how @MorningBrew got its first 10k subscribers

1/ I often get asked how @MorningBrew got its first 10k subscribers. So, I’m just going to share some thoughts here: [thread]

2/ I joined @businessbarista in 2014 to transform a PDF attachment with 250 readers into a media business. We had 0 money to spend on marketing, so we had to get creative. We had to (quote @paulg) do things that don't scale.

3/ We were students at the University of Michigan at the time, and knew many business lectures had 400+ students. We spent weeks asking professors if we could speak in their econ/accounting/finance 101 classes.

4/ We thought it would be EASY. Who didn't want to get smarter about the business world in 5 minutes? We thought: make a quick 5 minute pitch in front of 500 people, and 500 people would sign up! Not so easy...

5/ Professors let us pitch their classes, but they gave us the *first* 5 minutes of class. No one was paying attention. Not a single person. They were checking the news or prepping for class, but definitely not listening to us.

6/ We decided that if people weren't going to go and sign up themselves, we had to do it for them. After we pitched a lecture, we'd pass around pieces of paper for everyone to write down their email. Simple, but turned out to be *very* effective.

7/ This simple act took conversion rates from <10% to >75%. No one wanted to sign up themselves. But, no one had a problem writing their email on a piece of paper if put in front of them. We then sat outside the lecture hall and manually signed everyone up.

8/ Within a few weeks we got to thousands of daily readers. We then asked ourselves: "what if we can did this on every campus across the country?" So we launched the "morning brew ambassador program".

9/ We had hundreds of college students across the country replicating what we did at Michigan. Ambassadors would: 1. Pitch their classes 2. Pass around a paper 3. Send us a picture of that paper 4. Track their progress

10/ We spent months and then eventually years modifying the ambassador program. We tested the pitch, incentives, and size of the program. While running the program took a ton of effort and time, we wouldn't have hit 10k subs without it.

If people enjoy this storm, I will do one all about the ambassador program, answering questions like: - How did we run it? - How did we incentivize our ambassadors? - What were tips/tricks needed to succeed?

Make sure to follow me if you are interested in threads like this.

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