January 2, 2020

We built a niche audience of 1K remote enthusiasts

Hrishikesh Pardeshi @hrishikesh1990

Firstly, a bit of background about us - we are big believers in remote working and are building a community at Remote Tools to discuss, learn and grow remote work.

In our experience, there’s a steep learning curve to be good at the remote work lifestyle. Be it in terms of staying at your productive best, managing remote teams, tackling loneliness or ensuring general mental well-being.

This is the reason why we started 'The Remote Weekly' - A newsletter that goes out every Wednesday and brings to you original content, product tips and latest stories around remote working making you a better remote worker and leader :)

IMPORTANT: We are live on Product Hunt today and trending (Yay πŸŽ‰) - would love for you to drop by and say "hi" πŸ‘‹

We reached a niche audience of 1,000+ remote workers, makers and enthusiasts in just a couple of months and would love to share how we went it about!

Content matters and personal notes work

Given we started as a platform to share and discuss remote-first products, our natural choice was to send out a simple weekly update of the top 5 products.

Here's how the first design looked like:

However, we quickly realised something wasn't right. We wanted readers to engage on the newsletter, click through the content and write back to us saying what they liked/ disliked.

At the time, I was already a regular reader of 'Maker Mind' by Anne-Laure Le Cunff and I realised that her mails don't seem like broadcast messages rather personal notes. Reading her mails feels like she is talking to me and hence, it is engaging and pushes me to write back.

This is exactly what we wanted to replicate for 'The Remote Weekly'.

Here's how the current newsletter looks like:

Converting signups to subscribers

Now we already have a good number of users signing up on Remote Tools, looking to explore remote products or more likely, support their own product (e.g. when Twist was posted, people from Doist's team signed up to support their product)

It might have been easier for us to simply add these signed up users to our newsletter mailing list. However, very likely, they wouldn't have engaged, would have unsubscribed or worse, reported us spam.

Instead, we started writing a short personal note to every user to engage with them and hopefully, have them subscribe to the newsletter.

Here's a snippet:

Subject: Saying a quick hello, Marc πŸ‘‹

Hey Marc,

Just got a notification that you signed up - wanted to give you a personal Hi πŸ‘‹

Hope all is going well for you. Do let me know what prompted you to sign up and I will make sure that we do our best to help you with that πŸ˜€

I also send across a personal note every week talking about one topic relevant to remote working and I have added you to that. Hope you enjoy it!

Cheers!

Hrishikesh

We did the same to convert subscribers from our other offerings including 'The Remote Working Chronicles', 'The Remote Working Show' and 'Remote Makers Podcast'.

Leveraging Product Hunt, HackerNews and LinkedIn

PH and HN are absolutely amazing platforms to find targeted users for your content or product. It goes without saying that both are inherently communities and you need to contribute first to rightfully leverage the gains. There are a good number of posts online (on IH as well) that get into how best to contribute and make things work on these platforms, so I won't go into the general details.

We launched Remote Tools and Remote Working Chronicles on Product Hunt and received great response. The spike we got from there gave us a great boost to adding new users (and eventually converting them to subscribers).

For HN and LinkedIn, we make sure to regularly post each week's newsletter. While individual posts might not have given us as large a boost as PH but both HN and LI have helped us consistently gain new subscribers, each week.

That's pretty much what has worked for us till now! Would love to hear what you think of our approach or if you have suggestions on how we can improve πŸ˜€

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