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  • Writer's pictureFood Story Media

How To: Write a Great Restaurant Newsletter

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

Food Story Media newsletter strategy planning 2021

Hubspot Email Newsletter Statistics Infographic 2021

In a world taken over by social media, the humble email newsletter may have been left on the shelf and deemed outdated or ineffective, but that’s where you’re going wrong.

The potential reach of email beasts all other platforms by a long shot. To put it into perspective, can you think of anyone you know who doesn’t have an email account which they check daily? Maybe even hourly?!

The stats from this year tell us that over 4 billion people around the world are using email everyday, and experts are expecting that to soar up to 4.48 billion in the next three years. On top of that, a massive 70% of professionals now use email to share content related to their company or industry.

It’s a no-brainer.

We need to start taking email marketing more seriously. But the real question is...

How do you stand out within a crowded inbox?

The competition for attention is fiercer than ever, and we’re here to help share our own tips and tricks to create a newsletter that people want to open and gain great value from. Whether you’re a restaurant, a digital media company or a flower shop; the approach to building and executing your newsletter remains the same. So Listen Up!

#1 Project Plan

Typewriter and Laptop for newsletter 2021

Step One

Identify + build your audience

Before you try to share your story and sell your brand, you have to prove yourself worthy, build trust, and develop a relationship with your readers. Otherwise - and let’s be brutally honest here - your email will get ignored and eventually end up in the trash.

Start growing your subscriber list by spreading the word amongst your existing devoted fans. Head straight onto your marketing channels and share the great news that your audience can now look forward to a wealth of valuable new content through another platform.

We recommend creating a dedicated URL on your website for sign-ups, which you can then weave through all of your social media profiles. And tell your friends and family about it! We still swear by the power of good ole’ word of mouth.

Best social platforms to share newsletter sign-up URL
Food Story Media newsletter strategy planning

Food Story Media restaurant newsletter content ideas

Step Two

Establish your content

Firstly, you need to ask yourself…

What will your readers find interesting?

What do you want to communicate?

How can you offer them value?

Keep in mind that your delivery needs to appeal to those reading your newsletter. We recommend creating a template of

4-5 topics to elaborate on during each distribution cycle. This gives structure and consistency which allows your users to pick and choose what they want to read.

Step Three

Nail your newsletter design

Stay true to your style Your subscribers should be able to recognise your brand at a single glance, so stick to your own visual guidelines and design elements. Strong brands retain consistency in every scenario; it’s a fool-proof method to making your business recognisable and developing brand presence. By all means express your creativity, but let that shine through the copy itself, the layouts and punchy headlines. You should always be strict about using the EXACT colours, fonts, language and image styles of your brand in every email you send out to the world. Don’t be scared to cross-utilise visual content you already have to hand which will not only help with recognition and familiarity, but also reduce time needed to create content specifically for the newsletter.

Make it easy to read + scan through

Not everyone will have time to sit and read every word of your newsletter, so format in a way that lets people easily scroll to sections they’re particularly interested in. Simplicity paired with relevant and engaging images and videos is the sweet spot, along with using white space and images to give the impression of seeing more and reading less. Copy should be kept straight-to-the-point, hooking your reader to explore more via your call-to-action links.

Email Envelopes

#2 Execute

So you have your template, content plan and email list at the ready. Here are some of our top tips and tricks to keep in mind and take advantage of from here:

Don’t forget the footer

Include your social media handles, website, and any other contact information for seamless browsing.

Keep it short + snappy

Hold back from revealing it all so fast. The goal is to lead your subscriber to take action, even if it’s a simple visit to your site to finish reading the article you teased them with. (here you are by the way.) To give an idea on copy length, your subject line should be 40 characters or less (this is how much can be previewed on a standard iPhone in portrait mode), and for the main body of text stick to around 20 lines for the best changes of a high click-through rate.

Make it mobile-friendly

1 in 5 email campaigns are still not optimised for mobile devices [Source: Hubspot, 2021] - avoid committing that crime yourself! Constantly being on the go has led to most people opening emails on their phones, so always take time to check that your formatting is just as eye-catching on mobile as on desktop.

Use attractive calls to action

Don’t feel tied to the standard ‘read more’ or pushy ‘buy now’ button labels. Get creative and lure readers in with a more personal and value-offering approach. We particularly love ‘learn more’, ‘keep reading’ or ‘check it out’.

Nail the delivery

Getting your publishing time right can be the make or break of your email campaign, so give thought to when you imagine your audience will probably be sitting at their computer or able to check their phone. Take a look at your historical data on email open rates to establish when you’re most likely to catch their attention. One more thing...stay on schedule. Publishing regularly at similar times of the day and month will mean your readers expect and look forward to the email hitting their inbox. A sure-fire way to higher open rates.

#3 Measure your success

Once you’ve put together a stellar newsletter and are happy with the content you’ve sent out, it doesn’t stop there. Consistently understanding how your newsletter is performing will help you identify the areas needing improvement. Having to make tweaks isn’t a sign of failure - it’s essential to ensure you’re providing relevant and up-to-date value for your growing collection of subscribers.

Use analytical data to your advantage

Ensure that you’re monitoring key performance indicators once each newsletter has been distributed, and use results to answer questions about what works best for your audience.

Newsletter KPI analytics infographic 2021

Split test your emails

If you’re just starting out and aren’t sure what’s going to resonate with readers, our top tip would be to send out different versions of your newsletter to half of your readers, and then analyse which performed most effectively. You can trial this with all manners of features including subject lines, the email layout, visual content, headlines… the list could go on.

Now that you’re armed with a strong framework and handful of ideas, feel free to try it out and let us know how it goes! We love a success story and are always happy to help with any questions, so stay in touch.

- FSM Team Stay Extraordinary

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