Paid newsletters are in vogue and it is not just the case of individual authors on Substack, it is an industry trend. Publications like Quartz or Punchbowl News are attracting significant reader revenue with emails, while many publishers and social platforms are looking for new ways of jumping on the premium newsletter bandwagon.
But the independent creator economy is a tough and unequal one as the number of websites, podcasts, newsletters, and video channels keeps growing. Without a strong brand, your content risks getting lost in the vastness of the internet.
To help creators monetise the relationship with their audience, Memberful, a Patreon subsidiary, is launching a paid newsletter feature. This is a free add-on to their existing subscription membership service that charges creators 4.9 per cent, plus a monthly rate of $25 or $100, depending on the pricing plan. Compare that to Substack which pockets 10 per cent of creator revenue and it is easy to see that, if you have a large enough audience, this is a better deal, even with the added monthly fee.
If you wonder how much more you would realistically earn by switching to Memberful, you can use its handy 'Paid newsletter revenue calculator' that helps you compare earnings from Memberful, Substack, and MailerLite. Just enter the size of your audience and what you charge per month to see whether switching will bring you extra earnings.
Whatever your subscription model — a paywall, a paid podcast or a donation model — you can now integrate a premium newsletter to your brand at no extra cost without having to use third-party providers. As a bonus, you can publish your newsletter content via email as well as on a member website so your subscribers always have a place to link back to.
The new service has all the features you expect from an email provider: scheduling, preview, and creation of coupons to run promotions. Some extra clever features include plans to sell group memberships that you can offer to businesses; free trial offers; and your own custom branding to make your newsletter fit into your wider publishing strategy.
One of the most interesting things about Memberful is that it is not a platform. It is software that hosts your newsletter business, or it seamlessly integrates into your site and with the tools you already use. Maybe the main difference between Memberful and platforms like Substack is that the latter is super quick to sign up and start monetising while Memberful requires some integration process (which is still pretty simple). However, with Memberful, you end up with your own space and your own audience that you do not sell, share, or lose to the platform that hosts your newsletter.
If you like the idea of Memberful, you can try it for free and see whether it works for you. The Starter plan does not allow you to send newsletters but it gives you access to other key features and allows you to test the product for your content and brand. Pro and Premium plans then allow you to customise your branding, provide you with metrics, and much more.
Finally, if for whatever reason you decide to leave Memberful, you can pack up and go in minutes, taking your audience with you. Because with Memberful, your brand and your audience are truly yours.