How this creator grew his email list to 1000+ subscribers after switching from Substack to ConvertKit

Case study Newsletters
7 min read
In this Article

From one single idea, Creator Dylan Redekop started his entrepreneurship-focused newsletter, Growth Currency.

“I didn’t have a brand or anything,” he says. “I wanted to start writing online and sharing what I knew, things like tools, products, and resources to help other creators like me on a similar path, so I started a Substack newsletter.”

Since January 2021, he’s published a weekly, editorial-driven newsletter focused on helping other creators navigate building their businesses, with links to tools, articles, or online resources.

While he initially loved the way Substack made it easy to get his thoughts into newsletter form, Redekop quickly realized it wasn’t enough to build a sustainable business once he started earning sponsorship and affiliate commissions.

It took me about four months of publishing regularly, every week, to get me my first 100 subscribers. But from there, it only took me about a month and a half to get another 100. Things started ramping up quickly from there and I knew I needed something more.

Six months in, he made the switch to ConvertKit and hasn’t looked back.

Now, he has more than 2,000 subscribers to his weekly newsletter, and his open rates average around 50%.

Here’s why he made the switch to ConvertKit, and how he’s grown his email list from 0 to 2,000 in only a year.

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Switching to an easy-to-use platform that supports business growth

As he started to gain more traction with his newsletter, Redekop quickly realized he needed a platform that would help him continue to grow, even as a team of one.

“My problem was when I started to really want to grow the newsletter, marketing it and employing more automation, I hit a wall,” he says. “Since I was bringing on sponsors and advertisers, I needed to be able to quantify clicks and see my performance at a glance.”

ConvertKit came to mind immediately, since Redekop had already used our handy landing page features to create a lead magnet—fittingly, a guide to how to start your own newsletter—and he was hooked right away.

growth currency landing page
Redekop uses this free offer to build his email list. So far, it’s generated more than 140 subscribers!

“I created a free ebook with ConvertKit, which was my first foray into what ConvertKit offered. It was so amazingly easy to use the landing page builder and templates, that it was everything I needed,” he says. “I built it, the way I wanted to, in probably 20 minutes and could start driving people to download the resource and sign up for my newsletter.”

So far, his free ebook offer has generated more than 140 subscribers.

In the end, that first experience is what convinced him to give ConvertKit a try for his entire email list. But switching platforms takes a little more thought.

Managing deliverability when switching email platforms

Redekop’s biggest fear with switching was around deliverability.

Deliverability is one of those metrics that most email marketers ignore until things have gone wrong. Essentially, it’s a measure of how many emails you send actually make it into someone’s inbox vs. their spam folder.

For Redekop, after all that effort of coming up with new ideas to share each week, testing and sending his emails, and building landing pages… if the emails themselves never made it to his subscribers, what was the point?

Deliverability was on his mind because he had already heard from a few loyal subscribers that they weren’t receiving his Substack emails, and he wasn’t sure what to do.

“I’d get DMs on Twitter asking me if I was still sending the newsletter…And I’d say, ‘Yeah! I am! What’s going on?’” he says. “Sure enough, their email addresses were signed up, but they were getting caught in spam filters. I started really worrying about my deliverability.”

Would changing providers make it worse?

“I just wasn’t sure if I was going to get hammered from sending from a completely different platform,” he says. “I ended up chatting with Alyssa from ConvertKit’s support team, who walked me through the entire deliverability process to make sure I wouldn’t be impacted by the switch. I couldn’t believe the customer support I received before I was even a paid subscriber.”

Turns out, switching to ConvertKit actually fixed his deliverability issues. He sent his first ConvertKit email in October 2021 and saw a 58% open rate, up from his average of 42% on Substack.

A snapshot of Redekop’s list growth in ConvertKit’s analytics tool.

“I was shocked and pleasantly surprised,” he says. “Not only was I impressed by the deliverability improvement, I checked with those people having issues and they were happy to report they were receiving my emails again. And my open rates have consistently been 50% and over.”

In November 2021, ConvertKit’s system-wide deliverability rate was 99.7%, and our spam complaint rate remains 10x lower than the industry average. (You can see the full deliverability report here.)

Growing an email list to 2000+ in six months

From there, Redekop could focus on using ConvertKit’s features and a broader marketing strategy to help grow his email list even further.

That started with consistent branding across his website, newsletter, and social media presence. By keeping similar colors, fonts, and imagery, he automatically cues his subscribers to think of Growth Currency as a brand, not just a single creator.

“I strongly recommend consistency,” he says. “If you go to my Twitter bio, you’ll see the same things as my landing page and in my newsletter.”

An example promotional tweet using the same branding as his weekly newsletter.

ConvertKit’s editing features for landing pages and email make it easy to designate specific colors, fonts, and imagery—without needing to have major designer creds. (You can code if you want to, but with our extensive library of customizable templates, you may not need to.)

Redekop splits his social media strategy into two parts designed to facilitate list growth: Providing valuable information pulled from his newsletter (inbound) and reaching out directly to followers (outbound).

This guerilla-style marketing engages his community and spreads awareness of the newsletter to folks that might otherwise get lost in the Twitter-verse. “I DM new followers saying, ‘Hey, thanks for the follow, and letting them know that I have a newsletter. I get a pretty decent amount of replies, and it’s super effective, as long as you aren’t too pushy about it,” he says. “It’s not an easy strategy to automate, but I think at the beginning, it’s worth putting that time, effort, and personal touch into it.”

With email newsletters, he also seeks out cross-promotion opportunities, especially for larger audiences that overlap with his own. This comes about partially organically, from reaching out to people he admires, but also through seeking out paid advertising opportunities on other newsletters.

“Sometimes cross-promotion will get me up to 50 new subscribers all at once,” he says. “Being able to get your newsletter in front of thought leaders or people with larger audiences who can find value in it and share it has been really helpful, or to even do a trade.”

His biggest advice? Get started with ConvertKit ASAP.

If there’s one thing Redekop wishes he did differently, it would be starting his email list with ConvertKit in the first place.

“Creating an account with ConvertKit doesn’t cost you anything. If you just experience the ConvertKit ecosystem, you’ll see right away how user-friendly it is,” he says. “And that can inspire you to do more. If you have anything at all you want to share with the world, get a ConvertKit account and start sharing.”

ConvertKit helps you build a relationship with your followers and own that connection you make with them through your email list. Get started sharing what you have to say today with our 14-day free trial.

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Kayla Voigt

Always in search of adventure, Kayla hails from Hopkinton, MA, the start of the Boston Marathon. When she's not using words to help businesses grow, she's probably summiting a mountain or digging into a big bowl of pasta. Like what you're reading? Come say hi:

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