How Substack Can Improve.
I’ve been using Substack for a while now, and it’s a good platform, but there is definitely room for improvement. Here is my list of things I’d like to see…
FIRST NAME MERGE TAG IN EMAILS. The main thing that drives me nuts is that Substack doesn’t allow me to personalize each newsletter with the recipient’s first name. I look at it as my article is my article, but my email to them is my way to develop the relationship. I don’t want to simply be like a news report. I work very hard to develop a relationship with my audience, so I want the email to be addressed to a PERSON. I want it to say "Dear <First Name>". This would be such a simple change to make, I don’t know why it hasn’t been done.
FIX PROBLEM WITH VIDEO EMBEDS. When I publish an article and the email is delivered to my audience, and if my article contains an embedded video, when someone clicks on the video the link will take them to YouTube or Vimeo! WTH? If I have a video embedded in my article, I want people going to my article on Substack, and they can view the video there. I am selling my subscription on Substack, so I want people to go to Substack. This seems like a bug to me, because I can’t think why this would actually be planned this way. The image links are weird too. I don’t necessarily want someone to be able to click on an image and they get taken too a larger version of the image. If I don’t put a link on the image, the image shouldn’t have a link on it.
HELP ME GROW MY AUDIENCE! Substack should have a directory that allows people to find my articles. One of the reasons I use a platform such as Substack as opposed to my private Wordpress site is that I want it to be a better way of growing my audience. The more people who can discover my articles, the more people who will sign up (hopefully) and the more money I (and Substack) will make. This seems so obvious to me.
MORE CUSTOMIZATION OPTIONS. I want my blog on Substack to look different than it does now. Why do I have to fit my blog into Substacks extremely tight appearance standards? It’s like Substack is one of those strip malls with ridiculous conformity standards that cares more about making the strip mall look good than promoting the actual businesses in the strip mall. Give me FREEDOM! I’d also like more control over color and highlighting certain text in the article.
EMBEDS. Why can I embed different podcast streams from Sticher or other sites? We should have more flexibility for embeds.
WORD OF MOUTH REFERRAL PROGRAM. One of the advantages of having my own Wordpress site is that I can have software that encourages people to share my posts, and get rewards for it. This would be a nice feature.
ADVERTISING. I understand that many newsletters don’t have advertising, but it would be a great way to increase revenue. Even better, if I don’t want to go out and find my own advertisers, it would be very cool if Substack would do this for me. Allow me to select 1) whether I want to include advertising or not, 2) whether I want to find the advertiser myself, (I keep 95% of revenue), or 3) if I want to put Substack-based advertising in my newsletter (I keep 50% of revenue).
COMMENTS. Maybe I am missing something, but why don’t I get notified when someone comments on my posts? In order to keep the relationship strong with my community I want to quickly respond to their comments/questions.
If you are also a Substack user, please share your comments below.