How We Automated 99% Of Our Newsletter Business

Hey! I’m CJ and I am the founder of The Techonomics.

This might be a little long. I’ve added Titles to allow you to skip to the part you are most interested in.

This post is really just a broad overview of our current tech stack. For discussion purposes. I’d love your thoughts and comments for improvements.

Lol, No worries, I won’t be offended.

Background:

I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science and have always been a fan of consumer-facing technology.

Over the past 4-5 years, I have built, bought, and sold many websites and web-apps. Some of them were successes, but many of them were failures.

A little over 2 years ago, I owned another newsletter in the Finance space. It discussed the latest news in finance, Monday-Friday.

And after the high of starting a business started to fade, I started to hate having to:

  • Summarize the articles
  • Then design the newsletter 

… Every single night.

This lasted about a year until I sold the business to a bigger company in the finance space.

This didn’t mean that I was done with newsletters or the Finance Space… it meant I had to do it in a better way.

The Business:

This is where The Techonomics comes along. We are a free daily Tech & Finance Newsletter.

The goal of this newsletter was similar to my last one. As a person working at an Investment Bank, I enjoy keeping up with the interesting topics in the Tech and Finance space.

I knew that I wanted a set of features in this newsletter:

  • Daily Stock quotes
  • Current Economic Reports
  • Tech Articles
  • Finance Articles
  • Research

But I wanted to challenge myself to automate as much as I could.

The goal: Minimize the amount of friction that may cause me to give up the project.

The Technology:

Tech Stack:

  • ReactJS
  • NodeJS
  • Express
  • MongoDB
  • WordPress
  • Mailchimp

Systems Built:

  • Newsletter Creation Service
  • Custom Email Referral Service
  • Email Distribution Service
  • Frontend for domain and subdomains

Frontend for Main Domain:

Built with WordPress + Elementor… I like WordPress for the ease of SEO and it was a quick build.

Frontend for Sub Domain: 

Built with React. 

I needed a subdomain to host the frontend aspects of our platform and frontend for users to see their personalized referral information. Such as a unique link, current referral count, etc

Newsletter Creation Service:

Built with NodeJS using PugJS + various NLP Libraries

  • I used PugJS to create the HTML templates for each section of our newsletter.
  • Used various APIs to gather information such as Stock Information
  • Used various libraries and APIs to:
    • Extract text from URLs
    • Use NLP to Summarize Text (implement algorithms such as TextRank and LSA)

You can learn more about how we use NLP to summarize articles for our newsletter here.

Custom Email Referral Service:

Built with React, NodeJS, Mailchimp

Do you know what I can’t afford? 

$90/Month referral services for up to 500 users… So I built a custom one.

 

      • If anyone is looking for a space to compete in… Referral Marketing! 

 

This service allows users to be automatically given a custom referral URL to share with friends and earn rewards for each sign-up.

  • Various Mailchimp Apis
    • Unique Email Ids
    • Merge Tags are a God Send
  • Built a sub-domain to host the referral interfaces

Email Distribution Service:

Built with NodeJS, Mailchimp.

This service provides an interface to allow me to send and schedule different types of Campaigns and Templates

Summary:

All in all, the MVP of all of this did not take me too long and I was able to get started with Marketing the Newsletter.

Does this significantly improve the product? Maybe a little bit. This system is a lot more robust than me manually creating Newsletters every day, but it also allows me to constantly add new features easily.

But this system wasn’t built for them, it was built for me. Though it had quite a bit of upfront cost. It allows me to focus most of my time on marketing, communicating with users, and adding new features.

Now All I have to do to create a Newsletter is to provide:

  • The Email’s Subject
  • The Links of today’s articles & research

And it will automatically create and schedule the newsletter to be sent the next morning.

Next features:

  • Currently, I also have to deliver referral rewards manually. To automate this I would need to pay for a transactional email service or figure out a workaround to send individual emails users on Mailchimp.

If you are a fan of Tech & Finance News! I’d love for you to sign up!

And if you’d like to help us by referring your friends. Here’s our rewards for you.

I know I must have missed something. Let me know any questions in the comments!

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