Emailed newsletters seem to be increasing in popularity. While newsletters are a great way to stay informed about topics you’re interested in, the downside to the proliferation of email newsletters is that your inbox may quickly become cluttered. Emails that would be nice to read when you get a chance get mixed in with urgent emails that need to be dealt with immediately. Problems like these, of course, prompt people to seek solutions. Any of the options below offer a reasonable way to deal with the proliferation of email newsletters in your inbox.
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Default: Receive and read from Inbox
The easiest solution? Do nothing. Email newsletters that you subscribe to will arrive in your inbox. Read them when you want. Delete them if you like. Archive them if you prefer. If you receive a small number of newsletters or if you have sufficient time to read every newsletter you receive, this minimal effort solution makes sense.
On the web, Gmail can sort and display incoming email into a small number of tabs: Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums. You can click-and-drag an email from one of these tabs to another. For example, if an email newsletter arrives in your Primary inbox, you might click-and-drag it to Forums, then confirm (when prompted) that you want all future email from that list to be placed there, as well. By moving email to a separate section, you keep your primary inbox focused on email that requires action beyond reading.
Filters offer another way to move newsletters out of your inbox. Select an email, then the three-dot menu above the email, then Filter Messages Like These. Adjust the criteria to correspond to unique identifiers (e.g., the newsletter name or email source), then choose to have the mail labeled (e.g., “Newsletters”). I suggest you also choose the box to Skip The Inbox, as well. Select the label when you’re ready to read your newsletters.
Silent Inbox is a Gmail add-on that detects and “holds” email you specify for delivery at a time you choose. Essentially, it delivers your email newsletters to you all at once, rather than at whatever time they otherwise might arrive during your day. The free version supports up to 10 senders with limited delivery times, while the paid version ($17 per year) gives you more customized delivery scheduling.
Gmail: Dedicated email address
Some people choose to create and dedicate an entirely separate email address to be used with newsletters and other lists. This approach can work well, since it ensures that all informational emails get delivered to a separate account. However, you may need to set a reminder to switch to that account to read and review accrued communications.
Read in an app
Some apps offer receive-only email addresses you may use to subscribe to newsletters. For example, Mux is one of the few dedicated newsletter reader apps available for both Android and iOS devices that is also updated regularly, and it’s currently free. For people who use iOS, Meco (about $20 per year) lets you sign up for newsletters with your regular Gmail address and then select the newsletter senders you want to read within the app. RSS apps such as Feedbin ($5 per month) or Feedly (Pro+ plan, about $100 per year) also provide an email address for newsletters. Similarly, Mailbrew.com ($96 per year) offers to aggregate RSS feeds as well as Twitter streams into regular updates delivered either in email or on the web.
What methods do you use to manage newsletters?
If you receive newsletters in Gmail, do you use any of the above methods or tools? What additional apps or services do you rely on to make your newsletter reading manageable? Have you reached the point of being entirely overwhelmed with email and unsubscribed from as many things as possible? Let me know how you manage your email newsletter subscriptions, either with a comment below or on Twitter (@awolber).