How Morning Brew Got It’s First 10,000 Email Subscribers

How Morning Brew Got It’s First 10,000 Email Subscribers

Aug 25, 2022 11:04 AM
Steve Schlafman
Last Updated
June 1, 2021
Finished (With Notes)
Listen to the podcast πŸ‘‰Β

Racket Interview with Austin Reef from Morning Brew

  • The Morning Brew Started at the University of Michigan
  • Founder, Alex Lieberman, was writing a PDF attachment that he would email to his 12 college roommates
  • Slowly, people would just email him to ask to be added to his email list. They would catch wind of his email or see one of his roommates reading it.
  • It grew VERY organically this way from 12-300 people
  • Originally called Market Corner, same concept, a little more markets focused, a little less witty.
  • After 300 subs, Alex brought on Austin Rief as co-founder and they transitioned to a more traditional newsletter format (no longer just a PDF attachement)
  • Alex and Austin started going from business class to business class at the University of Michigan (500-1000 people in each) and they would give a 90-second Brew Pitch
  • At first no one signed up, but then they started passing out a piece of paper for people to give their emails. Austin and Alex would then sit outside the classroom and type the emails into their landing page.
  • Their pitch to the teachers was: You're always trying to make your class smarter, for a few minutes of their time we'll give you class a great resource. It was an easy pitch.
  • This got them in front of 50-75 classes and 50-75 Clubs at the University of Michigan
  • Once this was all over they had 5000 signups from University of Michigan (eventually got 10-15K in total from that university alone)
  • So from Mar-May 2015, this strategy got them from 300-5000, subscribers
  • They realized, this thing works, let's replicate it on other campuses
  • They sent a message to their email list asking if any of their subscribers wanted to be a "Morning Brew Ambassador"
  • Started with 12 campuses, very high touch, were talking with their ambassadors every day
  • Then the next semester, they went with hundreds of ambassadors and very low touch
  • Originally the incentive was money, but that was expensive and couldn't scale. Then they tried "resume building" as the main incentive. People loved it so it was very easy to find ambassadors willing to do it.
  • This strategy got them 10s of thousands of subscribers
  • They got to 40-60 thousand subs before they realized they could target more than just college students, they could actually target professionals
  • What advice would you give to those getting started on a newsletter? Create niche content, not just a newsletter, but have the newsletter as just one part of your content stack. It's so crowded that it's really hard for people to build millions of subscribers for something general, so you need to niche down which makes it hard to generate good revenue from one one stream.
  • What other audience would you target? - B2B SaaS Sales