Ep 257: Increase Blog Revenue By Bolting On A Newsletter Business with Craig Schoolkate

Have less traffic on your blog? No problem! You can still earn more money through a newsletter.

In today’s episode, Jaryd Krause is joined by the dynamic Craig Schoolkate. So, get ready for insights on ramping up your blog revenue through the power of the newsletter business. 

Craig developed his copywriting skills under Quinn Zeda at Zeda Labs. While at Empire Flippers, he found a passion for newsletters and successfully built one with 60,000 readers, boasting impressive engagement statistics. Currently, he authors the Growth Memo and oversees the growth of several newsletters, reaching a combined audience of over 89,000 entrepreneurs and marketers.

Jaryd and Craig dive into starting  a newsletter. Why should every business have a newsletter (not just for extra money but for far more important reasons)? How do you grow a newsletter? What metrics should you track and how? And what email service provider (ESP) can you use?

They also discuss building a brand within the newsletter. How can you make your newsletter and blog magnetic so that people will come to you with advertising dollars and opportunities? 

Lastly, Craig shares the 3-legged marketing stool. This is so valuable; businesses should know how this works and incorporate it into their strategy.

It’s a game-changing episode you won’t want to miss! Tune in now and generate more money for your online business.

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Episode Highlights

04:08  Craig’s journey into copywriting and online entrepreneurship

12:02  How do you transform relationships into business success? 

23:32  Unlocking your potential and monetizing your email list as a blogger 

30:03  The art of value-centric growth and monetization 

44:43  What are the best strategies to optimize a newsletter?

Courses & Training

Courses & Training

Key Takeaways

➥ According to Craig, an email list is considered the most important business asset. He goes so far as to state that if a business doesn’t have an email list, it may not be considered a true business. The rationale behind this assertion is that an email list provides a consistent and engaged audience to whom products can be sold or who can be directed to the business’s website.

➥ Craig promotes a shift from a competitive mindset to a collaborative one. Instead of viewing other businesses as competitors to be surpassed, he encourages businesses to see the potential for collaboration and abundance for everyone involved. This approach involves thinking about what can be given to the audience rather than what can be taken.

➥ To successfully monetize a newsletter, Craig recommends first defining a unique value proposition that sets the content apart. Subsequently, he emphasizes the importance of a testing phase with a small audience, gathering feedback, and refining the content based on responses. Adopting a long-term approach, he suggests building healthy metrics, such as achieving 50% or more open rates and minimizing unsubscribes to less than 1%, before considering monetization strategies.

One of the primary methods he highlights is the introduction of sponsorships, but he suggests waiting until the newsletter is well-established and exhibits robust engagement. The quality and engagement of the content play a crucial role in attracting sponsors and retaining subscribers for successful long-term monetization.

About The Guest

Craig Schoolkate was nurtured into the craft of copywriting by Quinn Zeda, founder of a left-field CRO agency called Zeda Labs.

When he moved on to Empire Flippers, he discovered his love for newsletters. He built the Empire Flippers newsletter, which had 60,000 readers, a 53.5% average open rate, and 96%+ of the audience read the entire email every week.

Now, he writes the Growth Memo and leads the growth of multiple newsletters with a total audience size of 89,000+ entrepreneurs and marketers.

Connect with Craig Schoolkate


Jaryd Krause:

What if your website business was actually underperforming and you found a way to earn more money without organic traffic? Hi, I'm Jaryd Krause. I'm the host of the Buying Online Businesses Podcast. And today I'm speaking with Craig Schoolkate, who was nurtured into the craft of copywriting by Quinn Zeda, who is the founder of a left field CRO agency called Zeda Labs.

He then moved on to Empire Flippers, where he discovered his love for newsletters, and he built the Empire Flippers newsletter to 60,000 readers with a 53.5% average open rate and 96% of the audience reading the entire email every single week. Now he writes for the Growth Memo and leads the growth of multiple newsletters with a total audience size of 89,000 or over 89,000 entrepreneurs and marketers.

And in this podcast episode, we talk about how to start a newsletter and, most importantly, why every business should have a newsletter, not just for extra money but for far more important reasons. We always talk about how to grow that newsletter, what metrics you should be looking at tracking and how to track those metrics, what email software providers you can use to track those certain metrics and why.

And we talk about how to build your brand within your newsletter, which is super, super important. Talk about relationship building, what business is, and overall good philosophies. We also talk about how to make your newsletter, blog and business so magnetic that people will come to you with advertising dollars and opportunities, not the other way around, which is where most people are operating. Craig also talks about the three-legged marketing stool and why all businesses should know how this actually works and use it within their business.

Now there's so much value in this podcast episode. I'm sure you guys are absolutely going to love it, but it's not the only way that I can help you for free. If you're looking at buying a business, make sure you don't go away and try to do it all yourself. Take the guesswork out of it and get my Due Diligence Framework. You can get that at buyingonlinebusiness.com/freeresources. Let's dive into the pod.

Do you have a website you might want to sell either now or in the future? We have a hungry list of cashed up and trained up buyers that want to buy your content website. If you have a site making over $300 per month and want to sell it, head to buyingonlinebusinesses.co/sellyourbusiness. Or email us at [email protected], because we will likely have a buyer. The details are in the description.

Craig, welcome to the Buying Online Businesses Podcast. We finally made it happen. We had so many tech issues, but we've ironed them out. Welcome to the pod.

Craig Schoolkate:

We did; we got through it together. I was plugging in, and you were getting your earphones and then I needed my earphones, and it was a big palaver, but we made it in the end. Thank you for sticking with me through that. It's good to see you.

Jaryd Krause:

Likewise, welcome. My microphone was having a bit of trouble connecting to the computer today, but that's the beauty of working online. We get the frustration sometimes of tech, but we get the lifestyle and that's a beautiful thing. Do you do much travel with your work at all, Craig? Since you can work online, do you do much travel at all?

Craig Schoolkate:

Yeah, I used to. About three years ago, I set off traveling. It was a new thing for me because I'd always had, let's say, normal jobs and then being able to go online and then travel the world was just such an appealing thing for me. I first went off to Bulgaria, Varna, just a random country. Because it was just during the pandemic, I was pretty limited in where I could go. And I thought Varna would be great. I thought it'd have a beach. It just looked really nice and sunny.

But in this Facebook group for nomads, they have groups everywhere. It was super small. There's only about 50 people. So I didn't even meet any other nomads at the time. So I went to Lisbon, where it's more populated with nomads. And then I ended up living there for a few years because I made some good friends.

And then, yeah, I've been to quite a few countries, like South America and Asia, and then in the States as well. So yeah, I've been around for a good few years, but I'm chilling at home now.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, nice, nice. Is that why you wanted to get into this online space of working online? Because you started off copywriting. How did you even get into that? And why did you get into that?

Craig Schoolkate:

Yeah, it was actually a little bit before that. So I was just a mess with my life. I didn't have a clue what to do. You know what I mean. I tried every single job. I worked at Subway; I went to university. I was working in schools as a supply teacher. I mean, I applied to be a paramedic and I was just bouncing all around because I had no idea what to do with my life.

And then I asked my brother, who's an entrepreneur, if he was selling stuff on eBay in Thailand about 20 years ago or something. And he was an entrepreneur type of person. And I said, “James, I don't know what to do with my life.” And he just sent me a Tai Lopez course on social media marketing. And that was a big thing at the time. He's a social media marketing agency.

So I started doing that and just learning online, then bought myself a suit and started knocking on doors and local businesses driving around all day, just trying to sell social media marketing, following all the stuff in the course—how to sell, how to pitch clients and how to actually run the social media. So I'd done that for a year and ended up with less than 1,000 pounds in the bank, which is a nice success. But I built up a little portfolio of creatives for ads and stuff like that.

And then I thought, I want to keep playing the online game. So I think there's something there. And I've always loved writing, but I never thought I could do anything. And I never thought I could make a living from it. I thought you had to be a super successful author. I didn't know what copywriting was.

But then I saw on Dynamite Jobs that the junior copywriter position came up and I thought, What is copywriting? So I started looking at it and I thought, Oh, this sounds really cool. Like, you can make a living writing. So I applied for that.

I put everything into that application, just nonstop all day and night researching and everything preparing. And fortunately, I got that job and that was with Quinn Zada from Zada Labs. You've probably met her in DC and stuff like that. Yeah, super fun. And I got on board and she said, “Oh, do you want to come to Austin and Mexico City with us next month?”

I was like, “What?” This is the first time. I'd never been to the States or anything like that. So this is crazy; this is a dream. So they took me there, went to a conference and met all these cool online businesspeople and digital nomads.

I just entered a whole new world of what's possible with life. And these people just wear hoodies and normal t-shirts and are super informal, but they're really successful in their lives. So that's how it all starts, really, to not go too much into my life story.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, no, that's cool. That's really, really cool. It's interesting that not many people know the value of copywriting either. I think some people can even know what it is, but they don't know how valuable it can be for their business if you do copywriting really well.

And yeah, it's cool to hear a bit about your journey. We typically don't go into people's hero's journey stories and how they get started in the online space, but it's interesting. Everybody's got a very different story.

And like you say, I live in Bali, and we chat too. All of my friends here now in Bali make good money online and none of us usually wear shirts, right? I'll come to a podcast, and I'll put a t-shirt on. We just rock around in board shorts most of the time.

Craig Schoolkate:

It's too hot where people are.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, it's too hot.

Craig Schoolkate:

And it's funny because you never meet anyone who's like, “Oh, I've done a digital marketing course at university” or anything like that. There's no sort of traditional route on this path. We've all just fumbled our way around and ended up together. And it's really cool.

Jaryd Krause:

I've also found that for people who study marketing at, say, a university, especially digital stuff, by the time they finish their education or a year later, it's all changed. And it can be a pointless education. But I want to talk about newsletters.

So you've had great success with newsletters. Why should people who already own an online business attach a newsletter to their blog, to their content website or to any business? Why newsletters? Why are they so powerful? Why are they so valuable?

Craig Schoolkate:

Yeah, it's a great question. So speaking to your audience, I know you've got a lot of people who acquire businesses and blogs, and you go through a transition from having a side hustle to something that's making you income part-time.

So you own an online business to make that income, which is a great step. I want to congratulate everyone who does that. I think it's really courageous and you're stepping into a new world.

The next step is to become an online business owner. Because with that blog or whatever online business you have, you've got an audience of people who are supporting your business and they're relying on you to improve their lives.

So when you step up into that online business owner position, you've got a responsibility to look after your audience and make sure that you give them as much value as possible to keep them supporting your business and keep them from going elsewhere. And because you need that to stay profitable and then if you want to scale as well,

So I'd say your email list is probably your most important business asset. I think if you don't have an email list, I would say that you don't have a business. Because there's only so far you can take it. Eventually you're going to need something—an audience there consistently with you—to have some people you can sell your products to or drive traffic to your site. So that's the next step.

So just to give an example of how important lists are in business, I don't know if you've heard of Gene Schwartz, Jaryd. Yeah. So if you don't know who Gene Schwartz is, he is the absolute king of marketing and business. His classic book, Breakthrough Advertising, sells for at least $125. If you get an original, it's at least $2,000. People pay for that because it's so valuable and timeless.

And if you want to compare it to, for example, if you thought Jeff Bezos was the father of retail business, then this Gene Schwartz is like Sam Walton. He's the father of who you thought the father was of business. Or Beyonce in music.

You think Beyonce is the queen; Aretha Franklin is Gene Schwartz. So the queen of the queens And my point about him is that when he was working at Boardroom Inc., he was paid $0 for the work he did as a marketer. Did you know that?

Jaryd Krause:

No, I didn't know that.

Craig Schoolkate:

And you know the reason why he didn't get paid at all?

Jaryd Krause:

So he gets experience.

Craig Schoolkate:

No, good answer. But it's a fact that he was working with lists of millions and millions of people. And he had his own small business in the health niche. And instead of being paid dollars, he was paid lists. So he would get 750,000 names from the list of Boardroom Inc., the company that he worked for. Because he knew that if he had that list for his business, he could earn more from it than any amount of money that Boardroom could pay him.

The boardroom's like a financial publisher. They also publish newsletters and publications in the health niche, things like that. Huge, huge company, hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth So he got paid in lists because he knew he could earn more from them than he could from dollars. So that's the importance of the list.

Now, how do newsletters fit into that? When you have a list, it's your relationship; you're having a relationship with humans. All business is about relationships. And it's easy to forget that when you see just data points and numbers. But if you can really, really grasp that you're a human speaking to a human in everything you do—every customer service, every time you deliver a service, and every time you send an email or a social media post—that will really make a huge difference. That will help you become a business owner.

Now, what type of relationship do you have with your list at the moment? There are two main types. The first one is the drunken ex. So the drunken ex only calls upon the people on their list when they need something, when they're sending offers or doing a promo, or when they want to do a launch.

But all the rest of the time, they just don't do anything with the list. They just wait, “Okay, we've got a promo going; I'm going to send it to my list.” The second type of relationship is the supportive partner. And that's someone who's always there for them. They always remember their birthday. They're always giving value consistently. And yeah, they're someone that you want to spend your life with.

Now, if you're on the list, who would you want to be with? Would you want to be with person one or person two?

Jaryd Krause:

Exactly. You don't want to treat your audience like they're just there for you and your business. You really want to help each other grow.

Craig Schoolkate:

That's exactly right, yeah. It's a two-way participation. I know it's funny; we'll have a thing in business to talk about competition and there's no competition. It's all collaboration. We all live together as one.

Because if you have that competitive mindset, then you're going to think, “Well, what can I take? What can I keep? What can I keep on taking?” Whereas if you work in collaboration, there's abundance for everyone, then you start to think about “What can I give?”

A newsletter is just the best way to consistently give to your audience and really strengthen that relationship. And you see it everywhere now. You go to every website; what's the first CTA you see on the front page?

Jaryd Krause:

Are you asking me questions or are you asking the audience questions?

Craig Schoolkate:

Yeah. I'm confusing you with rhetorical questions, trying to get to my thing. I'd say, yeah, so it's a newsletter signup, which is basically what you see on 90% of websites now. And that's because people are starting to really see the value of lists.

Jaryd Krause:

Where I see this as not being the best opt-in to just join a newsletter, when I think about it, nobody really cares about being on a newsletter. They don't want it. I just want to get emails from people and be on a newsletter. We need to actually share why they should be on our email list.

And typically, the first thing that I like to do is not just tell people to join the email list; it’s more about giving them something for free right away and using an opt-in that leads them into an email list and gives them the option.

What we like to do is, when people join, we set a bit of an expectation of what you're going to get because you're on the list now in the newsletter. And if you don't like it, hit the unsubscribe button, because we don't want you here if you don't want to be here either.

And it's a win. It's because they go away and get their free value and then they go off and do what they need to do and they don't need to sit on the email list and cause the email list damage by getting a whole bunch of emails to the inbox and not opening them, which decreases deliverability to that email list.

And also, talking about relationships, you don't want to build a relationship. You don't want to keep texting somebody who doesn't reply to you or doesn't open your texts, just annoying them. You're just creating a bit of friction there. So get them away from that. And it's a win-win for everyone. Rather than just jumping on the newsletter, just be on the newsletter so we can send you emails all the time.

I think where people do it right is if you ask them to join the newsletter because they're going to get these one or two things when they do get them, so there is a position of value. What are your thoughts on that?

Craig Schoolkate:

Yeah, I absolutely agree, 100%. And I would say to people, “Don't invite people to join your newsletter.” Because newsletters now become their own entities. So you see, like Morning Brew, that's a business based on—it's like a publication. Think of it as a publication or a blog that's going direct to the people on your list. Think of it as its own business. You don't have to monetize; you don't have to build it as a business, but think of it that way.

And so offer some value up front, exactly like you said—some sort of lead magnet or something really, really super packed with value. You feel like you're giving away too much. It's the Alex Hormozi thing. So give that away. And then the newsletters—you don't even have to mention it; they just start delivering value and then give people the option to unsubscribe if they need to.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. So what's maybe the two best ways or one to three really awesome ways to grow the email list or your newsletter?

Craig Schoolkate:

Okay. So grow as if you already have a newsletter or are starting from scratch?

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. Well, let's talk about A, starting from scratch. Obviously, I would say it's probably giving something of value and then you can get email subscribers. Yeah. What would you be suggesting?

Craig Schoolkate:

Yeah. So if you have people on your list already, then there's a few different types of newsletters you can do. So the first main one is that I call it a quickie newsletter. So if you have a blog, then you can curate the content that you're creating and repurpose it into a newsletter that you send every week.

So if you already have your list, then send them an email introducing the new newsletter you're going to do. You're going to say, “Hey, I want to share all the best content, but it's going to be unique. It's not just going to be a list of all the stuff that's on my blog or on my YouTube or anything like that; it's going to have extra value in it.”

So if you get people to opt-in to that, then you can just recreate your content into an email and I would suggest, for example, if you're resharing a recent article of a YouTube video you've done, give all the value in the newsletter.

Because then it becomes unique, so they don't have to click through. It's an idea by SparkToro; I think Rand Fishkin came up with it. It's no-click content and gives all the value away in the content so you don't make them click.

So you can do that, and anyone could start that pretty easily. Just create some content repurposing SOP, a flexible email template and set up some segmentations for your list and then you can hire an email writer or content writer to repurpose that for you. It shouldn't be too expensive or too hard.

So that's one way to get started with sending value to your audience. And if you have an online community, you could create a newsletter whereby you say, “Hey, we've got like all the top talking points within the community for the week so you can see all the best conversations and flick through and see which ones that's most interesting to you,” and you can add some extra value to that by explaining what sort of things your community is talking about and then give some value content related to that as well.

Or you can really build a newsletter business like an actual media empire. And to do this for Empire Flippers, we built a newsletter called This Week in M&A and had our unique point of view of what's going on in the industry.

We'd share our industry data from our marketplace, and we'd find content from around the web that's relevant to what's going on in the market and our audience's lives. So we'd build out a chunky thing—a big 1,500–2,000 word thing sometimes—and people really valued that.

So I'd say the first step was to just decide what type of newsletter you had the capacity to do. Because not everyone has the capacity to build a newsletter entity. Decide what you want it to be, whether you want it to actually be a profitable business where you can monetize it through sponsorships and subscribers or whether you just want to nurture that relationship with your audience, which you're probably best off with one of the first two, a cookie or a community hub newsletter.

And so the best way is to set out a plan for curating content. If you want to do something totally unique, if you're an expert in your space and you want to talk about what's going on in the industry or just share your expertise, decide what's going to be your super unique point of view that your audience can't find anywhere else, and then design your newsletter around that.

And then test it with your list. Put it out to a small portion, see how people respond, get some feedback, put a form, a NPS form, in there, get people's feedback and then send it out to the wider list.

So that's like a top-level view. We can dive deeper into some of that if you'd like to. But hopefully that answers your questions and gives people an idea of how to get started.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, I love it. I definitely want to dive into a few of the different versions. So let's just split them into two. You can just harness and build relationships with a free newsletter within your business, but you can also treat it like a separate entity. And then you can have a newsletter be its own business in and of itself, which I don't know if people know too much about on this podcast. And I want to dive into that because treating it as a separate entity while also monetizing that email list is something that I think a lot of bloggers don't really realize they can do.

So how do they go about it? Like you said, you could create content that is zero click and give all the value in the email or the emails. And that could be a newsletter; that could be a paid newsletter; it could be $5 to $15 or more a month to be on that newsletter.

And they're getting so much value from it. There's other ways as well that you can monetize it. But I'd like to ask you, what are some of the ways that people can monetize their email list other than what I just mentioned?

Craig Schoolkate:

Yeah, it's a great question. So I'd say, first of all, get your newsletter nailed down. Find the best way to get the most unique, best content you can put in the email. Because it’s quite competitive out there. There are a lot of newsletters landing in people's inboxes. And I don't know about you, but I'm signed up for over 100 newsletters right now.

Jaryd Krause:

I am not.

Craig Schoolkate:

All right. Okay.

Jaryd Krause:

No, you're in the spaces. You're getting ideas. You're using it as inspiration. For me, I'm not in the space where I want to learn more about that sort of stuff anymore. I'm a different kind of fish.

I don't want to be classified as a normal human being because I'm not normal. I'm very different. And when I want to consume content, I'll go to the source and then decide when I want it—not for it to be fed to me at times when I'm not ready for it.

Craig Schoolkate:

Got it. Yeah. That's a great point. I'm sure a lot of people think the same way. So yeah, yeah. Just figure out what it is. That's totally unique to you. What's your experience, what's in your personality, and what's unique about your brand that people can't find anywhere else?

And that's really key. Because to build it into a really profitable business, you're not going to get away with doing five ways to improve your SEO or think generic stuff like that. I mean, it's the same everywhere, really. So build out solid processes for curating content or writing content. If you can hire a great writer, that'd be fantastic. And they can really take it and run with it.

So just get your newsletter tied down for three, four months or something or maybe test different stuff, get the layout and the format done before you start to think about sponsorships, or paid or anything like that. And it is a bit of a long-term game.

Think about it. It's the same way if you're building a site from scratch. You're finding your keywords and you've really carved out your niche. You're putting out the content but it's going to compound over time and then eventually you're going to see the returns.

So once you've got a solid newsletter with at least a 50% open rate and a low number of unsubscribers, you want less than 1% unsubscribers. And you've got some metrics that show that. This newsletter is healthy. Then you can start to introduce sponsors and paid subscriptions. The main one is sponsorships.

That's probably where you're going to have the most opportunity to earn the most from the newsletter. When I do them for Empire Flippers, it's an online business brokerage, and I'm sure your audience is aware of that.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. Everybody knows. Everybody listening knows who Empire Flippers are.

Craig Schoolkate:

Yeah, yeah. So when I was working there, we had our newsletter, and we didn't want to monetize it at all. It wasn't part of the plan yet because we put so much work into the newsletter. We had companies come to us offering to pay us to go in our newsletter.

They're saying, “We'll sponsor you. We want to get in here.” But we said, “No, we didn't want to do it for that reason. We were just nurturing our audience.”

So that's the power of creating great content. And it comes down to it. That's all that always comes back to, isn't it, Jaryd? Creating the best value and the best content and these opportunities will come to you. But you can certainly set yourself up for the opportunity by knowing your list inside and out.

knowing what offers are going to resonate with them. Because the key to sponsorships is having the right offer for the right audience. And you've got to be able to test that to small portions of your list, see what people interact with and make sure you get those offers.

Because if you get poor offers—and I've seen this happen—if you get poor offers to the wrong list, you get low click rates, and you end up with putting a bad taste in the mouth of your readers by sharing stuff that they're not interested in. So that's super important.

And yeah, another one is subscriptions as well. You can have goodwill subscriptions if you've got a small list; start there. But if you want to have gated content, exclusive content that only paid subscribers can get access to, then that's another way—a great way to monetize.

There's a great newsletter called Houck's Newsletter. They have paid subscriptions. He scaled to 1 million in 18 months or something like that. So yeah, I don’t know if I'm rambling or not, Jaryd; just please tell me.

Jaryd Krause:

No, that's great. I want to jump in and add something to what you said if you want to build it up to a point where you have minimal unsubscribes and a really good open rate. And yeah, like you said, you're testing the email subject line, the content, seeing what's landing, seeing what people are replying to, seeing what the open rates are, seeing what the click through rates are, whatever it is. I know you say zero click content, but if you are putting clicks on something, then see what the click through rate is as well.

And you mentioned that what you're doing is that when you build it up so much to be so valuable, people will come to you with money and say, “Hey, I want to create this opportunity. I want to pay you money to do this.” I haven't talked about this too much, actually.

Typically, I share some of these philosophies with my one-on-one coaching clients, but what you're doing here is doing the opposite of what most people are doing.

Most people are building their businesses, and this is what I think most people do with affiliate websites is they start an affiliate website, and they realize that the quickest way to earn income is by putting affiliates on it. And they're going for the money and they're chasing the money really, really fast.

And they're just putting out as much as they can to try and get the money as fast as they can. Versus going the other way around, which is building something that's so damn awesome that that asset becomes magnetic to you, attracting what you actually want and thinking about in the long-term game.

Another way to explain it is that if your goal is money, let's just say that money is a butterfly. So your goal is to catch butterflies. So you can go away, and you can catch butterflies. You can get a butterfly net, go out and try to catch all these butterflies and grab all this money. Or what you can do is build a beautiful garden with all the trees, the flora and the fauna, where the birds, the bees and the butterflies come to you.

And I grabbed that from a guy named Roger Hamilton in a book called Your Life, Your Legacy, one of my favorite books. And that's what a good business owner does. And that's what a great business does really well in itself. It builds out something so damn valuable that, because it's so valuable in the environment, it just becomes so magnetic to people wanting to subscribe to that email list.

And then there are also people wanting to be a part of that email list and throwing money at you so they can either sponsor it, run a campaign, be in the email list or whatever it is.

I would also add. For example, if you've got a really good surfing newsletter teaching people how to surf, you could still get sponsors from different apps, like surf forecasting apps you could get as a newsletter, or they could sponsor the newsletter by being in the newsletter. Or you could run affiliate campaigns to buy surfboards for a certain percentage off and you could be an affiliate as well. So I'd say affiliates can work too.

And then also, what I think is really cool about the newsletter is that, because you own it, you can do some really, really cool things like ask the audience what their biggest and most fierce frustrations, wants, needs, and desires are. Working out what they are and then coming up with, “If I were to create a product out of these three products, which one would be best for you? And then how much do you think that would be worth in terms of value, monetary value?”

And then what you're actually doing is asking your direct audience if you own what they want and how much they're willing to pay for it. And you can create your own product. And that could be a digital product. It could be a physical product. And that's a bit of an add-on thing. Because if it's a physical product, there's a bit more work that goes into it.

But what you're doing is building something that's so valuable and you're not going away and doing what most people would do to start a business. They try to find a product, have a million-dollar idea and then try to find the market for that. Instead, you're asking the market what they want and all you need to do is create it for them and give it to them. And they're going to buy it.

Craig Schoolkate:

Absolutely. Yeah. And that's stuff we used to do at Empire Flippers as well. Just ask the audience. And like you say, really, I love the butterfly analogy. And I see that you do that a lot with your content. So I can see that's why your audience respects you so much.

Yeah. So giving the value upfront is just the rule for business. For all of the top marketers who've ever lived, a minimum requisite for the work they do is that the offer has to be so good that you'd be stupid to say no.

Imagine that you've got these genius marketers who know human behavior. They know copywriting formulas. They know how to convince people, yet they still say no. And the offer needs to be so good, they can't say no.

So that's an absolute minimum. And yeah, the opportunities do come, and you'll get to a point where you're able to promote offers to your audience and they'll take it on because they just trust and respect you so much. I mean, we didn't monetize the newsletter, but it still made 307,200 dollars in revenue in 18 months or something, which, I mean, isn't fantastic amounts. But when you consider that you weren't even promoting affiliate offers or anything,

But we're doing one promotion; we just offered an investment opportunity with WebStreet, which is the sister company of Empire Flippers. Now we just put a small mention, “Look, we're open for investment now for the next round,” and made 100K in one email, 151 words. And that came because of all the value that had been given to the previous 60 or 70 issues of the newsletter. So the opportunities come.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. So that's a year and a half worth of emails. If you're doing like one a week, it's playing the long-term game. And really, that's why I wanted to get you on to talk about how valuable newsletters are.

Because people who own a blog or a content site and don't build out their email list and build relationships with people are very, very worried about Google and its updates and losing traffic. When you lose a little bit of traffic, I give this example of another guy.

He's from Australia and he has started a bunch of content sites and he's also bought some. And when he owned a website, I think it was called iknowthepilot.com and it was another travel website as well. And when COVID happened, he lost a lot of traffic because nobody was searching for ways to travel and nobody was booking flights.

And so where he lost out on traffic and revenue, because he lost traffic, he lost that amount of revenue; that revenue he gained back by building an email list and offering value through the email list, building out his email list.

He already had an email list, but he sort of just tapped into it a little bit more. So one opportunity can be gone, like traffic, because you don't own and control it. But if you own the email list, it's a really good hedge against the external environment in business.

And I wanted to ask you, what are maybe two or three things that you've seen the most successful newsletters do really well?

Craig Schoolkate:

Yeah. So I talk a lot about marketing, but it's really business. So there's a concept called the three-legged marketing stool. I don't know if you've heard of it.

Jaryd Krause:

Three legged what?

Craig Schoolkate:

Marketing stool. The stool that you sit on. Three-legged stool, three legs that you need to support successful marketing, but I'll go as far as, say, probably business. The first one is your list, which is what we've talked about, the email list. That's 40% of what you need.

The next one is your offer. That's the second 40%. And the next one is, I'm saying it's usually the copywriting, the marketing, but for email newsletters, I'm going to say feedback. So I've tailored this to newsletters.

And the list is that you need the right audience for what you've got to offer in your blog. So make sure you're getting email subscribers that are related to the content that you're going to be sharing. And keep it really specific.

Not just demographics; focus on behavioral tracking of how people have interacted with your business and then identify people that way. You're not like, “Oh, well, I've got 500 people who live in the north of the United States between 29 and then 39.” Focus more on how they interact with your website if you've got the tracking set up. And make your offers specific; make your newsletter specific to those people.

And your offer is to make sure that your content is completely unique, like I mentioned before. And something that people can't get anywhere else that they're just desperate for, they're waiting for it to come in their inbox because it's so helpful to them.

Or it's so entertaining. So that's a big thing as well. Just being entertaining. People value that a lot. And if you're making offers, make sure it's the only offer that your subscribers are going to engage with.

And coming back to the list as well, make sure that it's curated as well; try to do a double opt-in. And so you get people's real buy-in. So they know what to expect from the newsletter. And try to have them opt-in through a landing page or an email that explains what they're going to get from the newsletter each week.

And then keep your list clean as well. Clean it out every 30 days or so for the ones who aren't interacting to keep your deliverability score up. So you don't end up in the promotions, or worse, spam tabs.

And then keep on top of your list management. That's number one. And the next thing is the offer, the content you've got, and the value packed into your newsletters. And then there's the third one, which a lot of people overlook, but it's really key because it informs the first two and that's getting feedback.

So you might've seen on newsletters, like The Hustle, that the bottom has little emojis and a little score that you can give. They might've taken it out now, but they did have it for a lot of years. And you can give a score; it's called an NPS score (net promoter score), and people can rate your newsletter and then have you give them a link to click on a form.

And you can use Typeform for this. Have them fill it out and answer some questions about how they feel about the newsletter and what content they want to see. And get regular feedback from monthly surveys, see a list, and ask about, again, what content they want to see and what they care about right now.

And if you can interview readers, that'll be gold. And you learn so much, not just for your newsletter but for your business in general. And you can offer an Amazon gift card or something if people come in and interview with you.

Talk with them for 15 to 20 minutes and get some insights from them. Or you can ask your community. If you've got a community or your social followers, do polls and ask questions to your audience.

So yeah, to wrap that up, the three most important things that you need are solid list management, a great offer with your content and the offers that you promote in your content and some system for getting feedback. And with all of those working in tandem, it should fuel your newsletter growth.

Jaryd Krause:

That's awesome. That's awesome, Craig. I love that. I use ActiveCampaign. I love ActiveCampaign as my email software provider. I'll put a link to that in the show notes, guys. They're really good. I recommend people use them. Who do you find to be quite a good email software provider?

Craig Schoolkate:

Yeah. Actually for my main client now, we use ActiveCampaign. It's really good because the analytics are solid and you can see who's clicked on which pieces of content and stuff like that, which is super insightful. Because then you know which content resonates. It's simple and free. You have a neat feature.

Here's a sneaky little hack for open rates. So most people think that the main thing to get open rates up is subject lines, but there's something even more powerful than subject lines that will get you open and that's time.

So ActiveCampaign has a feature called predictive sending, and it learns the behavior of your audience to discover when they're most active in their inbox. So it will send emails based on when they land in the inbox. And I've had this work on me.

I've literally opened my inbox, and then boom, an email comes in from Ian Stanley. He was a great email marketer to learn from if you want to get more into this. And that is powerful stuff. Because it's always at the top of your inbox. It's not two, three, four or five. So ActiveCampaign has that feature. And it's really great if you're already using that ESP for your promotions and stuff like that. You can keep it all in one place.

Jaryd Krause:

What do you call that again? What do you call that?

Craig Schoolkate:

Predictive sending.

Jaryd Krause:

Predictive sending, yeah.

Craig Schoolkate:

That's what's called ActiveCampaign, the feature. I think the overall term is send time optimization. You can look into that if you're interested.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, cool.

Craig Schoolkate:

And so, yeah, you can use these types of ESPs in general to keep all your stuff together if you've got offers or you can use a newsletter platform.

So a really good one is Beethat's Shive, which we also use for newsletters. So it's not just a place where you can design templates, which are really good, track all your analytics and everything like that, but it also has features, one of which is called boost. And the way I like to remember that is if you're imagining a beehive and then you put an injection in it, and it boosts up the activity in there.

And how that works is that it's a share-for-share program where you have other newsletters on Beehive sharing your newsletter with their audiences, and you can share their newsletters with your audiences. That is the number one way to grow a newsletter because it's free. It's highly targeted because you can select newsletters with audiences that are very similar to yours.

And it's easy for people to do. So people will happily do it. All you need to do is click a button and then you will be featured in your newsletters. So that's the number one way to grow. So Beehive for platform.

Another newsletter platform is Substack. Particularly good for individual creators. I think yours would be good if you were going to do a personal newsletter, coming straight from you, because it's nice and easy. There's a nice template.

The tracking is not so good. That's where it's weak, but every email that you send is created as a post on a Substack page. So you have essentially a blog that people can go to as well. So that's really handy.

And Passionfroot. So Passionfroot is another one that's good for individual creators. Really nice templates. I'm not too familiar with how good the tracking is. They tend not to be so good on these types of platforms, but again, you get your own sort of blog on there.

Another one is that if you're quite a big business, you might want to go for ConvertKit or HubSpot because they have much more granular tracking. And you can learn more about your audience, do better list segmentation, have the best templates, and do split testing. Really good split testing, 50-50. Whereas in Beehive, the split testing isn't so good. You can only do 10% of your list. Jaryd Krause:

You can do split testing with ActiveCampaign as well.

Craig Schoolkate:

Yes, of course. Yes, quite right. Yeah, yeah. Split testing is really good there too.

Jaryd Krause:

But I do recommend ConvertKit to others as well. If they don't like ActiveCampaign, then ConvertKit is normally one that I'd recommend as well.

Craig Schoolkate:

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah. So yeah, those are the main ones that you can use for building a newsletter.

Jaryd Krause:

Awesome. Awesome. Craig, this has been such a fun chat. Thank you for coming on. Where can we send people to check out more about you and what you're up to?

Craig Schoolkate:

Yeah, it's been so good. Thank you for having me on. I could have talked for another hour. This has flown by. I thought we were only halfway through. So, I mean, I keep a low profile. I'm only emailing.

I'm a bit of an email hermit. So I don't really have a website. To be honest with you, Jaryd, I just can't be bothered to build a website and show my stuff. You know what I mean? I'm pretty lazy about that.

So what I've done instead is create a presentation that accompanies this talk today. It's got some extra things that we didn't manage to cover today. And it's got everything you need—all of the tools that we talked about, all of the strategies, all the important stuff. And I just wanted to give that to your audience, just for fun. Okay. I guess we can share a link to that in the show notes.

Jaryd Krause:

What's that one? Is that the Google Doc one or is it the other one?

Craig Schoolkate:

It's a presentation.

Jaryd Krause:

What's the link?

Craig Schoolkate:

I'll create a unique one. Yeah. I'll send you the link by email now. Unless you have a chat box in this thing,

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, yeah, I do. I do.

Craig Schoolkate:

I'll send you a link to that.

Jaryd Krause:

All right. Awesome, guys. I'll put that in the show notes for you guys to check out that presentation. Again, Craig, it's been so fun to chat and yeah, let's keep the conversation and our relationship alive. And yeah, I really appreciate it. And I'll speak to you soon.

Craig Schoolkate:

Excellent, man. It's been a lot of fun. Thank you. Thanks everyone. See you.

Jaryd Krause:

Hey, YouTube watchers, if you thought that video was good, you should check out this video here on the 2 Best Types of Websites Beginners Should Buy. Or check out my playlist on How I Made My First $100k Buying Websites and how to do due diligence. Check it out. It's an awesome playlist. You'll enjoy it.

Want to have more financial and time freedom?

We help people buy established profit generating online businesses so the can replace their income and spend more time doing what they love with the people they love.


Jaryd Krause is a serial entrepreneur who helps people buy online businesses so they can spend more time doing what they love with who they love. He’s helped people buy and scale sites all the way up to 8 figures – from eCommerce to content websites. He spends his time surfing and traveling, and his biggest goals are around making a real tangible impact on people’s lives. 

Resource Links:

Sell your business to us herehttps://www.buyingonlinebusinesses.co/sellyourbusiness

➥ Buying Online Businesses Website – https://buyingonlinebusinesses.com

➥ Download the Due Diligence Framework – https://buyingonlinebusinesses.com/freeresources/

Active Campaign – https://bit.ly/3DCwYQH

Convert Kit – https://bit.ly/3o10Xgx

➥ Substack – https://substack.com/

➥ Beehiiv – https://www.beehiiv.com/

➥ Passionfroot – https://www.passionfroot.me/


🔥Buy & Sell Online Businesses Here (Top Website Brokers We Use) 🔥

➥ Empire Flippers – https://bit.ly/3RtyMkE

➥ Flippa – https://bit.ly/3WYX0Ve

➥ Motion Invest – https://bit.ly/3YmJAmO

➥ Investors Club – https://bit.ly/3ZpgioR

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