Looking at the Subscribers report in beehiiv for the different publications I have, it’s ranging from 1.2%-3.4%, so 2% per month is definitely a good figure to use.
At smaller subscriber levels, such as 2000 subs, this 2% per month is not an issue as you’re likely growing organically by at least 40 subscribers per month.
But if you have a large subscriber base of say 100K subs, you need to find 2,000 new subs each month just to maintain your list size.
At that size, organic channels are likely not going to get you there (unless you are Superhuman, in the final story below!). In fact in order to get to 100K subs you almost certainly spent a considerable amount on acquisition. Potentially 7 figs…
If we assume with a 100K list, 20K was from organic and 80K was from paid acquisition and it took you 2 years to get there, then at an annual 23% churn rate, you would have needed to acquire say 50% more (to keep the math simple) for 120K subs.
Let’s say you’re in the investing niche and a sub costs $5 to acquire on average - that’s $600K you’ve spent. If your average cost has been $8, then we’re now at 7 figures.
This may be a good ROI, depending on how you intend to monetize.
However, in this example, in order to maintain this level of subs you need to keep spending at least $10K/m.
And if you don’t maintain your subscriber base, then the amount you can charge for sponsorship per send will also drop.
Maintaining subs is an expense that I don’t think many people factor in.
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🤖 Superhuman Making 7 Figs
Business Insider just dropped a great article on how Zain and his brother are making 7 figs in revenue from their AI newsletter Superhuman (also on beehiiv), leveraging AI to grow it.
The newsletter brings in six figures a month from sponsorships from its 300K subscribers (80% organic from Twitter and Linkedin!) and 45% open rate. That’s 135K opens per email, and the main ad costs $2,999 for a CPM of an extremely reasonable $22:
It’s great to hear how they are actually leveraging Chat GPT to summarize research papers and create email subject lines.
And I liked this quote on the value of newsletters vs other (social) media properties:
I've learned that a single newsletter subscriber holds more value than multiple social-media followers due to the opportunity for direct contact and increased visibility they offer. When I launched a course last December, I saw more conversions from my 5,000 newsletter subscribers than I did from my 500,000 online followers.
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Disclaimer: Nothing in this email is business advice and I am not a professional business adviser. I send weekly updates on the creator economy and what I'm doing personally - consider it informational and for entertainment purposes only. This newsletter is monetized through sponsorship and product revenue.