How to grow a newsletter to 10k subscribers in 60 days.

Koby Conrad used cold emailing to grow his newsletter without a single spam report.

Publish Date
Mar 10, 2022
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What is Channels of Growth?

Channels of Growth is a newsletter “dedicated to solving distribution for companies that already achieved Product Market Fit.” As the title suggests, it teaches people about startup Growth. There is currently both a free plan and a paid plan.
screenshot from Koby’s Substack
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👨‍👨‍👦‍👦 Target Audience

People who work in growth/marketing + founders (specifically in the U.S.)

Briefly describe the growth project

In short, Koby uses an email prospecting tool to generate highly targeted email lists that perfectly match his audience. Then, he sends them a perfectly crafted email flow to convince them to subscribe.
Cold emailing is nothing new. It’s a tactic often used by outbound sales teams. It gets a bad reputation, because no one likes to be spammed. Koby found a way to use cold outbound email to not only grow his newsletter, but achieve email statistics that most companies would kill for from their own internal email list!
The idea to use this channel comes from type of content he creates. Koby considers himself a distribution expert more than content creator, but he wanted to try. He knew he was a decent copywriter through years of experience, so thought written content would be the best.
💡 A note: Product-Channel-Fit is required to make this work. If you were making YouTube videos or social media, this model would not work at all. You also need to be careful of violating email laws. Koby started in the United States, because they tend to be more lenient here.

📈 How has it gone so far?

Koby has gone from 0 to 10k in ~60 days. His cold emails have ~60% open rate, and he hasn’t received a single spam report 🤯

🧠 Why this works

People only get annoyed with cold email when it’s irrelevant and spammy. But Koby is delivering something incredibly useful to exactly the right market. Think about it this way: if someone emails you about a free trial for a snow removal service in July, you likely won’t even open the email. If you get the same email 2 days before a record storm, you are almost certain to open it.
The context of what you are sending, and to who, makes or breaks this growth channel.
First email Koby sends out
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🤩 Upsides to cold emailing

  • Anyone can do it – you don’t need an existing audience already
  • It’s fairly affordable, costing between $50-200 a month for the tools
  • Tools like Apollo allow you to target a very specific audience with a very specific message that you can control

😬 Downsides to cold emailing

  • You have to already have fantastic content! This is incredibly important.
  • You have to be pretty good at creating emails, both in terms of design and copy.
  • Certain countries and regions have laws about cold emailing, like GDPR in Europe.

🏗 How was it built?

  1. Find the emails
      • Use Apollo.io to get email data on your target audience (there are other tools for this as well)
      • Export this into CSV you can import into an Email Service Provider (ESP)
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  1. Run through an email sequence
      • Koby uses Mailchimp to send an automated email + follow up with sample article
      • Adds couple hundred people every day, uploads to Mailchimp with a tag and triggers the automation email flow
      • NOTE: Koby uses Mailchimp for cold email outreach, but still uses Substack for his actual newsletter send.
  1. Make sure your email sequence stats are healthy
      • Watch out for Spam reports. Koby sent out 10’s of thousands of cold emails and never got a single spam report (some unsubscribes are expected)
      • You want a high open rate AND high click-through-rate (Koby had ~60% open rate on his emails)
      • Always make it easy to unsubscribe
  1. Respond to every email response to your newsletter

💡 Advice to someone building something similar:

  • Continuously clear out the list in Mailchimp to keep list under 10k (gets unaffordable after that)
  • You HAVE to match interests to the audience (or else you’ll get spam reports)
  • Pay attention to the Substack format – don’t make your newsletter feel like spam instead of a story with codes, ads and promotions. Write it like a 1k novel you are releasing one page at a time.
  • Focus on what you’re good at. Koby thinks of himself as not the best writer, but he IS the best growth marketer.
  • If you aren’t yet confident in your content or emails, send out small tests to make sure you don’t get spam reports.

You can subscribe to Koby’s own growth newsletter, Channels of Growth here!