How James Clear Grew His Newsletter To 1.5M Subscribers
The prolific author, James Clear, known for his book Atomic Habits, is building one of the largest newsletters written by an individual.
Some numbers to set the tone:
1. The Hustle had 1.5M subscribers when Hubspot acquired them for $25M+.
2. MorningBrew had 2.5M subscribers when Business Insider acquired them for $75M cash.
Currently at 1.5M+ subscribers — James Clear has built a $20M+ asset.
Here’s his growth over the years:
But unlike most media companies, James Clear didn’t use paid ads to grow his newsletter.
His main two levers for growth are:
- Conversion Rate Optimization
This year, James’ traffic peaked at 933,630 in organic traffic.
And is currently on track for 641,117 visits this month.
10 years of writing online. Writing Atomic Habits. James Clear developed himself as a thought leader.
And this impacts SEO:
Secondly, when you look at his top 50 pages ranked by organic traffic, the majority of his articles are centered around informational intent.
This is the “why” behind the search.
Once someone lands on his site, James Clear crafted his site to create an appetite for an extension of his content (via email).
This is his growth machine.
Converting Traffic Into Email Subscribers
A lot of people drive significant traffic to their site.
Rarely does anyone build a 1.5M subscriber newsletter on the backend of it.
To do that, you have to be really good at converting that traffic into subscribers.
Let’s break down how he did it.
1. Home Page
James Clear’s home page is the second most visited page.
And when you land on it, there is a crafted lead magnet structured to convert traffic.
2. Article Page
His third most popular page is his article page.
This traffic has a purpose — to learn.
And this page is structured to give each visitor an extension of learning — but via email.
3. The Articles
The bulk of his traffic comes from the articles themself.
And he uses two different structures to convert traffic into email subs, and this is based on the content.
Anytime the piece of content is a standard article, James uses:
- A CTA in the header
- A standard CTA for his newsletter at the end of the article
2. Comprehensive Guides
But when it’s a comprehensive guide, James shifts his approach.
- The same CTA in the header
- His 30-day email course to build better habits
Because someone who consumed comprehensive content only wants more comprehensive content.
In this case, James Clear provides the map with his guide and then offers to walk you through it for 30 days.
4. Newsletter Page
Lastly, his newsletter page.
Crafted to convert.
And just like that, James Clear crafted his website to convert traffic and build one of the most popular newsletters in the world.