List Building Case Study: The Aqueduct Newsletter

Jon Elordi

The Aqueduct is a twice weekly conservative news aggregation newsletter. It had a unique editorial direction in that it was sarcastic and took the news lightly. There are a lot of conservative companies, but few use humor as a way to differentiate themselves. Every Tuesday and Thursday the email would go out at 6:30 am with the top news stories and humorous commentary.

This email list started from nothing and we worked with them to build out their first five thousand subscribers.

To build out this subscriber base, we focused on Facebook advertising for two reasons. The first is the best advertising platform on the market, and second, The Aqueduct’s target audience was on Facebook.

Two Ad Types

We ran and tested two ad types to see which would provide better and cheaper subscribers. The two types of ads were conversion ads and lead generation ads.

Conversion Ads

Conversion ads are ads that optimize for the conversion. In this case it was having someone fill out the signup form on the website. We installed the Facebook tracking pixel on the site. So whenever someone clicked on our ads and then filled out the form Facebook new to optimize for those kinds of people.


Sign Ups: 1,038
Impressions: 70,249
Cost Per Sign up: $0.76

The conversion ads proved to be successful. A cost per sign up of $0.76 is well below the industry average of $1.50.

Lead Gen Ads

Lead generation ads are ads that gather information inside of the Facebook platform. They’re great because it greatly reduces the number of clicks it takes a person complete a form. With past clients, we had seen get exceptional results using these ads.


Sign Ups: 3,720
Impressions: 259,063
Cost Per Sign up: $0.44

The Lead Gen Ads had fantastic results. A cost per sign up of $0.44 was well below industry averages

Creative Assets

Because of the political and humorous nature of the brand we wanted to create ads that were both funny and political. To do accomplish this we created several meme inspired ads.

All three ads used the same copy, which was a fake review that has almost become an industry standard in the newsletter space.

The copy is:

“My fiends think I’m smart (I’m not). It’s because I read Aqueduct (and they have no idea it exists).” — A Reader of The Aqueduct.

We even included a type in the copy to make the review seem more realistic. The images are all of popular conservatives politicians or celebrates. With text indicating that reading The Aqueduct would make them happy.

Overall Results

Overall the paid media campaign was a huge success. we were able to build their email list to over 5,000 and we were able to do it for $2,947.30. That’s a total cost per subscriber of $0.51 which is well below industry standards.

About the author

Jon is the founder of Main Street Rank, dedicated to helping small businesses thrive with precision marketing. With experience at top brands like Hershey and Quest Diagnostics, Jon now focuses on supporting local businesses, believing they are the heart of America. Passionate about driving organic growth, he is committed to the success of every client.