I hated newsletters. Why? Because people keep adding me without my permission. I spent too much of my time trying to unsubscribe to crap I never asked to receive.
I thought blogs and social networks would kill email. They obviously didn’t. I still spend a huge amount of time in my emails.
I always liked sharing how I build things and get feedback, not sure why I decided to do it by email but on Nov 23, 2015 I decided to start a newsletter sharing my progress on my new startup Leade.rs.
I had two main motivations, make myself accountable by having to report weekly on my own progress and then create a community of friends who want to help me and would check out my app once I have it. I was inspired by Product Hunt and Ryan Hoover telling the story how he built it from an email experiment.
I did not manually add anyone to the list. I did not import my address book or LinkedIn contacts. I did not use any existing list. I just hate when people do that to me so why would I do it to them? I just posted about it on social networks. I also added at the end of each of my blog posts that readers could register if they found that post interesting.
About 3 months later I have about 10,000 subscribers from 100+ countries, I had no idea I would get so many so fast if at all. I actually wonder how that happened. I get between 50 and 60% open rate in average per newsletter (might not last!). More importantly I realize every day very good friends and/or important people in my life read it as they tell me about it.
I try to write honestly as if I were telling a friend about it. I try to not promote but tell things as they happen. I also share difficult things and questions I don’t have answers to. I ask regularly for feedback and get hundreds of emails back.
The benefits are incredible.
-constant flow of suggestions and feedback on everything I do or share
-investors contacted me reading my newsletters. Both business angels and top VC firms.
-many people offer their help or offer to join the company full-time
-some journalists read it and I already got a few stories I wasn’t expecting
-competition also contacted me, which I list as positive to know my space
A few negatives.
-some people add me to their own newsletter without asking and it’s sometimes very agressive marketing which I did not want, they don’t follow the double opt-in rule.
-a ton of email volume sometimes makes me miss important emails but that’s totally manageable
-many of my emails get into the spam folder of my friends even if they want opted-in and want to read it, difficult to improve that.
I am trying to learn to get better at it.
What are the best newsletters you read? Any tips in general about newsletters? Thanks!
If you liked reading this post, you might also enjoy my weekly newsletter where I describe my journey building my new startup.