June 21, 2016

Subscribe to Everything

are you sure

I’ve received a few emails from people just starting in email design and marketing, looking to learn more about the industry and hone their skills.

Apart from tips on design, development, and pointing to some good resources, one of my favorite pieces of advice I give them is:

Subscribe to every single email list you come across.

I can’t remember the last day that went by without me subscribing to a new email list. If I see a box asking for my email address, I happily fill it out and Scope the results. You can always unsubscribe later.

It’s hard to get a sense of any industry without being immersed in it. If you’re trying to get your feet wet in the email industry, it helps to see a heap of emails every day. Apart from giving you a nearly endless supply of reading material in the bathroom, subscribing to a ton of emails allows you to:

  • See who understands email
  • See who doesn’t
  • See how different strategies work over time
  • See who’s innovating in the space
  • Get ideas for your own designs
  • Get ideas for great copy
  • Grab shitty examples for the beginning of slide decks
  • Grab great examples for the end of slide decks
  • Compare your programs with others
  • Get fuel for arguments with stakeholders

It’s the best way to stay on top of industry trends, avoid bad practices, and get solid inspiration right in your own inbox.

Obviously, you should avoid suspicious-looking lists—although those can be fun to subscribe to on occasion. And you should absolutely use a separate email address from your main one (or at least set up some filters). But subscribing to everything is a fantastic way to get up to speed on a fast-moving industry.

You can’t design or build an email program in a vacuum. If you’re willfully ignoring what others are doing in the industry, your emails will suffer. Start subscribing and gathering fodder for making your own campaigns that much better.