How Startups Can Use Newsletters to Build an Audience for Your Applications | BitBakery Software

How Startups Can Use Newsletters to Build an Audience for Your Applications

June 17th, 2024 by Alex Kinsella

Social Media is in a weird place right now, and that is not great for businesses and brands that depend on platforms like Facebook, X, and LinkedIn to attract new customers and users. Building an audience for your application is crucial for success, but traditional social media channels are no longer as effective at engaging users. 

According to one recent study, X (formerly known as Twitter) usage has dropped 30% in the last year. In 2003, Meta launched Threads as a potential Twitter replacement. While it has grown in usage, it has around 33 million daily active users compared to X’s 250 million users. LinkedIn has famously “gotten weird,” with more personal content filling the feed and making it feel more like Facebook than a place to grow your professional network.

Connecting with clients (and potential new clients) is essential to us, not just for our bottom line but also for our culture of sharing changes and advancements in software design and development. Last year, we looked at the numbers and decided to try a new channel—a newsletter.

Newsletters are an efficient and cost-effective way to create and maintain a dedicated audience. We launched our newsletter, The Baker’s Dozen, in June 2023. Since then, our audience has steadily grown, and we’ve landed two new clients because one of our existing clients shared it. 

Substack is an email publishing platform created by three Canadian founders, Jairaj Sethi, Chris Best, and Hamish McKenzie. We looked at others like MailChimp and MailerLite but found Substack offered everything we needed to build the type of newsletter we had in mind.

Are you considering a newsletter for your startup? Here’s what you should know:

Why Newsletters?

Newsletters provide a direct line to your audience, allowing for personalized content while fostering community across your user or customer base. Unlike social media networks, where algorithms control what gets shown—and what doesn’t—newsletters deliver your message directly to your subscribers' inboxes. (Unless something flags your newsletter as spam.)

Here are a few reasons why we love newsletters:

  1. Higher engagement: Email newsletters typically have higher engagement rates than social media posts. This means more of your audience is likely to interact with your content.
  2. You own your audience: Social network providers can shut down your account without notice. When that happens, you’ve lost your audience and all the work that went into building it. With newsletters, you own your contact list. Changes in social media algorithms or policies won’t affect your reach.
  3. Targeted content: You can segment your audience based on their interests or behaviours, providing tailored content that resonates with different segments.
Previewing our newsletter in Substack

How To Create A Newsletter That Works

The best way to build something that works is to look at what works for you. We asked our team to share newsletters that they read and share. It helped us understand our team better and gave us insights into some amazing best practices. We also spoke with some of our clients to see what they needed. 

It is very similar to the process we use to build out requirements for projects we work on: 

  1. Define your goals: Determine what you want to achieve with your newsletter. This could range from increasing app downloads to gathering user feedback.
  2. Choose the right platform: Use email marketing tools like Mailchimp, Substak, or ConvertKit that offer easy design, automation, and analytics.
  3. Create valuable content: Make sure your content is beneficial to your audience. This can include app updates, user stories, tips and tricks, and exclusive offers.
  4. Design matters: A clean, professional design helps retain reader interest. You can use the provided templates, or if you have an in-house or external designer, you can use them to create a template that matches your brand.
  5. Consistency is key: To keep your audience engaged, send out your newsletter on a consistent schedule, whether that’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

How to Grow Your Newsletter Audience

Every newsletter’s growth strategy will vary depending on your goals. For us, we wanted to grow organically by offering value and insights to our audience. Our team shares the newsletter on social media and forwards it to potential clients. 

Here are a few other ways to grow your newsletter audience:

  1. Sign-up incentives: Offer incentives such as exclusive content, discounts, or free trials to encourage sign-ups.
  2. Leverage social media: Use your social media presence to promote your newsletter. Highlight the value and exclusive content subscribers will get.
  3. In-app prompts: Integrate sign-up prompts within your app to capture existing users already engaged with your app or service.
The Substack dashboard gives us a great view into where our newsletter readers are located

How To Measure Your Newsletter’s Success

Like growth, success metrics will depend on your company’s goals. You can track key metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to gauge the effectiveness of your newsletters. Open rate is the primary metric we track. It varies from industry to industry, but anywhere in the range of 17-28% is what you should be aiming for.

What’s Next?

As the social media landscape changes, newsletters can be a reliable way to build and maintain a loyal audience for your application. By delivering valuable content directly to your users, you can enhance engagement, drive downloads, and foster a community around your brand.

While we love talking about newsletters, we love app design and development even more. Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your next project.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

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