Welcome to episode 288 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast! This week on the podcast, Bjork interviews Allea Grummert about marketing your blog to your email list.
Last week on the podcast, Bjork chatted with Russ and Natalie Monson about building online businesses. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.
Email for Bloggers
How would you describe your email marketing strategy?
Solid? Not quite? Not even close?
Regardless of how much time and effort you’ve spent building and maintaining your email list, this interview with Allea Grummert from Duett will help you grow, refine, and nurture the email subscribers you have for your blog. She talks about welcome sequences, segmentation, opt-ins, and more –– enjoy!
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- How Allea helps creators with their email marketing
- Why your email list is so valuable
- What a welcome sequence is
- How to segment your email list
- How to maintain your sequences
- What RSS emails are
- How to get followers and subscribers
- 229: Email Marketing – Strategies for Bloggers with Allea Grummert
- 279: Financial Independence – How to Be Efficient with Your Money with Anna Rider
- Live Q&A – Welcome Sequences and Nurturing Your Email List – for members only!
- Work with Allea
- Snag some exclusive resources from Allea!
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].
Learn more about joining the Food Blogger Pro community at foodbloggerpro.com/membership
Transcript (click to expand):
Alexa Peduzzi: Hey, there. Welcome to the Food Blogger Pro podcast. My name is Alexa. We are so excited you decided to tune in today. Today’s podcast episode is a good one. I know that for a fact because we’ve been working with our interviewee, Allea, for a couple of months now on Food Blogger Pro, Pinch of Yum, and WP Tasty. She’s been such a valuable resource and just a really great person to work with. She has helped us refine and build and grow our email list. That’s what she’s here on the podcast to help you do, as well, today.
Alexa Peduzzi: Your email list is so important. In this episode, Allea will talk about why that is, and then, some strategies that you can use to welcome new subscribers to your email list, as well as make sure that your email subscribers are getting the content they want and need from you. It’s a really good one. We hope you enjoy it. Without any further ado, Bjork, take it away.
Bjork Ostrom: Allea, welcome back to the podcast.
Allea Grummert: Hello. Hi.
Bjork Ostrom: Hey, good to have you here.
Allea Grummert: Thanks.
Bjork Ostrom: I looked back, the last time a podcast episode published I think it was November 2019. It was before the world kind of imploded on itself. Can you imagine?
Allea Grummert: Remember then?
Bjork Ostrom: The simplicity of 2019, and how easy everything in the world was. Not true, but it felt like it when you look back. We’re going to continue the conversation around email. We’re going to continue the conversation around marketing and how we can be strategic around those things. For those who didn’t catch that episode, be sure to go back and listen to that. Can you catch people up really quick? What’s your story? How did you get into this world of talking about email and strategy around marketing and helping bloggers?
Allea Grummert: Yeah. Oh, boy, is it a story? I’m Allea Grummert. I am an email marketing strategist and conversion copywriter. I specifically work with setting up, welcome, and nurture sequences, so that your new subscribers have this wonderful understanding of who you are and how you can help them. That’s how I help my clients. I got into email marketing as a blogger, not as a food blogger, but as a money blogger, just blogging about budgeting on a Wednesday night.
Bjork Ostrom: FinCon attendee. Did you go to FinCon?
Allea Grummert: FinCon attendee.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Allea Grummert: Yeah, ever since 2016, I’ve been a long-term FinCon attendee. I was actually speaker this year, too.
Bjork Ostrom: Nice. Would you categorize the type of financial blogging that you’re doing? We did have an episode where we talked about FIRE.
Allea Grummert: Gosh, we’re getting into it. I love it. I was definitely into the kind of the post-college, how do I adjust with student loans and budgeting with a full-time job, kind of market.
Bjork Ostrom: Totally. I distinctly remember the moment I walked through the paperwork line of college and they handed me the paper of how much student loan debt I had. I was like, “Alright, here we go. I’m an adult.” It was like this official transition into adulthood.
Allea Grummert: I paid off my car and my student loans. I just dedicated a couple of years. I had been paying, I don’t know, the minimum, whatever, for a while. But then, I kind of hit this stride of, “I’m going to do it.” I went cash only for a while. I worked two jobs. I was spending $100 a month on food, which was terrible. Don’t do that.
Bjork Ostrom: You were able to sustain yourself, but it wasn’t enjoyable.
Allea Grummert: Yeah, I was not a very nice person, either, like give me vegetables.
Bjork Ostrom: You’ve paid off a lot of debt.
Allea Grummert: I did.
Bjork Ostrom: It was like the literal Dave Ramsey. He always talks about rice and beans. It sounds like literal rice and beans of making it through.
Allea Grummert: Well, it was winter in Nebraska. There were a lot of things going against me.
Bjork Ostrom: You’re really connecting with kind of the early settlers of Nebraska at that time.
Allea Grummert: Right.
Bjork Ostrom: Cool.
Allea Grummert: Scurvy.
Bjork Ostrom: Exactly. You go through this phase. You’re doing the financial blogging thing, excited about that, making progress on that, see other people doing it. At some point, it’s like, “Hey, actually, this email marketing copywriting thing is actually kind of interesting and you go that in that direction.” How far along were you into the blogging journey when that started to emerge as an interest?
Allea Grummert: We did the blogging thing in addition to a full-time job. I actually have a degree in advertising and public relations. I’ve just always been interested in marketing. I joke that my blog was my digital playground. I got to learn about Pinterest and SEO and images and Squarespace and the works. I was two months into self-employment. I was a general marketer, which is the absolute worst. Everyone’s like, “Can you help get me on Google Ads? Can you also do Instagram?” I was like, “We need to narrow down.”
Bjork Ostrom: Everything on the internet.
Allea Grummert: Everything on the internet is marketing. Can you do it? It’s like this isn’t going to work. With email, with my blog, I had set up just a simple three-email welcome sequence. I kid you not, even after I’d been running automated for a year and a half, I was still getting people replying back to me. That always just stood out to me as a way to really build relationships. People weren’t just sort of replying like, “Thanks for the email.” They’re like, “I am in trouble financially. I lost my job. Here are some goals.” They were laying their hearts out.
Allea Grummert: For me, it was more personal, and a lot more sustainable. I’ve never been one who really likes the fast-paced social media side of things. It’s like a tweet last 20 minutes. That’s my intern days when I would spend hours writing 20 tweets that, then, would disappear. That’s not really my cup of tea. With email, it’s more sustainable, and you get to repurpose things. The information just doesn’t expire. If it’s still helpful, you can reuse it, too.
Bjork Ostrom: I remember early on, this was, maybe, similar to your financial sight, and that was an endeavor that I did that was exciting that I’m no longer doing, but kind of led me to other things. I had a site called Certify Solo. It was all about getting Apple certification for certain categories. iWork was an old suite of product. You can get Apple-certified and different categories. I remember setting everything up. It was studying for the test. It was really clear, here’s this, where you need to study, here’s this
Bjork Ostrom: Eventually, I put in a little first name and email opt in. That day, there started to be people signing up. I remember, it was so different than blog traffic. It was different than an Instagram follower because it was like a really dedicated point of interest that somebody’s saying, “I want to know more and learn more and connect.” It just felt like a stronger commitment. If it was a video game, it felt like it recharges your character at a higher level, more valuable. I think that’s what email is.
Bjork Ostrom: The interesting thing is, for our space, on a finance blog, the perception, and maybe, it is also the reality, is that it almost seems like that’s more valuable than in other spaces. In the food space, I think there’s still some questions around, what do I do when I get an email subscriber? Why is this valuable? Maybe, it’s as valuable as an Instagram follower, or maybe, Instagram follower feels more valuable. How do we make sure that we are maximizing the value of somebody who signs up for our email list?
Allea Grummert: I think I want to go back to that. I don’t want to skip over it too fast, that people are giving you this really important source of contact. You’re getting into a coveted space, the inbox. It’s really easy to ixnay people who are sending you emails, or you go to a conference they give your name to all of the booths. You’re like, “How did I get on there, too?” this place where you can, really, I choose to provide content that makes people say, “I’m glad I’m on this list.”
Allea Grummert: That’s part of the overall branding and relationship. It’s not even that each email is transactional. It’s not that every email needs to be selling something. It’s not that you even have to have ads in your email. It’s part of your overall brand. How do I want to serve my readers, no matter where they came from on my site, or whether they’ve purchased something from me, or not. Just as a holistic view, that’s what an email can do. What was your original question, Bjork?
Bjork Ostrom: I think that’s good. I think it’s a good reminder, because I think, sometimes, we can feel like, “Hey, I’ve got email. What do I do with it now?” That was kind of the original question. To your point, it’s like, “Hey, one of the most important things that you can be doing is figuring out how you can use it as another communication channel to help people for the reason that they signed up.” You’re signed up for a reason. How do we do a really good job of serving these people? Much like an Instagram. Somebody signs up. They probably know what they’re going to get because they look at your feed, and they have an idea.
Allea Grummert: At your feed.
Bjork Ostrom: With email, that doesn’t really exist. How do you do that well?
Allea Grummert: I would actually say that food blogging and money blogging, pretty similar. In both cases, the problem is I need help with something, whether it’s I need to know what to eat for dinner or I need to know how to detox after Christmas, whatever it might be. The important thing is that you’re providing solutions.
Allea Grummert: Even with my personal finance blog, I didn’t have affiliate links or anything. It’s just, “Here’s how to use mint.com,” or, “Here’s how I budget,” and you’re sharing your personal experiences. People find that really valuable, because that’s why we watch documentaries or read biographies. It’s like, how did they do it? How did Steve Jobs…? We like that inside scoop.
Allea Grummert: You’re already creating this wonderful content on your site. What email does is it makes sure that your most interested parties know about it. I don’t know. Maybe, people still do this. Do you have a bunch of bookmarked blogs that you check out every week, all 10 of them?
Bjork Ostrom: No.
Allea Grummert: Can you get them in your inbox and say, “Lindsay posted a new soup recipe. Thanks, Lindsay. Now, I know what I’m going to make this weekend.”
Bjork Ostrom: It’s interesting, when you think of those touchpoints, and email really is a touchpoint where people aren’t opting in to it, people will do an email opt-in. But after that, they’re trusting you to deliver stuff in a way that is valuable, and in a way that’s helpful, and in the consistency that’s appropriate. If it’s Instagram, every time that you’re going into Instagram, you’re kind of opting into it. I want to go into Instagram and look at this stuff. Email, it’s like, “I’m going to go into email. Who knows what I’m going to be presented with?”
Bjork Ostrom: It’s really important. What I hear you saying is that, when you are presenting stuff that is valuable, that is helpful, and that it also surfaces the content that you’re currently creating and making sure that people see that.
Allea Grummert: Absolutely.
Bjork Ostrom: Let’s break down what that looks like in terms of the different ways that people can do it. You can send a blog post. You can have what’s called a sequence, autoresponder, broadcast.
Allea Grummert: Right here, people are tuning out. They’re like, “It’s about to get technical. Hang with me, guys.”
Bjork Ostrom: How would you categorize those different areas?
Allea Grummert: Quickly back to what you just mentioned, too, about the Instagram feed, and you know what you’re signing up for, what I always recommend, like I mentioned what I had with my own personal finance blog, is a welcome sequence. This is an automated, gosh, it’s called a million things, like an autoresponder or a drip campaign. The idea is that, no matter who comes to your list from whatever opt-in, whether it’s an eBook or a purchase or whatnot, they get this introduction to who you are and what to expect.
Allea Grummert: What it does is it’s kind of what in advertising we call wayfinding. Like when you’re in an airport and you’re like, “Am I going the right way? Yes, I am. The doctor was over there. My gate is over here.” That’s what the welcome sequence does. It reminds them like, “Yes, I’m in the right place. This person will help me.” It’s also pairing that with trusting you, who you are as a person, as a blog, or as a business, to say, “If this is what you’re looking for, this is what I provide. Here’s why you can trust me.” You’re not necessarily saying those words, but that’s what a welcome sequence does. It kind of sets the ground.
Bjork Ostrom: “Wayfinding” is a word that I learned this year, because we’re remodeling the second floor of this building. There is no wayfinding right now.
Allea Grummert: It’s annoying.
Bjork Ostrom: People come up, they step out of the elevator, and they look to the left and look to the right. A lot of times, they’ll come knock on our door and they’ll be like, “Where’s the jeweler?” People don’t know where they’re going. I think, a lot of times, people set up email in a way that somebody will sign up, and people don’t know where they’re going or if they’re in the right spot in a building, or, in an email sign-up. If you don’t know if it’s the right thing, chances are you’re going to leave. You’re not going to stick around for a really long time. How do you let people know that they’re in the right place? How do you let people know where to go as it relates to email?
Allea Grummert: As far as making sure that people know that they’re in the right place, a lot of that is just stating it. “If this is what you’re looking for, or if you’re looking for this, this, or this, you’ll find that here. I’m going to send that to you.” Set some expectations over, “You’ll get an email from me every Tuesday and Thursday,” or, “On Sundays, you’ll get a roundup.” Part of it is just telling them what’s coming. I know I talked about this in the membership Q&A. I don’t know if everyone has watched that.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, membership Q&A, for those who don’t know, a Food Blogger Pro members have the opportunity to talk to experts, of which you are one, you are the email expert on Food Blogger Pro, weighing in on the forums, live Q&A. We do the podcast. Everybody can view these, but then we have a member-only area. Just jumping in to explain that. Before that, we were talking about wayfinding, we were talking about finding your way, we’re talking about the welcome sequence, we were explaining kind of how you do that when somebody signs up. You can state it. I think that’s important from a copywriting perspective.
Bjork Ostrom: But then, there’s also these things that you can do. We’ve just started to work with you to help to do this with Pinch of Yum. It’s kind of like wayfinding where you imagine you get out of the elevator and it says, “This direction is bathrooms. This direction is Edward Jones. This direction is the playground.” There’s not a playground here, but it’d be awesome if there was.
Bjork Ostrom: You can kind of do that in email as well, where you can present to people with things, and then, they can make a decision of where they want to go. How do you do that? You state it. “Here’s who we are. Here’s what we’re about.” You send an email. That’s communication at its most core. It’s kind of technical, but there’s a little bit of strategy around giving people the option of kind of choose your own adventure. Is that something everybody should be doing? At a high level, how do you do that?
Allea Grummert: It’s something that you can grow into. You don’t have to do it right away. I would rather have you have a one email welcome sequence as a baseline and then grow from there. What we’re talking about is segmentation. From a high level, how would you separate your audience into different segments, different groups, if you will?
Allea Grummert: With Pinch of Yum, it was we learned a lot through research, we have a lot of new home chefs. They don’t know how to get around the kitchen. That’s not something that we want them to feel ashamed about. We want to be able to support them in that. when they say, “I’m new to cooking,” they get a five-email sequence that’s different than if people say, “Nope, I’ve been around a while. Just hit me with your top recipes.”
Allea Grummert: What we’re able to do with that segmentation is really nurture those new home chefs, new home cooks, with literally, the tools that they need. With Pinch of Yum, it’s like, “Here are the five things you need in your kitchen if you’re going to get the most out of Pinch of Yum recipes.”
Bjork Ostrom: Somebody signs up, they get an email that says, “Hey, super excited. Here’s what we’re all about. You’re in the right place if…” kind of that general sense of a touchpoint. Then, saying, “Hey, who are you? Where do you fit in here?” If it’s somebody who has been cooking and has opinions on the best spatula, and they’ve been doing it for 20 years, chances are they’re not going to find it super valuable if we say, “Hey, here’s a really good spatula,” or, “here’s the blender you should use,” because they probably already have it.
Bjork Ostrom: Whereas, for somebody who’s just starting out, I think of our friend Joe, our Christmas gift to him was a blender. Hey, Joe, you got to make some healthy smoothies in the morning. Here’s a blender where you can use that. He would be somebody who’d come in and be like, “Hey, I’m new. I want to learn a little bit more.” You’re kind of segmenting through that. You do that in the welcome sequence. Everybody who signs up is going to, at some point, see that and opt into that. Anything else that would be important to point out, as it relates to a welcome sequence in terms of what the intent of it is and how you should go about approaching it?
Allea Grummert: The intent of it is to welcome. I think I’ve heard it explained, it’s kind of your best of. What is it that people really need to know. What’s really cool about writing out a welcome sequence, and I do this for clients all the time, is it really makes you figure out what’s most important to share. If you might have blog posts that you love, but they’re not really what people are coming to your site for, you can introduce that to them later in the nurture sequence.
Allea Grummert: But in the welcome sequence, it’s saying, and this is less segmentation and more just like, “Let me introduce you. Let me show you what I got. I got a podcast over here. I’ve got a blog over here. I do an Ask me Anything on Instagram every Wednesday. Click here.” It’s less about “conversions.” You’re ultimately building a relationship with someone to let them know, “This is what’s available. Take your pick.”
Allea Grummert: When you’re doing sales emails, you’re like, “I just want them to go to this product, or this or not.” But in the welcome sequence, it’s like, “Hit me with everything. Hit me with what you got.” Organize it in a way that doesn’t overwhelm them. With a welcome sequence, the reason why it’s called a sequence is it can be more than one email.
Allea Grummert: You can have the first email that’s like, “Are you really annoyed with not being able to find gluten-free recipes? I was, too. So I created a blog. These are my top favorites. Tomorrow, I’ll send you a few more resources.” Then, maybe, emails three and four are your segmentation emails, like, “How can I be most helpful to you?” You can have them reply back. You can have them click. Then, that click, the technical side of it with that segmentation has a tag, and then sends them into a related sequence.
Bjork Ostrom: Point being, to talk through that, they get an email, and literally, the software will track. If they click on that, then it registers, “Hey, this person clicked on that. Put them in this bucket.”
Allea Grummert: The beginner bucket, yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: “This bucket is beginner bucket.” Anybody that goes in the beginner bucket gets beginner bucket people emails. They go through those emails. Would you recommend in a welcome sequence that you don’t send anything else to them? Do you say, when it’s welcome sequence, just make sure that’s all that they’re getting, don’t send them if you have a new blog post. Make sure you’re not sending that to welcome sequence people?
Allea Grummert: Yes.
Bjork Ostrom: Or, is it not as big of a deal?
Allea Grummert: Here’s a hot tip. This is fun. Basically, if you can create a segment in your email sequence, like in ConvertKit you can create a segment that is, everyone who is not currently in any of these sequences.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it.
Allea Grummert: When you are sending out your live broadcasts or weekly emails or your new blog posts, just send it to that segment, so you don’t have to wonder, “Who do I need to exclude?” It’s already there. It’s your bundle of people. You can also have a tag that gets added at the beginning that says, “new subscriber.” Then, once it’s completed, that tag goes away. Then, that segment for your new content could just exclude anyone with a new subscriber tag.
Bjork Ostrom: New subscriber tag, that makes sense.
Allea Grummert: You know what it’s like. When you get 16 emails from a company in one week and you’re like, “I’m sorry. Did you know I was new here? I’m feeling overwhelmed and not welcomed at all.”
Bjork Ostrom: It’s like you’re the only person walking into-
Allea Grummert: The Buckle?
Bjork Ostrom: What is the store? The buckle, yeah.
Allea Grummert: That is super Midwest thing where anyone else know.
Bjork Ostrom: I love that you knew where I was going with that, the Buckle challenge.
Allea Grummert: It’s from Nebraska.
Bjork Ostrom: Is it, really?
Allea Grummert: Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s awesome.
Allea Grummert: The Buckle challenge. For anyone who doesn’t know-
Bjork Ostrom: Go ahead.
Allea Grummert: It’s a boutique chain, well, in the Midwest, at least. The salespeople are so commission-driven that the challenge is if you can go and touch the back wall of the Buckle and make it out to the front, probably, without anyone talking to you, then you win. It’s impossible because the salespeople are persistent.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s so awesome that you knew what I was talking about there before I said it. That makes a lot of sense. One of the things that I think is valuable we had kind of been talking about a little bit before earlier on, before we press record, is this idea of content creators, bloggers, specifically, really have a mindset around, “My content schedule is, every week, I’d produce three pieces of content or two or one, or whatever it is.” I publish to Instagram twice a week.
Bjork Ostrom: Email can kind of be this black box where the only thing that really is represented by email is metrics. We’re not logging into it in the same way that we would Instagram. There’s not a draw. We’re not looking at pictures of new content that we’re creating. One of the most powerful tools, being email, can often get neglected, just due to the fact that we’re not presented with that as a platform over and over and over again.
Bjork Ostrom: I think, if we were, we would be creating more within it. Do you recommend that creators create a rhythm around how much they’re interacting with email? And even, if you have a welcome sequence, there probably wouldn’t be a welcome sequence, it’d be another sequence? Should you just always be kind of adding and expanding a sequence? You do have a sequence that lasts three years, and every week you just keep adding email to it? Is there a diminishing return on that?
Allea Grummert: Well, there’s about five questions there I want to answer. I feel like I need to keep notes so that I don’t forget any of them. With Instagram, it’s so interesting because, I think, people have more of a fear of sending emails. They think that they’re going to be a bother. It’s so funny because you can post 16 times on Instagram in a week and you’re like, “I’m not bothering anyone.” But then, you send an email and you’re like, “Oh, my gosh. They’re all going to unsubscribe, and they’re going to hate me.”
Allea Grummert: It’s like, what if the content that you’re sending them solves a problem? Honestly, this is probably why I love email. It’s because it’s not knocking at your door being like, “You haven’t sent an email lately. Everyone’s going to unfollow you.” To be separated from those metrics, I think, is really helpful.
Allea Grummert: As much as I love metrics and I love data, part of it is the same consistency you put towards your blog content, put that towards your email, so it doesn’t have to be this grueling pace of scheduling stuff out on Instagram or whatnot, but allowing yourself to share the content that you’ve created. You’re getting direct traffic back to your site, which is great for SEO and all those other reasons, but it’s maintaining top of mind, which I think we forget about. That’s also an advertising word I learned in college, or phrase.
Allea Grummert: Instead of just holding back and only showing up in someone’s email once a month with this, maybe, hyper-curated newsletter, it doesn’t have to be like that. It could be sending out an RSS feed for a while, just knowing that your information, like, I’ve published it on Thursday and it went out on Tuesday to my list. Part of it is closing the loop in your mind that’s like, “I have this content, but I want to make sure I’m sharing it the best way.” Well, here’s one way you can, at least, be sharing it versus not sharing it at all.
Bjork Ostrom: We have the welcome sequence. I think it’s really smart and something that we don’t really think about because we’re so often focused on new content, but making sure that people see your best content, making sure that that’s a part of it. Would that be another type of sequence that you’d be creating? It’s kind of like, “Hey, welcome. Here’s what we’re all about. Tell us a little bit about yourself.” Then, are you creating a new sequence that’s kind of like, “Now, I want to make sure that you see stuff that’s really awesome, that people really like, that’s going to help you.” Does that come off of the welcome sequence?
Allea Grummert: Yes.
Bjork Ostrom: Welcome sequence, segment another sequence related to that segment.
Allea Grummert: Basically, for instance, with the Pinch of Yum, we have the welcome sequence, and then, we have the beginners. Then, we have your general nurture content, sharing the best Instant Pot recipes or whatnot. When those are completed, then you’ll start getting live content from Lindsay and the team.
Allea Grummert: Then, you can also start getting kind of, if we wanted to build it out, this ongoing list of additional content. We do remember that this is for your new subscribers. They don’t know everything that’s on your site. Just because you know you sent it out six months ago or a year ago, they’ve never seen it. How awful would it be for them to know it’s there?
Allea Grummert: It’s kind of that two different things, Bjork. You can curate that from the get-go and say, “These are my top 15 posts that’s what’s going to be in that ongoing nurture sequence.” Or, as you’re creating content, like you mentioned just before, tag that into or just copy that over into a nurture sequence. Even if it’s not your best of content, which is where I’m at, all of my nurture content, the automated stuff that goes out on Tuesdays is the stuff that I first started writing when I first started creating my email list. I will tell you, it’s not phenomenal.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Allea Grummert: I have become a better writer and I’m a little embarrassed. I’m like, “Is it still helpful for someone? Yes. Does it mean I’m showing up top of mind and in their inbox? Yes.” And it’s helping me to build that relationship. You kind of have two different ways to go about it. It just depends on, A, how long, maybe, you’ve been around, that you can actually say, “These are my top 15 to 20 posts.”
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Allea Grummert: Also, save yourself some time and energy, and just repurpose the content that you’ve been sending out.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, repurpose that. I think of music as an analogy in terms of an industry. I think, obviously, the production of songs is at a smaller scale than the production of blog content or recipes. You think of when somebody has an album. It’s 11 song. There’s, maybe, one that’s a hit, that really gets all the attention. It’s on the radio. It’s on Spotify. They’re playing it on Jimmy Fallon. There’s clips of it that show up on TikTok. It’s kind of everywhere.
Bjork Ostrom: Then, when you sit down and you think, “What am I going to listen to?” it’s like, “Maybe, ever more.” I’ve just seen that everywhere. People have been talking about it. Taylor Swift’s latest album, Evermore.
Allea Grummert: Absolutely, Taylor Swift, yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: I think, advertising, at its core, is being top of mind. So when there is that trigger point of, what should I make tonight? Well, that email from Pinch of Yum, maybe, I should go and check Pinch of Yum to see if there’s something there. It’s not even just a click. It’s not just an open. It’s also a touchpoint of getting your brand in the inbox and reminding people that you’re there and that you’re helpful, which I think is great. You had mentioned RSS.
Allea Grummert: Throwback, right?
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure.
Allea Grummert: 1995, something like that when they started.
Bjork Ostrom: For a long time, Pinch of Yum was just, we would send out an RSS email. When a blog post would go out, we’d send a RSS email out for it. That’s kind of entry level, just getting into it.
Allea Grummert: Minimum viable situation there.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, it’s very, very basic.
Allea Grummert: But it’s happening versus nothing at all.
Bjork Ostrom: When you work with creators, when you work with bloggers, what do you see a lot of times coming in? What’s the lay of the land coming in? If you were a home organizer, you come in and you’re like, “Alright, great. I see this, and there’s a lot of room for improvement,” do you have kind of a before and after, if you were to boil down the most common scenario you see, average scenario you see, coming in? Then, immediately, the areas of opportunity that you see for enhancing or improving or optimizing?
Allea Grummert: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but, most of the client work that I see that comes, I have an audit, I literally go in and just look at everything, is that they don’t have any automated sequences set up. In most cases, they’re like, “I know I should, but I’ve been blogging for five, 10 years. I just never did,” where they have something that’s really outdated and doesn’t really represent who they are and who they’re serving and the kind of content they’re creating anymore.
Allea Grummert: It’s really like a blank slate. It’s like, “I just email my list whenever I feel like it.” There’s that. There’s not really any structure for your new subscriber. They just start getting your information from the get-go. I don’t know why I just kind of skipped right over this. A simple solution, too, is kind of giving each day a purpose, like Tuesdays is a letter from the editor, and then, Fridays are the days that all that old content that’s automated just goes out on Fridays.
Allea Grummert: Get it in your mind, too, that you’re creating a schedule that you get to stick to. First of all, no one probably cares exactly what day things go out. But that also helps you clearly communicate to your readers in a welcome sequence. On Fridays, I’m going to pull something from the archives something that you might think is helpful. That’s part of it, too, is just setting up in your mind. When you’re setting up your sequences, to just deciding, like Mondays is older content, Wednesdays is brand new content, Friday is a roundup. I don’t know. Having something like that in your brain just makes it easier to comprehend what’s happening. Otherwise, I think, a lot of times with email, we don’t see it played out on a calendar like you would with Instagram planning or something.
Bjork Ostrom: It gives it some type of structure that you can build against, which I think is really helpful. One of the things that I love about some of the things that you’re talking about is I’ve been trying to think a lot about how do we introduce little multipliers. We have this thing. We all own what is this asset. It’s content. It’s traffic. It’s a social following. We’re feeding that. We’re putting content in. We have a system around that. What is something that we can introduce that we work really hard to do it one time…
Bjork Ostrom: It’s kind of like, stick with me on this, if we have a factory line and we have all of the things along the factory line, and we’re producing content. We’re making it. We put it on the factory line. It ships out. How do we pause on putting stuff on the factory line in order to create a new thing on the line that makes forever going forward all of the other things that we’re producing better?
Bjork Ostrom: I feel like sequences and email is an example of one area where that exists, where if we don’t do content for a week or two weeks, and instead focus on this other area, all the future content that we produce is going to be more beneficial because we’ve added that multiplier to make it better down the line. I think, too often, we get caught up in feeding the beast of the content machine or the content marketer.
Allea Grummert: Versus how we can share it.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, multiply it, amplify it, going back and making sure that our preexisting content that is awesome, it gets seen. I think a welcome sequence and email does a really good job of that. We talked about that, welcome sequence.
Bjork Ostrom: We talked about this idea of after somebody goes through welcome sequence, they can kind of have this additional touchpoint, depending on if they’ve segmented into a certain area to dive a little bit deeper RSS, the very basic level, or a more kind of crafted touchpoint if you have a new piece of content that’s going out. If you think of the buckets of email, do you feel like that kind of covers the different buckets? Or, would there be any other areas that would be worth pointing out in terms of kind of broad category for email?
Allea Grummert: Honestly, I think that wraps it up. Having the welcome sequence and this sort of tailored nurture content for your newbies, and then, having your evergreen content kind of on autopilot. I’ve heard it called an endless broadcast. You have those things. Then, in addition to that, like you mentioned, you have your live content. That’s what fuels your endless broadcast.
Allea Grummert: Other places I can imagine would be, a lot of times, people like to do short sequences, a teachable thing, like how to make bread at home or whatnot. I think the important thing is just remember, if that’s someone’s first touchpoint with you, to make sure that you’re still introducing yourself. Let’s not make assumptions that anyone knows who you are.
Bjork Ostrom: Yes, totally.
Allea Grummert: Then, send them through your welcome sequence, or send them into your nurture content, based on where someone might be at the end of that sequence. That’s not even super necessary. I think, if you’re creating content and you send it out to your list every week, that a minimum, that’s fantastic. We’re just talking about, like you said, how do we maximize that. Having a welcome sequence prepares people even more for that content. The value of a welcome sequence is that it’s going to boost your open and click-through rates and your engagement for the long haul.
Bjork Ostrom: Can you talk about why that is?
Allea Grummert: Well, it’s a certain familiarity. If you walk into a place and no one introduces themselves, you’re like, “Well, I’m leaving. It’s not really noteworthy,” versus if you walk into, I think of like a church, and somebody says, “Hi, Allea. Nice to meet you. My name’s Bob.” I’m like, “Bob, Bob. I remember Bob.” It builds up certain familiarity.
Bjork Ostrom: Bob knows me, in some sense.
Allea Grummert: Bob knows me. He saw me. It’s funny because, maybe, it feels like the least sexy part of marketing. It’s not a webinar. It’s not an Instagram, what’s it, IGTV. Clearly, I hang out on Instagram a lot. It’s not sexy, but it’s warm and welcoming, and it sets that tone for when they get an email from you in the future. That’s also part of it. I don’t send email from Duett. Mine is from [email protected] I want them to associate my name with being a person, and that you’re a person. That’s part of our long-term relationship.
Bjork Ostrom: This is on the complete opposite side of that, very transactional, not relational. Is there a point where you say, “This is great. We want to make this connection. We want to make sure that we’re serving and helping people.” Also, we’re a business, and we want to make sure that, occasionally, we’re asking for whatever it might be, like a sale, a purchase. Have you seen or worked with or have opinions of bloggers who are doing that well, and, again, very transactional, monetizing email in a smart way?
Allea Grummert: Yeah, I think we can make money without it feeling transactional. Let’s go back to your segments. Part of it is you’re personalizing content based on what someone has told you. Instead of just blasting everyone with the same thing, if you have an eBook for beginner home chefs, that’s who you pitch it to. You don’t pitch it to everyone. You’re going to see a higher conversion rate that way. For me, the absence of annoying emails that don’t apply to me is just as much as valuable as sending the right email to the right person. If I’m an expert on bread-baking, I don’t need your intro to bread baking course.
Allea Grummert: That’s a huge part of it. Then, also, that allows you to personalize the content because you know exactly who you’re talking to. In that email, it’s not like, “This is for you if you’re this and this and this and this whole wide range.” You get to say, “If you’re a new home chef and you want to accomplish these three or four or five things, this is for you.” You’re able to really target that person more specifically. Specificity is a huge reason why people take action. They’re like, “This isn’t just some vague eBook. These are things that are actually going to help me for right where I’m at.”
Bjork Ostrom: Analogy: Buckle. You come in. Somebody does come up to you. They welcome you. They go, “Hey, pair of pants. You want them?” Maybe, but probably not everybody. Versus, “Hey, welcome to the Buckle. Glad you’re here. What are you looking for?” “Looking for a cool graphic tee.” “You’ve got those. Here’s a few that you could look at.” Point being it’s speaking to people where they’re at in a way that, hopefully, is helpful. Then, enters into the game of like, we are content producers. Most people who listen to this podcast, Pinch of Yum being an example, is there then this balance between free content and paid content?
Bjork Ostrom: Pinch of Yum kind of does that, but not really. Most of what we do is just free. I think there’s huge opportunity, which we haven’t capitalized on, in creating a certain level tier of a product that is paid for and, maybe, higher touch or more specific or whatever it might be, a cookbook being an example of that, whether it be eBook or physical. It’s a great piece of the puzzle if somebody has that to introduce as a part of their email sequence.
Allea Grummert: Even affiliate programs.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Allea Grummert: I feel like this needs to be stated. One of the general rule, break it if you want, but it’s send three valuable emails before you send a pitch email. Think about if you’re going to be pitching an affiliate program, say, it’s Instacart or something like that, the three emails before it talks about the value of meal planning and the value of having your meals delivered.
Allea Grummert: Think about how you can kind of prime your audience before you make a pitch. Just even thinking about that, that feels better as a marketer, as a content creator, because you’re ultimately solving a problem. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be pitching that affiliate. If you’re out there, just hitting people with affiliates and buy my thing, buy my thing, maybe, find a different job. I don’t know how that’s working for you. Versus, how can I craft this in a way that actually knows who I’m talking to and wants to benefit, then?
Bjork Ostrom: I think there isn’t a natural escalation of the relationship that can occur. I’ve seen that where I’ll sign up for an email list or purchase a product, and the exchange or the ask isn’t like, “Hey, also buy this thing.” Usually, when it is, it’s a really quick unsubscribe for me, like, “Hey, thanks for buying this chair. Here’s four other chairs you should buy.” It’s like, “No, I’m good.”
Bjork Ostrom: Maybe, a better example is Peloton. You sign up for Peloton. The ask that they have after you sign up isn’t, “Hey, here’s some Peloton gear. You should buy it.” It’s, “Here’s where you can join the community on Facebook. Here’s where you can follow us on Instagram.” It’s still kind of an ask, but it’s an escalation to relationship to, then, have another touchpoint somewhere else. To me, until I was thinking about it now, it’s never actually felt like an ask. It is a call to action. Maybe, that’s a better way to say it.
Allea Grummert: They’re micro-commitments That’s what I’ve heard them called, too.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally. It’s like, then, you’re starting to get these micro-commitments in other places. To your point, then, you are top of mind more, because then, now you’re also on Facebook and in email and, maybe, following on Pinterest, or whatever it might be. I think there’s strategy in having those micro-commitments in other places. Your blog isn’t the only place where you’d, maybe, ask for email. Are there other places that we should be thinking about that? We have an email opt-in, at the top, get my free eBook. How do you get people to actually sign up? What’s the strategy around getting people very, very top of funnel, to use a marketing term, first, getting people in? How do you do that well?
Allea Grummert: Gosh, I feel like, in general, there’s a phrase for this that, when I was at university, was called integrated marketing campaign. We tend to think, because I’m learning about email funnels, it’s all going to happen in email, as though Instagram and other sorts of media don’t work. Or, we do Instagram and we forget about email, and it’s like, “Well, email has a higher close rate and higher sales as a result than Instagram and better segmentation and whatnot.” Just in general, think about it. It’s all integrated, your website, your language, podcast, and whatnot.
Allea Grummert: Gosh, I think a lot of it is knowing where you want your home base to be. Where are you most going to be able to relate to your viewers, your readers, your subscribers? I would say, don’t let that be Instagram, don’t let that be a social media platform that can disappear tomorrow. That’s also a huge reason why. When was the last time you change your email address? My Gmail, I’ve had for 15 years. I’m not going to lose people if an algorithm changes.
Allea Grummert: Thinking about long-term sustainability, driving people to that. I’m going to say drive it to your email list. Even if you are on Instagram, if you try out Clubhouse, or you are on… what was the video? Periscope. Those things are cool and they’re always going to pop up, but what’s your home base for always being able to communicate and get in touch with your subscribers, your most interested people when you need to? With Instagram, if I’m pitching something, I’m launching something, who’s all going to see it? It’s already blocked by so many algorithms. At least, with email, I know what got delivered.
Bjork Ostrom: Then, it’s on you as the creator to make sure it’s quality enough to get opened and that you interact with it. How about if you were to look at a blog post and you were to say, “I would recommend,” probably defense is the answer.
Allea Grummert: Test it, is how the marketer will say that.
Bjork Ostrom: If somebody had to start, where would they start with trying to strategically get as many people as possible to sign up for their email list?
Allea Grummert: Well, have an in-blog or an inline blog form in your post, or have it in your sidebar, have it in your footer just spread out. I just recently did a review on my marketing. Most of my subscribers are coming from landing pages. I’m like, “Maybe, I don’t need inline forms. I just need a button with a picture of the opt-in, and it directs to the landing page, because that’s converting well enough.” Have an announcement bar, if you want. I have kind of all those things.
Allea Grummert: Figure out where people are even getting to those landing pages. I realized that so many people come from my resources page to the landing pages. Then, they convert. Then, my announcement bar on my site just drives people to my resources page, so they get to pick which of the five resources that they want most. I would say, just get it set up, but don’t feel like you have to tweak it all the time. Give it some time to work.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s great. We haven’t done this, yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up doing it. On a recipe page, if you look at a heat map, for those who aren’t familiar with heat map, blue is people don’t spend a lot of time there. Red means that people spend a lot of time there. Hotjar would be an example of a company that you could do heat maps with. You could install it and see it on your site.
Bjork Ostrom: The hottest part of a recipe post is going to be the recipe card, but also, there’s the least amount of call to action in that area, and not the one super strong call to action. One of the areas we’ve thought about and potentially test is, what does it look like to have a really simple opt-in signup, something like that, in that area, because people see that a lot?
Allea Grummert: When you could direct them to a lead magnet, whether it’s a cookbook with 25 different recipes, or it could be, this is a bundle of five recipes that are all really similar, and then, that’s what you ask them to download, and the recipe that you’re on right now is included. We just make it easier for you to reference again later.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome. We’ve covered a lot. But also, it’s covered a lot of the surface of all that it is, and it takes a lot to dive deep into it, which is what you do. It’s been great to work with you. I know the Pinch of Yum team and Food Blogger Pro team also really love working with you. If other people want to work with you, connect with you, follow up, how do they do that, Allea? Also, pointing out that you’re an expert in Food Blogger Pro, people want to reach out in the forum, or if we do upcoming live Q&As?
Allea Grummert: I love those forum chats. I love it.
Bjork Ostrom: How do people connect with you?
Allea Grummert: Actually, I’ve got a landing page just for a Food Blogger Pro listener. It’s Duett, D-U-E-T-T.co/foodbloggerpro, or you can just come find me at duet.co. You can book a discovery call with me there, if you would like to hire me to work with you and your blog one-on-one, or your business. Otherwise, on that Food Blogger Pro landing page, you can get a freebie called your first welcome sequence, where I provide a bunch of different prompts for you to be able to kind of craft out exactly what would be in your own welcome sequence.
Bjork Ostrom: Cool. Awesome. Allea, super great to connect with you.
Allea Grummert: Thank you.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s so fun to talk with experts who have a deep understanding and, also, who are just fun people to talk to. It makes it so much easier.
Allea Grummert: Thank you. Same to you.
Bjork Ostrom: Thanks. Excited to stay connected and work with you and see you around Food Blogger Pro. Thanks for jumping on the call.
Allea Grummert: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.
Alexa Peduzzi: That’s a wrap on this episode of the Food Blogger Pro podcast. Thanks again for tuning in today. We hope you enjoyed this interview with Allea. I wanted to mention that the resource that she mentioned at the end of that episode, duett.co/foodbloggerpro, if you go there and if you’re really, really fast, you can be one of three people who can get a free strategy call with her. There’s a link right there in the middle of the page to schedule your free 20-minute strategy call. Be sure to be quick and get on that, if you are interested.
Alexa Peduzzi: Otherwise, you can find all of the other resources and links that were mentioned in this episode at the URL for this podcast, foodbloggerpro.com/288. You can find all of those there, links to Allea’s site, as well as some other important and helpful links. That does it for us this week, my friend. We will see you next time. Until then, make it a great week.