In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to set up and run a paid newsletter, including capturing and converting new subscribers, taking recurring payments, and of course, sending your newsletter — both free and paid versions.
Historically, you would have needed to use a few tools to handle all of this work (see this newsletter tool-path, for example). But thanks to ConvertKit's new Product feature update, you can now do it all in one place.
This tutorial will show you the setup step-by-step so you can get your paid newsletter up and running today.
Step 1: Capturing new subscribers
To get started, you’ll first need to set up a ConvertKit account. Once that’s done, from the main dashboard, you’ll want to click on LANDING PAGES & FORMS.
Click Create a landing page.
Select a template and customize it how you like. You can read more about building landing pages from a ConvertKit template here.
Don’t forget to customize your landing page’s URL using the Settings tab from within the landing page editor.
You can choose to customize just the first part of the landing page’s URL and keep convertkit’s ck.page domain, so the full URL of your landing page will be something like: https://www.mysupernewsletter.ck.page. This is done from your account settings.
Or, you can use an entirely custom domain. Read more on ConvertKit custom domains here.
You might also want to customize the thank-you page people see once they subscribe to your newsletter. To do that, click on the + icon next to your landing page’s title:
From here you’ll be able to edit your thank you page. Here are some instructions on how to create great thank you pages.
Once your landing page is done, click Save & Publish to launch it.
Congrats, you’re done with step 1!
Step 2: Sending a free newsletter to your new signups
Once people start subscribing to receive your newsletter, you will see a running count from the LANDING PAGES & FORMS tab.
When it comes to sending your newsletter, you want to be able to send to all these subscribers easily in one go.
To do this, you need to set up a rule, which will automatically tag any new subscribers with the same tag. That way, when you send your newsletter, you’ll be able to quickly send it to every subscriber within that tag.
You’ll need a paid Creator Plan in order to proceed with the following steps.
Click on the AUTOMATIONS tab, then click on RULES. Click + Add Rule.
You want your trigger to be when a user Subscribes to a form. Select your form from the dropdown.
You want your action to be Add tag. Click + Create a new tag and name it appropriately.
Click Save Rule to finish.
Now to write your newsletter.
Click BROADCASTS, then select New Broadcast. If this is your first time using ConvertKit, read all about creating, sending and sharing broadcasts here.
Remember, when it comes to sending your newsletter, you want to send it only to your subscribers with the tag you created in the previous step.
When you’re ready, hit Send Broadcast.
Step 3: Converting new signups into paying subscribers
So you’re sending your newsletter to your subscribers, and they’re loving it. Congrats!
But the time has come to start monetizing your newsletter and converting your current readers into paying subscribers.
This can be easily and automatically done by setting up an automation sequence in ConvertKit which will send on an ongoing basis to convert people from free to paid.
ConvertKit has some great literature on how to set up and run automations.
You’ll want to make sure that you set up a rule to tag anyone who wants your paid newsletter — for example, with a new Paying subscriber tag — so that you can easily track who is paid and who is still free.
We recommend adding a button or link in the emails within your automation sequence that encourages people to become a paying subscriber. This is called a call to action (or CTA). You can also add the same CTA to your free newsletters.
Once people click on any of your CTAs, you’ll want to direct them to a product page, which we’ll show you how to set up in the next step.
Step 4: Setting up a product page to collect paying subscribers
If this is your first time using ConvertKit Products, click on the PRODUCTS tab then select Create a product.
Give your newsletter a name (e.g. My Super Newsletter (Premium), choose Subscription as the pricing method, and set the monthly recurring price and frequency. Hit Next.
Under Fulfillment, select A Newsletter and click Next.
Here you’ll be asked to specify a domain name. You can choose the default one ConvertKit adds for you or you can customize.
When you’re finished, click Create Product.
The next page you’ll see will be the product template editor where you can style your newsletter subscription page however you wish.
When you’re done with the styling elements, click on Set up payments to ensure you get paid.
You can read more about setting up payments and connecting Stripe here.
Once you’re done connecting Stripe, make sure you edit and style each of the tabs at the top of the editor: Checkout, Confirmation, and Receipt Email.
When you’re finished, click PUBLISH.
Step 5: Sending your paid newsletter
The final step in this process is to send your premium newsletter to your paying subscribers.
It’s super simple: when you’ve drafted your premium newsletter within the BROADCASTS tab, just select the tag you created in step 3 above as the subscriber filter so that only your paying subscribers receive the premium version of your newsletter.
You will also want to set up a rule that removes the tag you set up in step 2 above from anyone who converts from free to paid.
To do this, click AUTOMATIONS and click + Add Rule. Choose Purchases a product as the trigger and select your premium newsletter as the product. Choose Remove tag as the action, and select the tag you created in step 2 above.
And that’s it — you now have a fully-automated system to collect signups and convert them from free to paying subscribers. All you need to worry about is writing and sending your newsletters!
Liked this tutorial? Why not share it on Twitter?