The popularity of the free preview has been a huge surprise to me. People seem to enjoy hearing about what new ideas come out each week, even if they aren't ready to purchase just yet. Also, the preview newsletter has proven to be one of the most reliable ways that new readers come to the premium newsletter, which is great!
The main way I've been able to grow such a relatively big newsletter in such a short time (3 months) is due to making it the primary goal of my landing page.
Since the Software Ideas newsletter is paid, most people would think that I should optimize it for people to buy the first time they land on the site. But it's actually been much better to focus on getting people a free issue of the newsletter in exchange for joining the email list.
This "slower" sales cycle is a lot less pushy to the reader, and also allows me to provide more value over time. It also lets readers not subscribe if the timing isn't right, but have Software Ideas still in their mind for when they are ready.
I highly recommend building an email list if you have a paid product, it's been great for me so far! And thanks to everyone who has checked out Software Ideas and decided to subscribe and be part of the 3,000!