I have a weekly task most newsletter operators would even think of.

Personally, I find it quite tedious (even when it leads to some pretty cool discoveries).

That task of which I speak is the one that involves searching out and analyzing newsletters in which to advertise DappChap’s own newsletters in.

This process requires me to subscribe to scores of newsletters at a time.

Through this activity, I’ve come across many great onboarding processes for new subscribers – but those are mostly from outliers.

It’s actually quite amazing how poor of a job so many newsletter operators do of welcoming new subscribers into the fold.

One such example would be newsletters that run exclusively on paid tiers.

Look, I’m not shitting on paid newsletters – all glory be to the person who can convert new subs to recurring plans.

But I’ve noticed an emerging trend
among some newsletter operators.

It’s kind of worrisome, actually.

What’s the trend?

It’s this: They’re asking for “candy” before the first date even takes place.

Bad form, indeed.

Example of what I mean:

I find most of the newsletters I consider advertising in through online searches.

Congrats to them for having their SEO dialed in – especially considering some of the niches I look through are highly competitive.

In the end what matters most is how those prized SEO results are used.

I’ll click on a newsletter that comes up in a search result, scan it quickly to see if it offers “surface level” interest.

Once that’s confirmed, I enter the email address, and off we go!

With one glaring exception…

…upon subscribing to some newsletters, I’m presented with various tiers of PAID newsletter subscriptions.

Not a single offer of a free option.

Put yourself in this position:

→ You’re searching out newsletters because you’re clearly on the hunt for information.

→ You find what appears to be a viable source of the information you’re seeking.

→ The fit feels right and you’re looking forward to reading a couple of issues to confirm that the information you’ll be seeking from this source is indeed what you’re after.

→ Except you CAN’T read any of those issues for confirmation, because that can only be done if you plunk down $120 for a year.

I don’t have any access to stats revealing how much lost business this results in, but I can assure you of one thing:

If this practice would offend and anger the direct mail Gods (and this most certainly would), then it’s bad practice.

Paid Newsletter
vs. Free Newsletter

The first step in righting this wrong is to subtract one word in the proposition above: versus.

A great example of someone doing it right is Lenny Rachitsky.

With 655K subs at the time of this writing (and rising fast), he knows a thing or two about how to bring new subs into the fold.

Check it out:

Paid Newsletter vs. Free Newsletter


When you sign up to Lenny’s Newsletter, you’re presented with 3 paying options…

…but you’re also offered a Free option as well.

Lenny clearly understands that NO traffic should ever go to waste.

If someone happens upon his site and they are not prepared to shell out dough on a newsletter they know nothing or very little about, that’s cool.

Lenny onboards them all and then lets nature take its course.

Some will convert, the majority likely won’t (that’s just how it goes).

Some might convert to a paid subscription after a few issues, while others might take two or three years (that’s just how it goes).

No matter which way you cut it, newsletters (and all other media channels) are a long game.

If you can successfully sell cold or warm traffic on paid subscriptions, do it all you can to drive as much traffic to that offer as possible.

But don’t cheat yourself of the customers who need more time – to do so is to leave valuable money on the table.

And not just in terms of lost potential revenue – you’re also squandering opportunity.

If they don’t become your readers, they won’t refer to you. They won’t talk your newsletter up on social.

Yes, running two tiers of a newsletter is time consuming and requires proper planning – but that work will reward you in the long term.

Need help putting together a plan of attack for your newsletter?

Schedule a consultation and together, we’ll craft a plan of attack that will help your newsletter take full advantage of all the traffic that comes its way.