Welcome to the latest edition of The Entrepreneur’s Tech Stack. I’m your host, Simon Owens. For those who don’t know me, I write a media industry newsletter you should definitely check out.
Today’s featured entrepreneur is Emanuel Cinca. In 2018, he launched the Stacked Marketer newsletter, which produces a mix of news, trends, insights, and actionable advice geared toward marketers. Without any outside investment, he grew his list to over 55,000 subscribers, and this year it’s projected to generate over $1 million through a combination of sponsorships (90% of revenue) and memberships (10%). He also recently acquired the Psychology of Marketing newsletter, which has 25,000+ active subscribers.
Emanuel walked us through the products that are absolutely essential to his business:
It’s the core of our business because it includes Docs, Slides, Sheets, email, and so much more.
It probably doesn’t need much of an introduction.
I like it because it easily works on all devices, of all shapes and sizes. The price is also great, at roughly $6 per user per month.
The fact that just about everything works in the browser but can still be worked on offline is great.
It’s not the only option, and I can’t say much against others. We went with Google Workspace because we already used Google products privately more than any other ones.
This is a recent addition to our stack, but one I’m very happy about. It replaced Asana and Slack.
We now use Basecamp for our communication and for project management. We pay $999/year for unlimited users, so the price is great for a growing team.
We’re also very happy with its stability and feature set. We can invite outside collaborators and “clients” such as sponsors to a specific project, with zero extra costs.
The catalyst for this change was Slack’s never-ending problems with mobile notifications. It made me miss several messages when on the go, and support was just being nice about it but the tech team never solved that issue.
Basecamp by itself is already cheaper than Slack would have been for us. Add the fact that it replaces Asana (another project management tool) and it’s hard to beat it when it comes to value for the money.
I know it’s not the best solution for everyone, but it works well for us.
We have a bunch of small things we automated with Zapier.
Two important things are the ability to add subscribers from Lead Ads on Meta directly to our subscriber list, and adding sponsor inquiries directly to our CRM.
We also have many other less frequent tasks that are automated by Zapier.
I think we’re still not taking full advantage of this and I plan to dive deeper into things we can automate with zaps.
Price is perhaps less relevant here because it varies depending on the number of tasks you need to automate so it’s usually going to be worth it for anyone.
This is our email platform of choice for Stacked Marketer, and our biggest software expense at $849/month.
We chose it because it has a good template language. We can implement an HTML template and it becomes a reusable visual template in Campaign Monitor.
Then, it also has granular user permissions, which means we can give access to some team members just to see reports, without the ability to send emails or to see subscriber data.
With Psychology of Marketing, our recent acquisition, we are getting familiar with beehiiv, a newer and fast-growing email platform for newsletters. I like it so far, but it has some key drawbacks that I’m still trying to figure out.
So, Psychology of Marketing stays on beehiiv, while our main newsletter, Stacked Marketer, runs on Campaign Monitor.
This is a capable but reasonably simple and affordable CRM. We don’t need anything too complex for managing sponsor deals, and this solution works for our simple sales process.
It’s mostly used to keep track of all ongoing deals and the stage they are at, set reminders for follow ups, and such.
The cost is somewhere around $15 per user per month.
This is our main growth tool right now. Their referral program tool is good but their Partner Network and Upscribe functionality are the impactful ones right now.
The Partner Network and Upscribe are free to use because they make a commission based on payouts.
It’s a very positive impact on our growth and can bring in subs with the right profile at the right price, so it’s a must try I think.
Last but not least, our website runs on WordPress.
It’s still the best solution for a scalable platform that can be used by someone non-technical, and it’s proven across websites of all sizes.
The cost here actually depends on the web hosting solution you chose. Can go from a few dollars a month to hundreds. Usually, something around $50/month will provide you with the right balance of quality and performance to scale to our size.
Can’t really comment on the needs and prices for something much bigger than what we have, but happy to give an update when we get there.
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