No! You should totally sign up for other people’s lists, even your competitors' email lists because you can learn so much!
Notice I did not say so that you should copy. Learn from them. They’re different. Totally different things.
You can learn all about the right type of content to create, the language they use, the products they recommend, and more. Signing up for their email list can and will provide valuable information about language, their offers, CTAs etc.
Word of caution and a tip before the 7 reasons. *By signing up for the lists of other people in your niche you’ll have a lot of inspiration in the front of your mind. Don’t let that cloud your creation. Use it as a bank of ideas to pull from, not as a comparison trap.
I recommend also signing up for and following multiple people OUTSIDE of your NICHE as well. So for you designers, maybe follow some online marketers, some pet people, and a product shop. Get ideas from everywhere!
When you sign up for other people’s lists, you can learn about the type of language they use to spur certain feelings/emotions they want to get from their audience. You’ve done so much research by now that you'll be able to see if it matches up with what the competition is putting out.
Do they use video?
Do they have banners with images?
Do they sound like they’re coming from a friend or someone up in corporate?
When you read their emails think about why they sent that specific email, what it was supposed to accomplish? Notice how they used words and tone to get you to take a certain action, or feel a certain way.
How do they use calls to action?
What do you notice is most effective when they include a CTA in their email?
How often do they include a CTA and how many are in each email?
Make notes of key phrases they use. Are they more passive or active?
Do they offer things of value like a download or video?
Look through their emails also for product recommendations (especially if it’s an affiliate product). These could be in addition to the products they created and sell to their audience such as pdf guides, courses, and more. Consider these options for you to sell to your audience too. Having multiple streams of revenue is always a good idea!
Pay attention to how often and what type of emails they send. Do they have a regular time and day that they send certain emails?
Are there breaks in between them offering advice and them selling their services?
Notice if their “sales” emails look like a magazine ad, or like a friend talking to you?
Identify the types of emails they send so that you can send the same types of emails to your email list. **Again caution here that you don’t copy, take inspiration such as Oh they’re sending out a Black Friday sale in July, that’s a fun idea maybe we could do Valentine's Day in September :) or something like that.
Are the subject lines effective?
Did it get you to click through to see what’s inside?
What makes them effective, or not so effective?
If you can figure out why these subject lines work you can keep that in mind for when you create your own email marketing messages.
This is one area you can really pull from all industries. Look at your inbox as a whole. Which ones are you drawn to? Do you immediately trash any of them? Take notice of why you’d trash something vs open it.
Look at how they deal with problems that arise. For example, did they send out a link that didn’t work? How did they correct it?
Did you try responding to an email to find out if anyone answered? Did they answer? What happened?
Do they advertise something on their website but their emails don’t match up? What things in their emails might be confusing to a client that you can learn from and make better in your emails?
There is so much you can learn about your audience, your competition, and business in general simply by signing up for other people’s lists. When you do, you’ll be able to put together your own list and add value to your potential clients based on what seems to be working and what is not working with others.
Just make sure you come up with your own plan for your specific audience that is different enough to make your work stand out from the competition!