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7 email newsletter predictions for 2024

By Luciano Viterale · January 23, 2024
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When I started my email newsletter a few years ago, it was exciting. I was a little late to the party, but I could still see the upside. Of course, the landscape has changed. It's now more expensive to acquire subscribers, the value isn't quite as high, and there's competition entering from every angle. 

But that doesn't mean you should avoid newsletters—quite the opposite. It simply means you need to manage your expectations and adjust your tactics. I still believe newsletters are one of the best business models and customer acquisition strategies, but only when executed properly. 

Here, I'll share my top predictions for email newsletters in 2024. 

The benefits of starting an email newsletter

But first, why are folks still so interested in email newsletters?

Email newsletters are great lifestyle businesses. They're easy to start, cheap to run, location-independent, mostly fun, and owned media. Not to mention, if you figure out a lucrative way to monetize, you could end up exiting for millions of dollars. 

Sam Parr and Shaan Puri run my favorite podcast: My First Million. Sam Parr sold The Hustle to HubSpot for ~$27M, and Shaan Puri sold Milk Road for an estimated eight figures in 10 months. It's not hard to find other stories like this. Even my own investing newsletter was acquired in less than a year. 

7 email newsletter predictions to watch closely in 2024

1. Influencers will create and push their email newsletters before products

I've noticed a lot more links to email newsletters from influencers on X, Instagram, and YouTube. I think this year, influencers will start pushing their newsletters before products.

There are four key reasons I think this will happen:

  1. Platform risk is real. Without a social media account, creators won't have a business, and we've seen how fragile platforms can be.

  2. The value of subscribers. In the long run, an email subscriber can be more valuable than a follower.

  3. You can sell more. Influencers will be able to sell higher-ticket items to an email list than they can on social media.

  4. It's defensible. A newsletter allows influencers to leverage their audience to build a long-term, defensible business.

You don't need to look hard to find examples. A simple scroll through my Instagram resulted in finding four creators that push their newsletters:

2. Newsletter platforms will build native advertising options

New newsletters are hitting the market every single day, and they all face similar problems: hard to grow, harder to monetize. 

Typically, a newsletter operator would find advertisers on their own or rely on affiliate partnerships to drive revenue. Not only is this time-consuming and difficult, but it's also more competitive now.

Most newsletter platforms have recognized this, but only a few have built helpful solutions. beehiiv is one of the few that's acquiring new customers by allowing newsletters to grow through beehiiv Boosts and monetize through their native ad network. ConvertKit also offers a native advertising network, but the requirements seem more stringent.

I think we'll see more and more of these types of features to attract and retain newsletter operators.

3. Co-registration will become the most popular way to grow 

Co-registration (also called "co-reg") is when users sign up for one newsletter and are simultaneously offered the opportunity to subscribe to additional newsletters from partner sites. 

It's not a new growth strategy, but it's quickly becoming popular among newsletters—especially with many advertisers reporting the cost of ads increasing. Marketers need to find alternative sources of growth that are sustainable over the long run. 

This is where companies like SparkLoop, After Offers (that's what I use), and beehiiv Boosts come in. Newsletters can easily integrate and start getting paid for every new subscriber they refer to other newsletters. It's a great way to grow a newsletter without paid ads.

4. More large companies will prioritize their newsletter—or start one

Influencers and creators aren't the only ones who see the value of newsletters. I think we'll see more and more large companies prioritizing their newsletters. Here's why.

  • It can reduce the customer acquisition cost (CAC).

  • If ad costs skyrocket or traffic drops, companies still have an engaged list.

  • If a company wants to exit, then an engaged, profitable newsletter will make it more attractive—it's an asset.

Matt Paulson, the founder of MarketBeat, is leading the way when it comes to newsletters. He's not new to the game, but his commitment to growth shows how bullish he is.

P.S. Matt Paulson wrote a book called Email Marketing Demystified, which I think is incredible. If you're not sold on creating a newsletter, this book will change your mind. 

5. Newsletters will struggle to monetize despite more subscribers 

According to the 2024 State of Newsletters report from beehiiv, they now have over 10,000 newsletter creators on their platform—impressive for a company that was founded in 2021. On top of this, Backlinko published a Substack deep dive, which shows that Substack now has over 500,000 active paying subscribers to newsletters. 

With so many newsletters hitting the market, it's safe to say the supply of ad space has increased as well. Naturally, this means it'll be harder to monetize. If I were to launch an email newsletter again, I would map all the ways I could monetize before I started, instead of focusing only on paid ads.

The same applies to launching a newsletter as an acquisition channel for your business. You need to map out exactly who your audience is, the problems they have, and how you can convert them into paying customers from your newsletter.

6. Low-effort newsletters don't stand a chance

I wish I didn't need to say this explicitly, but after scouring the internet for newsletters, I realized it's not obvious. Newsletters are a way to make a lot of money, and that invites a lot of people to the game. There are folks who will spin up newsletters and try to automate every aspect of it without offering any value. All in the hope they can get some advertisers or a quick exit. 

If you're thinking about relying on AI to create and grow your email newsletter, don't. I'm not saying you can't use AI tools to help—that's exactly how you should use them—but if you outsource everything to AI, you won't win. Low-effort newsletters will have low engagement, which will mean you can't sell ad space or exit.

At Ticker Nerd, we spend a lot of time (and money) ensuring our newsletter is outstanding. Low-quality emails don't make it out, poor-performing emails are updated quickly, and our writers are thoroughly screened. We don't take any chances. Not with the level of competition we have. 

7. There will be more acquisitions 

Newsletter acquisitions aren't a new thing. In fact, Paved wrote an article in 2022 talking about why so many newsletters were being acquired. 

But it's still happening. Why? Acquiring a newsletter is a great idea for a company that wants exclusive exposure to a relevant audience, and strategically acquiring one can make more sense than building one from scratch. This is exactly what HubSpot did with The Hustle. They acquired the business and now use it as a direct acquisition channel to market their products. 

If you plan on starting a newsletter in 2024, it wouldn't hurt to work backward and see which industries or companies could benefit from a newsletter as an acquisition channel. 

What's next for newsletters?

Even though newsletters are becoming more popular, the mechanics have stayed the same. Find a niche, figure out how to monetize, produce high-quality content, and enjoy the ride. 

And if you're looking for more inspiration when it comes to email newsletters, I suggest checking out Starter Story's list of successful newsletters. Each case study has a detailed analysis breaking down exactly how they came up with the idea, launched, grew, and monetized their newsletter. 

Still on the fence? Agora makes $1 billion per year from its portfolio of email newsletters.  

Related reading:

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