⚡ don't pay for subscribers before considering these 3 critical factors

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Hey Reader,

Welcome to the 119th edition of Growth Currency⚡— the now-fortnightly newsletter that helps you start + grow + improve + monetize your newsletter.

Yep—it's meta: a newsletter about newsletters. Check out older editions here.

In this edition:

» 3 things you need to consider before paying for subscriber growth 💸
» A virtuous cycle of newsletter growth 🔁
» 10 powerful newsletter tools ⚒️
» Selling out 2 months of newsletter ads in 23 hrs ⏱️

…and more!

Shall we?

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ARTICLE by Growth Currency


I recently wrote about the rise of newsletter recommendations.

But something I didn’t cover in depth was the paid growth opportunity.

SparkLoop launched its Partner Network in 2022, along with its Upscribe recommendation widget allowing newsletter publishers with Partner Programs to pay other newsletters in their partner network for qualified, approved subscribers.

Beehiiv just launched its Boosts feature to do the same in its network. Likely only a matter of time before Substack (and others?) follow suit.

These platforms are trying to solve the “big problem” for newsletter publishers: newsletters are notoriously hard to grow. So, this newfound opportunity to jump in and start blowing budgets to get new subscribers is TEMPTING.

But before you do, there are a few things you need to figure out.

You can pay for newsletter subscribers — but should you?

First, will more subscribers help you reach your newsletter goals?

A bigger email list can help you…

sell more of your own products & services
convert more subscribers to a paid newsletter subscription
charge a higher advertising & sponsorship rate
make more affiliate sales & commission

So if you have revenue goals, a bigger list can help. But before you start swiping your credit card for more subscribers, there are a few key factors to consider…

  • Subscriber Quality
  • Subscriber Lifetime Value
  • CAC Payback Period

If you’re not careful, you could wind up paying for subscribers who…

❌ don’t engage
❌ cost you more than you can afford
❌ and inevitably get deleted during your next cold subscriber cull

So let’s get strategic and not burn cash.


LINKS by Growth Currency

"Knowledge is the currency of growth."


How we use (and love) SparkLoop with They Got Acquired by Alexis Grant

Key takeaways: Learn how and why Alexis grows her newsletter with SparkLoop:

"One of the reasons [SparkLoop's Upscribe] is brilliant is because newsletter operators can use it to cover the costs of acquiring new subscribers.

We use the tool mostly to pay others to send us new subscribers. We also earn money by recommending other newsletters at the end of our sign-up process."

A Virtuous Cycle of Newsletter Growth by Armando Roggio

Key takeaways: Armando explains how by following the 3 steps of the Virtuous Cycle (below), you can crank up your growth as you reinvest the revenue from your growing list.

→ Advertise for new subscribers
Monetize subscribers (quickly)
→ Optimize for growth


10 Powerful Tools to Boost Your Newsletter by Yong-Soo Chung

(This is a podcast link but the tools are all listed in the show notes.)

Key Takeaways: Yong-Soo has grown a lot with newsletter swaps (in-network) and cross-promotions (off-network), and this is the most important point he makes:

The Golden Rule for newsletter swaps: Growth Rate > List Size


Here's how I sold out two months' worth of sponsorships in 23 hours by Anthony Castrio

Key Takeaways: Anthony dropped his prices to the point that demand overtook supply. This reminds me of Josh Spector's philosophy of preferring to sell out a 70-seat theatre ("We're sold out!") than selling 70 seats in a 100-seat theatre.

twitter profile avatar
Anthony Castrio
Twitter Logo
Twitter Logo
I want to sell out of sponsorship slots for February so I'm going to do something kind of dumb. Sponsorships are now $5 for one or three for $10 until the month is sold out. https://www.passionfroot.xyz/boteatbrain
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Advertise on the Bot Eat Brain newsletter and...
Let's work together! Visit my Passionfroot page for more info and to book your s...
1:45 PM • Feb 15, 2023

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Thanks for making it to the end—I try and save some personal ramblings for this space.


Thanks once again for reading to the end. Know that I appreciate it, and you.

If you read this section last week, you learned it was the penultimate edition before a mini-hiatus.

Which means this is the final edition before a 3-month break.

I'll see you back here again in a bit. Be well and enjoy your summer (or winter)!


How would you rate this edition?

⚡⚡⚡⚡⚡ Electrifying!
⚡⚡⚡ A decent jolt.
Just static...

PS - here are last edition's TWO most popular links:

#1: Are your newsletter readers ADDICTED? by Growth Currency ⚡ (79 clicks)
The 3 emails you should send after someone gets your lead magnet by Jeff Felten (73 clicks)

Other resources to help you:

The 1KS Roadmap: A Free Course To Your First 1,000 Subscribers
The Ultimate Creator Database of Awesomeness
Advertise in this newsletter

Peace and platonic love,


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