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Substack Is Dominating Newsletter Creation (But These 3 Features Could Make It Unstoppable)

And Substack knows every bit of it

I’ve run a newsletter on the Substack email newsletter platform for nearly 2 years now. It grew from zero to over 1,200 subscribers, largely thanks to Substack’s powerful content discovery and recommendation engine.

Substack’s reader growth mechanism is unprecedented — it helps get your written works in front of interested eyeballs like nowhere else.”

However, even the king of email newsletter platforms has room for improvement.

While Substack’s sleek, minimalist writing-focused interface has won over many creators, it still lacks several critical features that would secure the #1 spot for any email marketing endeavor in 2024 and beyond.

With a few strategic additions, Substack could leapfrog stiff competition from marketing automation juggernauts like ConvertKit and Beehiiv through sheer simplicity, its free unlimited plan, and focus on writers.

#1 Auto pilot

As of now, composing and sending/scheduling email newsletters on Substack is fairly rudimentary — you write content and publish, or schedule it to go out at a later date and time.

That’s basically it.

For many creators, this lack of automation capabilities is a dealbreaker.

The ability to systematically send emails triggered by user behaviors and segmentation criteria is quite powerful for building engaged audiences.

Even relatively simple automation workflows like an initial welcome sequence (more than one email!) for new subscribers, or a tailored onboarding campaign based on their signup source (website, social media, etc.), can pay major dividends.

More advanced users may want to automatically resurface high-performing old content via periodic email drip campaigns to reinvigorate existing followers.

While Substack need not initially recreate the full stack of marketing automation feature set found in full-fledged marketing tools like ConvertKit, even a simple, intuitive suite of email automation tools tailored for blogger and newsletter creator needs could be a game-changer.

#2 Form customization

Drawing new subscribers into the top of your marketing funnel is arguably the most crucial growth factor for any newsletter or email content business.

Unfortunately, Substack’s current embeddable signup form offering leaves much to be desired from a customization and deployment flexibility perspective.

Their solution is essentially an iframe embed — basic, not customizable, and less than ideal for website embeds.

Providing a fully customizable embeddable newsletter signup form, with easy options to adapt the form’s look and feel to harmonize with a creator’s unique brand identity and voice, is a must 2024.

All the major competitor offer this.

#3 Access

Last but certainly not least, unlocking API access would enable deep integration between Substack’s newsletter platform and thousands of complementary third-party tools already woven into creators’ operational fabric.

With an open Application Programming Interface, Substack could supercharge creators by linking into web automation workflows, CRMs, popular no-code tools like Zapier or Make, email warm-up services, and a galaxy of other relevant apps and productivity aids.

The most important integration for me would be with SparkLoop*, a no-brainer recommendation solution for newsletter creators.

The Bottom Line

There’s no denying that Substack is a hell of a platform and community for writers and readers. And it keeps getting better every year with more features and upgrades.

But there’s still ample room for improvement in many ways.

Expanding into email automation, customizable signup embeds, and open API integration could solidify Substack as the uncontested #1 email newsletter platform for 2024 and far beyond.

At least in mind. What do you think?

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