In today’s episode, I’m going to break down five different types of emails that you can send to your list right now that are really going to make an impact, build your authority, and ultimately help you build deeper connections with your audience.
Can’t listen to the episode? Read on for the transcript!
This episode idea came sort of from the current events that are going on in our world, but it also came from a couple of different conversations that I had been having with some friends lately. One of those conversations was with a friend who was struggling to figure out what to give her audience right now as a freebie and how to maximize the limited amount of time that we all have right now, especially if you have younger kids at home.
This is relevant to when you are struggling to find time to work on your business or just when you’re struggling to find ideas of things that you can send to your audience without always just sending a recipe.
One of the biggest struggles I see food bloggers having when it comes to their email list is that you feel like you’re constantly just sending a recipe or that you are sending a link to a blog post that has a recipe.
These tips are going to give you some different ways that you can be connecting with your audience through your email list in a really authentic way that will build your authority as a food blogger and as an expert, will help your audience to start to think of you in that way, and not just think of you as a place that they go for recipes. In order for them to see you that way, you have to start showing up as an expert in your field.
Email Marketing Tips
As you know, I am not an email marketing specialist, but what I have seen is that there is a lot of food bloggers who are missing the mark when it comes to email marketing.
Don’t be afraid to increase the frequency of your emails
With that, I mean both this current pandemic that we are going through but also in certain seasonal trends or times like quarter four when you know that people are in their inbox more.
Right now I think people are genuinely looking for something to do, and I mean that in the sense that they’re looking for value in the form of entertainment. Screen time right now is at an all-time high and if you can show up for your audience more often in a way that is actually valuable for them, you are really going to stand out to them and be someone who they remember when this is all over.
Think about you want to show up for your audience in a way that is so impactful that when all of this dies down and we go back to normal, they are still coming to you for recipes and advice. They’re not just using you as a temporary source for recipes and inspiration, but somebody that you are going to be building a relationship with longterm.
Give value and promote within your emails
It’s really easy to systematize your email marketing and get to a point where you feel like you’re doing the same thing every week when you send an email out.
Get into a groove of having one email that is just value-based, meaning there’s nothing for the audience to do or nowhere that you’re trying to send them to, but the email in and of itself is the whole value. In your second email of the week or if you’re only sending emails twice a month, your second email of the month is going to link to a blog post.
Another reason for doing this is that your audience gets really used to the way that you do things, so if you are always promoting a blog post and trying to get them to click to a blog post in your emails, they may eventually stop opening them.
When you are switching things up between promotion and value, you’re giving people an opportunity to open emails of different types of content and connect with you in different ways.
You may have someone who opens up a value-based email that might have never opened up your promotional emails before, but now that they have started to build trust with you, they may open up your other emails as well.
When you are trying to think about what types of emails to send during this time or during, anytime, I want you to look at the posts that are doing well for you right now. These are going to be posts that I’ve had an abnormal spike in page views over maybe the last week or two weeks that are not in your normal top five or top 10 posts. Things that seem to have picked up out of nowhere for some reason.
When you’re looking at those posts, ask if there are commonalities between those posts or if you can sort of infer why someone is looking for that post. Most of the time this is going to be coming from Pinterest or Google, but even if it’s coming from social media, there’s a reason that that post resonated with someone during this particular time.
Maybe your blog post is using a specific type of ingredient. Maybe it’s a seasonal post that has kicked up in engagement or response over the last couple of weeks. Really dive into those posts and think about what someone is coming to that post for. During normal times it may be a quick and easy dinner because it’s the Fall, and we’re back to school so people are busy with different extracurricular activities. Maybe in the summer, it’s an easy cocktail or slow cooker because it’s the summer and people don’t want to turn on their ovens.
The ideas and concepts behind these blog posts and why someone is coming to them is going to give you ideas for different types of emails that you can send.
For example, if your slow cooker recipes are going crazy because it’s the Summer, well then use that as a framework for a type of email that you should send to your list talking about things that you can cook without your oven or ways that you can limit the amount of time that your oven needs to be on.
If it’s a fall recipe that ties in with the back to school concept then you could send a value-based email that talks about how to minimize the amount of time it takes to prep your meal before you get going on a school day.
Think about what you could talk about where you’re giving expert advice and tips that aren’t necessarily having to go to another blog post. The entire email in itself should be the content and the value that you’re giving someone. They shouldn’t have to go to a part two to get that value.
There’s definitely nothing wrong with promoting your blog posts via email, but when you’re mixing it up, you’re able to grab people in different ways and start to build that trust and authority.
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Think about why people are looking for your content
The other general sort of advice that I want to give you is to think, especially right now with everything that’s going on in the world, about why people are going to Pinterest more or looking at food bloggers more for content and resources. Yes, they are stuck at home and they’re trying to cook more because they have to, but people need more than just recipes.
What they really need is knowledge. They need to know how they can use what they have and create something out of it. They’re looking to food bloggers and without a recipe because that’s what most people are trying to figure out right now. They can’t always rely on a recipe because they don’t always have the ingredients, so they’re trying to figure out how to make things work with what they have.
You have an opportunity to teach your audience what you know innately. You’re able to look at your pantry and throw together a recipe when you have to because you understand concepts of recipe development. Help your audience be able to do that.
Look at your specific type of audience, if it’s within a specific niche, and figure out how you can help to serve them within that niche specifically because that’s going to help them long term too, not just during this season that we’re going in.
The thing about connecting and serving your audience right now is, that when this is all over, they’re going to trust you. So when things get back to your regular programming of just sharing recipes or trying to put out regular content, they’re already going to trust you and know that they like your recipes so they’re going to be much more likely to take action, read your emails, and go to your blog posts.
5 emails you can send to your list right now
So now that I got all of that groundwork laid out for you, I want to go through five different types of emails that you can send to your list right now.
1. Substitution email
This type of email is going to be a value-based email where you’re just breaking down different substitutions that they can use if they don’t have a specific ingredient. You may not know this off the top of your head. You may have to do some research and translate this into a way that your audience would understand. For example, you may not be not used to using things like a flax egg for an egg substitution or using oil instead of butter.
Think through the things that people are struggling to find right now and then give them suggestions of what they can use instead.
This is going to help them to have a better understanding of how recipes work, why there are certain ingredients in recipes to change the composition of the food, and you’re going to help them understand that so that they can make substitutions on their own.
I would highly recommend at the end of this email, your call to action is that they can reply to you if they have any questions. If you offer that, make sure that you are ready to respond. Depending on the size of your email list, you could have an overwhelming amount of responses.
Even if it’s just a few responses, it’s something that you need to be ready to reply to because there’s nothing worse than putting out a call to action like that and someone gets brave enough to respond and never gets a response back from you.
This is a really great way to show your expertise and open yourself up to questions from your audience, which may help you to produce more content or just give you a really great way to connect with an individual user of yours and give them tons of value.
2. Connection or your story of overcoming
For this, you won’t necessarily have to make it super specific to what’s going on right now, but if it feels relevant to you, then you definitely can. This is a really great way to humanize you.
Yes, you are trying to make yourself the expert and to really showcase your authority in this area, but we also want to show that you’re a real person too.
Maybe this is a story about a time that you failed at making a recipe, or maybe this is a time where you’re going to just talk about a real situation that happened to you and how you overcame it.
This could be related to your blog content specifically or recipes that you have made, or it could be just related to life, in general, and give a unique connection spot for you and your audience.
3. A roundup of recipes, tips, or resources
This is going to be an email where using links is going to be really valuable.
I want to give you an example of how I did this recently with my email list. I sent an email talking about the times that we’re in and how it’s sort of overwhelming to know what to focus on right now or even to have the time to focus on anything in your business. I did a quick roundup of some of my resources that I’ve already put out in the past, and I put them all in one email for people to grab again. I linked to a few podcast episodes that were really popular and gave people a reader’s digest version of some content that they could dig into.
I sent this to people who were already on my email list. They joined at different times, and they may have missed some of my old content or freebies. This gave them a really good opportunity to catch up on old content.
To give you some specifics about this email that I sent, the subject line that I used was “Feeling unmotivated right now, here’s what you can do“.
I had a brief overview of relating to my audience and what they might be going through right now. Then I gave them a list of resources they could take advantage of – totally free resources that I’ve already put out. I literally didn’t put any extra work into doing this. I just rounded up some resources for them.
My open rate for that email was almost 40%, and my click rate was almost 3%. Three percent may not sound very high, but that is a pretty average click rate. For my lists specifically, it was a pretty high click rate. I had 52 different clicks on different links, so I think that was a very successful email for me.
I also put a section at the bottom of the email where they could reply to me, and I would give them a customized email back to whatever they were struggling with and whatever they were needing help with. That gave people a way to connect with me. It also helps train my audience that I want them to reply, and that’s a genuine thing that I’m asking them to do.
4. A Challenge
This email is going to take a little bit longer, but you can also simplify this and make this a really easy thing. If you’ve never been a part of an email challenge before, usually it is a series of emails that you put out in a short amount of time from each other. So normally a five-day challenge will be within one week of you know, signups and things like that.
This is going to present a topic to your audience where they were going to take action on something every day for five days. There will be a result at the end that is measurable, and it will help them to see themselves going from point A to point B.
This could be really simple. It could be something where you are challenging people to create a recipe from your site, challenging people to come up with five different cocktail recipes. Maybe you’re walking them through how to learn how to use their home bar and how to come up with different cocktail recipes based on what they have.
Maybe it is a sourdough challenge. Everybody knows that bread making is going crazy right now, so maybe you walk them through a five-day challenge to make your first loaf of sourdough.
You want to think through what the end result is going to be for this and how you’re going to walk people step by step through this transformation.
This is really going to help you build authority with your audience, build that know, like, and trust factor and give your audience something to do. There are a lot of people right now who are feeling bored, who are not having a lot of things to do. A lot of small business owners are not really in that camp, but for our audience who are not small business owners, it can be really valuable to give them a challenge and something of value to both entertain them and give them something to do.
You are going to have people on the other side of this challenge who have achieved something and also become a part of your loyal tribe of readers and audience.
5. The help me, help you email
The very last type of email that you can send to me is one of the most valuable emails that you can send to your list.
This is one of those that is applicable anytime but especially right now, and it can be really valuable in helping both motivate you to continue to do what you’re doing and creating content and connecting with your audience. It can also give you incredible insight into what your audience needs from you right now.
I call it the “help me, help you email,” and that can even be your subject line. This is going to be some sort of a survey that you send to your list.
Chances are you’ve probably sent out a reader survey at some point in the life of your blog and this is going to be really similar to that, but I want you to get really, really laser-focused in what you were asking your audience during this time.
One of the things that I see challenging a lot of food bloggers specifically is being able to connect the dots of what your audience might be coming to you for and why.
Sometimes you really have to infer a lot of answers from these types of surveys then run with that idea until you might find that it’s not working or maybe you get confirmation because it’s really resonating with your audience.
With this help me help you email, you are trying to figure out what it is that your audience is truly struggling right now. It’s really easy to say, “Oh, we’re struggling with the pandemic and being at home and having to cook for our entire family three nights, you know, three meals a day.”
Your audience may need recipes, but they’re coming to you for more than just that. It’s not just that they’re browsing Pinterest to create their meal plan for the week.
A lot of people are trying to cook from their pantry and really minimize the amount of times that they have to go out and shop, and so you have an opportunity to use that as knowledge to fuel the type of content that you are sharing and the type of recipes that you are sharing. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to share something that has 20 ingredients, most of which are unique and hard to find. That’s just not something that’s going to resonate with your audience right now. However, if you can find something that a five-ingredient or less quick dessert recipe that is going to resonate a lot more with your audience,
When you conduct a reader survey of any kind, you want to keep this really simple. It is really tempting to use this opportunity to ask 20 questions of your audience to find everything from their occupation to how often they visit your blog or what types of recipes they’re looking for, but you really want to keep this simple so that the reader does not get overwhelmed in the middle of it and just quit.
If you’ve ever taken personality tests or maybe the Enneagram test, sometimes those types of tests can be so overwhelming and when there’s really no value for the person on the other side, they’re going to quickly give up.
So with a reader survey, you want to keep it to no more than 10 questions. I would honestly recommend probably closer to five and for this example, I would not even worry about the demographic type of information.
Maybe ask one question about their demographics, like how many people that are cooking for or how often they’re cooking at home, that type of information, but I would not go into super specifics with the demographic information because this information is really going to help you shape the emails that you share.
You really want to be laser-focused on what their struggles are that you can help them with.
So it’s helpful to ask very specific and pointed questions like, what are you struggling with when it comes to X, Y, or Z? You don’t want to just say, what type of recipes do you want me to share? Because they’re going to just say whatever their favorite recipe is or something like that.
Sometimes you can infer connections between those different examples, but more oftentimes it’s just going to confuse what you’re trying to do. So if you can really pinpoint the struggle that somebody is having, that can be really helpful.
It’s also really helpful if you can come up with a really good open-ended question that people will write out answers to. A lot of people will skip that question if they don’t feel like they really are connected to you or don’t really think the point in giving you an answer.
Offering some different types of questions could be really helpful, but sometimes an open-ended question will really let someone express what they are struggling with or what they’re wanting to share in a way that’s less constricted than a multiple choice question might be. This is my favorite example of an email that you can send.
Because I did not want this episode to get too long and I didn’t want you to have to furiously jot down notes as you were listening, I went ahead and created a free download that you can grab with some specific questions that you can ask your audience for. This helped me help you type of email that you can send. And now some of these are going to need to be tweaked for your specific audience or again, for the seasonality or if the world is going through a pandemic, that sort of thing. But these types of questions should really help you to frame out some different information that you might want to get from your audience. And this information is going to help you with not only creating blog posts content and figuring out what emails to send your list, but it’s also going to help with creating a freebie or eventually maybe even creating a product. But more than that, it’s going to give your audience a space to talk to you and share their thoughts and ideas. And the more that you can create a collaborative environment with your audience, the more connected you’re going to feel to them. The more connected they’ll feel to you and the more they will trust you. So definitely check the show notes for the link to grab that free beam. I think it’s going to be really helpful to help you see how you can be connecting with your audience through your email during this time and just in general.
I hope that this episode gave you a couple of ideas of emails that you can send to your list. I would love to hear the idea that stuck out the most to you. If you would be willing to share a screenshot of this episode and tag me in it on Instagram. My handle over there is @graceandvine, and I would just love to see and hear from you guys about how you’re connecting with your audience in unique ways during this time.
Food bloggers have an incredible opportunity to be connecting with their audience right now. At the beginning of all of this, it was really overwhelming to even think about creating new content or working or trying to create any sort of normalcy.
If you can prioritize the areas of your blog that help you connect with your audience the most, that might not look like creating new blog posts and new content right now. Maybe it is an extra email out to your list or an extra Instagram post that is providing value but isn’t promotional in nature.
If you start to play around with those two different types of emails and varying them, you’re going to see an increase in your open rate, an increase in your click rate, and also just a general increase in connecting with your audience through that platform because people are really gonna start to trust you and be curious about what you have to say.