Quick Fixes to this Email Newsletter Should Increase Revenue

Top Chef, Iron Chef, Rachel Ray, Bobby Flay—seems like America’s new favorite hobby is cooking. Publisher Cook’s Illustrated is also in the mix with a TV Show, a website network and a free email newsletter, which we’ll put to test today in this review.

Note: This is the executive summary of the Cook’s Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen e-Notes Email Newsletter Review, the full report can be found in the Mequoda Daily.

e-Notes is a free monthly email newsletter published by Cook’s Illustrated under their “America’s Test Kitchen” brand. It is marketed as providing:

“…cooking advice, test results, buying tips and recipes about a single topic each month—from chocolate to fruit desserts or onions…”

Subscribers are also told they will receive news or articles being prepared for future issues of Cook’s Illustrated and exclusive offers on cookbooks and publications. Another plus: Cook’s offers an incentive—a free trial issue of Cook’s Illustrated, a print magazine—to encourage sign-ups.

In writing this review, I relied on five recent issues of the email newsletter, September 2006 through January 2007.

So did Cook’s Illustrated win the challenge? Or should they pack their knives and go?

There are some tasty things about e-Notes:

  1. It’s well positioned to support the business goal, which is to sell subscriptions and books.
  2. The content was superb; one of the most interesting, varied and successful mixes I’ve seen.
  3. The opening paragraph is very personable and makes you want to stop what you’re doing and read.

And some things that aren’t so appealing:

  1. The subject line doesn’t do the content justice.
  2. The look of the preview pane is bland and not engaging.
  3. There’s no attempt to use e-Notes as tool for growing the email list via word-of-mouth marketing.

Bottom line: There’s a lot of potential here, but e-Notes has a way to go to earn the equivalent of the culinary industry’s highest award, three Michelin stars.

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