3 min read

Launching a Newsletter

Launching a Newsletter
Photo by Mathyas Kurmann / Unsplash

Welcome back, beautiful people of the Earth!

If you are following along in this series, I am launching (at least) two businesses this year:

  • a newsletter
  • a SaaS

In this post I'll go through my thought process on how to chose a platform, and ideas on future developments and marketing for the newsletter.

Let's get into it.

Choosing a platform

This is easy once you have the requirements down:

  • must support custom domains
  • must be easy to use and support various embeds (tweets, YouTube videos, etc.)
  • preferably open source - I'm a big believer in the "own your platform" mantra

That's it.

The main contenders nowadays are:

Let's take a closer look.

Substack

It is a nice platform, but...

Oddly enough, they charge a 50 $ one time fee to use a custom domain. Don't ask me why. As a customer it feels like an excuse to charge you 50 $ for no reason other than the fact that they can.

Going for a paid newsletter? Not initially, but I will add a paid tier in the future if I get traction. Here's the problem: if you have paid subscribers Substack will take 10% off your income. It's the only service in this list that does that.

Oh, and it's closed source.

In conclusion, Substack does have a few nice features but the cons outweigh the pros. And if you consider that other platforms have more features...

Beehiiv

Weird misspelling, but a few interesting features. I've heard from a few different people that the team moves fast and it's responsive to feedback, which is good. And Shaan Puri is an investor if I am not mistaken.

The platform looks great:

  • they have an integrated referral program
  • customer segmentation
  • an Ad network
  • support for A/B testing
  • a recommendation network
  • premium subscription (zero fees)

The cons?

  • custom domains are on the paid Grow tier (49$/month)
  • it's closed source

The main issue is the custom domain. I don't want to pay 50 $ a month to use a custom domain - the only reason for me to use the paid tier. Why is it not in the free tier?

It's closed source, but it has enough nice features to make it worth the risk of a relying on a closed platform. But that custom domain thing...

Ghost

A CMS designed to allow creators to manage newsletters and podcasts. It is easy and nice to use, and while it has less features than Beehiiv, it is open source. They offer a hosted version, which I may use in the beginning - knowing that I can switch to a self hosted instance in a whim.

The features missing from Ghost compared to Beehiiv:

  • no integrated referral program
  • no customer segmentation
  • no Ad network
  • no support for A/B testing
  • no a recommendation network

It does support premium subscriptions via an integration with Stripe.

And it's what I'm using for this website.

Do we have a winner?

Kinda.

The winner: why pick one?

I like the growth features that Beehiiv has, but that price tag is too steep for me at this stage.

The solution?

A hybrid.

I'll use Ghost for the website, which gives me something nice looking with little effort. And I'll use Beehiiv for sending emails. I should be able to integrate the two to keep the subscribers synced.

The launch and marketing plan

I said I was going to launch it by today, but I decided to postpone the launch by a few days.

The reason is that I want everything to be set up properly, and coming up with a name took longer than expected...

As for marketing: if you know me and you work in Web3 or crypto, I will relentlessly bother you until you subscribe.

Other than that, I have a small Twitter account that I was using in the past for crypto tweets that can be repurposed for this. I am going to rename it, and that will give me a small audience to announce this to. I will post from my personal Twitter account, and I will try to shill it on LinkedIn.

Stay tuned for an extra post sometime this week. That will mark the official launch!

See you soon!