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HOW-TO GUIDES HOW-TO GUIDES
interview + action points
* eBook designed by: Joe Nyaggah
the company Mixergy trusts to create digital books
Mixergy is where the ambitious learn from a mix of experienced mentors. Hi, I’m Andrew Warner. In my 20s, I used credit cards and ingenuity to create a $30+ mil / year (in sales) internet business with my younger brother. I created Mixergy to help ambitious people who love business as much as I do learn from a mix of experienced mentors. I do that by inviting speakers to live events and online interviews.
The Mixergy Mission
The Mixergy Mission is to introduce you to doers and thinkers whose ideas and stories are so powerful that just hearing them will change you. The Mixergy Mission is to give you an alternative to the “know-it-all, professional gurus.” I want to convince you that no single person knows it all. I want to show you that the best way to grow is to learn from a mix of smart people who are willing to share their expertise and experiences. The Mixergy Mission is to infect you with a passion for business and then help you build your business. The Mixergy Mission is to encourage YOU to have a mission, not just a startup, not just a company, but a calling. The Mixergy Mission is to act as a counter-weight to all the small thinkers who’ll try to convince you that the only reason to build a business today is so you can flip it tomorrow. The world isn’t changed by people who have an eye on the exit. The Mixergy Mission is to convince you to follow a vision so big and important that you can’t do it alone. Then I want to give you a mix of wicked-smart people who will help you achieve it. The Mixergy Mission is too big for me to achieve alone. If what I’m describing here calls to you, jump in and join me.
single week. grew its email list to 100. He came to Mixergy to teach how he did it. Most people. “you’re getting an email from us every. 4 . but a smarter delivery mechanism and a better relationship with your audience. very high bar. StartupDigest.” Emailing gives you a lock on your audience — it’s the same content as you’d find on a blog..you like us enough to give us permission to basically go into your inbox once a week. “When you sign up.. especially in the tech world. This how-to guide is based on that conversation..so for them to give us their e-mail address is a very. have too much email. Understand Why Email is Powerful There’s a big difference between getting a hit on your website and getting a subscriber to your email list.000 subscriptions after only a year in business.. says Chris. but Chris McCann’s company. a newsletter about events and news in the startup world.HOW-TO GUIDES How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year Based on StartupDigest’s Experience * 1 Getting tech founders to give out their email addresses isn’t easy.
were covering news. giving them a direct tie-in. but no one else offered locationdependent and time-specific information.and time-specific is using volunteer curators who live in the 58 cities StartupDigest covers. TIP: The key to making his information location. The main benefit for the curator is that the email newsletter comes out in their name.HOW-TO GUIDES How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year Based on StartupDigest’s Experience Cover a Topic That Alleviates People’s Pain In June 2009. VentureBeat. but found it hard to figure out which would be quality. That’s why he created StartupDigest. “Daily Candy and Thrillist come out once a day. when Chris moved to Silicon Valley. to cover location-specific events and jobs. Chris says to ask yourself.” says Chris. he went to events to meet people. “What’s something that I’m uniquely capable of or a gap in the market that’s not really being fulfilled?” and then deliver it via email. five times a week. “For example. and Entrepreneur. worthwhile events. 2 3 Determine Your Frequency and Commit to It Figuring out the amount and frequency of information to send to subscribers depends on the type of content. We originally thought that ours was going to be five times 5 . Other big tech media companies. such as TechCrunch. making it unique and high-value for the subscriber.
” 4 Identify Opportunities to Send Other Types of Content Chris realized after testing the metrics that StartupDigest could never send event emails more than once per week.” says Chris. “Essentially it’s a very similar audience. What are you going to say? ‘Here’s today’s events. “For us. Ask yourself what type of content you are delivering. It wouldn’t really make sense to send it daily. so that was the right frequency. for example. He started to send a second weekly email with job listings and a reading list of the best industry-related articles.what other types of content?” he says.” says 6 . comes out multiple times per day because when a journalist puts out a query for a story. “We thought. Here’s tomorrow’s events. they need that filled fast.HOW-TO GUIDES How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year Based on StartupDigest’s Experience a week as well. what else could we send to our audience.” Other newsletters come out more frequently. but the problem with events content is you plan your week from it. okay. “events happen to be one a week. Help a Reporter Out.’ It would get kind of annoying... and who you are serving.
” says Chris.” he says. 5 Make Sign-Ups Your Website’s Primary Focus Your website needs to look professional. but it’s different types of content that we could send out on different days of the week.HOW-TO GUIDES How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year Based on StartupDigest’s Experience Chris. “[My cofounder and I] were tweeting these links anyway because we stay up-todate with the industry. the reading lists aren’t city-specific. unlike the events emails. which is what you are trying to optimize. so the same list is sent to subscribers worldwide. We turned that into a newsletter. TechCrunch wanted to feature StartupDigest. “We got MediaTemple. Too many links and too much content on your homepage can distract visitors from the sign-up process. “When someone hits our page.” “Our home page in the beginning was a terrible.” The reading list has become one of their fastest-growing issues.” Chris says a big reason why they are so popular is that. It looks very similar to how it is today except we had a lot less cities. “we want them to sign up first and then look at our other stuff.” 7 .” says Chris. “So we got WordPress. “It’s very similar in need. terrible disgrace. We really only care about the sign-up. but keep it simple. but wouldn’t write about it until the website improved. We made a site.
“When you put someone’s face [on your homepage]. “We noticed when we did the step thing..” he says. He uses a simple service called Click to Tweet..HOW-TO GUIDES How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year Based on StartupDigest’s Experience Content on the homepage should be directly related to gaining subscribers. and we’ll see what improves the conversion rate on the home page. “. When people click on it.” 7 Make Your Registration Process Viral After signing up for StartupDigest.. we’ve stuck with that. it automatically populates their Twitter. So. it improved it around 10%. They don’t have to think about what to write or get creative. 8 . but there are four steps you have to go through.” 6 Keep Testing Your Conversion Process The main page of the StartupDigest website is basically one big box for the potential subscriber’s e-mail address. which allows him to write his users’ Tweets for them. subscribers are given the option to tweet about it.every single week we’ll A/B test something. it really increases conversions. “someone recognizable that a community trusts and use a real quote that they gave you. such as testimonials that build trust..” says Chris. All they have to do is push send.
” says Chris. “Hey. If you’re interested. It has a very high conversion rate. here’s what we’re about. feel free to put in their email address here. any chance I can.” 9 . Chris says in the beginning.” While you’ll reach fewer people in each event than you can online.HOW-TO GUIDES How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year Based on StartupDigest’s Experience The last step at the end is.” Chris says the friends of subscribers aren’t automatically signed up. rather they are sent an auto-scripted message saying. incredibly valuable to us. sign up. if there’s anybody specific that you know that might be interested in this. 8 Grow Your List In Person Chris attends at least two or three industry events per week to keep up with the community and get the name of the newsletter out to people who haven’t heard of it.” It’s up to them. “And then. don’t underestimate the trust and authority that can be built at an in-person meeting.” “I didn’t think anybody would use that. “these events were incredibly. “Hey. I love to get up on stage and either give a talk or just give a short spiel. “but I think about 10% of our audience who signs up put in a friend’s e-mail address.
9 10 Be Consistent People expect a certain amount of consistency and a certain amount of content every week. Business Insider wrote about StartupDigest in one of their newsletters. We’re not doing analysis. We’re not putting on our own events. We’ll see a bunch of people [tweeting] ‘Where the hell is StartupDigest’s email? I want my StartupDigest.HOW-TO GUIDES How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year Based on StartupDigest’s Experience Get Others to Grow Your List Who are your potential partners? Companies that serve a similar audience.” says Chris. “We’re not doing interviews.we’ll notice that for whatever reason. let’s say.. anything like that. [email] is late. “For us..’ Everybody will freak out. We’re not doing editorials. Another example is inflow. and StartupDigest went to their subscribers and promoted Business Insider. Any chance we get we like to partner with larger media entities or people kind of generally in our space. New York City or L.” 10 . jobs. it’s around events. Chris promotes events in his newsletter and in exchange the event includes a StartupDigest registration within its own registration process. “so people are using this to plan out their week. says Chris. “We’re covering events.” For example.A. and a reading list. but have non-competing content.
Exclusive Deal Every once in a while. really like it. StartupDigest will hook their subscribers up with something really cool. when you have customers. you make sure it comes out once a week.) We just put a little message to say.. and then also CMA Ventures. who is one of our sponsors. If you promise it comes out once a week. We rented a movie theater. (I guess this is another term of partnership. There ended up being a 300 or 400 person waiting list of people that wanted to go. If people really trust what you do. 11 Create a Crazy. We partnered with our lawyer.. telling people about it.HOW-TO GUIDES How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year Based on StartupDigest’s Experience When you have subscribers. Chris says. That thing was freaking clicked and shared like crazy. and getting others to sign up because they know that what you’re doing is very valuable.. we begged Sony Pictures to let us do a premiere of it in San Francisco.” 11 . “When the movie The Social Network came out.the first 400 people get it. people depend on you for your product or service.. they feel about better recommending it to their friends. That builds long-term trust.
” he says. It’s usually not good.” That allows you to leverage the content you’re already writing for the newsletter for the SEO benefit. but you can definitely just grow through paid acquisition. “There are also some shadier things you can do.” Chris says. especially if you want to keep your reputation high.HOW-TO GUIDES How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year Based on StartupDigest’s Experience Don’t Discount Paid Acquisition “We haven’t done a lot of it just because we haven’t got the cost per subscriber down to a good science yet. “Hey. 12 13 Even Email Can Use Search Engine Optimization So how do you optimize for search engines when your content is emailed? “We’re compiling a lot of events in a very local. Chris says StartupDigest uses an archive section on the site to publish older content with a large header that says. but it usually goes inside someone’s e-mail box and it gets trapped and no one ever sees it again. To sign up for the new one.” To unlock the value in the content. specific area. this is an old issue.” Those subscribers also tend to not be high quality subscribers. subscribe here. 12 . like co-reg buying. or you can do just straight list buy. “There’s a lot of high value content going in there.
.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year: – with Chris McCann Chris McCann StartupDigest. an email newsletter that features news and events for startups.com Chris McCann is the co-founder of StartupDigest.
And Chris has a big announcement that he’s going to be making here for the very first time. Chris. co-founder of StartupDigest. He came to Mixergy to teach how he did it. but Chris McCann’s company. He’s going to tell you for the first time. what’s the major milestone? Chris: We passed the 100. This how-to guide is based on that conversation.000 subscribers. How do you build a large e-mail newsletter company? Joining me is Chris McCann. home of the ambitious upstart.HOW-TO GUIDES * Getting tech founders to give out their email addresses isn’t easy. everyone.000 subscribers last week.000 subscriptions after only a year in business. It’s Andrew Warner. a newsletter about events and news in the startup world. all of them are who? Who’s subscribed to your newsletter? 14 . grew its email list to 100.com. a newsletter about events and news in the startup world. He’s hit a major milestone. Andrew: 100. The Full Story Andrew: Hey. StartupDigest. I am the founder of Mixergy.
The big difference between an e-mail newsletter or a blog or a website or a paper or anything is you’re literally getting . most people are thinking about how do they get another hit to their website. very high bar that we have. especially in the tech world. I don’t even know how to communicate the difficulty of it to the audience. why.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. . I mean. why is getting someone on your e-mail newsletter so important and so powerful? Chris: Yeah. instead of me saying it. 15 . you’re signing almost like a customer. You’re not only signing up to see the site for once and then leave. our newsletter comes out once a week.com HOW-TO GUIDES Chris: All of them are hackers. So you like us enough to give us permission to basically go into your inbox once a week. and most people. tech startup ecosystem and then people kind of on the fringes that are interested in this sort of information. people generally in the tech ecosystem. before I say it. so for them to give us their e-mail address is a very. but getting a hit is no kind of engagement compared to getting someone to give you their e-mail address. Andrew: Getting 100. founders.000 e-mail addresses is so hard. Like. angel investors. CEOs of tech startups. a real subscriber of what we do. VCs. . this private space you have. so when you sign up you’re getting an e-mail from us every single week. they make their e-mails really short. they have too much e-mail. In fact.
people in the startup world. If you want to get mom and pop. “I don’t really give a rat’s ass about Chris. because it’s that difficult and because you got so many people to do it. Like you said. how you got so many e-mail addresses and more importantly to my audience who’s sitting there and saying.” you and I have talked. it’s hard.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. to give you their e-mail address and join their mailing list. Once a week we send you the best events. and you put together a list of techniques that people in my audience can use to grow their e-mail business.com HOW-TO GUIDES Andrew: A very high bar. we call the StartupDigest as kind of the insider’s guide to the tech startup world. but give us a clear understanding of what’s in the e-mail that people are signing up for? What are they getting every week? Chris: Now. 16 . even when you suck some days and. It’s hard. in the tech space are so jaded. more importantly. that’s what we’re going to be talking about here. and it’s kind of like being married to someone. They’re so reluctant to engage in anything. The events and jobs are all broken up by area. but well. They’re sticking with you day in and day out. And so. I care about my business. It’s a very significant barrier that you’ve got. I care about my life. What are they getting? I kind of described it. We’re sending you the highest value tech startup centric events in your local city. I invited you here to find out your story of how you built the business. of course. but people in the tech space. jobs. middle America they’ll give you their e-mail addresses. They’ll give their e-mail address to an obvious virus. when you do well most days. man. or on Fridays now we do this thing called the Reading List.
How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann
If you’re subscribed in Paris or in Tokyo or New York City or Seattle or Silicon Valley, these are all things that are very relevant to you or where people of like minds are hanging out. Jobs, same thing. Take out the events, put in jobs, and this Reading List is kind of a collection of the best articles for that week for the industry. But it’s all around, like I said, the tech startup ecosystem and it’s all through e-mail newsletters. Andrew: Okay. For you to be able to put this together in all these different cities, you can’t do it yourself. You came up with a clever solution that, man, ever since I heard about it, I just said, “I should have done it myself.” It’s such a freaking clever idea. Who are these people who are putting it together for you?
This Reading List is kind of a collection of the best articles for that week for the industry
Chris: You might be thinking to yourself, okay, you have a startup guy who is in Paris. How the hell do you know what’s going on? Andrew: Yeah, what’s does Chris know about startups in Paris? Chris: I don’t know anything. So the approach we took was . . . at the beginning it’s not like we have a ton of money. We couldn’t pay for a huge editorial support staff to go out and compile this for us. So what we looked for, we found tech startup founders themselves living in their area. They’re the ones that pick the best events, and they basically send us the basic text of the event they want to feature, and then we do all the publishing of it.
How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann
It started because one of my good friends, Carter Cleveland, me and him were friends here in Silicon Valley. He moved back to New York City. He saw what we were doing. This was just when we were in one city, and he was like, “Hey, this is really cool. I want to do this in New York City.” And I said, “Cool. How is this going to look?” Me and him kind of came up with this curator model that we call “Now”. The main benefit for the curator is the e-mail newsletter actually comes out in their name. It has a direct tie-in benefit to them. It’s actually published out in their name. Andrew: Ah, see, I’ve been wondering about that. How do you get all these great guys to be your curators and essentially do the work for you, especially when we already read Tom Sawyer. We know that other people are going to try to get us to paint their fences for us. All right. You are giving them a lot of attention. Who are some of the curators? I know the audience is saying, “Forget about him. Get back to how we can learn to build our newsletter.” But I’ve got to hear from you. Who are some of those? Chris: Like I said, most of them are all tech founders, investors. Andrew: Name drop, exactly. Name some of the investors. Chris: Some examples, like I mentioned, Carter Cleveland. He’s in New York
How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann
City. He started a company called Art.sy. We have another guy, Josh Baer. He’s in Austin. He’s the founder of Capital Factory and also Other Inbox. He’s kind of an investor and entrepreneur at the same time. In Detroit, there are two guys, Raji and Jeff. They’re both startup founders in the Detroit area. In Paris, there’s a guy, Pascal. I think he’s doing Card.Biz, that’s trying to place business cards out in Paris. Those are just some examples. Like I said, they’re all generally tech founders living in that city. Andrew: And the revenue’s coming from where?
The revenue, how we make money, is two fold. It’s advertising and commerce, The events, jobs is really kind of our content.
Chris: The revenue, how we make money, is two fold. It’s advertising and commerce, The events, jobs is really kind of our content. It’s our editorial. We don’t mess with it. We don’t screw with it. You can’t pay to be in there. You can’t do anything. But on top of that, we include one little short blurb, short little textual message. And it’s either a paid for advertisement or it’s e-Commerce with a flash sale. We were looking at all the other e-mail newsletters, the successful ones, some you’ve actually interviewed, Thrillist, Help a Reporter Out, Daily Candy. Essentially we’ve copied a lot of their models and applied it to what we’re doing.
I think my next pack is coming any day now. Chris: It’s called a flash sale. t-shirts subscription. give some feedback. Andrew: Okay. You sell it on their behalf. It’s not that you’re selling your own stuff. It’s underwear. It’s kind of a CPA deal essentially. Chris: Exactly. It’s like Guilt Groupe or Boys Purvey or some of them do. Another example that we did was on Monday we did on Manpacks. awesome. 20 . We got a 50 percent off. give a video. Andrew: I’m subscribed actually. socks.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. Andrew: I see. which is an awesome. It could be a digital or it could be a physical product. one we did with user testing. you get a cut of that. awesome product. Two examples of that. and they hopefully get a subscriber that stays with them for a long time and continues to make money for them.com HOW-TO GUIDES Andrew: What’s the e-Commerce part? What are you guys selling? Chris: It’s generally products that would excite our audience. So. Normally. You make a cut of the revenue that comes from it. cost per action. We took 50 percent of the revenue. to have three people look at your site it’s eighty bucks. and it’s a limited quantity for a limited period of time. You can have someone actually use your app or use your site or service.
* 21 . I moved to Silicon Valley in June of 2009. we want to have some control over what is offered to our audience. but it’s hard to know what’s quality and what’s not. I kind of wrote some ideas down. We really know who our audience are and who are subscribing. Andrew: All right. I was thinking. I didn’t freaking know anybody. Originally. what products. What do we need to know about putting content in the newsletters that we put together? Chris: First in context. We want to have a bit of control over that.com HOW-TO GUIDES Chris: Yeah. for business and how would you grow it? I was thinking before this. We want to have a bit of control over that. Let’s go through some of the points that you sent me in preparation for this interview. Essentially. First is about content. when I started this. I was going to a lot of these events really to meet people. The first one was around content. this was how would you build your own e-mail newsletter We really know who our audience are and who are subscribing. We really know the things that would excite them and what they would want. Actually. We really know the things that would excite them and what they would want. what are some of the things we did well. yeah. and the problem is there is a lot of stuff that happens here. and that’s what this is from.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest.
But a lot of the tech media companies out there. If I’m in New York City. They cover analysis. What’s something that I can get that I’m uniquely capable of or a gap in the market that’s not really being fulfilled and basically delivering that through e-mail. of events. It’s the type of content that’s not really offered or delivered anywhere else really well. Andrew: You’re saying I’ve got to find something that’s unique. Chris: Yeah. It’s very. This is what this kind of came from. VentureBeat. It’s the type of content you don’t really see. It’s a lot of the same thing that you’re thinking about when you’re coming up with a blog or coming up with content. From that point. it’s kind of unique. Andrew: You know what? You mentioned that I interviewed a few people who had successful e-mail newsletter businesses. which is a much better mechanism than blogs or any of that sort of stuff. 22 . I don’t really care what’s going on in Silicon Valley for events. and it has a high value to the subscriber. like. especially broken up in your local city. but they don’t cover events. nor would I care what’s going on in. Entrepreneur. very location dependent and time specific.com HOW-TO GUIDES So I essentially started making this little digest. They don’t cover jobs very well. TechCrunch.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. Some of them sold their companies for high amounts of money. a lot of them cover news. Shanghai.
I think it was Jennifer of Ideal Bites. it’s the same content. It’s getting free press. And so. I watched a lot of those interviews. For a business.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. Chris: Exactly. definitely watched them all. everything that they said that they created essentially could have been put into a blog. but because they decided to go into the e-mail space. * 23 . I Who knows? I might get free press out of that. that’s extremely. For a business. That one comes out pretty frequent. All you’ve got to do is go in and scan there. I go and I reach out to the reporter. they had a better lock on their audience. I forgot her name. Peter Shankman. are they useful. Andrew: Useful as a person who’s in the space. Who knows? I might get free press out of that. do you think? Chris: Yeah. Andrew: When I asked them about their content.com HOW-TO GUIDES Chris: Yep. the one with Ben from Thrillist. I actually subscribe to Help a Reporter Out. We keep up-to-date with the space really well. I’m willing to have them e-mail me three times a day. three times a day which is pretty crazy. and if there’s anything in my topic. extremely valuable. that’s extremely. extremely valuable. smarter delivery mechanism and a better relationship with their audience. The value to a subscriber is awesome.
It’s more on the type of content and who you’re serving. It would get kind of annoying.com HOW-TO GUIDES Andrew: I couldn’t deal with that. When a journalist puts a query inside Help a Reporter Out. events happen to be one a week. We originally thought that ours was going to be five times a week as well. Daily Candy and Thrillist. . Speaking of . very fast. Help a Reporter Out comes out three times a day.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. . five times a week. I’d have to unsubscribe. You get the events content on Monday and you plan your week from it. For example. . which is frequency. and then the content expires. but the problem with events content is you plan your week from it. Here’s tomorrow’s events. who I mentioned. 24 . Andrew: But you found an excuse to send an e-mail a second time a week with the book list. they need that filled fast. like I mentioned. . it gets filled in less than three hours. For us . so that was kind of the right frequency we went with. really need a story very. that’s the next point you want to talk about. they come out once a day. For us. What are you going to say? Here’s today’s events. On the other hand. How do you know how much to send to people? Chris: It’s very dependent on the type of content. right? Chris: Yeah. It wouldn’t really make sense to send it daily. So they really. and the reason why it does it is when a journalist puts a query out there and needs a story.
and it changed. For us. I used to see a completely different home page. we thought. It’s very similar in need. Andrew: Okay. an opportunity. All the metrics and stuff weren’t doing so well. We tried to do it twice a week. Chris: What it looked like when we started or what did it look like now? Andrew: How about take me through the home page in time? How did you start off? How did it evolve? Where is it today? * 25 . Essentially it’s a very similar audience. okay. For us. what else could we send to our audience or what other types of content could we go into? And that’s how we got into jobs and the Reading List. Chris: For us.com HOW-TO GUIDES Andrew: Let’s say not an excuse. You know what I’m talking about? What did the home page used to look like. okay. but it’s different types of content that we could send out on different days of the week. so we reverted back to once a week. what else could we send to our audience or what other types of content could we go into? And that’s how we got into jobs and the Reading List. and then we’ll talk about what it looks like now and why you made the change. I looked at your home page before this interview. we knew events we can never do more than once a week. we thought.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest.
And it was super. like MailChimp or Constant Contact or somebody. our home page was TheStartupDigest. our home page in the beginning was a terrible. It was just plain text on top. it was just a big thing with all the cities. and 26 . This is now in January of 2010. We didn’t give you the context. “put your e-mail here. The reason why we came up with the website is people wanted to subscribe. TheStartupDigest. It was made in just straight HTML. when we started originally we didn’t have a home page. The first e-mail I ever sent out was straight through Gmail to 22 people.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. Go get MediaTemple and make a sign-on. we had no idea. You really want to send an e-mail through a sender. really terrible.com. So. TechCrunch was about to write a piece on us. It said. At a certain point that wasn’t very efficient. and the only way is you could either tweet at me or e-mail me. It was really. huge signup box in the middle.” Nothing else. We got MediaTemple. terrible disgrace. We didn’t tell you what it was. so we sent that out through Gmail. but they said your website is so terrible that we won’t write about you until you fix it. basically one month last year. It looks very similar to how it is today except we had a lot less cities. “Go get WordPress. You never want to do that. Originally.” So we got WordPress. We made a site. We started this in November of 2009. But at the time. There was a big.com HOW-TO GUIDES Chris: Like a lot of our interviews. We couldn’t get the dotcom. super simple. They’re like. Actually. We made a website.
We noticed when we did the step thing. The only reason why we changed all this stuff is basically every single week we’ll A/B test something. StartupDigest. it improved it around ten percent or something like that. just to simplify the process and not make it look so overwhelming when you get to the page. So.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. but there are four steps you have to go through. we’ve stuck with that. now we cover 58 of them. “Hey. if we’re not publishing in your city. It started to take up too much space in the home page.com is the first time that I saw a Wufoo form created into multiple steps.com HOW-TO GUIDES then we had like a little page about us.” Then. so if you go the main page basically it’s still one big box for your e-mail address. Andrew: And your site. and people hit it and it’s like this huge form you had to fill out. It costs you nothing if all you have is one form. and we’ll see what improves the conversion rate on the home page. The only reason why we changed all this stuff is basically every single week we’ll A/B test something. as we got more and more cities. I didn’t know Wufoo allowed that. taking you through the steps. apply here to be a curator. and we’ll see what improves the conversion rate on the home page. And then we had a little link like. * 27 . or costs you a few bucks if you have a lot of people filling out your form or you need multiple forms created. So it’s just a basic form. We simplified it a lot now.
When someone hits our page. people are going out and stuff. let’s stick with the home page before I ask other questions. All that stuff is really nice. What I would do is I would say is you have to sign up by e-mail. and it used to be up there. Andrew: Get rid of anything. This is an exclusive group of people who are talking very openly about business. The only way you can have access to it is if you apply and get the e-mail 28 . Basically. Your goal is just to get them to marry you. We really only care about the sign up. one of my other points in growing an e-mail newsletter is really optimizing your sign-up page or your home page for a sign-up process. you’ll start to notice some of the other stuff we do. we want them to sign up first and then look at our other stuff. Your home page also used to have lots of links and lots of text. but it’s not very apparent when you go to our site all the things we do. if I had to do Mixergy over again.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. inside the e-mail newsletter itself. actually. And then. We noticed when we took off certain pages and we tested all the heat map of it. we’ll reference all of our other pages and stuff like that. Didn’t it have more content than this at one point? Chris: We still have a job board. but really we’re trying to optimize. I wouldn’t do it in a blog format at all. Chris: Basically. Once you become a subscriber. Andrew: I’m telling you. so we just simplified everything. we had a couple of other tabs and other stuff at the bottom. Then.com HOW-TO GUIDES Well.
The one where we use it heavily is in the We’ll just hook our subscribers up with something really freaking cool.com HOW-TO GUIDES address first and nothing else on the home page. It’s kind of strange being a company in Silicon Valley. Andrew: Okay. It’s essentially what you guys are doing. We really don’t. The content really speaks for itself. Speaking of optimizing the home page. We don’t have any of that stuff. and we try and keep it as super simple as possible just to get people to engage with it as much and really optimize for the conversions. We’ll say.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. what about the content and the content sharing by Twitter or by Facebook or whatever else people happen to use? How do you encourage that? Chris: Yeah. People will take links and share it and reference us and stuff like that. when you don’t have anything on the home page. We don’t have to share this. the founder of * 29 . It’s something we’re so excited about it that we want to tell everybody. we kind of ask for a lot of those sharing stuff. e-mail sign-up process. When you sign up through the process. we really don’t. the founder of Lotus 1-2-3. really. the other thing that I see on here is a list of testimonials. Now. We don’t Facebook. After that. We don’t have tweet response. to share this afterwards and also we have a spot to include some of your friends’ e-mail addresses and stuff like that.
I think whatever they trust. I take a look at these people. Sorry for cursing. The reason why we did that is actually because of Dave McClure. which is really freaking cool. By the way. did you guys start it yourself. or did you buy somebody else’s list? Chris: The Reading List? We started that ourselves. So he reblogged it on Posterous and wrote a little thing and tweeted about how this was the greatest thing that he was signed up for. We took the quote and put it on our home page. I think I’m impressed. the founder of KISSmetrics. “Hey. So. really increases trusting conversions a lot. All right. is it cool if we use this quote?” He said. He wrote this awesome post everybody should read. and he really liked it. Andrew: I see. really good people. When you put in someone’s face there. we asked him.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. How did you get the founder of Lotus 1-2-3 to give you a testimonial? Chris: He actually just wrote about us. He was signed up for the Reading List. sure. I should trust too.com HOW-TO GUIDES Thrillist. someone recognizable that a community trusts and use a real quote that they gave you. it really. the Book List. 30 . Okay. This one was around the Reading List. It’s all about the mother f***ing faces. It does for me.
* 31 . and people are clicking on it. so to speak. We read Hacker News and TechCrunch and all this stuff all day anyway. those have been our fastest growing issues ever in the history of what we’ve done. and then plot it all and look at it versus all the other ones. because me and my co-founder. so to speak. By far. Andrew: What do you mean? How can you tell that the Reading List is growing more than the overall list? Chris: We can just tell on an individual subscriber basis. We track every single week how much a list is growing and over time. we stay up-to-date with the industry.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest.com HOW-TO GUIDES Andrew: All right. We’re already tweeting out these links. We read Hacker News and TechCrunch and all this stuff all day anyway. So essentially we ate our own dog food. They’ve been growing. so that one’s just one global issue for everybody. I thought someone else was doing that. we were tweeting out these links anyway. Surprisingly. and people are clicking on it. Probably a big function of that is it’s not city specific. Chris: Essentially. those are the most subscribed ones. We turned that into a newsletter and send it out on Fridays. So essentially we ate our own dog food. We’re already tweeting out these links. each of the Reading Lists have been growing at about 30 percent week over week.
I’m actually looking for the quality. like a whole crowd of people came over to me.” That was the turning point. like I said. it’s just one Reading List.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. we probably need a website. I went to this event called Silicon Valley New Tech here in Palo Alto. “Hey I’m Chris. Andrew: Okay. maybe like two or three a week. if the event’s actually good. That was the point where we realized. And 32 . actually keeping up to date with the community.com HOW-TO GUIDES Andrew: I see. If you want to sign up. what do you mean by that? Why did you include physical events on this list? Chris: I included that because in the very. just come up to me afterwards or tweet me. So I go up like. Physical events. they invite people in the community to go up and just give a one minute spiel about what they did. like right when we started this. but the first big uptake. very early days. I do this little events list in Silicon Valley. I don’t know. At the end of it. I go to on average. We send you the best events.” And literally afterwards. “Oh crap. It was kind of spreading in there a little bit. I actually go to a lot of them that I can. it was just for 22 of my friends. With all these events. telling people about it that have never heard of it. At any point in time. I was working at this investment fund incubator. Chris: So instead of having to pick your specific city.
How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. That doesn’t seem like a very efficient way to grow. People will notice when you speak at an event. Andrew: And that helps you grow your list. Andrew: I’ve got to say though. 100. And then. I’m thinking in my head. because people when they speak at an event they are looked at almost like an authority figure. even a large group of people is a drop in the bucket compared to that. I love to get up on stage and either give a talk or just give a short spiel for people to know about us.com and give you their e-mail address and go through the form. Especially from a trust factor standpoint when people see you’re actually active. * 33 . any chance I can. because people when they speak at an event they are looked at almost like an authority figure. remember to go to StartupDigest. Chris: You’d be surprised. The number of people you can reach at an event. those people have to People will notice when you speak at an event. Chris: Yeah.000 people on the list.com HOW-TO GUIDES then.
To get a little bit more specific. We’re not doing editorials. It’s a fraction of one percent that you get from that. But especially when you’re just starting this. that goes in a couple of ways. anything like that. We’re not putting on own events. We’re not doing interviews. I mentioned some before. Any chance we get we like to partner with larger media entities or people kind of generally in our space. For us. but you know. Mixergy. I really was looking forward to hearing you talk about this. Entrepreneurship Magazine. when we were like 100 people.000+. no? Chris: For now. yeah. way less than one percent. I can see how when you’re getting started it could be huge. you guys. because I’ve seen a little bit of what you do there. TechCrunch. Events that are more than $200 that are 34 . That could either be just a straight events partnership. these events were incredibly. and a reading list. there’s a lot of companies that serve a similar audience to what we do that have non-competing content. Chris: Yeah. We’re not doing analysis. like you said.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. incredibly valuable to us. it’s not a super efficient way to try and grow your list. Andrew: All right. going and speaking at a lot of these events. Tell me about partnerships and how that helps grow a mailing list. VentureBeat. We’re covering events. Next point is partnerships.com HOW-TO GUIDES Andrew: That’s still less than one. going 100. jobs.
” It was a great cross marketing partnership that allows us to both swap our audiences. if you want press. go reach out to Business Insider. Is that how it worked? Chris: Yeah. Here’s how you do it. We really respect what they did. * 35 . They wrote one for us. and then they editorially changed it. we either do swaps about us. or they’ll put us in their sign-up flow in return for extra promotion on the digest. and we editorially changed it and put it in.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. We wrote one for them. So essentially.com HOW-TO GUIDES reaching a larger audience. I know a lot of the writers there when I go out in New York City. So we said. Or we’ll just promote the straight media entity itself. Here’s how you do it. They wrote an article about how to get trust from business insiders. our audience. They reached out to us. They wrote an article about how to get trust from business insiders. our audience. if you want press. They wrote a little spiel about us on one of their newsletters. and you wrote one for them. we took both of our ad inventory. go reach out to Business Insider. A real example we did with Business Insider is Business Insider really liked what we did. swapped it.” It was a great cross marketing partnership that allows us to both swap our audiences. So we said. “Hey. “Hey. Andrew: They wrote an article for your newsletter.
How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. it’s a little hard because we have so many cities and so many issues. That’s huge. Technically. Here’s how you sign up. You’re just getting an opportunity to say you should check us out. all they have to do is give you a check box in the registration process. “Hey. We don’t know exactly what someone would be interested in.com HOW-TO GUIDES Andrew: I see. We just do it real simple. So every time someone registers to go to their event. Inflow. All right. I see. like Wufoo forms or subscription and MailChimp for e-mail. for us. how do you do it? Considering that you’re using off the shelf tools. this is what we’re about. they can also sign up to Startup Digest. that’s really clever. 36 . Because. how do you do it? Chris: A real example we did this in the New York Entrepreneurship Week. Chris: Yeah. They’ll just send us the list of people that were interested. you’re not automatically signing them up. more attention from StartupDigest. yeah. but at least we’re reaching out to a new crowd we wouldn’t have otherwise reached. there’s a little bit of drop-off. Okay. We just found it’s easier to send them a little message afterwards. If an event wants to get more press.” Andrew: Oh. Of course. That’s fantastic. They used Eventbrite. and Eventbrite has a real simple thing where you can add in a custom field or add in an extra check box. and then we’ll send them a little auto e-mail.
and then we partnered with Hackers and Founders. . Even with Wufoo. We filmed a bunch of people. Chris: I was going to say. put it together in a package. We did a university course around hiring. put it together in a package. transactional forms and stuff like that that you can use. Someone actually checked us. Go ahead. We did a university course around hiring. Andrew: This is fantastic. . you can e-mail them back and say. . you’re going to invite all of your members to join this event with us. .com HOW-TO GUIDES Andrew: Interesting. there’s like auto form. Give me another idea of a partnership that you guys have put together? Chris: Another one. “Thanks. Andrew: With Wufoo. And then. it’s all permission based.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. when someone gives you their e-mail address. And MailChimp lets you e-mail people just because you have their e-mail address? Chris: Yeah. Thought you should check this out.” What else . We filmed a bunch of people. more recently with our university courses. and then we partnered with Hackers and Founders and said. we did one here with Hackers and Founders here in Silicon Valley. I’m sorry. “Hey. also when the * 37 .
The video is on your site. They just raised a million bucks. we do co-branding. So Udemy is an education platform for anybody to teach anything. And so I’m cool to back off as long as we know where we are. there’s also a lot of co-branding opportunities that you can do with other similar organizations.” Then before that. Andrew: I see. It’s actually on Udemy but that’s a whole different story. so feel free. They actually did 38 . yeah.com HOW-TO GUIDES video is ready. Andrew: When I say. So it was with Startup Digest and with Hackers and Founders. can you talk about that. Chris: We’re pretty transparent and open about most stuff. Udemy. my roommate is Gagan. So we started doing these university courses. Andrew: What’s the deal with Udemy? Can you talk about that? Chris: Yeah. like I mentioned. you’re going to e-mail all of your members to go check out our video. This is something you’re saying that you can talk about. If you have promotional materials or premium content or any of that sort of stuff. Actually. who started the company. sometimes because I have personal relationships with my guests. and they tell me things that they don’t want to get into in the interview. Chris: Yes.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest.
my roommate is Gagan. Put it together in a course. We had Naval Ravikant. and we host all that on Udemy. We pick a topic. That’s not bringing in any new members. I heard him talking about all the things that they’re doing and they’re looking for more content. Because I was roommates with him.com HOW-TO GUIDES a Mixergy interview. I saw that. Adeo Ressi. but I would love to do that. . Andrew: So. what if we made a course on Udemy. that’s just a revenue idea for you. Gagan. I was thinking to myself. . I was sitting here working one day. we started doing these courses together. We get a bunch of good speakers.” Actually. Would you guys be interested in that? He’s like. We both jointly do it. and a bunch of other guys. is it? * 39 . The first one we ever did was on fundraising.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. and we sell it as premium content. So. Dave McClure. package it together in Udemy. “Hey. who started the company. could we do what O’Reilly’s doing for books? Could we do that for education video content? Since he’s my roommate. Udemy. I heard him talking about all the things that they’re doing and they’re looking for more content. you’re my roommate. Because I was with roommates with him. I’m like. all speak about very tactical things on fundraising for one hour each. I would have never asked.
or one of the cities 40 . every Monday they come. too? Chris: It’s just like with blogs. But the overall majority of people have come from our audience. I’ll see if we can squeeze that in towards the end of the interview. People need to know that if you commit to doing it once a week on a Monday. You can go into their lives whenever you want as long as you don’t overdo it. Chris: Yes. either from SEO or we actually do SEO word campaigns on it. but I’ll save that for another time. So. about Charles Hudson and how he fit in. we’ll notice that for whatever reason. they want to know that. they are going to find something. let’s say. Life is good. or just general promotion or word of mouth. Maybe I’ll ask you about one sponsor. Andrew: Okay. I always thought with e-mail consistency didn’t matter because you’ve got people’s e-mail address. You’re saying consistency is important there.com HOW-TO GUIDES Chris: There are people who see it that wouldn’t have otherwise. All right. If you do it daily. so people are actually using this to plan out their week. Next thing I want to ask about is consistency.A. I know there’s a whole interview about how much revenue there is in e-mail newsletters. Andrew: I know with blogging consistency is very important. People expect a certain amount of consistency and a certain amount of content from you every single week. New York City or L. For us. it’s around events.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest.
like. really like it. you make sure it comes out once a week. “Where the hell is Startup Digest’s email? I want my Startup Digest.com HOW-TO GUIDES is late. When you have subscribers. Andrew: Okay. people depend on you for your product or for your service. by the way. if people really trust what you do. you make sure it comes out once a week. when you have customers. telling people about it. when you have customers. That just builds long-term trust. * 41 . You’re not just pulling the list together at the last minute.” Everybody will freak out and we’ll need to do it last minute. So. I appreciate the effort and I know that it is effort.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. people depend on you for your product or for your service. Anybody who’s listening to this interview and compares it to an interview where someone is kind of going to wing what they teach in the interview can tell there’s a difference when the guest puts some effort into the program. I love. When you have subscribers. I’ve got another one here that’s mysterious. that you put in points. If you promise it comes out once a week. they feel about better recommending it to their friends. You’re putting thought into it. We’ll see a bunch of people on Twitter. In terms of subscribers. If you promise it comes out once a week. getting them to sign up because they know that what you’re doing is very valuable.
If you know anybody good there.. Andrew: All right. You say. As soon as I got back to the U. we’re only going to do the interview for an hour and because there’s a light looking at them. Andrew: Thanks.com HOW-TO GUIDES By the way. we ask you to pick the cities you’re interested in.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. You guys don’t have anything in Argentina. I did that and RunKeeper for my running. Essentially. social inside the sign-up flow. I appreciate it. I’ll move on now to the next point. Buenos Aires is one of the few cities we don’t cover. I actually. And then. So.S. if you go to our site right now and you sign up. And because there’s a short time period here. and I’m a member of Startup Digest. they can’t come up with enough. most people who think that they’re going to able to wing it and come up with some really valuable tips within the interview. one of the first things that I did was sign up for Startup Digest. What do you mean by that? Chris: This goes back to when you asked do we have Twitter or Facebook sharing anywhere? I said the only place we really have it is in the sign-up flow. if you’re interested in the jobs or the 42 . do you? Chris: No. end up with just three. Chris: Thank you. I appreciate it. personally really like Mixergy. let me know. because there’s me expecting information.
which actually Hiten Shah told me about it a while ago. the last step at the end is. basically. we encourage people to tweet this link out to bring more people back into the I didn’t think anybody actually would use that. but I think about ten percent of our audience who signs up actually put in one of their friend’s e-mail address in there. so thank you. It has a very high conversion rate. if there’s anybody specific that you know that might be interested in this. It has a very high conversion rate of getting people to input other people’s address. who otherwise wouldn’t have heard about it. It’s a super. and it changes that into a link. You are awesome.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. And then.” And we use a little thing. . you’re now a subscriber. tweet this. but I think about ten percent of our audience who signs up actually put in one of their friend’s e-mail address in there. it automatically populates that in their Twitter. . Noah. So when people click that. After that. the next step is something along the lines of “Woohoo. super simple service where you can put in a Twitter message. I didn’t think anybody actually would use that. digest who are their friends. After that. All they have to do is click send. That’s actually very surprising. “Hey.” Noah Kagan yelled at us and told us to do that. They don’t have to think about what to write or should I get creative? All they have to do is push send. Click to Tweet is awesome.com HOW-TO GUIDES Reading List or whatever. a Click to Tweet. * 43 . feel free to put in their e-mail address here. To share this to your friends and get more people to be entrepreneurs.
If they’re really not interested. and you send it out. right? Chris: No. “Hey. If they are or their friends thought they were. more frequently than that. take their e-mail addresses and address it properly.” Chris: We did originally except we were doing it manually. Chris: Yeah. 44 . it started to become a little bit more. thought you should sign up to Startup Digest. Andrew: Okay.com HOW-TO GUIDES Andrew: Now. Andrew: You don’t even say. that let me take the e-mail address of the person who just signed up and wants to share my stuff with their friends. sign up. Gagan. Andrew. Maybe. “Hey. we just wrote a super personal message but not any specific keyword personal. just like with an event partnership.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. So. you don’t automatically sign those people up to the list. As soon as we got a lot more people. maybe. then they can sign up. they could forget about it. you put them into one list on MailChimp. and you say. If you’re interested. I wish that there was a service that did that. here’s what we’re about.” Andrew: You just take all the e-mail addresses. this is the opportunity you have to sign up for StartupDigest. It’s up to them. your friend. essentially we send them that auto scripted message saying. once a week.
There are rules in Wufoo. incredibly helpful service.com/ home/?status= and then whatever they want. Chris: I figured out the form or whatever. here’s a product request. Also. he’s not going to buy. oh. I can take you to a different landing page after the process is over. I could do a whole seminar on how you can run your business on Wufoo. I feel like my business does run on that. I could do all kinds of clever things. I discovered this recently. If you give me one answer I figured out the form or whatever. to one of my form questions. incredibly helpful service. * 45 . We would use it. They’re an incredibly. . We’ve used Wufoo since the beginning. or I can say. for tweeting. Andrew: They just keep coming up with new techniques. . new things that I can do with Wufoo. what I mean is based on the answers that you give me. I don’t even think that you need that website in order to create that auto tweet URL. It’s such an easy way to automate things. All anyone has to do is do twitter.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. So. Andrew: I love Wufoo. We’ve used Wufoo since the beginning. It will automatically pre-populate. I can take you to a pay page. They’re an incredibly. I do that for my guests sometimes if I remember. I could do a whole session.com HOW-TO GUIDES Chris: If Wufoo is listening. I can take you to . Let’s find out why he’s not going to buy.
Every once in a while. It was one night before the movie came out. We rented out an 800 person movie theatre.com HOW-TO GUIDES Chris: Click to Tweet is free. What do you mean by crazy exclusive deal? Chris: Yeah. We partnered with our lawyer. It’s something we’re so excited about it that we want to tell everybody. You write the message. What’s next here? Social inside the flow. All right. and people could come and it was a premiere for it. I think. So.” the movie came out. 46 .How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. so it’s really simple. yeah. A real example of this is when the “Social Network. It would be a lot easier to use. it was a joint thing with all three of us. You put the little at reply or whatever in a link and it makes that URL for you.com. Andrew: ClicktoTweet. You tell me about that. We gave away. Click to Tweet. I won’t say any more. Crazy exclusive deal. Chris: Yeah. It’s this little box. who is one of our sponsors. So we got an 800 person movie theatre. we’ll just hook our subscribers up with something really freaking cool. and then also CMA Ventures. We basically begged Sony Pictures to let us do a premiere of it in San Francisco. I guess this is another term of partnership. Andrew: All right.
Manpacks. I could be misquoting this. was that effective for you? Chris: Yeah. but there weren’t enough tickets because there weren’t enough seats for the thing. We had like. . We just basically used our own ad inventory. but I just noticed . exclusive deal? Chris: Yeah. We just put a little message on top to say. The first 400 people get it. Andrew: And Manpacks. . We had like. you also have on the list. if you’re interested in this.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest.com HOW-TO GUIDES 400 or something tickets to our audience. There ended up being a 300 or 400 person waiting list of people that wanted to go. but like a 20 percent click through rate on that. That thing was freaking clicked and shared like crazy. and we’ll just completely hook our subscribers up. That thing was freaking clicked and shared like crazy. yeah. really awesome. but like a 20 percent click through rate on that. I could be misquoting this. Andrew: It’s a crazy. Every once in a while we find something like really. People just went crazy for that. really. because I have the search term for StartupDigest on Twitter. here’s a link. I noticed * 47 . I didn’t think people would be so excited about that.
Groupon. so we know on ROI terms if that works out. 48 . Andrew: Here’s another one that I wasn’t sure if you were going to bring up because a lot of people who build mailing lists like to say things like. very. even different ones like Facebook Category and stuff like that. we’ll do AdWords on the specific university videos that we do. very. We don’t do much of that. I know even though they probably don’t like to admit it. and you do. it works. very social ads. We’ve done tests of like social Facebook ads. Also.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest.com HOW-TO GUIDES the day we did that so many people were talking about that. We grow because we have good content.” It’s kind of a unique product with a really good brand. I was like. paid acquisition. like. and that one has a cost associated with it. What kind of paid acquisition have you done? Chris: That one I included. They never admit. I know a lot of people. love it. we gave a 50 percent deal off for anybody who wanted to subscribe through us. Basically. This one did pretty well. Social AdWords. but we know it works. We grow because people happen to find us. But definitely if you have the money. Living Social. a lot of them use Google AdWords. very smart. we grow by word of mouth. “Wow. People are really excited about it. driving people to become subscribers for them. some of my friends who bought it. just because we’re not very good at it yet. Google AdWords campaign.
or you can do just straight list buy. You literally cannot see their website until you sign up or if you’re a subscriber already. especially if you want to keep your reputation high. A lot of those subscribers end up not being the most high quality subscribers. the first thing they do is they ask you to sign up for their e-mail newsletter. Andrew: What have you seen that’s especially clever in the paid acquisition space? * 49 . There’s also some more. like. we haven’t got the cost per subscriber down to a good science yet. we haven’t done a lot of it just because we’re not .com HOW-TO GUIDES A good example is if you go to Groupon’s home page. we haven’t got the cost per subscriber down to a good science yet. It’s usually not good. the partnerships is a lot more organic way that we do it. but you can definitely just grow through paid acquisition. Like I said. .How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. we haven’t done a lot of it just because we’re not . . if you look at the world of e-mail newsletters. Some people will sell it to you. there’s a couple of shadier things you can do. like co-reg buying. Like I said. For us. but it’s definitely an option when you want to try and grow an e-mail list into something you have. . but you can definitely just grow through paid acquisition. They’re definitely driving a lot of people through their deals about it. .
The reason that for them it’s easier to figure it out is because they’re not just buying a hit. . I want to say. What they’re good at. But. let’s say Levis. I’m not an active JackThreads subscriber. It’s kind of leveraging their brand in sort of a way. They would basically use the brand recognition of Levis and show their deals and use their brand name. all these e-mail businesses is knowing the lifetime value of their e-mail subscriber. where if you’re buying a hit you’re kind of hoping that the person comes back tomorrow 50 . so essentially get a subscriber for themselves. but it’s definitely a smart. Once they know that. I don’t know how we can use that more. And they know how much that member is going to be worth over time. I can’t think of a brand they use right now. Andrew: Yep. kind of unique kind thing I learned.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. They’d be like . Andrew: Right. Andrew: I see. It’s not necessarily partnerships. they’re buying a member. I think I actually heard in your interview what JackThreads was doing.com HOW-TO GUIDES Chris: I’m trying to think right now. Chris: They were essentially leveraging the brands that they’re featuring to get subscribers for themselves. Chris: That’s the thing. they can go out there and spend up until that limit. .
. E. Chris: Yeah. and they don’t buy right now. I know for sure that Ideal Bite did this really well. I know for sure that Ideal Bite did this really well. And people don’t come back tomorrow.mail newsletters do it. SEO. in time they’ll be profitable for you. Essentially they put all of their old campaigns that they’ve done. all the editorial because all that stuff has very high value.com HOW-TO GUIDES or hoping that they’re going to buy right frigging now.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. . You give it away free. high SEO. Finally. How are you finding search engine optimization working for you? These are both we’re not doing that great. If you have their e-mail address. These are both we’re not doing that great. all the text. but we need to do a lot better at doing. sure. * 51 . this is another one. but you’re opening it up to search engines. E. I see how that plays in. I thought with e-mail what you lose is search engine optimization because with e-mail all of the contents in an e-mail inbox is locked in there. but we need to do a lot better at doing. without any commitment from users.mail newsletters do it. and Groupon did this really well. where with blogging you get all this content online. high keyword rich. The paid and SEO were the two last points I gave. sure.
How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. And it’s really hard to put that somewhere else. it usually goes inside someone’s e-mail box and it gets trapped and no one ever sees it again. We’ve kind of outgrown MailChimp in that aspect. How you unlock the value in that is essentially you make an archive section on your site. Andrew: You could probably even automate it using a WordPress plug-in. it’s like we’re compiling a lot of these events together in a very local. this is an old issue. but usually when it sends to whatever e-mail sender you’re sending. so to speak. but like you said. to make that a little bit easier on ourselves. I don’t know if it’s a MailChimp specific thing.com HOW-TO GUIDES For us. but we’re actually in the middle of making a product for ourselves to kind of automate that. Since we’re publishing 60+ different newsletters. “Hey. 52 . Chris: Some of the problems. you’re getting all of the people who came to your last one. subscribe here. can’t you? Where you have each e-mail go into your WordPress and create a post for you and tag it up and have it go online. it kind of templatizing everything. it’s getting all the content archive correctly is a little bit of a nightmare. and they want to subscribe to the new one. and then you put up a huge header. There’s a lot of high value content going in there. But that’s definitely one way you can leverage all of the content you’re already doing for the newsletter for the SEO benefit. something like. specific area. To sign up for the new one.” So. I think it’s an e-mail specific thing. like puts it in these weird CSS boxes.
what they’re doing is tweeting that archive page which is another opportunity for you to promote. But here’s what I’m thinking. that worked easily and no one does do it. if they’re not focusing their businesses on it. You also want to add No one’s been able to make something like that.com HOW-TO GUIDES This is also a product idea. I want to send something and put this in there and keep doing it every single week. and when people click on that. * 53 . Andrew: Yeah. It’s too bad because more and more people are creating e-mail newsletters. So. 100. If someone can make a real freaking simple thing to do exactly what you said. you don’t just want to post it on the webpage. you’re right.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. Well. It’s good drawing new users at SEO. so we’re having to make something ourselves. and all that stuff is good to have online. More and more. this is extremely helpful. a tweet button within each e-mail. they’re adding it to their business. No one’s been able to make something like that. so we’re having to make something ourselves. It also means that you can let your users tweet it out.000 people in a matter of what? Two years? How long have you guys been in business? Chris: One year and two months. I’d love to have a system like that.
especially when the last two you’re not really fully utilizing? Where’s the biggest bulk of your users? Where do they come from? Chris: I think the first point I made.” and pass it on. or you 54 . 100. but it’s a huge pain in the ass. Andrew: That’s a problem that I have today. events are very location specific. Andrew. no? Chris: Like I said. it’s the type of content. I want to go check out a tech event. I’ll say. “All right. It’s not necessarily a problem that I’m going to remember or think that I’ll have tomorrow. Can you really get all that from this list of ten techniques. If I was to ask you. can you tell me the best startup events in Tokyo next week? Can you send the list to me?” Sure. Like I said. You know what? Maybe I don’t need it now.com HOW-TO GUIDES Andrew: One year and two months. “Hey. I’ll remember to do it next week. I might be ready tonight. jobs sort of stuff. It’s a Thursday night.000 in one year and two months. you can go on Eventbrite or PlanCast or MeetUp or Facebook and try and pull some of this down yourself. it wasn’t very well served.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. I might go online right now and check it out. That instance might work. If I see that I have to sign up to a newsletter that won’t come out until the following week. What I mean is. for events. but if you actually live there and you actually want to be part of the startup community. if you’re visiting Tokyo or you’re visiting Tel Aviv or somewhere.
Chris: So. It’s incredibly. We started it in the crash. it’s a hot thing and everybody likes it. or you just want to keep up-to-date. There was no past resource that really kind of helped me get connected within this world. you want something that’s going to help you on a continuous basis. Andrew: Okay. That probably very much helped us as well. and no one really cared about it.com HOW-TO GUIDES want to start your own thing or you coming out of college. incredibly hard for me as an outsider to really get connected to this industry. Now. no offense. If you’re a new student or. incredibly hard for me as an outsider to really get connected to this industry. Yeah. sorry. But it’s really for people on the fringes. I just moved to Silicon Valley. * 55 . like me. People are very passionate about this topic. It’s just something that wasn’t being served very well. it’s not so much for the person who’s kind of. a little bit famous and knows what’s going on and people tell you stuff. It’s a very hot thing right now.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. This is one of the few and entrepreneurship has an affinity to it. where do I find this stuff? It’s incredibly.
There was a guy from New York City.com HOW-TO GUIDES Andrew: All right.” I talked with him over the phone and said a whole bunch of points. give me a call. For this guy. I could see that at the end of this interview some people are going to feel inspired. Great question. I took what I thought and I wrote it into a post. Basically. but I think his content was kind of around food specific events going on in New York City. I want to end with advice for anyone who’s listening to this. I want to say. “I want to do an e-mail newsletter. and some people are going to have a list of notes. this was his 56 . they want to build it. He went to all these events. The first thing is you really need to find out what you’re uniquely capable and passionate about. And others are going to say. . what’s the one easy thing that you can tell them to do that will give them some quick results and make them feel proud of their accomplishment and hopefully get them to come back and follow up on the rest of the list? Chris: Yeah. it was . but I could be wrong. for someone who has an e-mail list. and he’s like. “Can I call you?” Because he saw that we had an e-mail newsletter? So. yeah. So I’ll kind of paraphrase that.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. but I want to keep in mind that we just gave them ten very meaty points. Where do I start first?” He’s like. I actually wrote a blog post about that. like. a big set of notes that they’re going to go act on. He loved going to this stuff. . “Okay. I was like. “Where do I start? What do I do first?” So. He just e-mailed me randomly out of the blue.
the consistency of the type. That could be another guy. Anyway. And then figure out. I think it was fashion. or maybe you’re into interviews.” * 57 . really like and figure out the type of content you’re going to do. sorry. whether that’s news stuff or that’s articles or that links. Her friends wrote back and were. really. He knew about this. Figure out what you’re really. I basically told her the same thing. I don’t know. I actually went to some of these events. He wanted to tell other people about these type of events in New York City. whether that’s news stuff or that’s articles or that links. this is really good. whether you’re into fashion stuff. So. Find out what you really. you know. she started and put a little list of five stuff going on and sent it to her friends. whether it’s information or events that we’re doing. But whatever that is. or maybe you’re into. really good at. I could be wrong.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. really like and figure out the type of content you’re going to do. all these points that I talked about. like I said. “Hey. like. She just started one on kind of like cool parties and things happening in San Francisco. Actually. I actually have a friend. really. whether it’s information or events that we’re doing. whatever the hell you’re into. And the first thing is just go out and try it and send it to ten of your friends and see if it resonates. something crazy like babies clothes. Find out what you really.com HOW-TO GUIDES thing.
com HOW-TO GUIDES You can see it resonate. This is a product I made for myself. Andrew: What about if they have it and they want to grow the list? They’re seeing that you have 100. How do they get more people? One thing that they can do. They’d like to get a piece of that action. like you mentioned. that’s when you really start to see the beginnings of it. like go hang around fashion people. 58 . But if you’re actually in front of people who are going to take notice of this. That’s the story of how we started. go to food events and tell people. If you’re writing about fashion news. It wasn’t necessarily I was trying to do this big newsletter company. if people are kind of resonating with it and they’re kind of finding it. Actually be part of whatever community you’re talking about. If you’re going to fun events. I actually went to these events. start to look at all of these mechanics. it’s very hard to measure this and it might not be the most efficient. do that. the first thing you really need to think about is what do you want to write about? What do you want to talk about? What do you want to be in that newsletter? And then.000 people. If you’re writing about food events. This is something I needed when I moved to Silicon Valley. Chris: The second thing is even though. Actually be active in whatever you’re writing about. You can see there might be something there. People will never find out about you or know about you if you’re on the fringes doing this at home.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. Kind of like with any publishing or any blog.
com HOW-TO GUIDES Andrew: All right.com. there’s a great place to leave it.How to get 100k email subscribers in 1 year – with Chris McCann StartupDigest. 59 . Well. The website is StartupDigest.