Email Marketing: Learning by Subscribing

Over the past week I’ve subscribed to about 20 newsletters of people and companies that I use regularly, have listened to on a podcast, or offer some kind of course relevant to me.

This is the current state of my inbox:

Email newsletter lists are powerful for maintaining win-win relationships with your customers and audience.  I’ve been running my business for 10 years and haven’t spent a lot of time working on building a list or understanding how to maintain a list.

By watching these folks get their email on I’m learning from the content they deliver, but also I’m learning about the method of their delivery.

I’ve been on this subscribe spree because I want to learn. Here’s what I’ve seen so far:

Early observations

Send email like a human

I have about 40 emails in my inbox that I’ve been reviewing. The first thing that I like is the lists that are from a person, not a company. Instead of getting an email from “Acme Inc.” I prefer getting an email from “Barrett at ConvertKit.”  I’ve listened to Barrett on a podcast, can see his picture in my email client, and make a connection to a company.

Look, it’s my friend Barrett!

Don’t use too many graphics

I prefer newsletters that have few logos, images or graphics, and very little “design” elements like boxes. Again, it’s more personal to think I’m reading an email from a friend not a corporate spambot.

If you need a graphic or logo, make it unobtrusive like my friend Brian Hogg does:

Have one call to action

The emails that have gotten a click from me usually have one blue link in the email. Multiple links are really distracting and get skipped over like a

Add a “PS” section

Several of the newsletter senders add a post script after their name with a “Hey, hit reply and let me know your thoughts/struggles/experience with X.”

It’s really low key, but effective. I don’t mind them asking, and I don’t feel a huge pressure to comply. They’ve usually provided value already in the body of the email and I’m happy to reciprocate with my thoughts or input.

One sender adds a link to his book in the last paragraph of every single email. This tactic is getting a little tiresome, but again, he provides great value in the email so I overlook the hard sell. (I’ll probably end up buying the book).

Daily is okay

Some of the lists put me on a 4 day campaign where I got an email a day. Some of them send every other weekday like clockwork. Either is really fine for me if they are sending something I’m interested in. Remember, I asked for this, so I’m invested in receiving and learning. If I’m picking up what they are putting down the relationship works.

Hit me up daily. I don’t mind.

Keep it short

love short and concise emails that can pack a solid message in 2-3 paragraphs. I will read 600 word blog-post-in-an-email newsletters, but it’s really tempting to hit archive when I see the wall of words.

Learn by doing!

Instead of taking someone’s overpriced “How To Email Market For Dollarz!!!” course I chose to subscribe for free and watch what people are doing; then start doing them. I have a list that I’m reviving with a few scheduled messages using what I’ve seen and liked from experience.

After a few versions of these techniques I’ll see what’s working, and then modify my technique. I’m excited to see how it proceeds and excited to be learning a new skill!