Growth May 22, 2020

0-19k email subs. How I promote my content.

Harry Dry @harrydry

May 2019. I wrote my first marketing article. A year later my email list hit 19,000.

No ads. No connections. No existing audience.

The site grew because I learnt how to push my content round the internet.

Here's my process

First, I found all the different places where marketers hang out.

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Then, I asked myself, “how can I add value directly to these platforms?”

Adding value isn't dumping links. People are busy. Wow them on the platform they're already using. Or get ignored.

There's no “one-size-fits-all” formula. Twitter is not Facebook. I tailor my content to fit each platform.

The specifics

Twitter, Reddit and Indie Hackers are places where long-form sharing works.

My strategy is simple. I share my whole article. Then, I politely ask if the reader would like to join my email list.

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Facebook and Slack groups are a different ball game. Attention spans are shorter. Self-promoters get lynched.

I break my articles into visual tips. Subtly branding each one. Upfront value. No hard sell.

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Then, there's a bunch of sites where I share direct links: Hacker News, Designer News, Growth Hackers, Zest.

Same principle applies. Tailor content to fit the platform.

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The whole process takes me 8 hours. 4 hours posting. 4 hours replying.

The snowball effect

How other people share your content is just as important as how you share it.

You don't want people sharing different things on different platforms. You want everyone sharing the same thing on the same platform.

One share on 50 platforms gets ignored. 50 retweets turn into 500.

I direct everyone who likes my article to the same Twitter thread.

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Putting it all together

  • Create value on other platforms.
  • Transfer this value to your own platform.
  • Store value with your email list.

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Email subscribers are gold bars in the bank.

New media rise and fall. Email isn’t going anywhere. It’s been around longer. It will survive longer. Medium can't suddenly paywall it. It's the best place to build an audience online.

Here are the results of a year sharing content online.

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It's not rocket science:

The platforms where I add the most value upfront are the platforms that generate the most new subscribers.

People are busy. Don't redirect them. Wow them.

One last thing

The best self-promoters aren't self-promoters. They take the time to become a genuine member of each community.

Share others' content. Write detailed comments. Make friends.

Give more than you take. It's a positive-sum game. Indie Hackers 4 Ever.

Thanks for reading. Keeping with the spirits of the post if you found this useful, maybe I can tempt you with my marketing newsletter.

Any questions, hmu in the comments ;)

  1. 4

    Congrats on the milestone! 😊
    I'm wondering how to apply the same strategies as you on a product that is not as content-oriented as Marketing Examples. Say you've got a SaaS, what kind of content would you share? Tutorials maybe?

    1. 6

      You want to build a media company for your niche

      Two examples:

      1/ Look at Ahrefs. SEO SaaS. And they want to be the king of the SEO content. The place to go to learn SEO.

      Huge YouTube channel. Huge blog. Engaged Twitter. Giving general SEO tips. It's not all about their product. It's about being the best “teacher” of SEO in the world.

      2/ I also absolutely LOVE what Veed are doing on YouTube. They're a video editing tool.

      People YouTube “how to edit zoom video recordings” and boom they've got the video made. And obviously it involves using Veeds product. Perks of having a free product.

      Ahrefs is higher level. Veed more about hitting search queries. Both work.

      1. 1

        I’ve been studying ahref’s content for a while now and they absolutely knock it out of the park. Not only is every bit of content relevant to almost their entire audience, but it’s also all heavily optimised for search engine traffic whilst also being easily readable

        1. 2

          yeah. Great shout. This is so rare!

          i go all in on PEOPLE. And the search engines think my content is too short.

    2. 1

      Why not kick off an educational project like a newsletter?

    3. 1

      Tutorials are great but they can be a bit bland. What you could do is hybrid between tutorial and case study. You could show how successful customers use your product to achieve the result they want.

  2. 2

    Awesome piece this, Harry. 0-19k in a year is phenomenal, congrats. Out of interest, how much time do you spend each week creating content, vs promoting/sharing/with others - i.e. connecting? And what's the split... 50/50?

    1. 1

      80% creating. 20% promoting.
      and thank you!

      1. 1

        ta! & yw

  3. 2

    Powerful material. I've responded in a similar manner, a twitter thread xD
    https://twitter.com/brunoraljic/status/1264192302215462912

    but really, it gave me several "aha!" moments where I recognised myself and I took some particular actions that will apply in the next period. Many thanks!

    1. 2

      enjoyed this. cheers!

      1. 1

        almost 5k impressions for the first try. not bad

  4. 2

    Great read, Harry. Packed with actionable advice!

    If it isn't too personal, could you describe your typical work day?

    1. 3

      sure

      • wake up whenever
      • excercise first thing
      • shower + coffee
      • no inputs in the weekday mornings. work straight away on hardest task for a few hours
      • walk round the garden. work some more. walk round the garden.
      • late lunch. around 4pm. food slows down my brain.
      • easier tasks after lunch
      • dinner + more exercise. then more work after excerise.

      excercising is a way of restarting my brain.

      before each working session i try and do a few minutes of focusing.

      Twitter to work is a pattern that results with me going back to twitter ...
      Sitting still focusing then starting work and i can keep it up work

      1. 1

        Seems like a solid process, I will try to implement some of your advice in my day to day work life.

        Congrats again for your sucess Harry, it is well-deserved!

  5. 2

    The amount of effort you put into this post is crazy itself!

    1. 1

      cheers - there's so much content out there. effort is my way of standing out.

      I'm the kid who does extra homework

  6. 2

    Well done Harry, just received your newletter and wanted to show you my support!
    Happy that you teamed up again with EmailOctopus!
    Keep up the good job!

    1. 1

      Cheers Matteo. Appreciated. And, great to be back with EmailOctopus. To be honest I never left. Just nice of them to sponsor again.

  7. 1

    I just read this post and thought, "Wow, that's pretty solid advice. This guy knows his stuff." Then clicked on your profile and realized I'm already following you. Then clicked on your website and realized I already have it bookmarked from long ago.

    Now I'm just sitting here wondering how I managed to forget literally all of it. 😂

  8. 1

    I am in the process of "restarting" my own personal brand and have been a bit stuck on how best to promote content. This post is great!

  9. 1

    This post is an example of how you promote your newsletter. But what did you publish copy-and-paste? I don't want to be picky but I appreciate transparency.

    1. 1

      Sorry, don't quite understand the question?

      Yes, this was also my newsletter edition. And yes, a lot of the text was copy and pasted.

      I share my articles in full on on different platforms. That's the content marketing approach :)

  10. 1

    I love the way you create your images and diagrams. What tools do you use?

    1. 1

      Cheers Ben - I use Sketch but Figma's just as good. Would also recommend Steve Schoger's design tips

  11. 1

    Firstly, congratulations on the success in building up your newsletter. I'm at the very beginning of trying to do the same (have yet to publish my first blog post/article...in the works), and it feels quite daunting.

    I've seen a similar formula from others, and this seems to be pretty consistently successful, which is awesome. Certainly a key point is adding value to the community and not just trying to take.

    One question -- are you pointing to your newsletter sign-up and to a Twitter thread at the bottom of your articles? Or are you pointing to Twitter in the article and to your newsletter in the post where you share the link? I want to be sure to not have too many CTAs in one place, but this seemed like a good way to build audience on both platforms.

    1. 1

      Cheers Matt. I have both. But agree with your sentiment here.

      Asking people to do two things results in them doing none. So I say OR not AND. But one clear CTA might work better :)

      1. 1

        Thanks, Harry. Great insight in the post, very useful as I try to make sense of how to build an audience flywheel.

  12. 1

    You are the king and you have been followed / subscribed.

    Just one thing. This form needs return-on-enter support: https://cl.ly/7dbe0d24b559

    1. 1

      ahhhh! nice idea. I'm not too good at coding but will try and work it out this afternoon. thank you Alexandre. Appreciated.

  13. 1

    Give more than you take. It's a positive-sum game.
    ❤️ 💚 💙 💛 💜

    1. 1

      100%!

  14. 1

    Great post Harry! Has this been your full-time job? How much time each day did you invest in this great work? Cheers!

    1. 2

      left my job after about 3 months in ... so yep. full time since then.

      probably 7 solid hours a day on this. and thank you

      1. 1

        Thanks, that's very useful to know

  15. 1

    Great content, I can see why the email list has grown so rapidly 🥇You just got yourself one more. 🎉

    1. 1

      Cheers Reece - Appreciate it.

  16. 1

    Man! This post is full of value! Thank you

    1. 1

      Cheers Vladimir :)

  17. 1

    Harry! You're always putting out great stuff. Thanks for sharing this.

    Learning a ton from this one.

    1. 1

      Cheers Gabriel. Appreciate it.

  18. 1

    what a great article Harry! I've been following you since the beginning and man, I like so much what you do!

    I don't you if you got inspired by garyvee, but I see a lot of similarities! Well done

  19. 1

    excellent approach to growth hacking - just be genuine! You can count me in as a subscriber :D

    1. 1

      cheers Arj

  20. 1

    Loved your twitter thread! This is awesome and inspiring. I remember the day you started Marketing Examples ;) Crazy how much it has grown!

    1. 2

      Cheers Gene! i do too! Originally it was an idea to promote a book i never ended up writing haha

  21. 1

    "maybe I can tempt you with my marketing newsletter."

    you won me

    although I just went to subscribe and I get the error "Email already signed up"
    looks like I must have unsubscribed some time ago, can you fix this so I can sign up?

    1. 1

      haha! Cheers Filipp. Any chance you could share your email so I could investigate? Emails might be in spam somewhere.

      Or if private, perhaps email me [email protected] with the email. Thank you. And glad you enjoyed the piece.

  22. 1

    Nice post. What tool do you use to create those image illustrations? Those images look really great.

    1. 1

      thank you. I use Sketch. Got a load of components flying around :)

  23. 1

    With such excellent posts, consistently great, providing so much value this is well deserved for MarketExamples. Look forward for more!

    1. 2

      Cheers Wit. I look forward to writing more

  24. 1

    Really useful post. I already feel like a learnt a lot from it. Will try this strategy for my travel blog. thaaanks!

    1. 1

      Good luck

  25. 1

    Great advice for building an audience! Thanks for sharing!

    1. 1

      thanks Carlysle. Pleausure

  26. 1

    Another awesome and informative post @harrydry

    1. 2

      Cheers Gordon. Appreciated

  27. 1

    I've never come across such an organized post. Do you have any tool where you manage all your social platforms into one and change words and push from there?

    1. 1

      i don't. all done by moi!

      problem is, every platform's a bit different. i tailor everything. for example, reddit doesn't allow images. So everything's ends up being tweaked ...

      Automating would be cool. But I just feel it might lose a bit of the pizzazz .

      1. 1

        Sounds awesome.

        Can you share how much time does it take per week on average to mail that quality?

        1. 1

          honestly AGES ....

          Now I've got a bit more of an audience I get quite a few replies everywhere. Tailoring for different platforms is 4 hours. Sharing is about 4 hours. But more recently longer. Cause better reaction!

      2. 1

        How do you get time to work? Marketing Examples looks like a full-time job :D
        And I can confirm, you do give more than you take, it's never spammy, always actionable even for a noob.
        Do you think you'll turn it into a podcast?

        1. 1

          hahaha - It is a full time job. I work full time on it.

          And thank you.

          I want to make every example a YouTube video. On my list

  28. 1

    Great work and thanks for sharing!

    1. 1

      Cheers Ben

  29. 1

    This is such a great post and advice on building an audience.
    Signing up!

    1. 1

      @harrydry - Curious to know which tools you used to build your website?
      It looks neat!

      1. 2

        I used Sketch to design it.

        And it's built in Pug (basically html) and lots of Javascript. But that's definatelt not “the best” way. I've been trying to rebuild it in Next / React but taking a while. Bit of a coding noob.

    2. 1

      Cheers Naveen. Glad you enjoyed it. Appreciated :)

  30. 1

    Great work (and nice inclusion of the CTA at the end 😄)

    1. 1

      haha! Cheers Paul. Show > tell.

  31. 1

    Thanks for this post Harry! I've been using your tips to build my audience from the ground up. If I manage to help at least a small fraction of people you've been helping, I'll be extremely satisfied

    1. 2

      Cheers Leo. Helping people is a good feeling.

      Good luck with your audience. It takes a while. There's no shortcuts. Wish you luck.

  32. 1

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