On new seasons, small wins & lessons from a year in newsletter marketing

“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is show up.”
–  Brené Brown

Hey and hello you,

It’s October already and that crisp autumn optimism feels a little flat with stop-start, stay-go, in-out, mixed messages, right? As founders and marketers, navigating another unmapped quarter, it means being more flexible, paying closer attention to client behaviour, creating new lock-down proof ways to stay connected. I know it’s hit a lot of us and HARD but, we’ve done it before. We’ll create a new map.

On optimism, The Conversation, my monthly newsletter turned one last month (ok, the previously untitled version is).  For a year, each third Thursday of the month (in hindsight, not hugely strategic) this newsletter’s landed in your inbox, with stories and expert opinions on smart, human-centred marketing.  We’ve covered brand story-telling, the future of virtual events, content strategies and crisis communications.  And your replies, comments and thoughts have taught me so much. So thank you for being part of this. And if you’re not, head to www.antoniataylorpr.com to sign up, already!

You already know how I procrastinated on starting a newsletter. For three whole years. Setting a goal in a marketing workshop, quietly placing the postcard I’d written it on into my desk drawer – to gather dust, excuses and take-up headspace. The lesson? Always do the thing.

A year in newsletter marketing is a small win – but one to celebrate nonetheless. And it 100% changed my business by:

  • Connecting with my audience more deeply– The old stat – just 4% of your audience sees your social media posts is true. The Conversation tracks a 50% open-rate (thank you, brilliant you). Boy, was I grateful to have this during lockdown too. Hubspot figures show email marketing came into its own in Q1 and Q2, with a 36% peak during the week of June 15. Interestingly, open rates corresponded.
  • Building on my own expertise – I’m now working with clients to develop their email strategies, bringing a new level of uniqueness and connection to their newsletter communities. DM me if you’d like to chat about how I can help you.
  • Results on the bottom line– Our Hubspot friends showed every dollar invested in email marketing delivers an ROI of $42 in their 2020 State of Marketing Report.. It’s true – right now, I’m at capacity with retained projects and clients (thank you again!).

Whether your email is a curated industry round-up or more product and news-led, email marketing’s going nowhere. Here’s some other ways a thoughtful newsletter strategy can help:

You get to be the leader you want to be
If you – or your team – are producing relevant, engaging content, you instantly set yourself apart as a thought leader. Because, you know, you have to have those real, original, even funny, thoughts to start with. Whether you opt for weekly or quarterly, a dedicated newsletter gets you into the habit of building your reputation, as the expert you are.

And, in a world where everyone’s about the sell, you get to give. And say thank you.

Newsletters cultivate next-level community
When I work on clients’ email marketing strategies, I always ask, “How are you building your customer community?” If I had a dollar for every “Er…We’re not.”

Listen, this is where the magic is. Emails allow for a longer conversation with your customer, to show you care. Ask questions, respond to comments, have a dialogue. Create an inner circle through first dibs offers and discounts. Pay attention to behaviour too– land a bunch of unsubscribes? Have a think about the content, learn and evolve. Do better. Watch open rates soar back. What a gift.

And focus on growing engagement over size. An unengaged list of 5k is just that – a list of data, you’re talking at. An engaged community of a thousand can be a thriving business.

It keeps you accountable – to you
This newsletter has meant I’ve had to show up with a new level of creativity every month. To pour that commitment and heart into my marketing. To connect with my audience, and yes, inspire customers to choose me, too (whoa, that feels hard to write, but this is the spirit of The Conversation).

It’s also shown me how to show up for myself. It’s 1000% non-negotiable. I’ll procrastinate sending invoicing (sorry, beautiful clients, I am getting better), Instagram posts and publishing LinkedIn articles. Never The Conversation. For someone who’s worked hard to quit the habit of breaking promises to herself, it’s taught me how to show up for me – and my business.

Let’s keep showing up.

Thanks for reading this, friend. If you’re looking to get clear on your email strategy, go slide into my DMs. Heads up – I will be enthusiastic, and maybe speak too fast.

With love,


PS Thank you to my friend Lou Chudley for reminding me of this super-apt quote – I promise at least one newsletter in the next 12 months will be Brené free.

Beyond The Conversation  

Thank you for the overwhelming feedback on my career comeback plan article in Red magazine. If you missed it, do have a read.

Check out my 10 Step Authentic Storytelling Checklist – a freebie to guide you through creating clarity on your brand story.

Get hashtag happy with my friend and ex-co-conspirator Helen Perry’s new You can do #hashtags  workbook. Designed for Instagram, the principles work across LinkedIn too. It’s gold.