It’s the time of year for predictions. Based on years of experience in the email industry, decades of experience in media, and centuries of experience fiddling with DNS configurations, here’s what I see on the horizon for 2021…
1. The race for earlier and earlier send times will finally be won when someone schedules their newsletter for 11:59:59 p.m. And then the race will begin again.
2. Subscribe Now! pop-ups will continue to infuriate users. Except for all the users who subscribe.
3. Gmail will introduce a new ‘BECAUSE FUCK YOUR NEWSLETTER, THAT’S WHY’ tab. An industry of consultants will be born. They will tell newsletter writers that not many people use Gmail Tabs anyway.
4. Your spouse will go into labor. They will not appreciate your ‘deliverability’ joke. Their revenge will be the baby’s middle name: Unsubscribemee.
5. A new platform for ‘newsletter discovery’ will be launched.
6. You will ask a colleague, “Is this GDPR compliant?”
7. It will not be.
8. Ten or more prominent writers will band together with a paid Substack bundle. They will hire other ornery, dissatisfied writers to improve their copy, fact check, write headlines, etc. They will promote their latest bundle with a stylish piece of art on Instagram. They will then print out their newsletters, staple the stylish piece of art to the front, and distribute their bundle at doctors’ offices across America. They will call their invention a “Stackazine,” and an industry will be born. The industry will thrive for decades, with expense accounts as large as your unread message count, until someone points out that the prominent writers aren’t providing all that much value and their jobs could just as easily be done by some 22-year-olds. The 22-year-olds will be paid in gluten-free pizza and “exposure.” The laid-off prominent writers will start blogs.
9. Someone will start a daily newsletter to aggregate media coverage of Morning Brew. It will be called Morning Morning Brew Brew. It will have a killer referral program.
10. A Golden Age of Email will be proclaimed.
11. The Death of Email will be proclaimed.
12. You will be really, really tempted to try out all the cool stuff in AMP for email. But you will decide to give it another year to see if it catches on.
13. Re: #6 & #7… You will do it anyway.
14. You will finally learn not to take Unsubscribes personally.
15. OK, fine, maybe not… But at least you’ll learn to keep your weeping discreet.
16. Another new platform for ‘newsletter discovery’ will be launched.
17. You will forget to fill out the preheader.
18. Someone will try to sell you their ‘secret’ for growing from 0 to 100K email subscribers in one month. The secret ingredient is crime.
19. The world’s first newsletter-discovery-platform discovery platform will be launched. No one will ever discover it.
20. A new ESP will be born. It will transform the industry — but be missing one crucial feature. You will lose your archives when you migrate away from it.
21. That which is bundled shall be unbundled. That which is unbundled shall be re-bundled. The seas will rise. Mountains will crumble. You will be unable to figure out which word is sending you to the Spam filter.
The word will be “calligraphy.”