Substack Special Offers and Discounts
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What is the Substack Special Offers Tool?
The Substack special offers tool is a setting which allows newsletter creators to offer special promotions and discounts to their newsletter. These promotions can be broad (i.e. 10% discount for the month of June for anyone who signs up) or they can be quite targeted (i.e. 20% discount for subscribers who clicked on a specific link and/or a 15% discount for students or users with an academic email). If used correctly, the Substack special offers tool is one of the most valuable tools offered by Substack.
The Substack special offers tool can be accessed under your newsletter “settings” and under the “Special Offers” subsection:
How to Strategically Use Substack Special Offers
The following sections will highlight some of the ways newsletter writers can cleverly use the Substack special offers tool to convert free subscribers into paid subscribers.
1. Offer a Monthly Discount
The most basic type of discount offered to Substack subscribers is the monthly discount. While this discount appears on the homepage beside the other special offers, it is actually set by navigating to the settings menu and then to the subsection labeled “subscription plans” where you can manually enter the monthly or yearly price of your newsletter:
Example: Annual Subscription for $100 per year ($8.33 monthly) vs. Monthly Subscription for $25.
In practice, this promotional tool is very effective because it appears very prominently when a potential subscriber first encounters your Substack homepage:
Substack automatically highlights the dollar amount that an annual plan equates to when compared to the monthly price.
2. Set a Date When Customers Must Redeem Offer By
The first option under the “create a special offer” tool is the option to set when customers must redeem this offer by. This is one of the most straightforward promotion tactics.
Example: Subscribe by June 15th to get 30% off!
In practice, this promotional tool is very effective, regardless of whether you restrict the limit to any group of people, because it appears very prominently when a potential subscriber first encounters your Substack homepage:
3. Limit Offer to Emails From Educational Institutions
Using the “create a special offer” tool to limit an offer to emails from educational institutions, is a great way to offer what is effectively a “student discount” to your newsletter. The effectiveness of this promotional tool will obviously vary based on your audience. To enable this offer, select the “Limit this offer to emails from educational institutions” option:
Example: Student subscribers will get 30% off for one year!
This discount will only appear to emails ending in “.edu”:
After you have selected your recommended newsletters, click the Recommend button to save those choices.
4. Create Offers Only Available by a Specific Link
Using the “create a special offer” tool to limit an offer to subscribers who arrive at your newsletter via a specific short link, is a great way to offer a subset of your audience a discount.
You can now create multiple discounts that are only accessible via a preset link:
5. Create Offers Available to All Subscribers
Conversely, using the “create a special offer” tool to give this offer to anyone who subscribers (no link required), is a great way to offer any reader a discount.
Ultimately, Substack provides writers with one of the best sets of digital publishing tools. The Substack special offers tool allows writers to customize and target their audience with a wide range of discounts and promotional pricing. This is an essential tool for newsletter creators trying to increase their number of paid subscribers or convert free subscribers to paid subscribers.
If you want to learn more about Substack, check out our Substack guide, or enroll in our Substack course!