IF you need a newsletter but can't afford the expense, this is a free tool with the ability to sell a premium version.
In the last episode, we mentioned mailerlite is a powerful email list and more affordable than some competitors. But what if you want a free solution?
For me, after using Mailerlite for a while, it dawned on my that I don't need all the marketing tools it provides. My newsletter is more for communicating with my audience. I started using Substack.
The exciting part of Substack is on a normal week, I might have 3-5 new signups, and Substack seems to do a great job of cross-promotion. Your newsletter is also on a web-based version of it. You can turn a chat for your newsletter.
The surprising thing was that I was playing with the premium tool. This enables you to sell access to premium posts in your newsletter. Without promoting it, I had someone sign up for a yearly account.
In terms of using Substack as a marketing tool, their terms of service, "Substack is not an email marketing platform. We don’t permit publications that are set up with the sole purpose of advertising an external product or service, distributing offers and promotions, or similar activity."
So I think the key phrase that could get you in trouble is the phrase "Sole purpose" of advertising.
It also has an app to read/listen to posts on your device. When I say listen, you can record and use substack as a free tool for a podcast. For me, I uploaded a version of my summarizing the newsletter topics for that episode.
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Hey, I'm Dave Jackson from the Schoolofpodcasting.com. And in 2023, I just started off like, hey, let's look at what I'm doing. Let's look at what I'm paying for. And let's not pay for anything that I don't use. And in the last episode, I talked about how I was using mailer light and mailer light, if you want an email marketing tool, and do it, you know, affordably. That's the tool.
But it dawned on me, I wasn't really using mailer light, for marketing, I was basically just communicating with my audience. So I wasn't doing any lead magnets, I have another tool for that. I wasn't doing the A B split testing, I don't need that stuff for what I use a newsletter for. Now, obviously, your mileage may vary. But that just dawned on me.
So I thought, well, I could save a few dollars here, if I switched to substack, because I noticed that a lot of the emails that I was reading, were using substack. And so one of the cool things about it. And I'm I'm going to pin this on substack, because I used to get maybe three to five people that would join my newsletter every week. And I would have it in the bottom of my description and be like, click here to sign up for the newsletter. And I had a few lead magnets and things like that. But primarily, the lead magnet thing was a minor thing. So I was like, well, that's interesting. Well, in the first week of using substack, I got almost 10 new subscribers. So I believe they do some cross promotion.
I know when you create an addition, I guess you would call it since it's a newsletter that it's on. It's a web based version as well. So it just seems to give you a little more promotion. And so I was like, huh, so I started playing with it. And I was surprised because they have the ability to basically sell your newsletter, there are people in fact, this is another reason why I started using this. I spoke at the Erma Bombeck writers workshop last year, and there was a guy there who is making a living because of substack. Now he's a writer. So again, newsletter may be a little better fit.
But I started playing with their premium tool and didn't realize I had turned it on. And without even promoting it. I had somebody sign up for a year. And I was like, well, now I gotta make premium content. But that's a good problem to have. Now, the one thing you might be thinking about, and I was thinking about it, too, and there is a little bit of a loophole here.
"substack is not an email marketing platform. That is a sense. We do. We don't permit publications that are set up with the sole purpose of advertising an external product or service, distributing offers, and promotions, or similar activity. "
And the funny phrase, there is sole purpose. And they don't really, I mean, that's one of those that could be defined in a couple of different ways. Maybe. And so for me, my assault, yes, my purpose is to get people to join the school of podcasting. But that's not the sole purpose. I'm also communicating things like what's going on in the news, and pointing out what I'm working on. I give a lot of like the the scenes stuff of the School of podcasting in that.
Now the other interesting thing is, it's also an app to read or listen to the newsletter. Now when I say listen, yeah, you can record and use substack as a free tool for a podcast now. I wouldn't recommend them as a podcast solution. Because it's a newsletter thing. And usually when it's like, oh, we're this but we also do podcasting.
Kajabi is a great example of that. Kajabi is a great marketing tool. It's kind of expensive for my tastes, but they started podcasting. And first, they didn't have a 301 redirect, then they added a 301 redirect and as I record this in February 2023 they change you're we're gonna get our Geek on our Gu ID, which is basically the social security number of every episode. So if you go to Kajabi, for your podcast and go, this is not as good as I thought and go to move back, you've got a problem.
So again, that's an example of a company that is getting on to podcasting because it's hot; they want some of that sweet, sweet podcast money. So I wouldn't use substack for a podcast because they're a newsletter platform. And it's from what I've seen a great newsletter platform, it's also really easy to make a newsletter.
That's the other thing that I had some issues with mailer light in the early days that they later fixed, but they do newsletters very well. So for me, what I did was I uploaded a nonpolished just me talking into a microphone version of me summarizing the newsletter, because I realize it's a newsletter, about podcasting. And there's a really good chance that people might want to listen to my newsletter, then read it. So I'm playing with it. I like it, it works.
I've got great stats on how many people you know opened it and what they clicked on and things like that. So if you don't need the marketing arm of a newsletter, you might want to check out substack because Oh, yeah, it's free. And to be honest with you, I realize you might be going, but if you do sell it, how much do they take? It's around the same realm of like a Patreon somewhere around 10%, something like that.
I actually didn't really dive that deep into it, because I never planned on selling anything. It just so happened that somebody saw my my link that I had left turned on it didn't realize it. And I was like, Huh. So again, if you are listening to this on the phone, you'll see where I have the word sub stack a couple of times there that is highlighted. Those links will somehow show up that I referred you and it's interesting, because it's not. It's not an affiliate thing. I'm not sure what that does.
But somehow I think that my listeners will occasionally be somehow notified that somebody who likes Dave Jackson has also started a newsletter. I need to dig deeper into that. But the bottom line is what I wanted to bring it up for today is it's free. So if you need a free email list, and you don't plan on just promoting all your stuff, you might want to check out substack
Transcribed by https://otter.ai