Substack Marketing for Coaches: Tips for Growing Your Audience

Email newsletters have long been a key ingredient of successful marketing strategies. They provide a direct line to your audience, allowing you to deliver valuable content straight to their inboxes.

Think about it: social media algorithms change faster than you can blink, effectively limiting your reach. This leaves you in a constant state of catching up or trying to get ahead. On the other hand, email newsletters ensure that your message gets seen by those who have actively chosen to hear from you. With high open rates and strong engagement, newsletters can significantly boost your brand’s visibility and customer loyalty.

Here’s where Substack marketing is making waves in the world of online publishing. In this guide, we’ll cover effective strategies that will help you leverage Substack to grow your coaching audience.

What is Substack exactly and how does it work?

Online coach exploring how to create a Substack newsletter to start writing a weekly newsletter for paying subscribers

Substack is an all-in-one platform that simplifies the process of creating and managing newsletters, blogs, and even payments. By using Substack, writers, creators, coaches, podcasters, and thought leaders can focus on their content. Put simply, it can help you publish and monetize your work effortlessly.

Imagine having your own publication, complete with a unique publication URL that you can customize for better discoverability. Substack allows you to:

  • Create both free and paid posts, offering a paid subscription option
  • Reach your audience through the web, email, and the Substack app
  • Use various formats, including text-based posts, discussions, podcasts, and videos (currently in beta)

Is Substack the right tool for coaches?

Substack stands out as a top choice for many creators and marketers due to its unique features and benefits. But how do you know if Substack is the right fit for you? Here are some key aspects that make Substack a compelling option.

Yes, if a user-friendly interface is a priority for you.

You know the feeling… Starting a newsletter from scratch can be time-consuming especially if you’re on a budget and you decide to do it all by yourself. You have to watch a number of tutorials, study a bunch of tech, and basically figure everything out alone—or hope for a great customer support team to help you.

With Substack, you don’t need to be a tech wizard to get started. The platform is designed to make it easy for anyone to create and manage a newsletter right from the get-go. From setting up your account to designing your newsletter, Substack’s intuitive tools can guide you through the process. This ease of use allows you to focus more on creating great content for your coaching clients and less on dealing with technical hassles.

Yes, if you’re looking for easier ways to engage with your audience.

Engaging your coaching audience is crucial for the success of any newsletter. Substack offers built-in tools that promote reader interaction and retention of new subscribers. You can easily integrate comments, likes, and shares, fostering a sense of community among your subscribers. Additionally, Substack’s clean and professional layout ensures that your content is presented in an attractive and readable format, encouraging readers to stay engaged and come back for more.

Plus, if you already have an existing audience on other platforms like WordPress, Mailchimp, Medium, or anywhere else, you can simply import your posts and email list when you set up your Substack.

Yes, if you’re looking to monetize your newsletter.

Substack has you covered! The platform offers flexible subscription models that allow you to charge for your content. Whether you choose to offer a free newsletter with paid premium content or go entirely subscription-based, Substack provides the infrastructure to support your monetization strategy. They will keep a 10% cut of revenues to cover operating costs, but they essentially only make money when you do.

This flexibility enables you to experiment with different approaches and find the one that best suits your audience and business goals.

So whether you’re looking to grow your subscriber base, engage your audience, or monetize your content, Substack offers the features and support you need to succeed. If these benefits align with your marketing goals, Substack might just be the perfect platform for you.

Ways to use Substack to grow your audience

Independent writers working on publication details and writing substack newsletters

Ready to get started with Substack? Here are some effective ways to use Substack to grow your subscriber base and boost your marketing efforts.

Set up your newsletter and deliver quality content

With Substack, you can create different types of content—text-based, threads, podcasts, and even videos (still in beta). The great thing about the platform is they provide a ton of helpful resources—you’ll never be lost. To know more about how to start a Substack newsletter, you can check their guide here. However, we’ve created an even simpler guide:

Create your account

  • Visit and click on “Start a newsletter.”
  • Enter your email address and choose a name for your newsletter.
  • Customize your profile by adding a photo and a brief bio to introduce yourself to potential subscribers.

Design your newsletter

  • Browse through Substack’s available templates and select one that matches your brand’s aesthetic.
  • Choose colors that align with your brand identity and are visually appealing.
  • Select fonts that are easy to read and reflect the tone of your content.

Write compelling content

  • Focus on providing high-quality, relevant information that addresses your audience’s needs and interests.
  • Use storytelling techniques to make your content more engaging and relatable.
  • Incorporate visuals such as images, infographics, and videos to enhance your message.

Consider multiple publications

  • If you have diverse interests or expertise, consider creating multiple publications to cater to different audience segments. There’s a clear advantage when it comes to creating tailored content.
  • Each publication can focus on a specific topic, allowing you to reach a broader range of readers.

Focus on growing your subscriber base

Your relationship with your coaching clients and subscribers and how you can retain them are key to success. While it’s true that the quality of your content is a major factor, there are some fun online active strategies you can explore that can pull in an even bigger audience.

Utilize your existing audience

  • Promote your Substack newsletter to your followers on social media, your website, and other platforms.
  • Offer exclusive content to incentivize your existing audience to subscribe to your Substack. You’ll be able to do this if your content is top-notch, unique, and interesting.

Leverage social media marketing

  • Share snippets or previews of your newsletter content on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
  • Use eye-catching visuals and engaging captions to attract attention and drive traffic to your Substack.

Partner with other creators or coaches to expand your reach

  • Co-create content or participate in guest posts with other creators in your niche.
  • Cross-promote each other’s newsletters to tap into new audiences and grow your subscriber base.

Learn how to monetize strategically

Substack is made to help creators, writers, coaches, and artists scale their businesses by offering tools that make monetization smooth and seamless. If you’re looking at earning through your content, Substack is a great starting point.

Free vs. paid newsletters: Decide the right model for your audience

  • Evaluate your content strategy and audience preferences to determine whether to offer free content, paid subscriptions, or a combination of both. Just because this feature is available on Substack, doesn’t mean you should jump on it right away.
  • Consider starting with a free newsletter to build your audience and gradually introduce paid options as your subscriber base grows.

Structure subscription tiers and benefits

  • Create multiple subscription tiers with varying levels of access and benefits to cater to different audience segments.
  • Clearly outline the perks associated with each tier, such as additional content, ad-free reading, or community access.

By following these strategies, you can effectively use Substack to grow your audience, engage your readers, and monetize your content.

Best practices for sustained success

Checklist and to-do list for emerging writers

To achieve long-term success with your Substack newsletter, it’s essential to follow best practices that ensure consistent growth and engagement.

Here are some strategies to help you maintain and build upon your success.

Consistency is key

The importance of implementing a regular publishing schedule cannot be underestimated. Especially if you decide to eventually go the paid route, your subscribers need to receive value.

  • Set a consistent publishing schedule that your readers can rely on. Whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, sticking to a regular cadence helps build trust and anticipation among your subscribers. If you’re working with a team, you can use upcoach‘s task tracker to assign tasks and monitor progress.
  • Announce your schedule to your audience so they know when to expect new content. This transparency can enhance reader loyalty and keep them engaged over time.
  • Plan your content in advance to ensure you always have something ready to publish on your scheduled dates. Use content calendars and planning tools to stay organized.
  • Avoid long gaps between newsletters, as inconsistent posting can lead to a drop in subscriber engagement and interest.

Engage with your readers

Build a community and maintain interaction with your readers to keep them interested. You can do this by:

  • Inviting your readers to comment on your newsletters, participate in discussions, and share their thoughts.
  • Responding to reader comments and messages to show that you value their input.
  • Including interactive elements such as polls, surveys, and Q&A sections in your newsletters.
  • Highlighting reader contributions or feature subscriber stories to make your audience feel more connected and valued.

Stay updated with trends

Keeping your content fresh and relevant will give your clients and audience something to look forward to. Yes, other writers will probably do the same, but you all have different insights and experiences. You’ll definitely have a different take on writing, whatever the trends are.

  • Stay informed about the latest trends and developments in your niche or industry. Subscribe to relevant newsletters, follow industry blogs, and participate in forums to keep your finger on the pulse.
  • Share your insights and perspectives on these trends with your audience. Providing timely and relevant content helps position you as an authority in your field.
  • Be flexible and willing to adjust your content strategy based on emerging trends and reader preferences.
  • Experiment with new content formats, topics, and styles to keep your newsletter fresh and engaging. Incorporating multimedia elements such as videos, podcasts, and infographics can also enhance your content’s appeal.

Analyze and optimize your newsletter performance

Once you start experiencing success with your Substack publication, it’s important to know that you can continue growing your audience and subscriber list. Simply having a Substack blog isn’t the goal—it’s creating connections with your audience and providing consistent value.

That being said, we recommend using Substack data as you continue to strategize your marketing efforts.

Track important metrics to monitor for success

  • Track metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and subscriber growth to gauge your newsletter’s performance.
  • Monitor engagement levels to understand how your audience interacts with your content.

Test different elements to improve engagement

  • Experiment with different subject lines, content formats, and call-to-action placements to see what resonates best with your audience.
  • Analyze the results of your tests to make data-driven decisions and optimize your newsletter content.

Use reader feedback to refine your newsletter

  • Encourage subscribers to provide feedback through surveys, comments, or direct responses.
  • Use the insights gained from reader feedback to make improvements and tailor your content to better meet your audience’s needs and preferences.

It’s time to use Substack to come out on top

Substack presents a distinctive opportunity for you to cultivate an audience, curate engaging content, and monetize their craft. Sign up for Substack today and start building your community.

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