State of the Boozeletter™: launch recap edition
Originally published on LinkedIn (lol) on 10/21/21
Editor’s note: I originally published this on LinkedIn (lol) on 10/21/21, 29 days after launching paid subscriptions. I’m republishing it here framed around the conclusion of the launch discount code on 10/22/21, so that it reflects the full first month’s performance, and so that it’s easier for everyone in the Fingers Fam to find.—Dave.
For those of you interested to know how it's been going since Fingers launched paid subscriptions on 9/22/21, some high-level stats as of 10/22/21 (the day the launch-day discount expired):
👋 125 net new readers (free + paid)
🤝 95 readers have bought subscriptions
💸 6% of free readers have become paid subscribers
📧 35.4% average open rate, a slight uptick
I'm incredibly grateful to everyone who's supported Fingers over the past month, and for the past year and a half. If you want to buy a subscription to financially back independent journalism about drinking in America, you can buy a subscription right here.
As for the question you're probably asking yourself: are data points indicative of a successful launch? The short answer is I'm not sure! Substack, the platform I use to publish Fingers, says a very positive paid-subscription launch outcome would be a free-to-paid conversion rate of ~10%, so by their yardstick, the boozeletter's launch has not been a rip-roaring financial success. That said, everyone I spoke with who actually publishes paid-subscription newsletters told me that that conversion rate was delusional in most cases, and that a conversion rate of 3-5% is much more realistic. So by that measure, Fingers is doing great!
In terms of dollars and cents (OK, let's be real: just dollars), Fingers will not support a full-time income for the foreseeable future. As with podcasts, YouTube, and other corners of the creator economy, the newsletter landscape seems to allow for a foreground of a few dozen really successful players that make huge, headline-grabbing incomes off their #content, and a vast background of smaller-bore creators toiling away for much, much more modest sums. This is the so-called "long tail," and for the foreseeable future, Fingers will be part of it.
I should say: I expected this! Am I disappointed that I didn't magically rack up "quit my job" newsletter dough in the first month going paid? Of course. But that wasn't realistic, so I planned for a reality in which Fingers will bring in a small, hopefully growing chunk of change for the next 12 months and beyond.
And in the meantime, I'll be able to produce consistent, original, quality coverage and commentary on how America drinks thanks to those generous Friends of Fingers who have purchased subscriptions to the boozeletter.
👇 If you'd like to become one of them (and I really hope you will!) consider purchasing a subscription here.
📢 If you've already purchased a subscription but want to help Fingers even more, feel free to share this post.
🤜 🤛 In any case, thanks always for reading and supporting my work.
Signing off for now, it's your fearless Fingers editor reminding you that everything is hard seltzer now.—Dave.