Email Marketing part two, what to do with your mailing list

Jul 7, 2023 | Marketing

“Show Notes”

Marcus and Sam talk about what to do with a mailing list, once you have some people on it.

“Show Transcription”

Marcus: Hello, Sam. It’s Marcus here. From shoot to the top.

Sam: Hi, Marcus.

Marcus: Sam. Hi there, Sam. So, Sam, today we’re going to carry on our discussion from last time when we talked about emailing lists. And today you’re going to be telling us some of the things that you can do with the emailing list. Is that right?

Sam: That’s right. I think last week we got so excited talking about how to grow your emailing list, we didn’t actually get on to talk about what to do with it.

Marcus: Okay, good. Well, okay, well, I said to you last week, I’m putting an emailing list together at the moment, so this is all good news for me.

Sam: Cool. So the question is then, what do you do with this mailing list?  We talked last week about how to grow it and how to get people onto it. So then once you’ve got some people onto it and you can start when it’s quite small still, the question is, what do you do with it? And obviously the answer is use it, send people stuff. And then you got to think, well, what stuff are you going to send people? I’ve got kind of three main groups of things that people normally send, but there can be different stuff. Obviously, the key main one, which we’re probably going to talk most about, is your newsletter. And this hopefully isn’t news that your cat is having kittens, but our sort of newsletter would talk about what we put in there to make it interesting and engaging for people. And not just your news about your cat giving kittens, but you can do other things with it too. So you can, for example, have something automatic. So every time you write a blog, just get sent to people on your mailing list. And for some people, if they’ve signed up because they like your blog and you don’t have that much time for the main list, that can work well. And also it can be really clever with automations in terms of if you’re say ecommerce, it could be that you set up an automation where somebody buys a product from you, you know, it’ll last them about three months, and you get it to automatically drop them another email three months later to remind them to buy it again. You can imagine that there are all sorts of clever automations you can have. You’re used to getting them, I imagine. Marcus you’ve not shopped in a shop for awhile online, you get a little reminder, don’t you? And 10% off, I presume you get those.

Marcus: That’s right. My inbox is always full of newsletters and stuff, but they do catch your attention. It is a good way of marketing. Is there a frequency that you think works well for a newsletter?

Sam: I think there are a couple of things to think about with the frequency. One is what can you manage? So if you say you’re going to do it weekly, do it weekly, what looks really bad? If you say you’re going to do it weekly and it just comes at random intervals. If you say, well I’m going to do it lunchtime Friday and it comes every lunchtime Friday, great. But if you know you’re honestly not going to manage that and not do a really good one, then don’t do it that often. So I think once a month is kind of a minimum, once a week probably is a maximum, but it depends on your audience and how much content you can provide them with and how engaged they are with your brand. So yeah, it sort of depends on all those things. Partly I guess, it’s content. So one of the main things with the news, if you’re sending out a newsletter, it needs to be interesting, it needs to be engaging and it needs to be useful. So if you can manage to get great content that is engaging, interesting and useful to people every week, then amazing. But for most of us that’s quite a feat and you’d certainly probably need a team behind you to help with that. Writing blogs, helping with a newsletter and so on. Or you probably don’t have a business. So yeah, if you’re on your own, which a lot of photographers are, if you want to really regular, get some help, but probably once every doing a higher quality newsletter every two weeks or once a month is going to be better than flinging something together once a week. That’s kind of a bit of a rush job and pretty scruffy around the edges.

Marcus: I put mine out. Well, my aim is to put mine out. I might have to review this, but once every quarter, which sounds from what you’re telling me is not

Sam: I’d say people are going to forget about you in that time. I think once a month is kind of a minimum just to stay in touch with people. I mean, I don’t feel at all at once a month s pestering people you’re going to be out of your mind. Probably out of people’s minds for too long. I’d have thought once a quarter. Yeah, I definitely recommend to people once a month is kind of a minimum. Commit to it, decide when it’s going, pick a time it’s going, the last day of the month, whatever it is, the first Monday, and stick to it as best you can. That regularity really helps and get the content out there. And if even that’s too hard, then do look at getting some help either with say, the blog writing side or some ideas side or the newsletter writing side.But yeah, I think once a month because it’s not too much content, is it?So I think one of the keys I said about this newsletter is content because it’s all very well sending a newsletter, but we said it’s gotta be interesting, engaging, it’s got to be useful. So you’ve got to have some content in there. So I think the key with the newsletter is you creating your content? And actually, if you are, the newsletter is easy in some ways, especially once you’ve sent two or three; you’ve kind of then got a template, haven’t you? You can effectively start from last month’s newsletter, swap out a few blogs, swap out a quote and a picture or something. Bang, you’re done. So in some ways it’s actually the content that’s the work rather than newsletter because the newsletter isn’t the content. Don’t bung a whole blogs with a text in there, for God’s sake. The newsletter is little snippets of information and you’re directing people a little bit about your blog and sending people to it, maybe further down the newsletter a tiny bit more about your blog, but you’re then sending them to it. So yeah, I think it’s really about that, getting that really great content made.

Marcus: Sam, am I right in looking at a newsletter as being different to email marketing? Was email marketing something that somebody might download? We were talking about last week, download something from your website and then you’ve got that email that you can send newsletters to.

Sam: I don’t know. I mean, what we’re talking about therewith the download is just a method for getting people onto your email newsletter. And your newsletter is email marketing. You’re emailing people and it’s marketing. So yeah, I think it is email marketing. And one of the things you can do with email marketing actually, which is nice, which you can’t really do so much with social is you can sell. So on social, we’ve talked before and we’re going to talk next week about social. Selling doesn’t really work on social. That’s what not people are not going on social to buy your stuff. You’re building a following there. But when they’re on your newsletter, they know you a bit, they’re starting to trust you. So you can start to sell. Now, if every newsletter is a sale, people aren’t going to be interested. But again, that depends on the business. So if you’re ecommerce and it could be that actually a good portion of your newsletter is sales. We’ve got this promotion on this product. We think you might be interested in this new product you’re getting in it because that’s the kind of relationship you have with them. If it’s a place you go and buy stuff regularly, while more if your services like we are, you need to more develop that relationship, give value and stuff. But also the sales can be in there. It’s definitely not a thing to avoid because eventually you want people to buy. So that sales message needs to be there. How much depends on your business and how you want to do it. I know some people kind of alternate newsletters a bit and go, okay, here’s a kind of value newsletter and here’s a sales newsletter almost for the readers as well. So they can see this is where I’m giving you value and this is where I’m telling you what you can buy from me. And some people aren’t interested that and some people are, but it’s almost that clear differentiation. Some people like that, some people don’t. It’s just an approach. The other is obviously just have some of your sales messages mixed in with the other stuff.

Marcus: Yes, what I found really interesting, Sam, as anew beach in newsletters is the information, the analytics you get back from me really is quite eye opening and that, well, maybe you can unpack that a little bit more for our listeners. The analytics side, you get really detailed data back which is really interesting.

Sam: So you can see when people open, how many people open, what the click rate is, all sorts of useful information. So then before you start, you really need to think what am I aiming for with this newsletter? So I’ve had that when I look at mine and some newsletters get less reads but more clicks and some get more reads but less clicks. So I then have to think actually, well, what’s most important to me, is it the newsletter being read by more people or is it the links being clicked? And for me actually, I think it’s the links being clicked getting people through to the website. So I’d rather send a newsletter which is read maybe by less people, but a higher proportion of those people who read it, click the links and go and read the blogs and go and watch the videos and the other content that I’ve put in there. And yeah, you can see all sorts of really detailed information in there. You can often get maps and see where they’ve clicked. Loads of information at your fingertips. And you can also sort of link to that, do what we call a B testing. So effectively send two slightly different version out there and see which works better. So then the next time you do a newsletter you can see, okay, version A work better than version B. Let’s look at the difference. Let’s make the next one more like version A and maybe you then do another couple of tests and test something different.

Marcus: Very good stuff. That’s very interesting. Any other tips then about what you can do with the newsletter?

Sam: I guess part of it is thinking about that content because that’s. You can do with the newsletter. I guess part of it is thinking about that content because that’s really key. What content can you put in there and how much content? You at least need? Two or three pieces of good engaging content in there. So that could be blogs. So blogs are really great. If you’ve written your blog, it does all sorts of things for your marketing, it gives you social media posts, but it’s great for your newsletter. If you’ve written two or three blogs, you’ve effectively got a newsletter and haven’t you? Which is fantastic. So, yeah, blogs are good, vlogs are good. You can put those on your website and link to it from the newsletter or linkdirect to YouTube from the newsletter. That works really well as well. And you get a little preview of the video and people clicking it on the straight on YouTube and watching your video. Some people include with their newsletter a little just monthly hello type video, which is great, that can work really nicely. Podcast. Marcus they could go in there. Anything like creating something usable for people. And I think that’s the key with the newsletter is you’re thinking, what is the content I’m putting out there? And then putting it together and then it kind of coming together as a theme. So if you’ve got three blogs on completely random topics, it’s harder to pull together as a cohesive newsletter than you think, right, this week I’m going to focus on so as a photographer it might be okay. I’m going to focus on how I’m going to help people prepare for a photo shoot this month. So you’ve got a few blogs talking about that. So you might have one about thinking about clothing, one thinking about what you want out of the photo shoot by the end. So you’ve got like a theme so that the newsletter is kind of cohesive rather than feeling like a few random ODSand sods that you found at the back of the drawer that you’ve chipped together and hoped for the best.

Marcus: Yes, and I think that helps curate it as well. With my newsletter, I’ve got on there a little tip of the day for people about photography. I’ve got my latest shoots that I’ve been doing, news story. So, yeah, and the next time I make one, I’ve got a format already that you just follow.  Sam: Yeah. And those regular features, I think, help people. If the newsletter looks roughly the same each time, I mean, don’t say never change it, but if it’s each time roughly the same and got the same similar, like you said, similar features, a news item or whatever else, people get used to that and they like that. Then you can develop it over time, but don’t just throw it all out and send something completely different each time or it sort of won’t it won’t land as well. I think that house style is nice and you can also ask for feedback, ask questions, ask for engagement. I’ve talked to a few people like this and what I found talking to a lot of people is it’s very hard to get engagement and feedback. So if you ask questions, if you’re asking things, you don’t often actually get much back. But what you do find is if you ask the people who received it, even if they’ve not replied, they actually do appreciate that they’ve been asked. So in some ways, even if you’re asking for that two way engagement, and even if you don’t get it because people don’t often reply to it, just the fact you’re asking helps people feel who are reading it feel more valued, feel part of this sort of exclusive club that they’re part of by getting your newsletter.

Marcus: Damn. Just on that note as well, I like to talk to our listeners and say if anybody’s got a newsletter, it’d be great to see some of our listeners and newsletters so they can send them in by in the comments, give us a link or send it into the website or wherever, that’d be great.

 Sam: Yeah. If you go to our website, which is website for photographers, co UK podcast. Yeah, there’s all the contact details there. Send us bits and pieces about newsletters, send us links to newsletters and things that would be brilliant. Links to sign up for newsletters. That’d be really interesting to see.

Marcus: Yeah. Sam okay, we literally are running out of time a little bit here. And I know that because this week I’ve been using I’ve gone an old fashioned method for recording the 15 minutes show and I’m using a sand timer. We’re literally running out of sand. So maybe you could just sum up some of the things that we’ve been talking about Chris.

Sam: of course. So there’s a few different things you can do with your mailing list, but as we said, the main one really is that newsletter, and it’s about getting something regularly out there, commit to something you can do on a regular basis. Make sure there’s really good content as part of that newsletter so linked from it, not solely in it, but such as blogs, videos, podcasts and those need to be interesting, engaging and useful and make it a regular thing. With a regular look, with regular features that people can really recognize and look forward to coming at the same time, so they know when it’s coming. So content, engaging, that’s the key.

Marcus: Brilliant. That’s excellent. Sam well, that’s fantastic. Well, normally for our regular listeners, we know that this week would be I’d have a news item of the day, but unfortunately I Couldn’t find anything newsworthy enough. But look, no news is good news. So Sam, maybe you could just give us a stat for the day.

Sam: I could do I think, Marcus, we’re going to have to force you to find some positive news, but yes. Okay. So stat of the day this week. It takes 0.5 seconds for users to create an opinion about your website. So that’s a really short amount of time. And interesting, I’m reading a book about emotional intelligence and that sort of short time is normally

Marcus: oh, yeah,

Sam: Quick, snap emotional decision before your thinking brain comes in, in some ways.

Marcus: So it’s a really short space of subconscious taking over. Yeah. So you need that. I think that’s exactly right. It’s sort of an instant decision. So your website needs to look the part that shows the design of it. The way it looks when people first see it is really important because people have kind of already decided if this is for them, if you are the sort of person who works for them. And the font and the look and the colors and the imagery are all part of that. And as I’ve said, I think on these things before, that’s not just important for your own website, but that’s an important message for selling your images to customers for their website.

Marcus: Excellent. That’s excellent. Okay, well, I’ll see you next week. And next week, just as we said earlier, we’re going to be looking at the hornets nest that can be social media.

Sam: Brilliant. Look forward to talking to you about that. Marcus.