Launching a paid email newsletter is easier than ever before!
In this article, we'll cover the entire process of setting up and sending a paid newsletter using ConvertKit Commerce. (These steps are applicable to other types of subscription-based products, as well.)
NOTE: This article has a focus on the unique steps associated with subscription-based products. To start with a more general overview of creating products in ConvertKit Commerce, check out this tutorial first! You can return to this one whenever you're ready.
Creating your paid newsletter product
Paid newsletter products are differentiated from other products by two key settings.
First, under Product Details > Pricing Method, you'll want to select Subscription:
This enables recurring billing for that product. Once that is selected, you'll be able to select its Frequency (billing interval) and Price (amount to be charged at each billing interval):
The billing intervals we currently support are as follows:
Monthly: Customer is charged once per month
Quarterly: Customer is charged once per quarter (once per 3-month period)
Yearly: Customer is charged once annually
It's important to note that only one pricing type can be chosen at a time.
Second, in the Fulfilment section, select A Newsletter:
This simply indicates that you'll be handling the fulfillment of this product by sending out your paid newsletter.
Those two settings are the only requirements to differentiate a paid newsletter product! From there you're free to customize the remainder of the product's settings to your liking. For guidance on configuring products in general, refer to this tutorial.
NOTE: If you're offering a different type of subscription-based product than a newsletter, simply select 'Something Else' in the Fulfilment section instead. The rest of this tutorial still applies!
Sending out your newsletter
Paid newsletters are sent out as broadcasts, filtered to only send to those who are subscribed to your newsletter product. Follow the below steps to set up this filter!
1. Create a new broadcast email and remove the default 'All subscribers' filter
To remove it, just click the X that appears on hover:
2. Add your paid newsletter filter
To do so, click 'Add Filter', then select Subscribed to > products:
Select your paid newsletter product from the last dropdown, and finally click 'Add Filter'.
3. Compose the broadcast
Once the recipient filter is set up, compose your broadcast and click the Continue → button to be directed to the Share page of the broadcast editor.
4. Add the broadcast as a paid post to your public feed
The next step is to add the broadcast as a paid post to your public newsletter feed.
This gives visitors to your public newsletter feed a sneak peek of your paid newsletter—so they can subscribe if they want to!
Set this up by enabling the “Paid Subscribers Only” setting in the “Post my public feed” section of the Share page.
The product filter will automatically take care of ensuring it only goes out to those who are actively paying for it at the time of sending.
That means if a subscriber cancels their subscription, they'll automatically be excluded from that filter — no action required on your part. 🙌
Reviewing & managing invoices
With recurring billing comes recurring invoices! Here's how to view & resend those individual receipts if needed, as well as review individual subscriber billing history.
First, click into the profile of the subscriber whose billing history you want to review. Any invoice emails that have been sent to them will be listed as 'Subscription invoice' under the 'Email type' column:
☝️ TIP: Clicking the subject line of an invoice email will take you to the product associated with that invoice.
To view detailed billing history for this subscriber, click into the 'Purchases' tab. For an active subscriber to one of your recurring products, it'll look something like this:
Click the down arrow (⌄) on the right to reveal additional details. From there, you have the options to cancel their subscription as well as view, resend, and refund any specific receipts as needed (denoted by arrows below):
How can I view a list of the subscribers who are actively subscribed to my recurring product?
You can accomplish this by creating a segment and using the same criteria as denoted in the 'Sending out your newsletter' section above. Here's an example of how that might look:
That segment will automatically stay updated based on whose subscriptions are still active!
What if someone purchases a subscription right after I send out a paid newsletter, and I want to resend it to just them?
At this time, the best way to accomplish this is to duplicate the broadcast, and resend it filtered to only send to that new subscriber. We have a tutorial on how to filter broadcasts so they only go out to a single subscriber (or a handful of subscribers) here.
Can paid newsletter subscribers also be on my list for free content too?
Definitely! As a subscriber-centric provider, your subscribers are all on your main list, and then further segmented from there. Naturally, you'll only want to send your paid content to those who are paying for it! But those paying folks can certainly be included on your free emails as well (so long as the content is in keeping with that they've consented to receive from you, of course).
Be sure to keep an eye on your sending frequency & volume, so as to not inadvertently overload anyone's inbox.
Can I offer discounts on recurring products?
Yes! For recurring products, you'll have the option to set the duration of your discount, and that discount will be applied to any payments made for that product during that period of time. For more details, please check out our dedicated guide on ConvertKit Commerce product discounts here.
Can I make a test purchase?
If you want to preview the checkout experience as a customer, you have two options:
Complete the purchase like usual, and then issue a refund. Note that there are still processing fees associated with a fully refunded purchase.
Use a 100% discount! Create a discount code and use the link to ‘purchase’ your product for $0. You will still need to enter a credit card, but won’t be charged.
Looking for more?
Now you're familiar with the tech steps to get your paid newsletter up & running! If you're seeking a deeper-dive into the strategy of it all, check out our awesome Tradecraft article here for additional tips as well as fantastic inspiration from other creators doing this very thing.