0 - 1,000 Substack subs in 21 days
substack is pretty fun 🔥
Channels of Growth is 5 posts and 3 weeks deep into Substack and I think it’s time for a retro as I pass 1,000 subs.
This has been a really fun experiment so far. For a long time I’ve had a strong craving to “create” some kind of content. In the past it has been really tough for me to combine the type of content I am good at making, with valid social channels.
Substack has been a really cool way to combine creating content I’m decent at, with super strong channels of growth.
In this post I’m going to outline how I drove my first 1,000 subs, and give some insight into how I plan to go from 1,000 - 100,000 in the next 6 months. 🚀
Creating The “Product”
I’ve written about this before, but I’m a huge believer in starting with your market when creating new products. For this Substack-as-a-product experiment, my audience is people who are in the Growth or Marketing industries.
Specifically there’s 100,000 people in this audience that I can target on Apollo.io and get distribution for.
I am only 5 articles deep so definitely still searching for solid Product Market Fit, but I have a couple of hypotheses at this point I want to try out, and just a little bit of data collected from the first few articles.
You, my friends, loved the What does a "Head of Growth" actually do? 🤷🏻♀️ article.
Not only did the emails for this article preform extremely well (67% open rates vs ~52% average), but this was the only article that people picked up organically and started sharing it on Linkedin (which then got more strong engagement/reach).
Right now I’m trying to experiment with different categories and styles of posts. I read somewhere that a Substack should be like a stream of consciousness that people are able to subscribe to, which is half of what inspired this post. I want to take people on a journey as I build something really cool, and show them some of my absolute favorite channels of growth along the way.
channels-of-growth for Channels of Growth
Here’s the “behind the scenes” look at what’s driving growth for this Substack. There is a single major channel that drives growth, and then there’s a couple of “side effect” channels that are directly tied to the major one.
ABM cold emails drives the core users (you might have guessed this), and then “organic” or “earned media” comes through as a side effect of people sharing on Linkedin/Twitter + reaching out to feature me in a publication.
“ABM cold emails” wtf does that mean Koby?
It means I’m using Apollo.io to identify the contact info of my audience (people with a “head of growth” or ~equivalent title) and then asking them to subscribe to me via a cold email sequence (NOT using Substack for this part, just for clarification).
For a lot of you what I write about seems to resonate enough that you go through and actually do subscribe, which is crazy. If you’ve gotten through enough of my content that you’re reading this, thanks for following my posts this has been a lot of fun.
So far my ABM sequence was able to drive over 1,000 subscribers in the last 3 weeks which is honestly kind of mind blowing. 🤯
Not only are people subscribing, they are sharing the content on Linkedin + asking to feature me (more to come on that later), which adds on another channel of growth.
What’s really interesting here though is that the “organic” channel of people sharing my articles & asking to feature me is driven directly from the impact of my “inorganic” channel where I’m reaching out to people via cold email.
I think this is going to be a really powerful combination because it seems to perfectly match up the “product” of an email newsletter, with the powerful channel of growth of ABM cold emails.
Path to 100,000 Substack subs in 6 months
So here’s where I want to do something really cool and fun. Now that I have a basic understanding of what my product should be, and I have a clear way to distribute my “product” to a certain market, I think I can really clearly hit 100,000 Substack subs within the next 6 months or so.
I want to take you guys along on the journey as I build this thing. It gives me a really great chance to highlight how to use cold email as a channel, and how to leverage and optimize the “virality” of the product.
This kind of stuff gets me really excited, driving Growth is addicting and I hope this Substack gives me a chance to share this addiction with all of you.
Not to be cheesy here - in so many ways “growth is my art”.
There’s a paid subscription option attached to Channels of Growth but honestly my aim here is just to build something really big & cool that people in my industry will resonate with. I can write a billion different posts about Growth & Marketing but the best way to experience it is by watching it happen.
So if you’re into this kind of stuff thanks for following along :) I’m going to do my absolute best to keep trying to create content that is both entertaining, and helps expose you to new kinds of ways to grow your own startup.