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Substack vs Flodesk for Building Your Audience 2024: A Helpful Breakdown

What are Substack and Flodesk, what’s their market, how do they compare, which one should you pick

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As an entrepreneur, content creator, or business owner, email marketing can be an incredibly effective way to build meaningful relationships with your ideal audience.

But with so many email service providers to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you and your goals?

Two options are Substack* and Flodesk*. But when it comes to Substack vs Flodesk, which platform should you pick?

This comparison covers the key features, pros and cons, ideal users, pricing, and more to help you determine if Substack or Flodesk is the better choice for your email marketing and audience-building efforts.

Always select the solution that best fits YOUR objectives and constraints.

What is Substack?

Substack is an email newsletter platform founded in 2017 that offers writers, journalists, and creators a simple way to start and grow their own paid or free email newsletters.

The Substack interface and editing experience is purposefully minimalist to let creators focus on writing high-quality content rather than design elements.

Writers like its simplicity for sending subscribers customized email content directly to their inbox on whatever schedule they choose.

In essence, Substack is a blogging platform with integrated newsletter.

Some use Substack to build a paying audience of fans and subscribers who value their perspectives, while others keep their newsletters free and incorporate other earning avenues like affiliate marketing, sponsors, etc.

What is Flodesk?

In contrast to Substack’s focus on email newsletters specifically, Flodesk is a more full-featured email marketing platform catering to small businesses and online entrepreneurs.

It’s strength is the marriage of simplicity and advanced functionality.

Launched in 2018, Flodesk’s mission has centered around helping users create professional yet personal and beautifully designed emails.

The company places a strong emphasis on providing an intuitive drag-and-drop email builder along with gorgeous, ready-to-use templates, fonts, images, automation workflows, and other tools to craft engaging emails, landing pages, and marketing funnels.

Their motto says it all:

“Design emails people love to open.”

Key Feature Comparison:

Substack vs Flodesk Unlimited Emails/Subscribers

Substack* places no limits on the number of free or paid subscribers you can have. You only pay when you charge for subscriptions.

With Flodesk*, all plans allow unlimited emails and subscribers. No subscribers limits makes it easier to scale your list over time without worrying about being penalized for growth.

Email Design Customization

Flodesk has 100+ fonts and stylish templates, so entrepreneurs with no design experience can create professional, eye-catching emails that reinforce their brand.

Substack’s design options are very minimal – headers, bold, italics, inserting media – to keep the focus on writing.

Landing Pages

Flodesk provides beautiful premade templates along with drag-and-drop customization for landing pages to help convert visitors into email subscribers.

Substack currently has no landing page customization options other than an image and colors — your publication welcome page serves as the landing page.

Automations/Workflows

Flodesk makes it simple to set up automated sequences to onboard new subscribers, nurture existing ones, and trigger actions when someone purchases. This saves considerable time compared to manually sending each email.

Substack does not currently include automation options, since it’s newsletter-focused. Writers publish on their own cadence.

Analytics and Metrics

Both Substack and Flodesk provide email analytics like open, click-through, and unsubscribe rates to measure reader engagement and optimize content.

Flodesk also tracks metrics on landing pages, links, and purchases for additional insight. This allows creators to continually refine their email and business strategy.

Payments and Checkout

A core part of Substack’s value proposition is helping writers monetize premium content through paid subscriptions.

Flodesk also enables you to sell products, and services and collect payments for digital goods.

Both integrate with Stripe to accept payments and take a transaction fee percentage.

Ideal Users: Who is Each Platform Best Suited For?

When considering Substack vs Flodesk, keep your goals and audience in mind. Certain types of users tend to align better with one platform over the other:

Substack Best For:

  • Writers, journalists, authors
  • Publishing written content on your own schedule
  • Building an engaged audience and community
  • Monetizing premium written content

Flodesk Best For:

  • Online entrepreneurs, small e-commerce sites
  • Sales funnels and digital products
  • Design-focused email campaigns
  • Building email lists with landing pages
  • Automating workflows to nurture leads

Ultimately, Substack caters to creators focused on writing, while Flodesk serves entrepreneurs who want to design emails converting readers into buyers.

Evaluate which direction you’re leaning before deciding!

Substack and Flodesk Pricing Plans Compared

When weighing Substack vs Flodesk in terms of pricing and fees, both take a percentage transaction fee on paid subscriptions or purchases while also offering free access initially to remove barriers to getting started.

Here is how their pricing models shape up:

Substack Pricing

  • Free to publish — keep your entire subscription revenue until you enable paid subscriptions
  • 10% platform fee on subscription revenue
  • Stripe payment processing fees on transactions

Flodesk Pricing

The key distinction is that Flodesk charges a flat monthly fee regardless of email volume sent or number of subscribers (or digital products sold when you take their plan with digital products included).

With Substack, you control when you start collecting subscription fees, which then triggers their 10% cut.

For extremely high email volumes, Flodesk will customize an annual plan pricing.

Pros and Cons of Each Platform

No platform is perfect across the board.

As part of determining whether Substack or Flodesk better matches your goals and priorities, let’s examine the unique pros and cons of each solution:

Substack Pros

  • Very easy to get started writing instantly
  • Keep 100% subscriber revenue until you charge subscriptions
  • Discussion threads allow reader conversations
  • Top writers can make high incomes
  • Robust service, updating regularly
  • Includes Substack Notes (Twitter competitor)

Substack Cons

  • No automation options
  • No segmentation
  • Minimal design/branding capabilities
  • Must market yourself to gain subscribers
  • Transaction fees can add up quickly
  • No API access

Flodesk Pros

  • Beautiful templates require no design skills
  • Automate workflows to save time
  • Landing pages convert visitors into emails
  • Affordable flat monthly pricing
  • Option for digital product sales

Flodesk Cons

  • More complex with a steeper learning curve
  • Support only via email currently
  • Primarily targets English-speaking market
  • No API access

Which Platform is Best For You?

We’ve covered a lot of ground contrasting Substack versus Flodesk features, pricing plans, and ideal use cases.

How do you determine which solution is the best match?

Here are a few key questions to ask yourself:

  • Is my priority to publish written content or email marketing campaigns?
  • Do I want to monetize my writing itself or promote products?
  • What design customization and automation capabilities do I need?
  • What is my budget for getting started?
  • Who is my target audience and market?

Once you reflect on your responses to these strategic questions, you’ll gain much greater clarity about whether Substack or Flodesk is the superior choice.

In short, Substack is for writers, Flodesk is for marketers.

For writers who want a simple, distraction-free way to start sharing their ideas through email newsletters, Substack provides an excellent starting point.

If beautiful templates, automation, and landing pages matter more to your business model, Flodesk will likely be the preferable direction.

The Bottom Line

When comparing Flodesk versus Substack in the context of email marketing and audience building, both platforms have strengths that lend themselves better to certain users, objectives, and content models.

Neither can claim across-the-board superiority.

Substack first captured attention for facilitating a paid newsletter movement among writers wanting independence.

Flodesk* responded by filling an important niche for small business owners needing to design quality emails without hassle.

Understanding their differing features, pricing plans and ideal applications based on your aspirations is crucial in determining if Substack or Flodesk better enables you to maximize the potential of email.

You do you!

Both platforms are great choices, offer amazing features, and will stay major players in the content creator economy.

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