It seems to be all the chatter lately, should you start a Substack? We’re seeing lots of different creators, bloggers and influencers start Substacks. And some of you may be wondering, should I start a Substack?
And some of you may be in the boat that I’m in as a newsletter user for my audience and debating do I switch from my newsletter to Substack? This is something I’ve been chatting with my influencer friends about lately and while I was super intrigued at first, I think I’m choosing newsletter. For now.
But let’s dive into which is best for you. Should you stick to your newsletter or try out Substack? What are the benefits of each and what I’d do if I was starting a business today in the influencer industry.
Should You Start A Substack Or Stick To Your Newsletter Provider?
What Is Substack?
If you’ve never signed up for a Substack before, this is really just a newsletter platform that is kind of built like a blog platform. It is giving old blogging days of not worrying about SEO, affiliate widgets and the like.
When you create a Substack it gets emailed to your subscribers. But another cool feature is that there is a Substack app. And people can consume their Substacks in one place and follow multiple users.
Is Substack Free?
This is one of the best perks of Substack if you ask me. Substack is totally free. And the next best perk? Substack gives you an option to charge a small fee for paid content. This is like the Patreon of newsletters.
If you want to create an exclusive monthly email that’s more personal, or in more depth, this is something you can charge a small monthly fee for. Sbustack does take a percentage of the payment, but this is pretty standard.
Substack acts a little like a social platform in that you can be discovered on it and be recommended to other users. This can help grow your account over time. While I don’t have any first-hand experience with it, I’m also not sure if this is a surefire way to grow or just a perk of being on the platform.
Traditional Newsletter vs Substack
While I can only really speak to my experience with Flodesk, as I gave up on Mailchimp a decade ago, I think most newsletter providers are fairly similar in functionality. You sign up, you get an email, and you can segment them.
Ability To Create Freebies
The thing that I really love about using Flodesk and having that control over pop-ups, is the ability to create freebies. Freebies can really supercharge your subscriber growth. For my style blog, I make about two a year to drive subscribers to my list. And they live on my blog every single day bringing in daily new subscribers.
While you can share a link to your substack to subscribe, there is no way to assign a welcome email to new people with a freebie or anything. If you have a large following as it is, maybe you don’t really care about that.
But for me, this is one of the main reasons I am choosing not to switch from Flodesk to Substack. I love the ability to make freebies and grow my list and provide really exclusive content when people sign up. And I just don’t know how else I’d really grow without just constantly sharing a link to subscribe. Which in all honesty, is my least favorite thing to do when I have millions of other things I’d like to share.
Nearly all newsletter platforms come with a fee. Some are smaller than others. I love Flodesk for just being $19/month your first year, then $39/month after that. It includes unlimited subscribers and sends. But some platforms charge for the number of subscribers and the number of sends.
Substack is completely free.
When you’re signed up with Substack, it’s almost like a social platform. There’s a feed of content you can consume from the people you follow. From what they share in their Substack, ot just sharing a post kind of like Twitter. You can even tag and mention people.
Between the feed of content, the ability to comment and reply and have a conversation, it is definitely more robust than just a private newsletter in your inbox.
But that’s the thing too. You can use Substack like any other newsletter platform too by just getting content to your inbox and that’s it. The app is just an added bonus for those who want to be more engaged in the conversation.
An Archive Of Content
Since Substack is really like a blog publisher, there is an archive of content that you can come back to. Some people really like the ability to see past Substacks you’ve published. While your newsletters from Flodesk or Mailchimp or Convertkit are just in an inbox and that’s it!
Substack Versus Starting A Blog
I think the last question here is whether you should start a blog in 2023 or just start a Substack. And my answer will always be, you should 100% own your own website.
If you’re not ready to blog weekly, and want to try Substack. Great. But I’d still create a website that is your landing page. You can have your Substack link to sign up, include a few posts and have your shop page to monetize your other content as well.
But really Substacks are blog posts! You can add affiliate links, photos and so on. But what you can’t do is monetize with ads or add any affiliate widgets.
So you’ll need to decide what works best for you and what kind of content you want to focus on. And, how you want to monetize your business.
How To Switch From Your Newsletter To Substack
If you’re ready to make the switch, you can easily do this with any current subscriber list you have. Simply export your subscriber list and upload it to Substack. It’s really that easy.
You’ll want to educate your audience on the new platform as they may really like the idea of downloading gthe app or accessing via desktop.
But I would also be sure to let them know that really, nothing changes! You will still be sending emails to their inbox if they want to consume your content in that way.
I think if I didn’t have a newsletter yet I would test out Substack to see how it worked. I suppose you can create excitement around signing up by creating a special Substack to send out at a certain time. But it’s the inability to grow daily with freebies on your blog is what gets me.
If you don’t have a blog and are just focused on Instagram, then yeah, I’d give it a go! and if you already have an established email list, I would just think twice before making the switch. I know several people who have gone from a classic newsletter platform to Substack and are very happy.