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And if you're on the hunt for some top-notch email marketing strategy and conversion copywriting tips - you've come to the right place!
RecipeTeacher is a popular food blog for everyday folks who want to cook easy, tasty, down home meals. Founder Jason Norris has a knack for cutting through the online noise and boiling recipes down to the basics. RecipeTeacher’s Instant Pot and air fryer recipes are especially popular.
Perhaps one reason for RecipeTeacher’s success is Jason’s dedication to simplicity. The site is all about recipes that just work. No cookbooks to buy or plans to sign up for, just the recipes that readers are asking for (that have been tested to oblivion, which is why people know they’ll be great!). Yet even without paid products or services, Jason was able to quit his job and work on the blog full-time, thanks to ad revenue from Google search and his dedicated fan base.
Traffic is critical for RecipeTeacher’s success and growth, and it gets about 70% of its visitors from search, thanks to Jason’s investment in SEO. However, he knew changes were on the horizon with Google’s plan to phase out third-party cookies (and not the tasty kind).
“Everything I had read on Food Blogger Pro and other places just drove home the importance of a subscriber list….especially with retargeting cookies going away. After hesitating for WAY too long, I set it up myself with Mailchimp and just sort of blindly started.” – Jason Norris, Founder of RecipeTeacher
Fortunately, just as he was thinking through his fledgling email strategy, Jason happened to hear one of Allea’s guest appearances on the Food Blogger Pro Podcast.
“When I heard about Allea from an episode…on the Food Blogger Pro Podcast, I could tell she was an expert with whom I wanted to reach out. Because she has the expertise, especially in food blogging, I knew I wasn’t going to have to explain my business to her, that she would get it. And that was a big thing.”
When we first began to work with Jason, we learned that he had his Mailchimp account set up and was occasionally sending out newsletters that showcased three recipes at a time. In the months before our first conversation, he’d sent around 10 newsletters, but was discouraged by the unsubscribes and lack of engagement with these newsletters. It was like a super awkward dinner party that everyone secretly couldn’t wait to leave.
He decided to add a welcome letter to new subscribers. This seemed to be well-received as they would occasionally write back with kind words. Jason knew, though, that there were other opportunities.
“I really want to refine the emails I send out to get eyes on new recipes, revisit old recipes, stay in touch and let people know RecipeTeacher is a living, breathing entity and a trusted source for recipes for them.”
That’s where we came in, to help Jason and RecipeTeacher put together an intentional, results-driven email marketing strategy – one that engages new subscribers, builds trust in Jason’s recipes, and ultimately drives traffic back to his blog.
We started with an audit to review RecipeTeacher’s existing email audience and strategy. At that point, he had around 3,000 subscribers and a single welcome email. The one-off newsletters got a respectable click rate of 9%, but the number of unsubscribes, while not out of the ordinary, told us there was still room for improvement. The welcome emails got some nice replies every once in a while, but had a click rate of only 0.2%.
We didn’t stop there. Email marketing is just one piece of RecipeTeacher’s overall strategy, and we wanted to make sure that our plan fit in with the rest of the brand. A big part of that was hearing directly from RecipeTeacher’s readers. Through our customer research, we found that RecipeTeacher’s readers tend to be:
Why does this matter? Because we’re not here to just plug your blog into a template and send you on your way. We know that every blogger is different, so your welcome emails should be tailored to your exact audience. To write the most effective welcome and nurture sequences, our team worked diligently to identify the best RecipeTeacher content that could go into Jason’s emails.
Once all the research was done, we set up a welcome series and nurture series to introduce RecipeTeacher and drive traffic to the blog.
And it didn’t take long for Jason to start seeing results!
Jason’s new welcome sequence consists of six emails that shared his top recipes and best tips for the Instant Pot and air fryer. From there, subscribers get a nurture series including Jason’s “best damn” recipes for pork, chicken, salmon, and more. We knew these would be well-received because of the audience research we conducted. And to reduce inbox clutter, we also gave new subscribers the choice to opt out of recipes for appliances they don’t own (because if you don’t have an air fryer, you don’t need those emails, do you?).
“The final product you’ve delivered is customized based on my content, not just your own templates. You could easily come in with a cookie cutter plan and say, ‘This is what we send out to all of our food bloggers.’ But you guys have delivered some really quality content that has made a difference to my business.”
These days, RecipeTeacher has over 35,000 subscribers, which is over 10 times what they started with. At one point, there were over 50,000 subscribers, but we know that list quality matters as much as quantity, so we did a re-engagement series and list cleanup.
Now, nearly four times as many people are clicking on live newsletters as before, with a healthy click rate of nearly 6%.
Another substantial place for growth is in the automated welcome sequences. RecipeTeacher’s 15 new emails do a great job of introducing Jason and his recipes, answering common questions new subscribers have, and building trust and engagement. The click rate for those is nearly 300 times the click rate on the old single welcome email!
Of course, the metric that matters most for RecipeTeacher is traffic. And all those email clicks mean more eyes on the blog’s recipes – 35,000+ more eyes,.
“Since Allea and I worked together a year ago, my new automated emails have provided me with 35,000 additional visits to my site. Of all the marketing things I’ve done, email is the one I like the most — and I think it offers the most opportunity.”
We couldn’t agree more! Email remains the most direct line to your customers and readers. Social media and search algorithms change all the time, sometimes without you even realizing it until it’s too late. Advertising is expensive and highly competitive. But no one can ever take your email list away. And you can use email to drive traffic, convert readers into fans, and boost advertising and affiliate revenue.
Nearly 2 years after we set up the new welcome and nurture sequences, RecipeTeacher has had:
“The traffic from the emails is already increasing. And I’m confident it will continue to increase. I am very satisfied, very proud to have sought out a true expert and super excited and watching the results.”
Beyond the numbers, we really strive to be business partners with our clients, not just a contractor who shows up to do a job and then leaves. The customer research we did for RecipeTeacher provided valuable insights that Jason could continue to use in all of his brand messaging, from PDF resources to new blog posts.
“I really loved how hands-on Allea and the Duett team are. The research to understand my brand was more than I could have imagined. And during this whole process, it helped me to further identify my own brand to ME and steps were taken to make it better. This aspect of the project was amazing.”
We also love seeing clients grow as a result of our work together. Even after his initial 15 emails were doing well, Jason wanted to add more emails and leverage his list growth to promote a new blog project and showcase some of his oven and stovetop recipes. New subscribers now get 26 emails with the very best of RecipeTeacher.
To us and our clients, email marketing isn’t something you set once and forget about. We want it to be like the bloggers we serve: dynamic and adaptable to changing needs over time. With a solid foundation of research and proven automation strategy, that’s exactly what will propel RecipeTeacher forward.
“The #1 thing the Duett Debut allowed me to do was have a complete and solid foundation for communication with my subscribers in THE most professional way. I continue to get really good feedback from the emails and I LOVE how people are reaching out to me more than ever!”
If you’re not welcoming new subscribers and pointing them in the direction of your best, most beloved content — or you feel like the one you have isn’t doing the trick — it’s time we fix that. Use this free 5-part framework to make a meaningful & lasting first impression as you write your first welcome sequence for new email subscribers!
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Join us for the next email marketing roundtable, a free live event where we'll clear up any confusion you have around email marketing — so you can get your message in front of your audience, engage subscribers, and optimize conversions for sales and site traffic.
We’re Duett, an email marketing agency specializing in email strategy, email copywriting, and email automation setup with a special place in our heart for bloggers (especially those who make delicious food). If you’re a content creator craving to authentically connect with your audience so you can build lasting relationships, increase site traffic, and put your best offers forward — Let’s Duett!