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You’ve Never Heard Of This Tool to Build an Email List

It’s powerful and free

Sick of the same old recommendations for newsletter platforms like Substack, ConvertKit, MailChimp, or Revue. Keep reading, I bet you haven’t heard of this next tool when it comes to building your email list. You might, however, have heard or already used it in other contexts.

Understanding a concept

I’m a little slow sometimes.

When I went on a hunt for a great newsletter tool, I looked at the biggies. Substack, ConvertKit, MailChimp, and Revue. I even wrote about my progress. And about my failure later on.

All the while, I completely ignored that I already had an outstanding platform to build an email list. I had used it extensively before. It had never crossed my mind to use it that way, however.

I’m learning.

What’s the platform

First and foremost, it’s a sales platform.

It does offer a lot of features that great newsletter platforms offer as well. Like posts and emails, scheduled posts, sending mails only to certain groups of readers, analytics and stats, a beautifully designed interface, easy to use UI… oh, and it’s free.

What it doesn’t offer, is the amount of marketing functionality and insights ConvertKit might give you, or the simplicity of Substack.

But it’s the perfect companion to the actual main business of the platform. Selling products.

By now, you may already know what I’m talking about. I’ve mentioned this service quite a few times in the past. As I said, I use it extensively to sell and give away digital products.

It’s Gumroad.

Screenshot of Gumroad

What you may not know

Although I’ve used Gumroad over the past 16 months, I’ve never given the email feature much thought. I viewed it as a way to simply crank out a quick mail whenever I uploaded a new product, just to notify existing customers about my new stuff.

Here lies the power. You can’t only write emails (which will also be posts with a URL, meaning you can view newsletter editions online like you would entries from a Substack newsletter), you can also target specific user groups. Like the ones who only bought a certain product or a range of products, or only followers, or everyone. It’s powerful, yet freakishly simple to understand and utilize.

I love simple stuff.

Why I like it

I hate having too many active platforms on my hands. I love trying out new stuff. If I don’t like them or can’t keep up with them, I will delete platforms, no problem.

On the other hand, I love discovering new features of a platform I already use. I wish I had utilized Gumroad’s email list sooner.

I’ve built a small newsletter via Revue a few weeks ago because I liked the integration with Twitter, as well as the directly embedded subscribe button on my Twitter profile.

Screenshot of Revue Subscribe Integration on Twitter

I don’t like having another platform that ideally requires regular original content. My plate is pretty full as is.

Gumroad would have been the perfect alternative here. I sell products on my Gumroad store, I also have a few freebies to download there.

This brings in tons of subscribers and followers each month. A perfect foundation for a newsletter, the ideal platform to target specific groups with relevant posts.

Should I switch

I constantly ask myself this very question. Whenever I find a new tool or a new aspect of an existing one, I dabble with the idea of switching to it.

It’s annoying because it usually leads to some issues, like broken links, stuff to take with me, and getting used to the new environment.

In this case, though, it might be well worth it, because I’ve already built a large email list over on Gumroad, in fact it’s larger than my Revue newsletter and my Medium subscriber pool combined. I also know the platform well, having used it for 16 months.

Screenshot of Gumroad stats — Customers = email list entries, you can also get members, the equivalent to paying subscribers on Substack

I might just do it.

The bottom line

Sometimes you don’t realize what a tool can do. A tool, you’ve been using for a long time, yet you have still not fully understood its capabilities. It happens to me all the time.

Gumroad isn’t just a fantastic platform to sell products, and if you haven’t tried it for that, go check it out. Gumroad is also full of features.

  • You can give away free stuff and still get paid. That’s my main business model right now.
  • You can utilize the email and post functionality to create and write a newsletter and build your audience on the same platform you use for selling things.
  • You can target your existing audience, analyze the stats, create a follow form, embed the whole page into your website, set up a custom domain, and much more on Gumroad.

All for free. You’d pay a lot for this on other platforms.

So, if you’re like me and looking to switch platforms, or if you’re on the hunt for a good newsletter service, in general, Gumroad could be the perfect place for you.

Who knows, you might end up selling products soon too.

Try it!

Here’s my Gumroad store.

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