Newsletter Crew February 14, 2020

Newsletter pre-launch sign-ups - is that a possible thing?


So, everyone here is familiar with the idea of gaining email sign-ups for a yet-to-launch product... effectively, expressions of interest for a thing you want to build - votes that, yes, there will some people out there waiting for the thing you're making.

But how about applying that market-development concept to newsletter mailing lists?

People launching a newsletter may typically begin by generating the content, and then finding an audience.

Has anyone seen any examples of newsletters that begin with a sign-up box but which don't promise any content yet until the thing launches? It could be a way to de-risk the thing, if there is little interest, right?

How would you go about this? No different from launching a product?

  1. 1

    I've been doing it with Solo Founder at and have seen a trickle of people signing up. I didnt have an existing audience but once I get the first newsletter out I think it will give people a better idea of the type of content.

  2. 1

    Yes, it's definitely possible. I actually did this with MakerList.

    I only set up the landing page and still had signups. The key is that your value proposition has to be high enough for people to want to sign up even if they don't know exactly what they're getting.

    If you use Substack it's even easier. They give you your own subdomain that you can share around, and you don't even need to set up a landing page.

  3. 1

    A simple and quick way of gathering emails is

  4. 1

    I think this makes sense. For example, let's say you made a newsletter that was "How I get every single sale for my startup", a detailed account of how every sale comes in to your company for all time. So, it would end up covering how to grow a company. You could even probably go meta with a newsletter about growing a newsletter.

    I'd be willing to trade my email for that. I will just unsubscribe later if the content isn't up to par. In fact, I'm almost tempted to write that myself if anyone would be interested.

  5. 1

    Well, when you gain email signups for pre-launch product, it tells you two things:

    1. There is an interest in the pre-launch product,
    2. Of those that are interested, here are the number of folks that are interested enough that they don't mind being subscribed to an email list.

    Psychologically, you're highly unlikely to get any subscribers sans any content...without content, what would drive the interest? Not too mention, it might make people skeptical enough to think you're culling their info to sell to a third-party.

    1. 1

      But I think people are also conditioned to think of "content" as the thing that builds "audience" for a "product".
      But a publication/newsletter can be thought of as a "product", too.

      Not sure what's wrong with raising a hand and saying: either:
      "I'm thinking of starting a newsletter, is anyone interested?"
      "I AM starting a newsletter, currently writing starter posts, get on the launch list."

      1. 1

        Content marketing is definitely real, not just something people are conditioned to think. That being said, content is also king, just ask any writer.

        I guess I'm just not following your logic on this. People are newsletter saturated as it is, oftentimes without even knowing they have inadvertently 'signed up' for one. So, I'm not sure that eliciting sign ups for a newsletter with zero context will give you any growth or traction. 🤷‍♂️

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