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    What I learned about email marketing after 30,000 subscribers

    By Kieran Drew

    It’s crazy to think that 30,000 people might read this email.

    I want to give you an important lesson about newsletters, but first — thank you for your support. Some of you have been reading for years, some of you, a lot less. Regardless, it means the world to have your attention. These emails are the most fun part of my business and I hope to be in your inbox for decades.

    To the lesson:

    This time last year, I spoke to Chennel Basilio, who deconstructs newsletter growth for those with 50,000+ subscribers in her amazing newsletter Growth In Reverse.

    I told her she might write a piece about me by the end of 2023.

    That bravado makes me cringe now, but considering my growth rate at the time, it seemed reasonable.

    Why am I 20,000 subscribers behind?

    Well, two reasons.

    First, I was clueless back then. I mostly grew by giving away full-length courses for free. My growth was skyrocketing, but I wasn’t attracting the right people.

    I still believe in the value of these courses as ‘authority assets’ to build your reputation, but they shouldn’t be hidden behind a bribe. Let everyone take your material, and then create targeted lead magnets in exchange for emails — much higher list quality.

    The second reason?

    A shift in business plan — one that you might find important my friend.

    See, at the time, I was obsessed with the trend of newsletter ad businesses. The model is to get loads of readers and sell ad slots. But as I embarked down that route, it didn’t sit right.


    Because of what a newsletter is about.

    It is a relationship-building vehicle where you can intimately serve your fans (not like that, you dirty dog).

    If you sell ads, you have to make sure what you advertise is amazing — including the follow-up marketing. Imagine if you told a friend to go to a restaurant and the food was crap. It’s your word on the line.

    The same is true with what you promote.

    You also spend years earning the attention of your audience, only to rent it back out again. This seems short-sighted. Your audience doesn’t have unlimited money. You want them to invest in your stuff because every product and offer is an opportunity to advance the relationship. This means you should email and sell more often.

    And yes, you will get unsubscribers.

    Hell, last month, I had more people leave my list than those who joined during my first 14 months of writing.

    And that’s fine. Pitching is like having a pool filter to suck out the dregs that never really wanted to be here anyway. Those who remain are your fans. And this way, your email list becomes the strongest business asset you can own.

    I wouldn’t consider selling mine unless someone waltzed in with enough money for me to write novels for the rest of my life whilst living on a tropical beach (and I would start a new list immediately).

    Here’s the kicker:

    90% of my newsletter has been built for free through social media.

    Imagine if someone told you you could have a 7 figure asset in 3 years, and all you needed to do was share your favourite ideas and invite them to sign up.

    I’d have laughed you out of the room, then chased you for more details.

    Well, here are the details:

    Create broad-based, high-quality content on social media, and promote your list every day. Turn your best posts into engaging emails. Turn those emails into engaging posts. Treat your newsletter like your own little slice of the internet where people just like you can hang out. Share interesting stories and useful insights. This is the way.

    And if you want help with attracting an audience (including how to accelerate your newsletter sign-ups organically), then you’d love High Impact Writing.

    Thanks again for your attention.

    Writing online to grow your business? Two ways I can help:

    1.⁠ ⁠Get a step-by-step blueprint for attracting an engaged audience with High Impact Writing

    2.⁠ ⁠⁠Join a weekly masterclass and get 5 content ideas delivered to your inbox every Thursday

    Kieran Drew

    About Kieran

    Ex dentist, current writer, future Onlyfans star · Sharing what I learn about writing well, thinking clearly, and building an online business