In collaboration with my professional guest, Anja Burgar

While we witness low engagement on social media platforms lately and advertising possibilities are shrinking on a daily basis, there is an efficient way to reach out to your target audience: email, and specifically newsletter marketing. It can be up to 40 x more successful than social media, while being a low-cost option to present your content, offers, products and services to potential customers.


In this episode of the 'Let's Talk About...' blog post series you will get guidance on newsletter marketing - including tips on sending your first newsletter and a successful campaign along with tested solutions for optimising your content and measuring success.


If you are interested in learning more about camera angles, manual settings on your camera, composition, food styling tricks and tips, or even business practices you can check the previous episodes of this popular blog series by clicking here.

Great communication begins with connection.

Oprah Winfrey

Beggingers' guide to newsletters


Writing an effective newsletter can significantly boost engagement and customer retention. Here are five dos and five don'ts to keep in mind when crafting your newsletter:


5 DOs

  1. Provide value: share valuable, relevant content that addresses your audience's needs, challenges, or interests. consider including industry insights, tips, how-to guides, or exclusive offers, or any other content that somehow adds value to your subscribers' lives.
  2. Segment your audience: personalisation spikes engagement and helps bonding with your readers, so consider tailoring your content to different segments of your audience based on their preferences, demographics, or purchase history.
  3. Use compelling subject lines: grab the reader's attention with concise, intriguing subject lines that entice them to open your newsletter. Experiment with personalisation, emojis, playful copy and curiosity-inducing statements to increase open rates.
  4. Include visuals and formatting: incorporate eye-catching visuals such as images, infographics, GIFs, videos and use cohesive text formatting to break up text and make your newsletter more visually appealing and to emphasise your message.
  5. Optimise for mobile: the majority of email opens happen on mobile devices, so optimising for mobile is crucial for maximising engagement.


5 DON'Ts

  1. Overwhelm with content: keep your content focused to maintain reader interest and encourage them to take action, and avoid overwhelming your subscribers with too much information in a single newsletter.
  2. Neglect proofreading: sloppy errors can undermine your professionalism and credibility, so always check your newsletter thoroughly before sending it out to avoid embarrassing typos, grammar mistakes, formatting issues or broken links.
  3. Spam subscribers: find a balance between promotional messages and valuable, informative content, and strictly avoid bombarding your subscribers with overly promotional or irrelevant content.
  4. Ignore analytics: monitoring key metrics, such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversions, provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of your newsletter campaigns and helps you refine your strategies for better results.
  5. Miss including a call to action (CTA): without a strong CTA, your newsletter may fail to drive the intended action from your audience, so always include a clear and compelling call to action in your newsletter, prompting readers to take the desired next step - such as: visiting your website, making a purchase, or signing up for an event, etc.


By keeping these basic pointers in ming, you can create exclusive content that captivates your audience, drives engagement, and ultimately, bings you closer to your marketing goals.

Exercise: SEND your FIRST NEWSLETTER


I collected helping questions and tips that can support you in the process of launching a successful newsletter that effectively communicates with your audience, and moves you towards your business goals.


PLAN

  • Define your goals: what's the purpose of your newsletter? Are you aiming to inform, engage, or promote products/services? Be specific with your goals. Do you want to increase website traffic, boost sales, or grow your subscriber list?
  • Identify your target audience: what demographics, interests, and preferences define your target audience? What are their needs, challenges, and interests?
  • Choose a platform: what are the most a reputable email marketing platforms available? What others are using? Do they have features like email templates, automation capabilities, and analytics tracking?
  • Plan your content strategy: what is the ideal frequency (weekly, monthly...) and format (curated content, article, blog) of your newsletter? Which topics align with your audience's interests and your business objectives?


TAKE ACTION

  • Build your subscriber list: link your opt-in forms to your platforms in order to collect email addresses. Offer any incentives like exclusive content, freebie, ebook or discounts to encourage sign-ups.
  • Create compelling content: write attention-grabbing subject lines that entice subscribers to open your newsletter. Create and re-purpose valuable, engaging content that provides insights, tips, solutions or entertainment to your audience.
  • Design your newsletter: choose or craft a visually appealing template that reflects your brand identity. By keeping your brand in mind, incorporate eye-catching images, graphics, and colours to enhance readability and engagement.
  • Preview, correct, send: before sending, test your newsletter to ensure it displays properly across different devices and email platforms. Clear any typos, grammatical errors, personalisation errors or broken links. Schedule your newsletter to be sent at an optimal time for your audience by time zones and peak engagement times.


REFLECT

  • Analyse: monitor key metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversions to evaluate the effectiveness of your newsletter campaigns.
  • Iterate: refine your content strategy, timing, and segmentation.
  • Improve: continuously seek for feedback from subscribers and adjust your approach accordingly to improve engagement and results.


If you wish to have a discussion about this exercise, feel free to DM me @rekacsulak on Instagram or message me here.

If you appreciate realistic + down-to-earth approach of a mentor while TAKING actionable steps towards your goals, feel free to check out the 1-on-1 sessions AND WORKSHOPS I offer to creators AND entrepreneurs!

I invited a professional food photographer and educator friend who runs an informative newsletter. Welcome, Anja Burgar on board!

Who are you and what is your specialty?


I am a commercial food photographer based in Slovenia, focused on working with mostly smaller to medium-sized food businesses and brands. In the last few years, I have also been sharing my technical, creative, and business knowledge with other food photographers and creatives on my blog, Use Your Noodles, and through my courses, workshops, and other digital products.

Portrait © Anja Burgar

Portrait © Anja Burgar

How do you use email marketing to effectively engage your audience and promote your services?


My email marketing is mostly focused on the education part of my business. The way I like to look at emails as a marketing strategy is to be closer to the people who may eventually be my clients. It’s a form of creating a closer bond through carefully curated welcome emails and the weekly newsletter, where I try to share something extra that can’t be found in my public content. This, in return, helps with better conversions and fewer unsubscribes. I like to use my marketing emails to picture what they will get with the specific offer and if this is actually a good fit, so that I later on also don’t end up with unhappy clients and refunds. I see email marketing as a balance of creating income and having a community for hanging out with like-minded people.

How do you optimiSe your email campaigns to ensure high open rates?


I try to be very honest with what is inside my emails and steer away from manipulating tactics. There is of course a strategy behind it, which is mostly focused on intrigue. Giving away just enough in the subject line to make the reader want to open and read more. This, for sure, did not come easy. It took a lot of A//B testing and analyzing what my audience prefers.

© Anja Burgar

© Anja Burgar

How do you maintain a personal connection with your subscribers, and what role does storytelling play in your newsletters?


I love taking my readers to my personal story whenever I can. Showing my failures, issues, wins and challenges, and solutions to anything I am facing. I notice that whenever I share a personal story, it resonates with my readers, and I get many email replies, which lead to awesome conversations. It is sometimes hard to reply to every email, and I am sure I miss replying to some emails occasionally, but I strive always to answer emails from my readers and build further connections, get to know them better, and understand their struggles on a deeper level.

Growing an email subscriber list organically is a common challenge. Can you share insights into how you've successfully expanded your audience? 


It truly is. I have so far only organically gained my subscribers, and does require quite a bit of adjusting and analyzing what works. Besides that, the strategies for what works better change all the time. So that’s not something you set up and forget. The way I like to approach getting subscribers is to visualize what they get. For example, on Instagram, I’ll often do an educational post on the topic so that people see what that topic is about and the way I teach it. And if they like it, they are invited, either in the caption or a photo, to sign up for my mailing list. Besides that, it is easier to get people to subscribe if they know you better as a person and as a teacher. Because of that, I try to present myself on social media and my blog in a way that shows how I teach and who I am as a creative.

How do you measure success?


That depends on what my goal was for a specific email. If, for example, my goal was to get people to read my blog, I’ll measure how many of the readers clicked on the blog post link. And if I am not happy with the percentage, I analyze what I did and what I did in previous campaigns that performed better to get closer to what I can do better next time. I also like to ask people around me who are on my mailing list, to share what they felt about specific emails I sent and adjust my future emails to match their comments as well.

Are there any current trends or innovations in email marketing that you've found particularly effective or interesting?


I’ll share a trend that seems to be working for a lot of people but not for me. There is a trend of long emails that are written as plain text, not only without images but also without much formatting. I, personally, have not found great success with that. Whenever I send a long email without images, I still use formatting (for example, headings, bullet points, or bold text), and I make sure it is short and on point.

© Anja Burgar

© Anja Burgar

© Anja Burgar

© Anja Burgar

© Anja Burgar

© Anja Burgar

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