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Episode 114: The Importance of Building An Email List With Matt Molen

In episode 114, we talk with Matt Molen, who tells us why and how to value nurturing your email list. Pay attention to building your list!

We cover information about how your email list is your insurance policy against algorithm changes, by building your email list you can build an engaged audience that also helps build your brand and Matt shares how to create a quick start guide you can make today!

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.


Guest Details

Connect with Email Crush
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Bio
Matt Molen is the CEO of Email Crush. He is the creator of Email on Autopilot, the premiere course for content creators that want to transform their email newsletter into their most powerful marketing tools. In addition to the course, Matt provides one-on-one consulting & personal coaching to some of the world’s top bloggers. Personally, Matt enjoys quiet walks on the beach, has a deep rooted fear of frogs, and secretly dreams of one day stealing Pat Sajak’s job.

Takeaways

  • A food blogger has so many things to worry about beyond content creation; photography, writing, SEO, marketing, etc. Email tends to go to the back burner because of this.
  • Your email thing list is something you own.
  • You can work on engagement that is unlike any other method out there. It’s an intimate thing to have someone’s email.  
  • Email is fantastic for brand building. Email engagement sets you apart with your audience.
  • You have the ability to communicate with your audience to solve their problems over and over. You can tell them why you are set apart from other food bloggers too! 
  • Your trading something of value for an email address (opt ins, lead magnets, printables, courses, checklists, etc)
  • The more subscribers you convert to your email list, whether you are a big or small blog, the more subscribers you’ll drive traffic back to your site which will increase authority and branding for you.
  • Matt’s Technique – this is actionable! Create a Quick start guide with something that solves a problem. What can you say to them to get them to request your QSG – with 3 actionable steps. Separate each actionable step into 1 email per day to your reader. Outline 1 solution by sending them to a page on your site, which helps to drive traffic.

Resources Mentioned

You can reach Matt – [email protected]

Email on Autopilot is Matt’s Signature course

Transcript

Click for full text.

Intro:

Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, where food bloggers come to get their fill of the latest tips, tricks, and insights into the world of food blogging. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to add value to your blog. And we’ll also ensure you’re taking care of yourself, because food blogging is a demanding job. Now, please welcome your host, Megan Porta.

Megan:

Hey, food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk. The podcast made for you, food bloggers seeking value for your businesses and for your lives. Today I have Matt Molen from emailcrush.com with me, and we are going to chat about why email marketing is so important for food bloggers. Matt is the CEO of email crush. He is the creator of Email On Autopilot, the premiere course for content creators who want to transform their email newsletters into their most powerful marketing tools. In addition to the course, Matt provides one-on-one consulting and personal coaching to some of the world’s top bloggers. Personally, Matt enjoys quiet walks on the beach. He has a deep rooted fear of frogs and secretly dreams of one day stealing Pat Sajack’s job. All right, Matt, the frog thing, I can totally relate to you on. For me, it’s not just frogs. It’s like basically any slimy critter that moves. But I have this story, when I was babysitting in high school, the little boy that I was babysitting, he caught onto the fact that I did not like critters. So he went outside and captured a frog and he chased me around his house with it. I ended up running outside and hiding in his garage for like an hour. That’s so horrible, but I was like, get it away from me. Ever since then, every time I see a frog, I’m like, no. So I’m with you. Where did your fear come from? Has this been a lifelong thing for you?

Matt:

Well, first off my smoking hot wife tells me that I’m a fool for, for publicly declaring that because there’s going to be that boy that chased you around, is going to find me. I don’t know who this guy is, but he’s going to chase me around with that frog. I really don’t know where it came from. It’s the fact that they’re, like you said, they’re slimy and then they’re unpredictable. They could jump on you at any time.

Megan:

Yes and they jump so far.

Matt:

They jump so far. No, it’s scary. `

Megan:

I’m with you. So in addition to that, I mean, that’s kind of a fun fact in itself, but do you have anything extra to add?

Matt:

Well, when you asked me to think about that, the one thing I wanted to share is that I know a lot about email, but I do have this other set of knowledge that some people might be interested in. I know how to get you on Wheel Of Fortune. So I was on Wheel Of Fortune. That was my big claim to fame. If there’s anybody out there that wants to know the secret to getting on Wheel Of Fortune, there definitely is a formula. If you can tap into that formula. Now it’s been nine years since I was on there, but I believe that it’s still pretty much the same. So let me know.

Megan:

So you’re just going to leave us hanging and we have to email you and get that formula. Right?

Matt:

Yeah, sign up for my How to get on Wheel Of Fortune guide. That’s a good idea, actually.

Megan:

That’s awesome. So did you win anything?

Matt:

So it’s one of those things where I won 4,000 bucks, which on the face of it, if you said I went on a game show and I won $4,000. You say that’s sweet. Right? Well, I still suffer from a little PTSD related to Wheel Of Fortune when it comes on the TV, because I was that guy, when you’re yelling at the TV, you dufus it’s this! I was that guy and I was totally blank. It was a really fun experience. I would just love to go back and get redemption, but you know.

Megan:

Well that is one of the coolest fun facts I’ve heard. So email Matt for the formula. I’m curious too. I might email you about that. So you made a really big claim in your bio calling email marketing the most powerful marketing tool out there that we can use. Those are really strong, powerful words. I know that you have found success personally in your own business to back that up. You’ve also taught many others how to find success as well. So I’m excited to help get all of your email knowledge out to as many food bloggers as possible. So let’s dig into this and help food bloggers out. Not all food bloggers though, have big email lists. So I think this is a really easy trap to fall into thinking it’s not important to focus on email marketing. Maybe somebody is like, well, I only have a couple hundred people. There’s always excuses why not to dig into it. So can you start out by just talking about why email marketing is important for food bloggers, no matter how big our lists are?

Matt:

Absolutely. I think that you, you touched on a couple of really important points. I mean, a food blogger has so many things to worry about and not just recipe creation and the publishing it, but then have to write the content and the photos and the videos, and then the Tailwind for Pinterest and the Facebook group. Then the SEO, just on and on and on list is massive. So I get why email kind of falls to the back burner. In fact, I had a friend tell me he used the analogy that the email was kind of eating healthy. You know you should do it. You know it’s good for you, but man the Cinnabon right there in front of you, that whatever that is, that sure looks tasty and holds your attention. Yes. So email is kind of like that.

So I know that a lot of people have heard this before, the quote went around for a long, long time, the money’s in the list. I’m sure that people have heard that. The question is, do you really believe it? Why do I believe it? So I can tell you some personal stories from my personal experience. The first thing that is probably foremost on people’s minds is your email list is the thing that you can actually own. Almost everything else in our businesses, as far as digital marketers, we don’t control so much. We don’t control what Pinterest is going to do. We don’t control the algorithms of Google. Hey, remember when Facebook pages were actually a thing, people, I mean, I’m sure there’s somebody in this audience who does. At any moment, Instagram could change how they’re going to do their business.

So on and so forth. TikToK might take off, it might drop off, whatever that thing is. The email list is yours and you actually have that to fall back on. I have a small example to illustrate this. My side hustle is I have a Disney vacation related website. As you might guess, during the most recent quarantine, not a lot of people are taking or interested in Disney vacations because Disney cruises disappeared, Disneyland, Disney world, we weren’t going there. So my traffic disappeared, the RPMs or CPMs gone. Because I had a list, however, and I had a thriving, healthy list. I was able to pivot, change up my content and send stuff that was relevant to the quarantine period related to Disney. I actually was able to manufacture if you will, enough page views that it equaled my ad revenue equals my February ad revenue.

If you consider what happened on March 15th and how things dropped off for me, that was a huge, huge win. Now my food blogging friends, they had a very different experience, most of them during the quarantine. But that leads to some of the other reasons that you should be building your list is because that in and of itself, that traffic can be transitory. It can be temporary. So when you own your list, when you get people onto your list, you can then, reason number two, that you should build your list is you can engender engagement in such a way that is unlike any other method out there. If you think about it, it’s actually fairly intimate to have somebody’s email address. You have the ability to drop a message into a place where they have a pretty good likelihood of seeing that. All other platforms you have to pay for that right and even then you don’t have a very good chance to do that. So email is that one thing that allows you to, then beyond that, all they have to do to get you, is hit reply, and they have a good chance of talking with you. So that’s reason number two. Number three, the reason that I love email and why I think you should be building your list is because it’s fantastic for brand building. So food bloggers, there’s a very low barrier to entry for somebody to create a food blog. I’m just being brutally honest. There’s just a very low barrier to entry. So what sets you apart from somebody else? Is it the fact that your potato salad ranked higher on Google than somebody else’s? Does that make you all of a sudden a more memorable or special brand?

If you are not engaging with your audience and solving their problems in a special way, then it’s really tough to build a brand. So what I love about email is that you have the ability to communicate with them, tell them why you are special. What makes you stand out from other food bloggers and most important solve their problems over and over again. When you do that, that’s when a brand starts to be built. Otherwise, if you think about it, you’re a potato salad Google search results. The next time they get hungry and they need potato salad or some other thing, they can just Google it or go to Pinterest because they have a pretty good track record of getting what they want from Google or Pinterest or some Facebook viral recipe. Right? So building a brand, you can use email and you can use automation and email to communicate your brand story in a very special way.

Then the last reason I think that email, well, not the last reason, but the last one we’ll talk about here is that I think that you can actually use email to create super fans over time, not just build a brand, but create super fans. The power of email automation today allows you to create a journey for your readers in a way that, I’m sorry, but most of the bloggers are not doing.

Megan:

So true.

Matt:

The experience for most subscribers to a food blog is an RSS driven email that says, guess what, I have quinoa celery juice today. Now, if you get that in at 7:00 AM, in the, you know, in the morning email from such and such a food blog that you signed up for, and it tells you that they have celery quinoa juice, who cares. But if you are able to think through your reader’s journey and communicate your best stuff in an order that makes sense for them using email, that’s when you’re solving their problems. Ultimately, that’s how you stand out, build that brand and create a super fan that’s going to buy from you, is going to come back, click on your ads, tell their friends, all of that stuff. So that’s why I love email.

Megan:

Wow. Well, I think you just told me, but I’d already been sold by you before, previously, but I think you’ve probably just sold everyone who’s listening because those are amazing reasons, right? I mean, this is not something that we want to ignore as part of our businesses. I confess that I ignored this for a very, very long time. It was just like you said about the Cinnabon, is that what you said? It’s sitting in front of me and I just want to eat it and email was just like a side thought and I just didn’t dig into it. But then I started hearing you and other people saying, you cannot keep ignoring this. So I finally dug into it and it’s paid off. It’s definitely been worth it. I love that you mentioned solving your reader’s problems because that is what I started focusing on.

I just decided, okay, first I need to figure out what their problems are. So I started emailing them and sending out surveys and questions in my emails. What are you guys struggling with? They reply. I was shocked, but people actually take the time to fill out those surveys and they’re honest and there’s consistency. So I found the things that were consistent across the board that people were struggling with. I just started knocking those off the list and helping them to solve those problems. So that’s a super easy way to do it. So what else do you recommend? If somebody is like, okay, I am totally neglecting my email list. How do I start? Where do I start with this?

Matt:

I just want to address something that you mentioned there. I think the fact that they’re replying to you, number one, it just reinforces what we’re talking about about that engagement. You can actually now have a conversation with somebody on the other side of the screen, that on the other side of the world, that will tell you their thoughts and hopes and fears, which allows you to not just understand them, but you can now build out stuff that’s perfect for them, which I think is fantastic. Quite frequently, we’re too close to it. Meaning, you may have been food blogging for a very long time and you forget what it’s like to be in the kitchen without the secrets that you know, and those secrets are, like you said, they’re gold back to that person.

When we understand that, remember that, we can then deliver that. So your question was, where does somebody get started? Well, first of all, I think you have to prioritize this. Number one, I kind of give a little rah rah to my clients, my coaching clients. We don’t want this to be that one thing you did that one time with that one guy. Okay. Adopting an email marketing mindset is basically saying, I am willing to trade something of value for an email address. I’m really dumbing this down here. This is oversimplifying the whole process. But when you do that, the system works. You’ve heard them called lead magnets, email hooks, opt-ins, whatever it is. There’s a whole slew of them from printables and checklists and courses and so on and so forth. Many of your listeners, maybe they’ve thought about making one of those.

Well, the very first thing is analyze what you are offering to somebody that’s landing on your website? If your box says, subscribe for updates. Think about who actually will ever sign up for that. Number one, your mom probably will. Number two, your besties and your diehard fans that you have worked very hard to cultivate. My guess though, that that’s a pretty small audience relative to the traffic that you have coming in. So step number one is just take an assessment of, is this actually trading value for an email address to somebody who is new to my website? Just put yourself in their shoes and for an instant think, would I ever sign up for a subscription for more recipes? You wouldn’t because you want less email in your life. Not more. So the answer here is to come up with something that will solve a reader’s problem and offer that in exchange for their email address.

Megan:

I liked what you said, just assess what you’re offering. That is so huge. If you’re offering, Hey, be a part of the community, you see that all the time and you’re like, no thanks. But if it’s actually something that you want, then absolutely. I would give my address for something that’s actually valuable.

Matt:

I think that that’s the main point though, is that if you identify the fact that, or just think about the fact that your traffic is your best source for list growth and all that traffic is coming right now. So I know that you’ve got some listeners who are just starting a food blog, but this is true no matter your size. Whatever that traffic is coming from, that traffic is precious. The more of it that you can convert to your email list, the better off you are. In fact, the reason to do that when you’re smaller or bigger or the same, you’re going to be able to take those subscribers and drive them back to your website, through your emails, which will increase your overall traffic, increase your authority, increase your branding. So I guess this goes back to again, building your list, but the power of growing your business through email is really, really important.

Megan:

Yeah. Just driving people, but that’s what we all want. Right? We all want the traffic. We want people to come back. We don’t want to be bounced. We want people to come and we want them to stay and trust us. So by building up an email list, we are doing all of that, that you mentioned like authority and trust. So that kind of ties into what Google is wanting from us as well and the other platforms. We’re kind of fulfilling all of that by focusing on our email list. But it’s just another thing and it’s so easy to just not want to do it because it is work. I mean, it’s not like it’s easy to get it set up. It requires you to do a little research and to think through some of that and to connect with your readers and see what they’re wanting and then create that thing. So it’s not it’s super easy peasy, but it’s so worth it once you put the work in.

Matt:

Well, let me give everybody on this call, I’m going to give you my I’m going to give you my secret formula to make it easy, because I understand that it does seem like a challenge to get something up and running. But this technique that I use is very actionable and anybody who’s getting started can do this, especially if you’ve got existing content already. That is called the quick start guide. So the concept here is somebody is landing on your website and is discovering your traffic for the first time. What can you say to them that says, Hey, I have a quick start guide to X. Then what you do is you package up three to five articles, recipes, or secrets that you have, that’s already existing on your website. You say, look, I’ve got three secrets to starting a keto diet, three secrets to the most amazing cookies of your life.

I’ve got five tricks to save time in the kitchen. I mean, literally every food blogger out there has something that falls into that category that you could start with. Does that solve a problem for your incoming reader? I think so. You can start with something very general like that, or you could hone in on a specific category. Maybe you have a very thriving Instant Pot category or Air Fryer category. You could create this quick start guide for them. Then each email in that series, they’re separated one per day, contains a link back to an article that helps them relate it to getting started with whatever the topic is. This is something that people can do literally right now. They could go bang something out really quickly if they have nothing else going on.

Megan:

Well, this is how I got started. So I took your mini course situation in March, right when the coronavirus was hitting. So we were all like what’s going on. But I knew I wanted to dive into email and I don’t know, I just took that opportunity. You presented it to us and this is so easy. I was skeptical, but I spent one afternoon and I just kicked out a quick start guide based on some content that I already had. So what I did was I went into my Google analytics and I just stared at those top, I don’t know, top 10 most popular posts. What is it, what is standing out? Because I really didn’t know what to focus on. Then it just came to me, you need to focus on party food.

:

So I created a quick start guide revolving around party food and how to serve different diets and preferences. That’s just kind of one of my things, I love hosting. So I did that in a few hours and then the virus hit and I knew this isn’t really appropriate. So then I did another one based on quarantine food and just how to manage the situation without yeast and how to make bread without all of that stuff. It did so great. I mean, it was like, people loved it. I got so many comments back and it was like you said, it was a really easy way. Before that I was so daunted by this. I cannot create, what do I create and how do I do it? But it is a super easy, quick secret formula as Matt said. So finding that thing though, because I know within the group that we were in, a lot of people were struggling with that. What do I do? Where do I start? So what are your recommendations for that?

Matt:

Number one, don’t overthink it. So I’m just guessing if you’re listening to this and this is resonating with you at all. It probably means that what you had wasn’t working that well to begin with. So whatever you come up with is probably going to be better than what you’re currently doing. So just give yourself some grace that way. Okay. Don’t overthink it. It falls into the don’t overthink it category, just come up with something as broad as you possibly can to get started. You can hone the strategy later. You can dive into segments, you can do all that, but just get something that casts a broad net. I like what you said, Megan, about looking at your existing traffic. Because like I said, your traffic is your number one source for list growth. So where’s the traffic coming and Hey, if they’re all coming in on your, your jalapeno poppers, then maybe something related to great appetizers might make a lot of sense. So that’s just an idea of a thing to start with. Then you literally, you grab those and you throw them together, you work on a snappy title and you put it up there. Because you do not have to, you don’t have to get this perfect. You really don’t.

Megan:

And you can tweak it. That’s the great thing about email. You can go in and you can change it. Even while it’s in process, you can go in and change it.

Matt:

My experience with most food bloggers is that we want it all to be perfect. We want it all to be buttoned up. We want it to be just right. We want the pictures to reflect this and that. And I get it. That’s what makes you successful. In this case, however, what I’m saying is 70% is pretty dang good. So come up with a snappy title, grab a few of those things, spend an afternoon like you talked about and bang out these emails and put it in front of them and see what happens. That’s where the momentum comes. That’s where the learning comes. I quite frequently experience this. Nothing really happens until the list starts growing. So all the other stuff, the other stuff that I can teach you, the other stuff I can sell you. The ways that you can make money with your list, all that stuff, nothing really happens until you start growing your list.

When that happens, then the light bulb goes on and all of a sudden, then you’re coming to me going, okay. Now what? I have the what now, but it all starts right here. So you just do the basics. You get something up. Now, if you’re stuck on that, here’s the other trick you can do. Go to your most popular posts. Let’s say it was jalapeno poppers. I don’t know where I got that. You go to jalapeno poppers and you say, what else could I offer somebody that is coming to this recipe?

Megan:

A dipping sauce.

Matt:

A dipping sauce. Okay. Five dipping sauces. This could be one email that you deliver via email. You throw a pop-up on that page. You throw up an embedded form, you throw them as one of those little slider thingees. That’s the technical term is a slider thingee. Then you, you say, Hey, my three secret dipping sauces, come get them. Now, these different sauces could be elsewhere on the website, but just by offering that at the moment that they are interested in and they’re thinking about jalapeno poppers, you’re going to get people onto your list by just doing that. So if you’re stuck with the quick-start guide, just do one thing. Don’t do five lessons, just do one email. You’ll still be doing better than subscribe for updates.

Megan:

Yes, I agree. Get a little specific and I like that you use the word secret a lot. You actually recommended doing that. Now I do it in all of my quick-start guides. I’ve only done two so far, but I have five, it was like five kitchen secrets for getting through the quarantine. Now it’s summer party food secrets. But I just think if people are intrigued by that, ooh she has a secret and I need to know it. So then they’re much more likely to click over as opposed to, Hey, join the family. Ok.

Matt:

Yes. I have tried so many different permutations of guides and sometimes a beginner’s guide works great or a quick guide or whatever, but people love secrets and hacks and tricks. If you think about it too, I’m counting on you as a subject matter expert to know a lot more about things than I do. So if you’re just going to give me even a little nugget of information that I didn’t have before, that’s why I love the tips and tricks. I don’t really want to go to your culinary school, I don’t have time for that. But if you give me a little tweak that opens up a ton of room in my pantry? Oh, interesting. I’m down for that.

Megan:

Well, I think there are a few words that you can use that really intrigue people. I think secret is one of them. Hack. I don’t know what else.

Matt:

Miracle.

Megan:

Oh, I haven’t tried that yet. I’m going to add that to my list.

Matt:

Wonder.

Megan:

Okay. So I was going to actually do this before our chat and I completely forgot, but I should go back and look because my subscribers have increased so much since I implemented my first quick start guide. That is thanks to you, Matt. So everyone, create a quick start guide. I know it’s so daunting to jump into email lists and emails and all of that, but this really is a great way to dive in. Matt, do you have anything outside of quick-start guides that would act as good freebies or something to offer people that would actually cause them to open and click our emails?

Matt:

I do. The quick start guide is my favorite and the reason for that, and I’m going to answer your question as well, but the reason that I love the quick start guide is it, if you think about it, people are giving you permission to be in their inbox for three to five days a row. That’s pretty powerful for branding and for them to get to know you and for them to come back and start to recognize your logo and things like that. So I just recently, I have a course, I guess this is a slight self promotion here. I have a course called Email On Autopilot, which is my signature course for those that are serious about this. I want to do all the things, that’s what I recommend is Email On Autopilot. However, if you’re just wanting to get started, I just recently actually put the finishing touches on a course called Email Quick Start.

It’s launching very, very soon. It’s going to be $150 bucks, but for anybody that is on this podcast and listen to this right now, I could really use a beta tester or two. So if you want to be part of that beta test, you can do it for free in exchange for some feedback. So I’ll have some stipulations. You gotta tell me, did that video work and all that stuff. But if you’re interested in that, just email me and I’ll get you into that beta test for Email Quick Start. The beta test group will happen for just a few weeks during the summer. So [email protected] Just hit me up.

Megan:

Do you have a limit to that, Matt?

Matt:

I’m going to have to cut it off at some point. And I know these, these podcasts live for a while, but just get in and I’ll do my best to accommodate as many people as I can to get you going, because I really do want the feedback. So jump in if you’re interested.

Megan:

Definitely take him up on that.

Matt:

As far as other tools, it’s basically, and I’m going to simplify it by saying, whatever you’ve got that creates additional value. So if I have a Disney cruise packing list, which I do, my checklist, the downloadable principle checklist converts at a very high rate, as you can imagine. In the food blogging world, what might that be? It might be place settings. It could be those cute signs that you put up when you’re, what do you call them? A principal cute sign that says, this is what’s for dinner or menu that might be fun. Your grocery checklists, all these different things, or what’s in my pantry. You could have a checklist for that. I’m making stuff up off the top of my head for you guys.

You guys can probably think about that. All you have to do is go back to the jalapeno poppers and what can I exchange that is going to help solve their next problem based on what I know about them and where they are. And so with that, as you think about this, and this is where a lot of people will freak out because they’re like, Oh, that sounds overwhelming. Just start with something general for your website. Then hone in little by little on the areas of your website that are getting the most traffic. Just go where the traffic is and create something there. If your traffic is on Instagram, some people may be huge on Instagram and not have much in the way of blog traffic. Some people may have this huge Facebook group, et cetera, et cetera. The concept and the principle is the same. It doesn’t matter where they are. You just have to adapt for that, for that platform a little bit.

Megan:

That’s great. That gives people some things to think through. Also considering seasons, obviously you don’t want to put up a quick start guide about summer food in the winter. You want to be appropriate with that too. So I have this ideal in my head, this image of me having all of these quick-start guides, just floating around ready to activate. That’s my dream, based on the season or based on different party foods. Do you have that? Or do you organize different quick start guides and move through them systematically? How do you do that?

Matt:

Absolutely. Oh, that dream is my dream as well. It’s right up there with the house in Hawaii, but those dreams. That’s the concept, right? Your business is going to change as your reader’s needs change. Being relevant to the season makes a ton of sense. Being relevant to the post makes a ton of sense. What are they thinking about right now? So the more opt-ins, I’ll call them opt-ins as a whole, the more opt-ins that you have, the better off you’re going to be at growing your list. It’s just plain and simple. Some you can turn on at different times. I’ve got a client, for example, who we created an Easter quick-start guide, we turned it on. This was in 2019 and turned it on and it killed. Then just turned it off. It’s sitting there waiting for her in 2020. Now she decided not to have it run as long in 2020, because of quarantine. People weren’t thinking about Easter the same way they were in 2019. But for that week of Easter, she turned it on and it did great. So it was just sitting there waiting for her. So absolutely.

Megan:

Do you recommend doing different opt-ins like at the same time, so if you have a pop-up on your website, can you also put opt-ins on individual blog posts or in the sidebar or is that too confusing?

Matt:

Absolutely. That’s email marketing 200 level classes, but you definitely want to go there because again, it comes down to where is your traffic landing and what is she thinking about? If she’s landing on baked goods, then a quick-start guide related to baked goods is going to be more effective than how to get dinner on the table. Now that how to get dinner on the table might work great site-wide when you don’t have something there, but in the baked goods section, wouldn’t it be awesome if you had something specific to that? It’s going to convert better. So, yes. In today’s technology, both on our blogs with the opt-in software, from pop-ups and other opt-in forms, you can target posts, pages, tags, categories in WordPress. So absolutely, all of that is possible.

Megan:

So that’s kind of next level thinking. So if somebody is listening and just wanting to get started, just get something up, just do it and spend an afternoon like I did. Once you do it, it’s so rewarding because you’re like, Whoa, I finally did it. It’s a big deal, but it really wasn’t. You realize what a big deal you were making out of nothing for years, in my case. I should have done this so long ago. It’s kind of ridiculous, but just do it, just get started. So Matt, you’ve kind of talked through a few ways to just grow a list, but do you have any hacks, I’ll use your words, hacks or secrets to grow lists quickly.

Matt:

Well, another hack is if you are strong on Instagram, and I know that many people that listen to you have an Instagram following of 10,000 or more, you can do the old swipe up to sign up trick, which is promote your quick-start guide there and talk about it. In fact, you can talk about it all week long. You could go back to what to cook during the quarantine. Guys, things have changed. The world has changed. All week long, I’m going to be sharing with you recipes that are perfect for our current quarantine situation. We’re going to kick it off with my quick start guide to baking during the quarantine. In it, you’ll find tips and recipes and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I’m really excited to share it with you, swipe up, to sign up and you’ll get it.

Then all week long, you share other recipes and things that are related to it. You just keep bringing that back and you keep mentioning it because you’ve given yourself permission to do so, by declaring it quarantine recipe week. You keep bringing back that quick start guide. So for those of you who are on Instagram, go try that tactic. You’ll have an immediate surge. The people that are following you on Instagram, by the way, these people should be on your list. My guess is that they’re not. They may not even know that you have a list and they should be on there because they get you better than most people do. Your information is really valuable to them.

Megan:

Yeah, that’s a good point. A lot of us don’t think about that. It’s like a total separate entity. So those are my Instagram people and those are my Facebook people. We don’t think to always put a bridge there. So what’s the best way to do that? You mentioned the stories and the swipe up, but what if we don’t have the swipe up? Do we put a link directly to our email list in our bio? Or what is the best way to go about that?

Matt:

I’ve found that that approach doesn’t work as well. The swipe up is obviously much more direct, but I guess the main point here is create your opt-ins and then promote your opt-ins. I guess that’s what we’re getting at. That’s the hack. Promote it wherever, whether it’s Facebook groups, whether you get one of your fellow food blogging friends to promote it for you that does have a bigger audience, whatever that means. That’s kind of where I would go.

Megan:

We have covered a lot. I kind of feel like we could go on and on. So we’ve got to cut it off somewhere, but before we start saying goodbye, is there anything that we didn’t cover relating to list growth or freebies or lead magnets, or just kind of in general email marketing that you want to cover to make sure to cover.

Matt:

I want to leave painting a bigger picture. So a lot of people feel like, and we talked about this at the beginning, why you need to build your list. Look, when you build a following, you have control of your business. I want you to imagine this for a second. You have thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people that you know that you can communicate with at any time. What does that enable you to do? Sure, you could continue to send them your recipes, which is going to drive more traffic back, but it also allows you to open up all sorts of different avenues. You could be selling an ebook, a course, you could sell sponsorships to that list. You could be using that audience to create custom audiences, to sell something in Facebook, YouTube advertising, Google advertising, remarketing, retargeting. I’m getting into high level, next level stuff.

Some of that may be completely foreign to you guys. But my point is that when you start investing in your list, this is not a cost. This is an investment because of what it opens up for you. So many of my clients that are making money off of ads, making money off of sponsored listings. Once they grow that list, it opens up of, course, more ads being seen. And of course makes your sponsorships that much more valuable, but it also opens up so many other opportunities to promote anything you want from affiliate to your own product. It’s fantastic. So on top of all those things that I mentioned, email is a huge, huge business builder, and it’s so worth the investment. Even if you just look at it as an insurance policy for your business against algorithm changes, it’s so worth doing right now. That’s my ra-ra!

Megan:

That is so great. I’ve found that too. I mean, I had a fairly big list before, pre-Matt’s course and I say fairly big because I never worked at it. Literally did nothing to my list. So I had, you know, a few thousand subscribers and I thought that was pretty good. But since then it’s grown so much. I’ve also found that it’s prompted me to start thinking about new products and courses and services, like you mentioned. It’s almost inspired me. Oh, these people are here. They wanted that. So maybe I could create this. So it actually causes inspiration in my experience. So I think you’re right. A lot does come from it and a lot of opportunities will come to you once you start digging into it. It’s a really cool extension of your business that I ignored for way too long, but I highly recommend listening to Matt’s advice and not ignoring it anymore. So there. That was great.

Matt:

Do it, people!

Megan:

Matt, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate it. I know that this is going to fall on ears that need to hear this. So food bloggers are going to just eat this up. So thank you so so much.

Matt:

Oh, thanks for having me. It’s such a wonderful opportunity.

Megan:

Before you go, I always ask my guests to share either a favorite quote or words of inspiration for food bloggers. Do you have anything to share?

Matt:

I do. It’s very simple. And I often remind myself of this. I don’t know who to attribute the quote to, but I’ve used this a lot in my entrepreneurial journey and that is, “go fast, break stuff.” It basically is giving myself permission to try and to fail, because in that process, every time I’ve done it, I’ve either learned or it’s led me to what I needed to be doing, or I nailed it. So go fast, break stuff.

Megan:

Simple, short and sweet and to the point. So that’s awesome. So I will put together a show notes page for you, Matt. So anyone interested in checking that out can go to eatblogtalk.com/emailcrush, and then also take Matt up on his offer to be a beta tester for his new course. I think that sounds amazing. So I think we all know where to find you Matt, but reiterate that, tell my listeners the best place they can find you online.

Matt:

Yep. It’s emailcrush.com. If you’re interested in the signature course, that’s emailonautopilot.com and if you want to be part of that beta thing, just email me [email protected]

Megan:

And also we need your secret formula for getting onto Wheel Of Fortune. So be sure to email Matt about that. That sounds good. Well, thank you again for being here, Matt, and thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you next time.

Outro:

We’re glad you could join us on this episode of Eat Blog Talk. For more resources based on today’s discussion, as well as show notes and an opportunity to be on a future episode of the show, be sure to head to eatblogtalk.com. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll be here to feed you on Eat Blog Talk.


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Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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