The best way to convert more free Substack subscribers to paid is by offering incentives. Common incentives used to convert free Substack subscribers are by including books, downloads and courses.
By incorporating resources with paid memberships, creators can add more value to their offerings. Not only will these resources convert more free subscribers to paid, but will help retain paid members.
The most important factor of converting free subscribers to paid is having valuable content. If you don’t have anything to offer your readers, putting up a Substack paywall is useless.
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Best way to convert free Substack subscribers to paid?
The best way to convert free Substack subscribers to paid members is by offering a deal with their subscription. For example, you can gift free members a temporary paid subscription for a trial period. Offering a discounted rate for free members is also a great way to convert free Substack followers to paid ones.
You can also include resources like free downloads and courses when free members convert. Maybe you have an e-book that you can include when a free subscriber converts to paid.
For me, my free subscribers get two e-books and two audiobooks (a $5 value) for paying the $5 membership fee. It makes converting to a paid member more valuable for your audience.
Utilizing features like Substack Notes and newsletter recommendations are also great ways to convert free members to paid members. The Notes function offers a chance to engage more personally and directly with readers.
How to get more paid Substack subscribers?
The best way to get more paid Substack subscribers is by converting free subscribers to paid ones. More free subscribers mean the potential for more paid subscribers.
Grow your Substack audience in general is the key to more paid subscribers because those are the followers you’ll be targeting directly. Free subscribers will receive your emails and posts without having to find them. All they have to do is click from their email account and sign up.
Email marketing has the highest reported conversion rate of all kinds of digital marketing. More people are likely to take action on a link in an email than on other forms of advertisements.
The Substack Network, which is a free feature offered by Substack, is a great place to organically acquire new followers. Actually, Substack reports 1 in 3 subscribers is generated by the Substack Network.
However, there are other platforms that can be used to drive traffic to your Substack channel. If you have paid Medium members following you, try converting them to Substack. Medium and Substack are similar platforms that garner large audiences of readers.
Other channels that can garner subscribers are social media platforms other newsletter recommendations.
How to monetize Substack without paid subscribers?
Besides paid subscribers, creators can monetize Substack accounts with placed affiliate ads. These ads have affiliate links that will generate income when readers engage with them.
For example, Swapstack offers several different kinds of affiliate links for newsletter creators who want to monetize. Our favorite is the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns. Newsletters can run ads and get paid based on the number of clicks each ad gets.
Other affiliate deals Swapstack offers are based on conversion rates or standalone ads with one-time payments. My newsletter, The Side Hustle Club, has run all of these types of ads and earned money via each one.
Targeting readers by posting on the Substack app in the chat feature is also another great way to utilize affiliate links.
Best Substack features to convert subscribers
Substack’s best features for converting free subscribers to paid are custom buttons and subscription deals. Substack’s wide varieties of different button possibilities allow creators to target free subscribers easily. Combine custom buttons with a deal for converting subscribers and more conversions will happen.
There are several other Substack features that can be used to convert subscribers to paid. Notes is a relatively new feature that shows a lot of potential. It’s a short-form post format that has gained popularity quickly.
The chat feature on Substack is another feature that has the potential to convert free subscribers to paid ones. You could start a chat channel with information your audience really needs and then say “join as a paid member to see the rest.”
Takeaways: Converting free Substack subscribers to paid
Free Substack subscribers are the easiest audience to convert to paying members. They are already subscribed to the email list and receive your content directly. Converting more free subscribers to paid could be as simple as just asking them to support you as a creator.
However, if that doesn’t work, offering resources or other valuable content to paid members is another proven way to drive Substack conversions. The more value you can provide to your audience, the better chance you have to gain paid subscribers.
It’s important to note that converting free subscribers to paid isn’t the only way to increase paid subscribers on Substack. While most of my paid members convert from free, some simply find my paid newsletter from the Substack Network. Others join because they’re a paying member of my Medium publication.
Getting creative in how you attract subscribers is the key to getting more paid followers and increasing your email newsletter income.
Frequently asked questions about Substack paid subscribers
Is Swapstack legit?
Yes. Swapstack is a legit company that pays email newsletter owners for their work.
How does Substack pay creators?
Substack sends payouts through Stripe. Additionally, Substack takes 10% of your newsletter’s revenue as a service charge.
Is Substack a blog?
While Substack is a newsletter provider first, one of its secondary features is posting old communications to your page. This could be considered blog-like as writers can customize their headlines, slugs and more.