Finding Hidden Profit In Your Email Newsletter — Lesson Two

Tobin Slaven
Apr 29, 2017 · 6 min read

The 3 Essential Pillars

This is part TWO of TWELVE lessons in the Finding Hidden Profit course on Skillshare. You will also find links to each of the 12 lessons in the video notes.

Please note: If you are NOT currently a Skillshare member, here is my link [I am an affiliate partner] for a free 30-day trial (more than enough to take the full FHP course and any of the other 15,000+ courses available) on

The focus of Lesson Two is on the 3 essential pillars, which is a way to look at your newsletter to make sure your list is growing, the trust with your readers is building, and the newsletter is producing income to meet your expectations.

But before we get into the breakdown of each pillar, we need to talk about why email is so important to the mix, when you hear so much about social media, SEO, or even traditional advertising.

Why Focus On Email?

Multiple studies [citation needs to be added here] have proven that the ROI, or return on investment for every dollar spent on email marketing, is many times over what you get with other marketing channels.

There are a number of reasons why this is true. Emails can be sent to thousands, and for less than a penny each — so it is far more effective than using traditional advertising channels or even sending direct mail through the Post Office.

Social media seems to be all the rage these days, and there is no doubt that a tremendous amount of business is being channeled through the different social media platforms. But those studies repeatedly confirm that the ROI of email marketing is 40x or more, better than what you get with social media.

Why is that case?

First, only one out of every 10 people on social media are actually seeing your posts. For example, the Facebook newsfeed has become so noisy that when you post a message with a great deal for your audience — it probably feels like crickets chirping. Most never even saw it.

This works to Facebook’s advantage because they want you to buy their advertising to reach the same people you have already built as your audience. You see, they “own” the asset — your connection to your audience.

With email however, you own the list. You might built the list on one email service provider (ESP for short, like Mailchimp for example), but you can export that list at anytime, and take it with you to the next platform.

So here are the 4 big reasons why you need an email list, and it is going to produce much better results than any other channel to reach your audience:

  1. You own it — and you don’t have to pay each time you want to access your people
  2. 40x or higher ROI because the cost is low, but the payoff potential is high when you structure an effective process for your email newsletter
  3. Social media is becoming more and more noisy — which makes it very difficult to stand out from the crowd
  4. Lastly — when you show consistent and tangible value in your email newsletter, people start to develop FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), which makes them eager readers who don’t want to miss a single edition

That last point is really our goal here. Gather a crowd of people. Get permission to stay in contact with them via email. Send regular and valuable stuff, so much that they look forward to receiving it. And once you’ve got them “on the hook” as a regular reader — that attention they are giving you is valuable and can be monetized.

Later in this course, we will talk about how much that attention is worth, and how to monetize without being salesy. But first, let’s talk about the 3 pillars…

The 3 Essential Pillars

As you saw in the video, I listed the 3 pillars with a simple A-B-C format to make the memorable, and also remind ourselves that this is NOT rocket surgery 😉 if we just put the sequence together in the right order.

Here’s a recap of the 3 essential pillars:

  1. Pillar A — is for attracting your audience of people, acquiring them for your list by getting permission to stay in contact with them. Basically this means we are inviting them into our circle of trust.
  2. Pillar B — is about building the “know, like, and trust” that it takes for people to connect via the internet. That means giving your readers stuff that makes their lives better. Saving them time, making them look and feel smarter. Ultimately your goal is to entertain and inform in such a way that it creates a reading habit where your audience is eager to see your next newsletter.
  3. Pillar C — is about how having an email list (remember the circle of trust is key) can become like a money machine for you, when we start to convert the interest of your readers, into cold… hard… cash. And we do it in a way that your readers are happy to see you get paid because you have already provided such great value to them.

Important Note: It is really important here to underline the fact that we are NOT talking about spamming your list.

A list of email contacts by itself has little or no value. It is the relationship with those people (your circle of trust) that is valuable. Email, social media, advertising — all that is just the plumbing to get your best stuff in front of like-minded people. It just happens that right now, email is producing better results than any other channel.

What we are going to do (one more time but in different words, because it is that important) is gather a group of people around a topic that matters to you and to them.

Then we are going to get individuals in that group to raise their hand (online that means they click on stuff) when they like something or want more information.

Then we are going to give them what they ask for, and more information about things that will make their lives better, easier, more fun or convenient.

The big mistake most businesses make — in email and all forms of communication, is that they treat it like advertising. They are essentially saying — buy my stuff, buy my stuff.

I don’t know about you, but if I go to a party and someone is talking about themselves, how great they are, and why people should buy from them… I am probably going to move away from that side of the room.

No one wants that. We avoid it in real life and people are trying to avoid it online too. That is NOT what our newsletters are going to be about.

But if I met a friend at a party, we got talking about work and they mentioned something that they knew would be of real interest to me — and they suggested we get together in a couple of days to talk more specifically… I would feel like that person is in my corner. That is a trusting relationship.


Your homework for Lesson Two builds off what we started in Lesson One. I asked you to think about the audience of people who will be the focus of your newsletter. For this lesson — I want you to write down a description (one sentence only) of who your newsletter will be for.

Think about:

  1. Who will benefit most from your newsletter?
  2. Is there a term or label for the group of people you want to connect with?
  3. What is the topic area or shared interest?

Feel free to share your target audience description in the project area, as it will help me understand how I can best help you grow your audience and tap into that hidden profit that is waiting for you.

This was part TWO of TWELVE lessons in the Finding Hidden Profit course on Skillshare. You will also find links to each of the 12 lessons in the video notes.

Please note: If you are not currently a Skillshare member, here is my link [I am an affiliate partner] for a free 30-day trial (more than enough to take the full Finding Hidden Profit course and any of the other 15,000+ courses available) on

And if you would like to see an example of my own, personal-branded newsletter called [Tobin Today] you can subscribe here (sent each Thursday morning):

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