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Launching a Paid Newsletter
5 Elements of an Effective Paid Newsletter
A paid email subscription has been a ticket to financial freedom for hundreds of creators and entrepreneurs.
Imagine what’s possible with just a few thousand readers willing to contribute $50 a year for your premium content. You could thrive while only working a few hours a week, doing what you love.
This is a very achievable goal, and we’re going to show you how to reach it. Here are five elements of an effective paid newsletter.
#1 Offer Unique Content
You already owe a lot to the readers who have given you their email and a small share of their attention.
As soon as you have subscribers paying for the WiFi and your next pair of Crocs, you need to take it up a notch and deliver an original, first-class experience.
Now, the core of this is always going to be your talent, creativity, and content. That’s how you earned subscribers to your free newsletter and followers on your social media platforms.
But readers who pay are expecting something more. You don’t necessarily need to save all your best content for these subscribers, but you should give them something they can’t get anywhere else.
Share stories about your personal life, your struggles, and your challenges. Give your readers a glimpse “behind the scenes.” This personal approach works especially well if you’re an artist or entertainer, or if your readers are trying to emulate you and achieve what you’ve achieved.
You’re giving your fans the “big picture” of your lifestyle, possibly helping them to see themselves doing it too, and telling the truth about what it takes.
#2 Give Your Readers Specific Help
Give your premium readers a separate, private way to ask you specific questions. Then, answer these questions in detail in your paid subscription newsletter.
For example, “Last week, Mike asked about ways to use cryptocurrency to buy commercial real estate. Mike made a down payment on an apartment building using Bitcoin, and now he’s in a dispute with the other investors over how much equity he owns. I’m going to show you how to structure a new win/win deal out of this situation…”
#3 Share Your Original “Pro Tips”
Every profession has its best practices which the typical beginner doesn’t know about. Free content often involves sharing these professional tips.
But as an expert, you’ve probably tweaked some of these practices to develop your own personal style. Share these hacks!
A similar strategy is to use your own research and experiments. You probably cite other articles and resources in your content, but once in a while, you may come up with a new strategy or tactic that nobody else has tried.
Whenever you experiment with a new approach, share your successes and failures with your paid subscribers.
#4 Make The Transition to a Paid Email Subscription
Your loyal readers are already receiving content they love, and they are used to getting it for free. There’s going to be resistance when you start asking for money.
Your job is to turn this resistance around and have your current readers salivating for your paid content.
In order to launch a premium email newsletter, you’ll want to build up anticipation. Weeks before you launch your paid email subscription, give your subscribers lots of teasers and samples of premium content.
Carefully plan your launch, and consider these tactics to build your list of paid newsletter subscribers rapidly:
Offer high-value premiums in return for subscribing
Create a special “Charter Membership” for early subscribers that comes with extra perks, such as a coaching call, a lifetime discount, bonus material, or some combination of these
Create urgency and scarcity by limiting the above offers to the first 100 people, or by having the offer expire after a limited time
#5 Use a World-class Paid Newsletter Platform
The right paid newsletter subscription service can give your readers a frictionless experience and eliminate most of your customer service issues.
More importantly, a paid newsletter platform enables you to deliver your content with the least amount of effort. This frees up your time to focus on quality and grow your audience.
It would be best if you looked differently at your metrics when you have a paid subscription newsletter.
Having stellar delivery rates is non-negotiable.
Bounces and undeliverable emails are literally lost money.
Understanding your subscription rates and unsubscribe rates is essential because these numbers represent your livelihood.
Make sure you have a platform that enables you to keep a close eye on these and other metrics.
In fact, when you look at metrics for a paid newsletter, the key isn’t to focus on one metric more than another. The lesson is that everything is more important than before.
On top of this, you will want to get lots of referrals and testimonials to keep your newsletter growing. It is also essential that your paid newsletter platform has a robust system for segmenting your readers.
This is why choosing the right paid newsletter subscription service is the most important element of a paid email subscription.
Best Options for a Paid Newsletter Subscription Service
There are many paid newsletter subscription services. We’ve reviewed 10 of them on our blog, but some of the more useful services include Mailchimp, beehiiv, and Substack. Here’s a short take on each one.
Mailchimp is a popular platform that comes with some useful tools. Mailchimp offers most of the features we’ve discussed, and you can pay for add-on features.
On the downside, Mailchimp doesn’t have an integrated referral program to grow your list, it doesn’t support paywalling, and does not directly support paid subscriptions.
However, if you want a solid email platform with high delivery rates and some basic functionality, Mailchimp could be right for you.
There is one good reason to use Substack. If you are primarily a writer, and you want to produce lots of content that will be read far and wide, Substack may be right for you.
In many ways, Substack follows the old-school print magazine model. Like a shopper looking at a magazine cover in the checkout line, users can see headlines and some teaser content, but they have to pay to read everything.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution for website, email, data analytics, and the ability to own your list, then Substack isn’t your best option.
But Substack is a good model for a passionate writer if you want your content optimized for mobile devices, you want to get paid, and you don’t need a lot of bells and whistles.
For many creators, beehiiv is the gold standard. In addition to giving you access to developer tools that would normally cost hundreds of dollars a month, beehiiv focuses like a laser on the features that our users have requested.
Creators who want to rapidly grow their paid email subscription newsletters can take advantage of landing pages, magic links, a professional-looking website, and more.
There are many other tools related to authentication, promotions, free trials, and advanced email capture.
Best of all for a paid email newsletter, beehive has a payment structure that doesn’t require you to pay a percentage of your subscription revenue. In other words, when you monetize your newsletter, you can pay a flat monthly cost, scale up, and keep 100% of your subscription revenue.
This can really pay off as you begin to grow your list. It’s just one more reason to start your beehiiv newsletter today.