Learn how we helped a startup DTC brand make an additional $58,323 last year with our battle-tested weekly newsletter formula, and how you can too.
When we started helping “Brand Z” (fictional brand name to protect confidentiality, although that's a cool brand name if you want to steal it...), they had a healthy email list of about 10k subscribers, and a great product, yet revenue wasn’t seeming to match.
After a quick look, the problem was clear:
Brand Z was breaking two of the most important rules of email marketing (we’ll go over the rules in a minute).
We worked together to fix those problems and create a weekly newsletter that subscribers could count on, look forward to, and learn from.
HOW TO DOUBLE YOUR NEWSLETTER REVENUE
I’m going to break down our five rules for weekly newsletters that outperform expectations, and why it matters for every brand (it’s also a lot easier than you’d think). I’ll use specific examples and real numbers from Brand Z.
5 NEWSLETTER RULES:
Rule #1: Theme your newsletter
Rule #2: Teach something helpful or highlight something useful
Rule #3: Provide an opportunity to buy, without directly selling
Rule #4: Email your newsletter weekly, on the same day
Rule #5: Resend to non-opens after 48 hours with a new subject line
Let’s break these rules down one by one.
RULE #1: THEME YOUR NEWSLETTER
Theming your newsletter helps subscribers understand that they’re not just getting random emails from you; they’re getting a well-thought-out newsletter each week with a consistent type of content they can count on and look forward to.
We helped BRAND Z establish a newsletter with a theme, which made creation and promotion each week simple, while engaging deeper with subscribers and customers.
- STRONG Coffee is a coffee brand with a newsletter called “The Weekly Fix” that provides educational and motivational content that subscribers love.
- HVIII Brand Goods is an athletic and lifestyle brand with a newsletter called “Monday Motivation” that provides motivational content each Monday from the founder himself.
- Bulletproof is a health food and supplement brand with a newsletter called “ICYMI (*in case you missed it*)” that provides a roundup with links to the content they published that week on their blog and podcast, as well as any current sales going on.
Themes also help keep the process simple when deciding what content to send in the newsletter. Instead of having to think of new ideas every week, you have a template to start with.
Remember: good themes are on-brand.
RULE #2: TEACH SOMETHING HELPFUL OR HIGHLIGHT SOMETHING USEFUL
Think about your favorite newsletters you get in your inbox…
I would bet a hefty amount that they’re not focusing on selling to you all the time, and if they were, you’d unsubscribe even if you really liked the products.
When thinking about what type of content to include in your weekly newsletter, remember that the goal is to build a deeper relationship with your subscribers and customers
The most effective way to accomplish that, is by becoming a resource for them by teaching them something helpful or highlighting something useful.
If you’re already creating great content for a blog, podcast, YouTube channel, or other social media that can be highlighted or repurposed each week in the newsletter, that’s a great place to start.
The brand PHASE SiX includes their latest helpful YouTube video as a part of their newsletter:
RULE #3: PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY TO BUY, WITHOUT DIRECTLY SELLING
This rule might sound like it contradicts rule #2, but it doesn’t.
There’s a big difference between an email that has a sales-driven subject line and shoves a product in your face right when you open it, and an email that has a value-driven subject line and mentions a product.
And as an online store with the overall goal of selling products, we can’t ignore the fact that highlighting a product at the bottom of an email, or even just putting a “shop” button at the bottom, will increase sales without a statistically significant change in unsubscribes.
We ran a series of A/B tests for an apparel brand’s newsletter. The content of every newsletter was the exact same, except the B versions had a shop button at the very bottom.
Here’s one of the tests (of course nothing is conclusive after one test, but this was one of many):
The versions with a shop button had a 32% increase in placed orders compared to the versions without.
Main point: Don’t make the goal of your newsletter to push products, but include a shop button or product spotlight somewhere in each newsletter to increase sales.
RULE #4: Email your newsletter list at least once a week, on the same day
This is one of the rules Brand Z was breaking, and they’re not alone. Almost every brand we’ve worked with was sending sporadic emails to their list, and usually just when they were running some kind of sale or promotion—completely ignoring helpful newsletter content.
Once we revamped their strategy, we sent a total of 54 newsletter emails last year (38 original, 16 re-sends). Keep in mind, we’re talking specifically about newsletters here, not emails in general.
Other types of emails include promotional emails, product launches, and targeted email campaigns. On top of that, there are automated emails going out to different people at different stages of the customer journey.
There are two reasons why sending weekly on the same day/time increases revenue:
- Simply put: consistently sending emails = more awareness = more $
- Being consistent with day and time creates a habit of engagement because subscribers know when to look for your newsletter each week.
Being consistent with any type of email cadence is a scalable marketing method. As your email list grows, your amount of work stays the same, but the amount of people getting your emails increases, so your revenue does too.
As your list grows, the emails become more valuable with the same amount of work because it scales.
Rule #5: RESEND TO NON-OPENS AFTER 48 HOURS WITH A NEW SUBJECT LINE
This is the easiest hack to keep more of your email list engaged while increasing revenue without extra work.
Every time you send a newsletter to your list, there will be a large percentage of subscribers who don’t open the email. Sometimes they’re just not interested in the content that week based on your subject line, and sometimes they just missed your email and it got buried in their inbox.
We resent 16 of the 38 emails for Brand Z to subscribers who didn’t open them previously, and made an extra $6,909 (that’s +431.81 extra per email)!
It’s really easy to implement this tactic—here’s a blog post you can read with the quick and dirty details.
Here’s what the breakdown looked like for Brand Z with this new strategy in place:
If you haven’t been taking your email newsletter seriously, now’s the time to start! If you follow the 5 rules we talked about, you’ll be on your way to new revenue, new subscriber engagement, and a strategy that will scale with your growing business!