creating an engaged community around the Camber app.
Maio finished by stating, “If a friend was on the fence about trying beehiiv… I would relay to them that being on beehiiv is not only a great way to customize and hyper-personalize your newsletter, but it's also a great way for your brand to have a community spot that people can go to—to read all of your newsletters and all of your content one place.”
If you’re thinking of launching your first newsletter, or you have a newsletter already but are looking to switch to a better platform, then check out beehiiv. If you’re looking to grow a newsletter on a simple, intuitive platform built for creators, you can get started on beehiiv for free today.