Word-of-mouth certainly affected us, but in the best way possible—people couldn’t stop talking about the “beautifully designed eBooks housed Help Scout’s site,” and on customer service no less!
From a strategic standpoint, they helped us establish an early footing for our blog. As we managed to land on great business sites like FastCompany and Copyblogger, we found having an incentive to offer their readers far and away outperformed linking to our homepage and hoping for the best (example below).
Why show them to newsletter subscribers only? Sure, we do have a small army of 35,000+ people, but one golden rule of content is if 10,000 people love it, 100,000 people will love it. Once the traction is there, it’s just about scaling up to a new audience. Your job simply becomes getting the content in front of them, and open resources make this much easier.