No results were found...

Case Studies

How email helped NCF build and monetize an engaged community of 20,000+ founders

Soon after starting the No Code Founders community, Joshua Tiernan joined forces with Airtable to promote the tool in the community newsletter.

The partnership resulted in 500 signups for Airtable and opened Joshua’s eyes to a monetization method that has been central to No Code Founders' growth.

“It was insane to get that level of signups considering the size of our community at the time,” he said. “This experience helped us realize how effective sponsorships could be.”

The key to effective sponsorships is having an engaged audience. And that is what Joshua has built, with email marketing and MailerLite providing help along the way. 

We spoke to Joshua to hear his thoughts on building engaged communities and learn how email marketing can play a central part. 

How No Code Founders uses MailerLite

No Code Founders is a community of over 20,000 non-technical founders who use no-code tools to build startups. The community is supported with a tool directory, help articles, courses, social media channels, and more. 

The email newsletter plays an important role in the community’s success. Here's what Joshua thinks about the role of email in growing a community.

“Email marketing is our main channel of communication and the easiest way for us to put out messages. While the community is split across multiple channels, our newsletter goes out to all members, helping us communicate more efficiently.”
- Joshua Tiernan - No Code Founders

While members spend time in the channels that interest them most, email allows Joshua to bring awareness to the best content from across the community. This increases its visibility and builds engagement and discussions.

Joshua increases community interaction by sharing links to posts, blog posts, courses, guides and events in his email newsletter. He gets 100s of clicks on every send, giving his community and content a big boost. 

To maximize engagement, he says it is important to know what your community is interested in and share relevant content. He highlighted that for No Code Founders “anything small business-related works very well.”

Screenshot showing a business guide published in the NCF newsletter
Source: No Code Founders
Create reusable blocks for each content type

Our drag & drop editor allows you to create and save reusable blocks that you can add to your emails with a click. Save time when creating newsletters by creating a block for each content type and customizing it with the relevant content each week.

MailerLite’s email editor makes creating beautiful emails easy. The tool stands out due to its usability and the high levels of customization users can access. 

Joshua makes full use of this flexibility. He has an email template that keeps every message on brand and reduces the time it takes to create and send emails. 

“I really like the Drag-&-drop builder. I feel like the visuals have taken a step up since the redesign. I even redesigned my newsletter following the changes.”
- Joshua Tiernan - No Code Founders

He also uses the HTML feature on MailerLite’s text blocks to add code that automatically populates the emails with community posts. This results in perfectly formatted emails and reduces the discussion curation process from hours to minutes each week.

Joshua’s process for curating community discussions
  1. Joshua starts a discussion in Slack

  2. A Zapier automation adds the text to an Airtable database

  3. He edits the text to make it more readable

  4. Airtable turns this into HTML

  5. He pastes this code into his MailerLite email

  6. MailerLite turns the HTML into perfectly formatted content

Screenshot showing automated Slack posts in the NCF newsletter
Source: No Code Founders

Giving new signups the information they need as soon as they join the community helps with community adoption.   

Joshua uses 2 welcome emails to streamline this process: one for free and one for paid members. The emails include a Slack community invite, information about the community, and links to further resources.

Screenshot showing the NCF welcome email
Source: No Code Founders

These emails are effective at getting people to use the community and view No Code Founders’ other tools.

Joshua said: “The focus of the welcome emails is feature adoption. It invites people to our Slack community and introduces other features to them. We see an increase in usage of these tools.”

Because Joshua uses automated emails, he can onboard new members without any extra work. This has saved him a ton of time considering the community has over 20,000 members.

All of No Code Founder’s email subscribers have come from people handing over their email addresses when they join his community. Running a community is an incredibly effective method of growing a list

For Josh, the bigger challenge is getting people to learn about his community. He uses several strategies:

  • Social media: Joshua shares interesting content from the community on social media. He also tags the people involved in the discussion to increase the visibility of the post. 

  • Organic search: Josh’s website receives organic traffic from search engines. He’s able to convert some of these visitors into community members

  • Word of mouth: Much of community growth has come via word of mouth. People who enjoy the product are more likely to share it

  • Product Hunt: Joshua launched his community on Product Hunt. The second version was particularly successful, getting over 900 upvotes

  • Media placements: No Code Founders has been featured in several high-profile publications such as the New York Times and Fortune. This brought the community to a wider audience

When combined these strategies have resulted in an effective plan that has grown his community and email list.

The final step in monetizing a community is finding brands to work with. No Code Founders partners with several tech companies to advertise in his newsletter and across the community. 

See an example of one of his ads in the screenshot below. It’s an effective ad because it’s related to the community's interests and it has an exclusive offer for members.

Screenshot of an ad in the No Code Founders newsletter
Source: No Code Founders

Joshua gets these sponsorships via both inbound requests and outbound sales. For outbound sales, he finds sponsors that are a good fit and reaches out to them directly. He also has a page on his website that provides potential sponsors with all the information they need. 

The newsletter sponsorship is wrapped up with a larger package that includes website placement. This allows him to provide more value to companies that buy ads which in turn leads to more revenue.

Joshua has a lot planned for 2024 and he will continue to grow his community across all touchpoints. He’s adding live streams on social platforms, videos, helpful guides, and more. 

And while community members will have more ways than ever to communicate with No Code Founders, email will continue as the central communication channel.

Click here to find out more about No Code Founders, join the community, and learn more about building a startup with no-code tools.

Grow your business with email

Join MailerLite to access advanced email marketing tools that are easy to use. Get a free trial to start building relationships, automating your marketing, and growing your list today.

Create my account