Mar 01, 2010 10:30 PM  By

This month, Sherry Chiger, the new editor of the E-mail Essentials e-newsletter (and MCM editor ar large), takes to the Big Fat Marketing Blog to dish on e-mails she loves from food merchant DineWise.


A direct marketer of upscale prepared meals, DineWise and sister brand Home Bistro send out a joint e-newsletter twice a week. These alternate between promotional (“Save 15% on Valentine’s Day and More!” is a typical promo subject line) and informational. It’s the latter e-mails that we love.

Take this one, received on Feb. 1, with the subject line “Gourmet Plating Techniques and Reheating Tips.” Apparently I’m not the only one who watches cooking programs on TV and wonders how the chefs manage to present their offerings so beautifully.

“If you watch any food show on TV, presentation is as important as the smell and taste when it comes to gourmet dining,” writes “Chef Noche,” who is credited as executive chef. “Think of the sizzle of perfectly grilled filet mignon with its crunchy crust and its ‘melt in your mouth’ middle.” And just in case you, like me, were starting to salivate, there’s a handy link to the Home Bistro Filet Mignon Meal on the DineWise Website.

Chef Noche proceeds to demonstrate several plating methods, with examples of the types of meal best suited for each. And what do you know: The e-newsletter links to the product page for each meal featured.

The newsletter wraps up with what Chef Noche calls a “homework assignment”: to send in photos of our own efforts at plating for possible use in a future newsletter — and those whose pics are featured will win a $50 gift certificate.

So in this one e-mail you have value-added content that confirms the expertise and authority of the brand; a subtle sell of a half-dozen specific meals; an invitation to engage with the brand; numerous calls to action (to request a catalog and to order by phone or online); and a reminder, courtesy of the links laid out like a navigation bar on the left-hand side of the e-newsletter, of DineWise’s product categories. Delicious!