Jennifer Tuma-Young

The Domesticated Dad Catering Company - Co-Founder
By the Beach, NJ

    How to Increase Revenue by Adding Value to Your Newsletter

    November 16, 2009

    To me, “SELL” is a 4-letter word. Yes, at the end of the day, sales are critical to sustain any business.  But, when you just “sell” you sell yourself, your passion, and your product short. I’ve learned that people buy usually because of recommendation, relationship, value, experience, or price point.

    Let's talk about adding "value" in an electronic business world! How do you increase revenue by adding value to e-mails? It seems to be a hot new trend, but beyond the trend, does it really add up to clientele? I think it can, if you flip your focus to the good ole client WIIFM (what's in it for the client?). I may be a bit "mushy" but I believe the "value" must be authentic, and should come from your heart.

    Now, with the internet being a huge source of business for both content and commerce, you need to be careful of the "I'm just giving you value to sell you something" phenomenon that has been's easy to get drawn in without even realizing it!!

    Beware of the List-Building Bandwagon

    You probably have the noticed the increasing number of list-building websites out there, right? These are websites that have a tantalizing headline, such as “How to Get Published” and then a free offer, such as FREE TELE-CLASS or FREE WHITEPAPER. To get the “free” stuff, you’ve got to leave your email address, hence building the e-mail list of the company making the free offer.

    Don't get me wrong- I know many people who have been wildly successful with this! It can be a win-win, because the good list-builders give you something tangible- practical advice that will truly help you on your endeavor. And, then the company can send you future e-mails, and you can begin to build an “e-relationship”. Whoo hoo!!

    Of course, there are disappointing list-builders, too, merely because it’s been such a popular technique, many are jumping on the “Give FREE Stuff” bandwagon, but are just giving you a free sales pitch- YIKES!! Who wants another sales pitch, right? The FREE download is a paragraph long, and then I am receiving e-mails that just tout the company’s products and services. Honestly, we are all inundated with e-mails. Unless we are gaining something valuable from the e-mail, we probably won’t even read it!

    My 3-Point E-mail Blast Checklist

    E-mails, newsletters, and FREE offers that do nothing more than "sell" will get us nowhere. At the end of the day, most people who sign up for a company’s email usually want 1 of 2 things: INSIDER DEALS or VALUE. The funny thing is, I believe sometimes we are so “in” our business, it can be hard to tell if we are giving "value" or just trying to "sell" our goods.  It’s an honest mistake we’ve all made!!

    First things first, when we tap into our purpose and  passion, "value" comes easily. For most female entrepreneurs, it's probably even a natural thing, but the pressure of wanting numbers to increase may muddy our intentions. So, re-connecting with our "why" helps bring the fire back!!

    So, from my perspective, there are 3 value check-points that I go through when I am composing an e-mail to my list.

    1.       Who am I Focused On? If an email only talks about the latest things that are going on with my business (new services, new products, standard coupons that can all be seen on my website), it is clear that I am only focusing on my business, and not the reader at all. Realizing that sometimes we have to get the info out to our readers, there may be a rare occasion to send an email like this, but from experience, these have the lowest open rate and the least response.

     2.       What is the Value? Remember, whether you are a product or a service based business, you have something valuable to offer your clients- expertise, experience, and information! Share it, add value to the life of potential clients, and they’ll want to work with you.

    Let’s face it, I’ve received countless emails from people promoting classes, without ever having read any of their tips on the subject matter (and YES, I’ve made this mistake myself!!!). For example, if you are running a class about web marketing, send an email with the top 5 tips for SEO. Alright, you may be giving away some of your class materials, but it’s ok! I am interested, I want more, I join the class, or at least continue to read your e-mails. Simple!

     If you have a product based business, the rules may be slightly different, but you can still bring value without just “sell-sell-sell”. Treat your list like real insiders, and they’ll appreciate you so much more! For example, do not send a coupon/offer to your list that they can find on your website or anywhere else. Make it special! If your website offers free shipping, give your list an extra 10% off of the order.

     Also, consider giving readers information about the category of your product, not just the product itself. So, if you’re selling jewelry, give tips on how to take care of jewelry in the winter months, or how often to clean your jewelry. If you have a line of socks, write tips on creative ways to use old socks- I think you get my drift.

     Quick, simple, tidbits + Coupon = Homerun

    3.       Where’s the Meat? Oh, boy do I have a tough time with this one! It can sometimes be like, “get to the point already, Jenn!!” I have to edit my emails, big time. By checking where the important information is, bolding it, using headlines, and eliminating the excess, we are further focusing on the reader. They want the meat, they want to read it quickly. Highlight with bold/italicized/numbered headlines, so skimmers can skim and not DBR (delete before reading), and  if necessary, create a link to the “full article”, and just include the “tips” in the e-mail.

    One last thing! This 3-point checklist is just for the “value” of the e-mail newsletter; there’s much to be said for subject line, links, pictures, testimonials, and so on, but I’ll leave that for another post!!

    Read Jennifer's other blog entries >

Please Wait