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Audience Building Tool Stack
Everything you might want for building and monetizing an audience.
I’ve been diving deep into audience building. I’m up to over 35,000 followers after ~8 months of doing it part-time.
A lot of people over-complicate the tool stack you need to succeed.
Ultimately, you could crush by just writing in Notes or Textpad and logging into Twitter/LinkedIn and posting each morning.
But it’s less likely.
Here are the best tools I’ve found for audience building for:
Digital products/landing pages/emails
Let’s dive in.
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Tools to make the process of writing online easier.
Notion – Freemium. AI features is $8/mo.
Amazing hub for all your notes, docs, life stuff, data, etc.
The built-in AI features make it more useable than ChatGPT in many ways.
Save to Notion – Free
Take snippets from the web and save to Notion to use and consume later.
Grammarly – Freemium
Lifesaver for editing to make it look like you can write coherently.
ChatGPT – Freemium
Have you ever heard of it? It does things.
Hemingway app – Free
Great tool for helping you remove jargon and complicated words.
I also have this article on how to improve your copywriting:
Tools to make images and carousels to share on social.
Midjourney – $10/mo
One of my favorite tools ever made. I make a lot of cool imagery with it.
Canva – Free to $10/mo
Really easy-to-use design tool with a ton of built-in assets and templates.
Remove.bg – Free
Super easy-to-use tool that uses AI to crop out backgrounds from images. Way faster and more effective than Photoshop.
Figma – Free
Personally, I use this to make all of my designs, but I’m a web developer. For most people, I’d recommend Canva.
Iconscout – Free to $15/mo.
Huge library of icons, illustrations, and animations.
How to convert followers/subscribers into dollars through premium memberships, sponsorships, advisory calls, and digital products.
Stripe – ~3% per transaction
The obvious credit card processor. Integrates with almost every tool.
Can also use it to make checkout pages for digital products, just with more effort to create the back-end.
Calendly – Free to $8/mo
Want to charge for advisory calls? Create a simple calendar that people need to pay to book a call.
You can add compelling copy to the booking page and set the exact hours and everything that they can book in.
Intro – % of booking
Marketplace for calls with pros. Acts like Calendly but if you can book ~15 folks on your own they’ll add you to their network and promote you.
Substack – Free mostly. 10% of premium subs.
My newsletter platform of choice. It’s free for all your free subscribers.
And it has great network effects for distributing your content and newsletter for you.
Also really simple to use and creates your web version automatically.
Beehiiv – Free for 2,500 subs. Scales up with subscribers.
Just like Substack with more features. Instead of a % of premium subs they charge based on # of subscribers. So if you have a ton of premium subscribers it can become worth it. If you’re early on I’d say use Substack.
As a subset of monetization, selling people’s attention to other companies.
Sponsy – Starts at $33/mo
A helpful tool for managing newsletter client relationships. Nice back-end with a calendar, automation, and a client portal.
Passionfroot – 3% of the transaction
Platform for creating a sponsorship sales page with a calendar and the ability to collect assets and manage relationships.
Differs from Sponsy in that its focus currently is making the sales page, the CRM side is less developed.
Paved – 30% of the transaction
Marketplace for connecting to newsletter sponsors. Fairly pricey.
Swapstack – Free
Marketplace for connecting to newsletters sponsors—particularly for deals that pay-per-click, or affiliate deals.
Digital products/Landing pages/emails
Carrd – Free
Really simple and free landing pages.
Gumroad – 10% per transaction
Platform for creating and selling digital products to your audience. Recently enraged everyone by changing monetization model.
Samcart – Starts at $59/mo
Does nearly everything Gumroad does.
ConvertKit – Free for 1,000 subs. Scales up with subscribers.
A combination of an email marketing tool and a monetization platform like Gumroad. Send emails, create landing pages/funnels, and sell products.
Here’s another article I wrote on how I used a post to drive ~$30k in sales:
Editing software for both video and audio.
Descript – Freemium, but basically $12/mo
One of the coolest editing tools. It converts audio/video into a transcript using AI, then you edit the file like you would a Word document.
iMovie – Free with Macs
It totally does the job!
Final Cut Pro – $299
The go-to for a lot of professionals for editing videos. More robust than Descript and iMovie but also harder to use.
Loom – Free to $12.50/mo
Great tool for doing screen or audio recordings simply.
Secta.ai – $49
Don’t have great profile photos? This turns selfies into professional headshots.
Tools to make posting on LinkedIn easier and better.
LinkedIn Premium lets you see who’s visited your profile, and lets you send messages to people who haven’t connected with you. Useful for converting people into customers.
Taplio – $39/mo
The best tool I’ve found for automating a bunch of LinkedIn tasks like scheduling posts, auto DMing, or adding a plug as a comment.
Also can show you a list of everyone who’s engaged with your content.
And has good analytics and built-in AI copywriting tools.
Taplio X (Chrome Extension) – Free
Great tool that shows people’s top LinkedIn posts and shows your analytic details right in LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Carousel Generator – Free
A useful free tool that converts Tweet threads into PDFs to be used as carousels on LinkedIn.
Adds a watermark unless you pay for Taplio.
Shield – Starts at $8/mo
Useful tool that pulls all your historic LinkedIn post performance and lets you dive into the analytics.
Tools to make tweeting easier and better.
Typefully – Starts free, but do $16/mo
Really easy to use and a beautiful tool for writing threads and scheduling tweets. And for diving deeper into analytics.
Unfortunately, can’t do tweets > 280 characters in length yet.
Hypefury – Starts free, but do $19/mo
Harder to use and less beautiful tool for writing threads and scheduling tweets. And for diving deeper into analytics.
Also has some more automated features like sending Auto DMs and cross-posting to other platforms.
Twemex – Free
Useful Chrome Extension that lets you see people’s top tweets of all time.
birdy.so – Free
Let’s you A/B test stuff on your Twitter profile.
These are a little bit more advanced for automating tasks.
Zapier – Free but scales on task volume
The ultimate tool for automating tasks across platforms and tools. For example, I throw all Substack subscribers into a Users table in Airtable.
Then can have other automation that updates them based on purchases of digital products through Stripe—like advisory calls or digital product sales.
Airtable – Free but scales based on # of rows
A middle-ground between spreadsheet and database, with a bunch of automation built-in.
These tools are the best I’ve found for audience building, and they’re either free to start using or fairly inexpensive.
Ultimately, you can get started and be dangerous without any of them. The key is to start posting and keep posting.
Thanks for reading!
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Neal's Newsletter 🍉 is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.