Newsletter Crew January 12, 2021

How I hit the 200 subscriber mark, without asking family or friends

Keith @ProductivityPro_

Hi Newsletter Crew,

I decided roughly about 2 months ago to launch a productivity newsletter (The Big 3 Newsletter -

The first thought was I want this to be my thing. I didn't want the outside influence from family and friends. Suppose that's maybe the fear of being told it's a rubbish idea. Deep down I knew (prayed) it could work.

Researching and hearing many great stories on Indie Hackers, the Newsletter Crew podcast and around social media confirmed it was very doable. What made it a more lucrative offer was the fact Substack has made it ridiculously easy to launch a newsletter. I had tried Mailchimp for the first couple of editions but found it too clunky and I'm not savvy enough for adding plugins etc.

Anyway, how did I get 200 subscribers without telling anyone I know.

You may be surprised, but Instagram was the biggest traffic driver (a new account, not getting family/friends to follow). It seems Instagram isn't the usual choice for chasing newsletter sign ups. The link is bio is tumbleweed, but what did work was simply asking people in the DM's!

I created a friendly copy and paste note that goes something like;

’Thanks for following and supporting my page, I’ve got a productivity newsletter you may be interested in. I’d appreciate your feedback, please don’t be shy and let me know. Subscribe link in bio…’

This gets me about 3/4 subscribers per day. Not sure if this is good but I was pretty happy with the results for such a newbie newsletter.

A few have trickled in from Twitter. It’s a strange place! There’re pages on there that have 100k’s of followers and get 3 likes on a post. Try and work that one out!

Hope this helped anyone looking for an additional way of adding to their subscriber list!

I post an easy to digest weekly newsletter, sharing productivity tips and light hearted actionable ideas. Your feedback is very welcome :)


  1. 3

    Could you share your instagram link if you don't mind? You have me curious

    1. 3

      Seconded here, I'd love to see how the Instagram page is set up!

        1. 1

          The Instagram feed is super cohesive and pretty, I like it! Have all of your followers been organic / via the algorithm? Or have you done some promotion?

          1. 1

            Thank you, I wanted a clean look and a template to never have an excuse to not post.

            Haven't used any promotion. Most of the following have come from engaging with other accounts, re posts on stories or people sharing the posts from my feed.

            I've found the engagement levels/response rates are way higher than Twitter. The algorithm seems to be a minefield, don't think it's worth the time trying to please it (keep posting and maybe get lucky)

  2. 2

    Awesome feat. Keep it going !!

  3. 2

    Congrats on hitting 200! It's great that you have a consistent way to get new subscribers. I think people might struggle to come up with a good way to grow because they are looking for a hack. Looks like you are just putting in the work. Very nice.

    1. 1

      Thanks Bryce. It can be a little time consuming, but to see some growth everyday is very encouraging. Although adding 3/4 subscribers a day can be considered slow progress, having this metric as a base point is a great motivator.

  4. 1

    Very cool! Congrats on 200!

    1. 1

      Thanks Jake, appreciate it!

  5. 1

    Really appreciate that you're putting in the hard work to get subscribers. I think it's the right way to do it. I think 3-4 / day from one source for us starting from the beginning is a fairly solid number.

    Would be interested to hear more about your experiences IG vs. Twitter. I don't have a professional account in either one yet and planning to go to one of them for more exposure.

    1. 1

      Hi Timo, thanks for the encouragement. I'll do a social media comparison based on my experience and post on here later. Just had a look at your page and i'd definitely get on the Linkedin wagon if you already haven't. Twitter would likely work more in your favour than Instagram would, but social media can be a lottery at times.

      1. 1

        Thanks. LinkedIn is actually my strongest game at the moment, looking to diversify to one more platform. Twitter seems to be the best option 👍

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