We're getting close to the end of our opening month with Selected, and it's been a learning process. To all of you who've joined us - you're awesome, and thank you! To all of you who've been following along, but haven't quite subscribed yet - don't forget, you only get one more free week. 😉
I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of the aforementioned learnings with you.
We’ve been doing a biweekly newsletter with Startup Sesame for the past 3+ years. We use Sendgrid; it works for us but it was built for transactional emails. Other ESPs are a lot better for marketing emails.
We did a weekly digest experiment using Buttondown in 2019 but it never really took off.
Over the summer we ran a survey to understand if our community was willing to pay for something more curated.
- We got 250+ answers
- more than 65% of respondents indicated that they would pay for a weekly newsletter
While paying for business information isn't a new thing, the rise of The Hustle into the world's largest newsletter is a different phenomenon.
With their new media trends.co, the founder @theSamParr expects to reach $100M annual revenues by 2025!
I believe this is largely due to the rise of the passion economy: users can now build audiences at scale and turn their passions into livelihoods.
So they spend more money on content that was once reserved to professionals.
Wondering how newsletters make money? Read this article > trends.co/articles/how-newsletters-make-money/
Other signals: some writers make $500,000 per year on Substack, Harry Dry got 20k subs in a year, and Anne-Laure Le Cunff is about to reach that milestone as well.
What can we learn from those indie makers as a small business?
First, use their tools. We run Selected by Sesamers with Ghost, Mailerlite, Airtable, Zapier, Notion, & Stripe.
There's a bunch of other tools that we're testing, but the core is mostly Ghost & Mailerlite. Both are great platforms that were built initially with creators and individuals in mind, not businesses. And they do a better job at what we need than most pro tools.
Oh, and we published our landing page for sesamers using Carrd.
Second, write great content consistently. We work with contributors and make sure they are at the heart of the articles we're producing. You can apply to join us here: smrs.link/writers
Third, find your niche. For us it was quite obvious: we are event experts and we write about them. For now we're focusing on events for founders & investors, but we will soon add more verticals that are not linked to technology.
Fourth, provide measurable value. That's a tricky one. We use our API to provide our paid members with an updated calendar they can add to their Google, Apple or Outlook agenda. You can monitor what's coming up in your industry with this tool.
Lastly, build in public. This is the hardest part for us. We've been working on our platform in stealth mode for too long. And then the event industry got shut down.
Selected by Sesamers is a pivot focused on what our community needs right now. Not next year.
Newsletters I follow:
- Felipe Silva
- Capital Call
- Exponential View
- Dense Discovery
- James Clear
- Napkin Math
- Morning Brew
One more thing, check out this tool if you want to consume newsletter like a boss Slick Inbox.