Building a List for a Food/Cooking Site?

26 replies
My first site when I got online was a hobby site, in the food/cooking area. To this day it is probably my best site traffic-wise, but I never really focused to much on it as I had other projects going.

I was thinking of starting a list with this site, but I don't know if it would be worth my time. I'm not sure how I'd monetize the list. The only thing I could think of is just have links back to my site in the autoresponder sequence where posts would be monetized with Amazon or adsense.

Thoughts?
#building #food or cooking #list #site
  • Profile picture of the author CalinDan
    The recipe niche has the biggest market online... I didn't knew this until recently.
    It's bigger than health, which is bigger than weight loss, which is bigger than make money online.. and so forth.

    You can make a really great income with information products, CPA offers and/or selling your own cookbooks/recipe books if you build a list.

    My point is: the market is there, and the market is active, you can monetize this how ever you please. My guess is that Amazon and AdSense would be a waste of time if you have a big targeted list.

    Regards,
    Dan
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    • Profile picture of the author Tom Ryan
      Thanks for your response Dan, I will probably start a list and figure how to monetize it as I go along.
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      • Profile picture of the author yesacpow
        The food niche can be a very lucrative niche is you get in right. There's a warrior on here that has thousand of email subscribers in the recipes niche and make a killing.

        His name is 'Ron Douglas'

        You can look him up. He has been featured in tons of magazines and news portals. So you just need a good USP (unique selling preposition) and you could do wonders in that niche.
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  • Profile picture of the author GailTrahd
    How you gather that list will also make monetizing it a bit easier. People can be searching for recipes that are:
    low fat
    high protein
    balanced meals
    quick and easy meals
    weight loss meals
    made with just rotisserie chickens
    only bar-b-que
    for diabetics
    for body builders
    for new mothers

    and can be monetized with your own membership that supplies weekly menus with recipes, shopping lists and calorie counts.
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    • Profile picture of the author Tom Ryan
      Thanks for all your thoughts.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Barboza
    I was about to mention Ron Douglas and noticed somebody else did so. Search for his name in the forum and take a look at his posts.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Blades
    Of course you can monetize it, you can't cook without a stove, blender, mixer etc... hint hint
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  • Profile picture of the author megansays
    I have a nutrition site and have been pondering answers to the same question. I think recipes are a great way to go. Meal plans too if you're in a niche that would work well for that, or diet reviews. Couldn't hurt to set up a list and get subs while you're deciding what to do.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Keane
    You can build a list as long as there are targeted buyers in a specific niche.

    One of the best important tips is,

    "You should stay away in Internet Marketing Niche when you're building a list to have a better and quick result. It is really obvious that IM Niches were very crowded at this point of time, bunch of professional/newbie competitors. "

    Cheers!
    John Keane
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by Tom Ryan View Post

    I'm not sure how I'd monetize the list. The only thing I could think of is just have links back to my site in the autoresponder sequence where posts would be monetized with Amazon or adsense.

    Thoughts?
    ClickBank and Amazon (and others, I'm sure)? Recipe/food/drink/nutrition books and e-books, and a variety of kitchen equipment at very different price-ranges? These are potentially hugely profitable niches to monetize. If you have the traffic to start with, and a nice blog, you're sitting on a highly monetizable property, there, for list-building.

    (For myself, I'd stay away from AdSense and contextual advertising altogether, to concentrate on list-building).
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    • Profile picture of the author koreancowboy
      Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

      ClickBank and Amazon (and others, I'm sure)? Recipe/food/drink/nutrition books and e-books, and a variety of kitchen equipment at very different price-ranges? These are potentially hugely profitable niches to monetize. If you have the traffic to start with, and a nice blog, you're sitting on a highly monetizable property, there, for list-building.

      (For myself, I'd stay away from AdSense and contextual advertising altogether, to concentrate on list-building).
      I never even knew...but cool! I actually have a food blog, but I haven't done anything with it...until now!
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      • Profile picture of the author John Keane
        Originally Posted by koreancowboy View Post

        I never even knew...but cool! I actually have a food blog, but I haven't done anything with it...until now!
        You should jump on it and make a list with your daily visitors. It's pretty simple to make an opt in form.

        Go for it dude!
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        • Profile picture of the author koreancowboy
          Originally Posted by John Keane View Post

          You should jump on it and make a list with your daily visitors. It's pretty simple to make an opt in form.

          Go for it dude!
          Already working on it, and have even created a specific subdomain for a microniche that I didn't even realise was viable enough to pursue...bonus that I'm an expert at this (eating it right now, as a matter of fact)! :p
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    • Profile picture of the author Tom Ryan
      Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

      ClickBank and Amazon (and others, I'm sure)? Recipe/food/drink/nutrition books and e-books, and a variety of kitchen equipment at very different price-ranges? These are potentially hugely profitable niches to monetize. If you have the traffic to start with, and a nice blog, you're sitting on a highly monetizable property, there, for list-building.

      (For myself, I'd stay away from AdSense and contextual advertising altogether, to concentrate on list-building).
      Now I wish I would have started a list sooner on this site. It has been around for years getting decent traffic. Do you think I should just start collecting emails right away even though I don't yet have a plan as how my follow-up sequence will go? Or should I wait and plan out the follow up before starting to collect a list?
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Tom Ryan View Post

        Do you think I should just start collecting emails right away even though I don't yet have a plan as how my follow-up sequence will go? Or should I wait and plan out the follow up before starting to collect a list?
        Well, you need to have the "incentive offered in exchange for the email address" ready to go out, before you put up the opt-in, anyway.

        And that incentive/"free report" (or whatever you call it) - though it only needs to be a 5/6-page PDF, if it's good enough - needs to be something specifically designed and created to brand your site and yourself, to ensure that you get the maximum possible open-rate from the subsequent email series, and to set up your continuity-process and set your subscribers' expectations. (Don't ignore any of that and just "hope for the best", because you're potentially sitting on a good income, here, if you get it right, and it would be a real tragedy to end up with a 25% open-rate for your emails!). Preparing that - depending on how used to them you are - can be a "proper job", of course, but at least you only ever have to do it once. For that site.

        I know you have a mixture of niches/sub-niches, there, but you don't want to over-complicate it and start offering different free reports for the sign-up? That would get very messy and complicated. I think you just need to do one, good, short one designed to appeal to as many of the visitors as possible?

        This thread will help, I think: http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ml#post6123982

        Originally Posted by Tom Ryan View Post

        should I wait and plan out the follow up before starting to collect a list?
        I would, but quickly. I'd have it done in a day. But I do this regularly and I appreciate that you may not and it can take a little while. Well, at this stage, a few days/a week or so doesn't make any difference?

        Regarding the autoresponder, it's up to you: I start off my lists and put my opt-in on the site with either 1 or 2 messages in the autoresponder. Having someone sign up is a good enough incentive for me to add a few more in there pretty quickly! But I do have it mentally planned out, and have already decided which products to start by promoting before I even start to make the site, so to be fair I'm in a completely different situation from yours. Good luck!
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        • Profile picture of the author Tom Ryan
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          Well, you need to have the "incentive offered in exchange for the email address" ready to go out, before you put up the opt-in, anyway.

          And that incentive/"free report" (or whatever you call it) - though it only needs to be a 5/6-page PDF, if it's good enough - needs to be something specifically designed and created to brand your site and yourself, to ensure that you get the maximum possible open-rate from the subsequent email series, and to set up your continuity-process and set your subscribers' expectations. (Don't ignore any of that and just "hope for the best", because you're potentially sitting on a good income, here, if you get it right, and it would be a real tragedy to end up with a 25% open-rate for your emails!). Preparing that - depending on how used to them you are - can be a "proper job", of course, but at least you only ever have to do it once. For that site.

          I know you have a mixture of niches/sub-niches, there, but you don't want to over-complicate it and start offering different free reports for the sign-up? That would get very messy and complicated. I think you just need to do one, good, short one designed to appeal to as many of the visitors as possible?

          This thread will help, I think: http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ml#post6123982



          I would, but quickly. I'd have it done in a day. But I do this regularly and I appreciate that you may not and it can take a little while. Well, at this stage, a few days/a week or so doesn't make any difference?

          Regarding the autoresponder, it's up to you: I start off my lists and put my opt-in on the site with either 1 or 2 messages in the autoresponder. Having someone sign up is a good enough incentive for me to add a few more in there pretty quickly! But I do have it mentally planned out, and have already decided which products to start by promoting before I even start to make the site, so to be fair I'm in a completely different situation from yours. Good luck!
          Wow, Alexa that helps out a bunch! One thing I need to figure out is how to write the free report with continuity in mind. Just giving some free recipes doesn't really do that; I don't think anyway.

          Does writing with continuity in mind basically mean that you leave your readers with a "cliff hanger" at the end? Kinda like peoples' favorite tv shows where they want to tune in the following week. Just trying to figure out how I would do that in a free report.

          Thanks for all your help.
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          • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
            Banned
            Originally Posted by Tom Ryan View Post

            Wow, Alexa that helps out a bunch! One thing I need to figure out is how to write the free report with continuity in mind. Just giving some free recipes doesn't really do that; I don't think anyway.
            Yes, I think that's right.

            If it's a recipe niche, I think leaving them with the feeling that the very best recipes will be coming up later is probably more important than giving them some now (though clearly you'll have to do that, too!).

            And personalize it as much as you can, and put in plenty of links to your own site? (People do forward them to others, and it helps to try to get something back from that. I include a little explanation of why, if they want to do their "interested friends" a favor, they'll be doing them a much better one by sending them to my landing page than by passing on the report. But some do still pass on the report, of course, which is ok, too).

            Originally Posted by Tom Ryan View Post

            Does writing with continuity in mind basically mean that you leave your readers with a "cliff hanger" at the end?
            Yes, definitely: exactly this.

            I think it helps open-rates and attention-rates a lot to explain what's coming up next and when, in as appetizing a way as possible. Especially in the "free report". The purpose of the "free report" is to maximise the open-rates and set expectations for the subsequent email series, after all. (Clearly you can't do that without some valuable niche-content as well, though - and in this case that would be recipes?).

            Originally Posted by Tom Ryan View Post

            Kinda like peoples' favorite tv shows where they want to tune in the following week. Just trying to figure out how I would do that in a free report.
            I always try to do it informally, but with some good content. I start by thanking them for subscribing, and usually explain who I am (actually "who my pen-name is" though the comments I make will describe myself), and so on. And explain clearly, openly and repeatedly that this little e-book is simply the first part of a series of similar information about the niche, coming up by email without their needing to take any further action, and drop a few appealing hints about the series.

            Being an affiliate, I also include a brief summary of how affiliate marketing works, explaining that I'll be recommending both things for which I am, and things for which I'm not, an affiliate - always stating which on each occasion, and especially providing reassurance that they'll never pay more by buying anything through one of my links (essential to do this - otherwise many will imagine the opposite!), and so on.

            They don't have to be long. What they have to be is "part of a series" leaving people wanting more.

            It could, in fact, more or less be done with a long email, but a PDF looks more attractive, gives them something to "keep" (more than an email does, anyway), and is expected and respected. Sometimes the perception is more important than the reality. I sometimes look at mine and think "It would be so much easier to do this by email", but I still get "thank you emails" for them, so it seems to work.

            What you need to avoid, of course, is giving them PLR, or some existing PDF you've acquired for the purpose, which has nothing to do with yourself at all. That's "Disaster City", and leads only to the very stressing and distressing situation of trying to convince yourself - when you've lost three quarters of them - that "25% open-rates are normal in the industry"!

            It's really "yourself" that you're branding, as an information provider - not anyone's products. People buy from/through someone they feel they know, like, respect and trust. You need to become that person. The free report is the way to continue what you started toward that with whatever attracted them to your site and what they found there, and to set their expectations for what's coming up next. It's all about continuity.
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            • Profile picture of the author mcwalker25
              Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

              Yes, I think that's right.

              If it's a recipe niche, I think leaving them with the feeling that the very best recipes will be coming up later is probably more important than giving them some now (though clearly you'll have to do that, too!).

              And personalize it as much as you can, and put in plenty of links to your own site? (People do forward them to others, and it helps to try to get something back from that. I include a little explanation of why, if they want to do their "interested friends" a favor, they'll be doing them a much better one by sending them to my landing page than by passing on the report. But some do still pass on the report, of course, which is ok, too).



              Yes, definitely: exactly this.

              I think it helps open-rates and attention-rates a lot to explain what's coming up next and when, in as appetizing a way as possible. Especially in the "free report". The purpose of the "free report" is to maximise the open-rates and set expectations for the subsequent email series, after all. (Clearly you can't do that without some valuable niche-content as well, though - and in this case that would be recipes?).



              I always try to do it informally, but with some good content. I start by thanking them for subscribing, and usually explain who I am (actually "who my pen-name is" though the comments I make will describe myself), and so on. And explain clearly, openly and repeatedly that this little e-book is simply the first part of a series of similar information about the niche, coming up by email without their needing to take any further action, and drop a few appealing hints about the series.

              Being an affiliate, I also include a brief summary of how affiliate marketing works, explaining that I'll be recommending both things for which I am, and things for which I'm not, an affiliate - always stating which on each occasion, and especially providing reassurance that they'll never pay more by buying anything through one of my links (essential to do this - otherwise many will imagine the opposite!), and so on.

              They don't have to be long. What they have to be is "part of a series" leaving people wanting more.

              It could, in fact, more or less be done with a long email, but a PDF looks more attractive, gives them something to "keep" (more than an email does, anyway), and is expected and respected. Sometimes the perception is more important than the reality. I sometimes look at mine and think "It would be so much easier to do this by email", but I still get "thank you emails" for them, so it seems to work.

              What you need to avoid, of course, is giving them PLR, or some existing PDF you've acquired for the purpose, which has nothing to do with yourself at all. That's "Disaster City", and leads only to the very stressing and distressing situation of trying to convince yourself - when you've lost three quarters of them - that "25% open-rates are normal in the industry"!

              It's really "yourself" that you're branding, as an information provider - not anyone's products. People buy from/through someone they feel they know, like, respect and trust. You need to become that person. The free report is the way to continue what you started toward that with whatever attracted them to your site and what they found there, and to set their expectations for what's coming up next. It's all about continuity.
              yourself is the best image i think
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    • Profile picture of the author CalinDan
      Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

      (For myself, I'd stay away from AdSense and contextual advertising altogether, to concentrate on list-building).
      Exactly my point!
      Even if it wasn't, I would still follow Alexa's advice ...she knows things

      Regards,
      Dan
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  • Profile picture of the author BeeJay
    If you already have the traffic coming in you could kill it with a list. Recipe's, cookbooks, utensils, equipment, white goods, site advertising, there are a lot of ways to monetise. If you're giving value to your list through your emails or newsletter, they will be interested in what you have to say about the latest slicer and dicer (conveniently available on amazon).

    The thing I've noticed about the food/recipe niche is how much people like to share and be acknowledged. You could run best recipe competitions, have food photo pages, and other oppotunities for readers to interact and contribute to your site. It's also a great way to get free content and return visitors.

    Could be a lot of fun and a money spinner.
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  • Profile picture of the author megansays
    I would absolutely buy a book from you, Alexa. Just sayin'
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    • Profile picture of the author Tom Ryan
      Wow, Alexa I can't thank you enough for taking the time to give me so much information. It really helps out a bunch! I have a feeling that I will now start with the right foot forward.

      Can I ask you, what you think a good sign up percentage is? I'm just trying to figure out a number to shoot for. My site is not going to be a squeeze page for the sign up, I'm just going to have the sign up form on every page; most likely the top right.

      Thanks again Alexa!
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Tom Ryan View Post

        Can I ask you, what you think a good sign up percentage is? I'm just trying to figure out a number to shoot for. My site is not going to be a squeeze page for the sign up, I'm just going to have the sign up form on every page; most likely the top right.
        I think 20% is probably very good. And if you get only 10% opting in, I think you'll still do significantly better from that list, over the long term, that you would from a bigger list built with a squeeze page.
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      • Profile picture of the author mcwalker25
        Originally Posted by Tom Ryan View Post

        Wow, Alexa I can't thank you enough for taking the time to give me so much information. It really helps out a bunch! I have a feeling that I will now start with the right foot forward.

        Can I ask you, what you think a good sign up percentage is? I'm just trying to figure out a number to shoot for. My site is not going to be a squeeze page for the sign up, I'm just going to have the sign up form on every page; most likely the top right.

        Thanks again Alexa!
        that was good advice
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  • Profile picture of the author Benjamin Ehinger
    Originally Posted by Tom Ryan View Post

    My first site when I got online was a hobby site, in the food/cooking area. To this day it is probably my best site traffic-wise, but I never really focused to much on it as I had other projects going.

    I was thinking of starting a list with this site, but I don't know if it would be worth my time. I'm not sure how I'd monetize the list. The only thing I could think of is just have links back to my site in the autoresponder sequence where posts would be monetized with Amazon or adsense.

    Thoughts?
    You could also create your own recipe ebook and sell it to your list. There are a number of good affiliate products you can sell. You can promote specific cooking products from amazon (pots, pans, cooktops, utensils, appliances, etc.).

    You can give away free recipes to your list and free cooking tips, as well.

    Benjamin Ehinger
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  • Profile picture of the author mcwalker25
    Originally Posted by Tom Ryan View Post

    My first site when I got online was a hobby site, in the food/cooking area. To this day it is probably my best site traffic-wise, but I never really focused to much on it as I had other projects going.

    I was thinking of starting a list with this site, but I don't know if it would be worth my time. I'm not sure how I'd monetize the list. The only thing I could think of is just have links back to my site in the autoresponder sequence where posts would be monetized with Amazon or adsense.

    Thoughts?
    thats a thought to think of
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