How To Promote a Newsletter: 13 Ways To Grow Your Email List

Updated on December 21, 2023


A newsletter is the most powerful tool creators should have when building an audience online.

Starting a newsletter is easy, but growing one is a different story.

The secret lies in effective and constant promotion.

From leveraging social media to tapping into the power of word-of-mouth, there are numerous strategies at your disposal.

Let’s dive into the top strategies that will get eyes on yours.

Why Is It Important To Promote Your Newsletter?

Promoting your newsletter is key to building a strong email list.

There’s no other way around it.

If nobody knows about it, how do you expect them to subscribe?

You work hard creating content that matters, and promotion makes sure people see it.

And for most newsletters, it’s free.

So don’t be afraid to seem too “salesy.”

Be unapologetic.

1. Seek Recommendations from Other Creators

“Your network is your net worth.”

I’m sure you’ve heard this before.

There’s no better way than promoting your newsletter and getting it in front of another creator’s audience.

Find creators who share topics with you and see if they will feature you through the newsletter platform recommendation system.

Here’s an example of my newsletter getting recommended by another via the Convertkit creator network:

the standout newsletter promoting the creator rebellionPin

It’s a win-win for both parties.

Their followers get to know about your cool stuff and you might gain some of those followers for yourself.

2. Implement a Referral Program

I love games. Do you?

Part of the reason why they’re so addictive is because of reward systems.

And if you want existing subscribers to act as advocates and promote your newsletter, you have to give incentives.

That’s why you should also implement a gamified referral system.

Here’s mine.

the creator rebellion referral reward systemPin

I only have one at the moment, but you obviously can add more as you go.

Here are extra pointers:

  • Set clear rewards for referrers: Choose freebies, special content, or discounts that encourage subscribers to share your newsletter.
  • Make sharing easy: Include share buttons in emails and create simple messages that followers can send to friends.
  • Track referrals accurately: Use tools like ConvertKit and Sparkloop to keep count of who refers whom.
  • Announce the program clearly: Tell your subscribers about the benefits and rules of the referral program through an email blast.
  • Highlight top referrers: Show appreciation by featuring them in your newsletter or on social media platforms to motivate others.
  • Keep it fresh: Update rewards and promote the program regularly to maintain interest and participation.
  • Monitor results and make improvements: Watch how the program performs and fine-tune it for better success.

3. Organize Lead Magnet Giveaways

Giveaways always excite people and get them to join your email list.

Because who doesn’t love free stuff?

But I prefer using it in combination with a lead magnet.

Here’s one I did via X.

Here’s an overview of how to do it:

  1. Create a lead magnet: It can be an ebook, template, checklist or anything easily consumed.
  2. Create a landing page: You can use ConvertKit or Beehiiv and make the lead magnet downloadable after the reader has given up their email.
  3. Use an Auto-DM tool: I use Hypefury for X to schedule the post and send readers a direct message with the link to the landing page after they have followed and replied with a specific keyword. Unfortunately, there isn’t such a tool for LinkedIn at the moment, so you’ll have to do it manually.

This is an excellent way to promote your newsletter on social media and get a boat load of subscribers.

But use it sparingly as you don’t want to be only known for giveaways.

4. Collaborate with Other Creators

Teaming up with fellow creators is similar to getting recommended but without the help of your newsletter platform’s network.

You’ll have to perform manual outreach and propose it.

Here’s how to make it work:

  • Reach out to creators in similar niches: Explain how a partnership could benefit you both.
  • Host joint events: This way, you can engage people and encourage them to sign up for both newsletters.
  • Swap content with creators in similar fields: Featuring each other’s work can introduce new quality material to your respective subscribers.
  • Share each other’s newsletters on social media platforms: Tagging and mentioning one another increases visibility and reach.
  • Offer exclusive interviews or features: Mention other creators in your newsletter and they might return the favor or share it on social media.

5. Offer Engaging Email Courses

Take a look at my newsletter opt-in form on the right sidebar of this article.

It says you’ll get a “free 5-day creator crash course.”

This also acts as a lead magnet and a great way to provide extreme value upfront.

It’s an offer so good that they would be unwise to resist.

What’s the worst that could happen?

They’ll unsubscribe.

But you a multi-day sequence to convince them to stay otherwise.

Just ensure the content is excellent.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Create a series of lessons on a topic you know well: Your subscribers want to learn from an expert like you.
  • Make each email lesson short and easy to understand: People are busy, so deliver valuable information quickly.
  • Include real-life examples in your lessons: This helps learners see how they can use the information in their own lives.
  • Use stories to teach a point: Storytelling makes your lessons more interesting and memorable.
  • Add quizzes or small challenges at the end of each lesson: This is optional but it makes incentivizes replies and click rates.
  • Set up automated emails for course delivery: This way, once someone signs up, they get all the lessons without delay.
  • Ask for feedback after the course ends: This shows you care about their experience and can help improve future courses. It’s also an opportunity for you to gather testimonials with a tool like Senja.

This takes slightly more work than your average lead magnet.

But it’s a better way to build authority and trust before leading into a paid offer.

6. Design a Subscriber-Centric Landing Page

If you’re not creating a dedicated newsletter landing page, you’re missing out.

This is a common mistake made by new creators.

Make your landing page all about the subscriber.

Just remember one word:

BENEFITS.

What does the reader get from signing up for your newsletter?

Here are a few key elements you should include:

  • A compelling headline
  • An inline opt-in form
  • Testimonials (if you have any)
  • A backlog of your past issues
  • An FAQ section to answer any objections
  • A final CTA opt-in form to capture the emails so they don’t have to scroll to the top

Keep it simple.

This means only asking for their email address and not including any other unnecessary links to distract them.

Don’t give visitors a reason to leave because your asks are too much.

Trust builds when subscribers know what type of communication is coming their way.

7. Optimize Your Website for Sign-ups

After focusing on your landing page, the next step is to ensure your entire website encourages newsletter sign-ups.

Here’s how:

  • Place sign-up forms in high-traffic areas: Places include the homepage and newsletter landing page which makes it easy for visitors to find them.
  • Use pop-ups with care: They should appear after someone has spent some time on your site, not right away. I prefer using an exit-intent popup which only appears once they hover their cursor to close the browser tab.
  • Add a sticky sign-up widget: I don’t do this across my website but only on the sidebar of my articles. This makes subscribing easy and frictionless.
  • Make the sign-up process simple: Only ask for essential information like their email address and/or first name.
  • Show off the benefits of subscribing: You can use a short one-liner or bullet points near the form.
  • Include testimonials: You’ll notice me use these on my homepage, footer, and the main newsletter homepage. There’s nothing stronger than social proof.
  • Ensure the sign-up buttons stand out: Use contrasting colors and clear wording like “Join Now” or “Get Updates” or “Receive your guide.”

8. Promote Through Social Media

Social media is a top-funnel traffic source with existing networks you should be leveraging to promote your newsletter.

If you’re already creating content on those platforms, simply include a link to your newsletter every time.

Yes, in EVERY post.

You’re not going to get signups promoting it once a week.

Here are more tips:

  • Share snippets from your latest newsletter on X, LinkedIn, and Instagram: This gives people a taste of your content and incentivizes them to sign up if they want deeper dives.
  • Ask your followers questions about an upcoming newsletter topic: This starts conversations and builds relationships.
  • Offer exclusive perks for social media followers: Perks could be early access to content or any type of lead magnet.
  • Promote your newsletter consistently: Regular posts keep you in people’s minds.
  • Add a sign-up link in your social media bios: Make it easy for people to find where they can subscribe.

Guest posting might seem foreign to you if you don’t come from the blogging and SEO world.

But it’s simply writing a blog post for another website or publication to build a strong backlink profile.

In return, you get to include some links of your choice in the content or the author bio.

These usually include:

  • Your website’s homepage
  • Other articles on your website
  • Affiliate links (Rare)
  • Products/services (Rare)

But most don’t include a link to their newsletter homepage which is a missed opportunity.

So do it.

It’s a great way to share your newsletter with a bigger crowd.

Here are some tips when guest posting:

  • Find websites that match your main niche: Look for blogs or online spaces where people are interested in what you write about. Makes convincing them to visit your newsletter landing page easier when the topics are related.
  • Contact the website owners: Send them an email or a DM on social media to prove why you’re a good fit.
  • Offer valuable content: Cover topics that aren’t included on their site so their readers want to see more from you. 
  • Include a sign-up link: Put a link at the end of your post or author bio so readers can easily join your newsletter. But confirm with the website owner first.
  • Share your guest post everywhere: Post it on social media, tell friends, and get the word out to bring more eyes to your work.
  • Keep track of results: See how many sign-ups come from each guest post to learn what works best. You’ll probably not get this information from the website owner so I suggest setting up UTM parameters with your links.
  • Build lasting relationships with site owners: This could lead to more chances to write and promote your newsletter in the future.
  • Repeat this process often: The more you write on different sites, the more new readers you can attract.

10. Use Podcasts for Promotion

Talk about your newsletter on podcasts, either as a guest or host.

This gives you a chance to reach new people who might like what you have to share.

Tell stories, give tips, and let listeners know how they can sign up for more great stuff in their inbox.

Ask podcast hosts if you can mention your newsletter during the show.

Many listeners want new things to learn or read, and this could be their next favorite email.

Make sure to create a simple way for them to join your subscriber list after hearing you on the podcast.

I don’t do this currently, but I’ve seen many creators find success with this method.

11. Archive Newsletters on Your Website

Putting past newsletters on your website is not only smart but necessary.

Newsletter emails have an extremely short life.

Tell me when was the last time you searched or referred to a newsletter issue after reading it for the first time?

Probably never, right?

That’s why you should host it on your website to make it evergreen.

That’s not all.

If you perform SEO content optimization, you’ll also reap the benefits of attracting traffic from search engines like Google.

This lets new visitors see what they’re signing up for.

It’s also more likely to increase conversions because they know what to expect.

Plus, it might make them stay longer on your page and explore more of your work.

It’s a no-brainer.

12. Guest Write for Other Newsletters

This is essentially the same as guest posting but for other newsletters.

It’s one of the best ways to get in front of a highly engaged audience.

Here’s what to do:

  • Find newsletters that share your interests: Look for ones that talk about things you’re also passionate about.
  • Reach out to these newsletter owners: Send them an email and tell them what you love about their work.
  • Offer to write something for them: Tell them about the cool ideas or stories you could write for their readers.
  • Share your expertise: When you write, give their readers special tips or specific knowledge only you have.
  • Make sure your own newsletter gets mentioned: Ask the newsletter owner to include a little bit about you and how their readers can sign up for your newsletter.
  • Write quality content: Create something really good so people want to read more from you.
  • Include a call to action: At the end of your guest post, invite readers to sign up for more great content from your newsletter.

13. Use Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is the last on this list.

It should only be done once the rest has been exhausted or optimized for.

Some of the main paid acquisition channels include:

  • Social media: Highly scalable, detailed targeting but very competitive and can get expensive.
  • Other newsletters: Probably the best-converting channel and has high flexibility. But you will need to manually find newsletters and reach out to the teams for negotiation.
  • Display ads: Infinitely scalable and has cheaper CPMs, but will have low CTR as the type of creatives you can display are very limited.
  • Co-registration: Allowing consumers to opt-in for multiple newsletters while registering for the primary one. It’s cheap but results in low-quality subscribers that opt out frequently.

Here’s how to figure out if using any of these channels is worth it:

1. Calculate The Customer Lifetime Value (LTV): This is typically calculated as LTV = Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) × Customer Lifetime

ltv formulaPin

2. Calculate the Retention Rate: The retention rate (R) is the percentage of customers you keep monthly/annually. It can be calculated by taking 1 – Churn Rate. Churn Rate (C) is the percentage of customers you lose over a certain period.

3. Calculate the Adjust LTV: Factor in the retention rate to get the adjusted LTV.

adjusted ltv formulaPin

4. Calculate the Viability: This is simply the adjusted LTV – the CAC. The CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) to LTV ratio should be around 1:3 to 5.

This is a simple but great starting point when adopting this method to promote your newsletter.

How To Promote Your Newsletter (FAQs)

How Can I Get More People To Sign Up for My Newsletter?

Offer them a personal reward when they opt in, like a special report or discount, and make sure your sign-up form is easy to find on your website.

What’s a Good Way To Tell Others About My Newsletter?

My preferred method is promoting it daily on social media platforms like X and LinkedIn.

Should I Spend Time Promoting My Newsletter Every Day?

Yes, you should include a soft promotion with a link to your newsletter landing page with every social media post. For platforms like X and LinkedIn, you can include it in the first comment to prevent deboosting and lower reach.

Why Is It Important for Creators To Have a Large Email List?

Any platform besides your email list can be taken away from you anytime. But nobody can take away your CSV file of emails. This allows you to take your audience with you anywhere.

To Sum Up

Getting people to sign up for your newsletter takes smart moves and steady work.

Remember, always share your newsletters online and ask readers to pass them on.

Keep making exciting content that grabs new subscribers.

Help others find you by being everywhere – social media, guest posts, giveaways, and more.

And keep sharing, inviting, and growing daily.

brendan aw black pic

About Brendan Aw

I’m an ex-marketing executive for 6 & 7-figures high-growth startups turned writer, creator & entrepreneur. I share my learnings as a creator while helping run my family’s crystal chandelier business.

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