March 7, 2016

Email Marketing Tips For Food Entrepreneurs (Podcast)

email marketing tips for food businessesAs a small business owner, you know that you should be doing email marketing but, quite frankly, why?  In today’s podcast we talk with an online marketing expert about not only why you should be doing email marketing, but, since you’re likely being pulled in 100 different directions every day, also where you actually need to focus your time and energy to best set your email marketing campaigns up for success.

karen pattockTRANSCRIPT:

Jennifer: Today we’re talking with Karen Pattock. She’s an international business coach and online marketing mentor who teaches entrepreneurs how to use social media and email marketing to attract new leads and turn them into paying clients using her proven marketing strategies. She is the creator of her signature program, Step Into More Profits, as well as her TV Video Training Platform, Karen Pattock TV. You can connect with and find out more about Karen at and we’ll have links to all of these resources on our website as well. To start with, Karen, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today and to share your knowledge.


Karen: I’m thrilled to be here, Jennifer. Thanks so much for the invitation.


Jennifer: I guess to start, why should a small business and in our case small food business, a company that has a small staff or somebody, they might just be a solopreneur, why should they think about adding email marketing to their aresonal of marketing tools? What are some of the benefits when it comes to email marketing?


Karen: Really, I have a two-fold answer here. First and foremost, email marketing is a great way to build a relationship with a potential client. When someone gets on your email list they’ve entrusted you with their name and email address, and they’ve done that because they want to know more about you. They’ve said yes to whatever you’ve offered them and they want to get to know you more. It gives you the opportunity then to email them different promotions or value-added emails with great topics and resources, things that would grow that relationship, so that’s one. The other reason that building an email list is super important, and I always tell my clients it’s the goal in their business, because social media platforms, although you may be growing a great following there, they change, and we don’t own anything related to Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or Pinterest. We don’t own that. We actually, as a business owner, do own our email list, so it’s something that if, let’s say, Facebook changes an algorithm, which they’re known to do, and it changes how your posts are being seen in someone’s newsfeed, you still can connect with them as long as they’re on your email list.


While social media is great for getting known and getting seen, the goal is get them over onto your email list, so you can build that relationship, that know, like and trust factor, and then they are more likely to stick with you because you’re in the forethought of their mind all of the time.


Jennifer: I love that analogy that the email marketing list, your mailing list, is the goal of your company. You were talking a little bit about Facebook and some of the other social media programs and the goal should be trying to move them onto your mailing list. How can companies use email marketing to compliment the other things that they’re doing in marketing such as their social media presence, such as advertising, etc.?


Karen: Right. If you just think of social media. Let’s just use social media in general. I’m encompassing all of the different platforms. Think of that as your advertising channel or a variety of advertising channels, depending on where you feel your audience is spending the most time. Really, in the food world, chances are Pinterest is top of the list. I know that’s where I go for anything food related. You want to make sure you’re on those channels. Again, complimenting anything you’re doing there with what you’re doing through email marketing and vice versa. When you are using email marketing, maybe you’ve written a great blog post and you send that out through email to all of your lists and then you’re posting it let’s say on Pinterest and you’re posting it on Facebook with a great image and then in that post you’re also then inviting them back onto your email list so you would get new subscribers.


You have to think of it almost as I always teach it’s like the wheel and spoke, right? Your website and really your email list is the center hub of your business and then all of the social media or Google, all of these things whether it’s paid or organic traffic, all of those are really the spokes that surround that main hub of your business. Information is flowing out and then email subscribers are flowing back in. You’ve got to think of it that way to really have this functioning business where you’re getting your name out there, you’re getting known and you’re bringing them into your world. Your world is your website and your email list or your email notifications or blog posts or whatever you’re writing.


Jennifer: How often should you be inviting them to sign up for your newsletter? Does it get redundant if you’re doing it every time you post something on social media or in advertising or is it totally acceptable to do that?


Karen: A good ratio, and I teach this, and this has worked really well in my business, is 20% of your posts on social media should be related to guiding someone on your list. That might be just a free offer that’s a cheat sheet or a checklist. It could be a recipe guide. It could be a how-to video series, how to do whatever you do, whatever your specialty is. It could be the best recipe planner. Whatever it is that you’re offering, you want to do that 20% of the time on social media. Everyone posts different amounts, so calculate that into your regular content posting schedule and then that’s a good rule of thumb to go by.


Jennifer: That’s great. I’m making a little mental note for myself, so thank you. I’m sure other people are as well.


Karen: Yeah. Yeah.


Jennifer: Most people associate email marketing with e-newsletters. That’s not really all that it can be. What other forms of email marketing should a small business be considering either in addition to e-newsletters or if their business, for whatever reason, just doesn’t work with an e-newsletter format?


Karen: Jennifer, this is a really good question. Online marketing, email marketing, specifically, is changing a lot and in the last 12 months I have seen business owners, online business owners, really pulling away from that traditional newsletter format, and they’re creating emails that seem more conversational. They’re more like the type of emails that you would send a friend. Whether it be from the subject line that you write to the actual way you structure it, it’s more like an email that you would send to friends. The more I think about traditional newsletters, you have a template. You often have images. I know when I was doing health coaching I had a very specific format. I always included a recipe. I’m not saying that doesn’t work.


I’m just saying that if you want to keep with the trends, and I encourage you to do that, in addition to if your newsletter is really a staple of your business, then in addition to that focus on doing other content that would look more like an email that you would send to a friend and include tips and resources and strategies and maybe even information about your own life, how something that you’ve just experienced would apply to your target audience, the people on your email list so that you’re bringing them into your world, again, building that know, like and trust factor, building that relationship. Email marketing and online marketing, in this day and age, where we are right now, is all about the relationship, building that relationship.


Jennifer: Excellent. Thank you. You’re giving tons of things to think about. This is fantastic. If there’s somebody out there who maybe hasn’t started an email marketing program at all, and is listening to you and is thinking this is really something I need to get on board with, what are some of the things they should be thinking about before they actually start, before they decide, okay, we’re going to go with this. For example, how do they actually start building up that database of emails to send things to?


Karen: Right. They need to think of a couple things. Number one, how are they going to build their email list? They’re going to start that by creating just a simple, what I call a free offer, or a gift, a giveaway, a free giveaway so that when they are posting on social media that 20% of the time, they have a link back to a form that has a place for a name and an email that will then go on their list. Number one, you need something that will attract your ideal dream client. As far as the content, truthfully it is hard to get in the swing. It is not an easy thing to get in the swing of creating content, but here’s what you can do. This is so simple. Just do some research. You know your ideal audience.


You know the ideal client that you want to attract. Go out and do a little bit of research. Go on Pinterest. Go on Facebook. Type in some key words that would be related to what you’re an expert in and see what is trending at that moment. See what’s getting attention. See what’s getting a lot of likes, comments and shares and then write about that. Don’t feel like you are recreating something that’s already been created or that you’re talking about something that’s already been talked about too much because no one can bring your unique perspective on whatever that topic is.


If I wrote about email marketing, my perspective or the conversation we’re having here today is different than if you interviewed someone else because it’s my experience and I’m bringing my expertise and my education to the conversation and that’s exactly what the listener should be doing, is bringing their unique perspective to the conversation. If they just take and make a draft, draft a calendar, and pick some topics maybe over the course of 2 months, then you’ve kind of got a guide and you can kind of build out what you want to write about just by having that in front of you.


It just gives you so much ease in setup. Okay, Monday morning you sit down in front of your computer and you’re thinking what am I going to write about today? You’ve got nothing. You’ve kind of already planned it in advance and really you can do that in an hour or less and then you’ve got a content calendar that you can fall back on. You’ll be surprised. Once you start this process you’ll start paying attention and you’ll see things in different places, magazines, newspapers, billboards, and you’ll be writing little notes to yourself constantly. “Oh, I can write about that and oh, I want to talk about that.” I have so much content because it’s just in everyday life. You see things and you go, “Oh, yeah. I can do that.” It’s always there. You just have to open yourself and be receptive to it.


Jennifer: I think it’s a good reminder to be carrying around a little idea notebook whether it’s for a food product you want to develop or because you have this great idea that you want to talk about and share with your audience.


Karen: Right. Let me just give you a quick example, I just, I saw something online, actually no, it was a podcast I listened to and this gal that was interviewed, she’s in the health and fitness industry. She was listening to either the Geico or whichever insurance company has the slogan “15 minutes can save you 15% or less” or more I mean and she created a whole giveaway related around fitness in 15 minutes a day. She was just inspired by that advertising and she created this amazing giveaway that has completely changed her business.


Jennifer: Oh wow.


Karen: She was just inspired by a commercial she saw on television.


Jennifer: That’s really interesting. Thanks for sharing that example.


Karen: Yeah.


Jennifer: This might be kind of a phase 2 question, initially we were just talking about folks who are just starting up a program, but once you have a program up and going, there’s a lot of talking about A B testing and I guess I’ve been hearing you say, help bring people onto your email list via free offers. Do you recommend people split up their mailing lists between folks who have just come in by free offers versus folks you have found to be more long term customers, or does it not matter?


Karen: That’s a little bit of loaded question and your right it is a more advanced technique. If you a solopreneur or one-man or one-woman show then I would say no don’t start there. It’s time intensive and really your goal should be focusing on getting out really good quality content to build that relationship and making it consistent. If you have some support and you have an email management service that allows A B testing or gives you the opportunity to create auto responders, which are pre-written emails that you schedule in advance that go out on a certain calendar, then you can do that. If we are talking beginner then I wouldn’t personally recommend it because it’s time intensive and it takes away, you can get caught up in all the minutia of so much stuff in business. There are so many things you can do and I teach and live by a more of a simplistic rule of, “X amount of my time goes for marketing and then the rest of it is program development and promoting. Getting out there so you can generate some revenue, so if you have the support and you have someone that can help you with A B testing and auto responders and really paying attention to you email open rations and things like that then by all means go ahead and do that. It is a level 2 or level 3 email marketing technique.


If your just a beginner then don’t spend your time there, spend your time on building your email list and building your relationships, because at the end of the day that’s what’s going to make you sales.


Jennifer: That’s really good to hear because I think that often time as entrepreneurs, small business we feel like we have to be doing everything and feel almost a little bit guilty if we don’t do everything perfectly and 100%, so that was really refreshing to hear you say that. Sometimes you just got to do the best you can and not worry about all the other bells and whistles.


Karen: The bells and whistles are great but I can promise you that there is no one out there with bells and whistles making a solid income that isn’t doing it without help. No one is doing it by themselves, because you can work at this for 24 hours a day 7 days a week and its a never ending, you can always be adding more bells and whistles, but it doesn’t take that to be super successful in an online business. You don’t have to have it.


Jennifer: To end our discussion today, do you have any tips or strategies of things that these entrepreneurs should be doing as they create their emailing marketing, it’s emails that people will actually open, is there a perfect time of day or perfect day of the week to send email marketing or is that really dependent on your business and your customers. Do you have any take aways that our folks can kind of leave with so there not only exciting about doing this and you’ve given them some of the foundational pieces they need to do this as well.


Karen: Sure. I do have a few things that I would like to say so consistency is the king, it trumps everything. If you are going to be putting out whatever it is, if it’s a newsletter, is it’s a regular email, if your writing a blog post for your website, whatever your doing, do it consistently. Do it once a week, no less than every other week but preferably once a week, be consistent. Send the emails, be conversational, give value, from the timing stand point, I wouldn’t say that there is a magic day or a magic time. I think you should experiment with your audience. In my experience Mondays are not the best days to send emails because people are just coming off the weekend and there busy. They are getting back to work, the kids are back at school, and I personally don’t have great open rates then. Friday anytime after noon, same thing, people are thinking about the weekend. Saturday mornings have worked great for me, even Sunday mornings have worked great for me. I personally send my emails out on Wednesdays and that has worked really well for me, so really Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday really anytime.


There used to be this thought you had to be the first one in their email box, so if you sent it earlier in the day but were dealing with a global market. We’re dealing with people all around the world doing things all day long so really whatever works that you find for your audience is fine. Whether that’s 5 in the morning or 1 in the afternoon, 6 in the evening I think you should just experiment. Stay away from initially Mondays all day and Friday anytime after noon. The rest of the time I feel is pretty open.


Jennifer: What I am hearing from you too is that its okay to experiment. To find whether its the right time or right type of message or right type of email marketing that it’s okay as an entrepreneur, we don’t have to have all the answers to get started, that we can maneuver around see what’s going to work best.


Karen: Absolutely. In fact I encourage it. Absolutely. Everyones audience is different. Here is what you’ll find, once you start getting that consistency and you find a time that actually, that your seeing a increase in open rates and your seeing increased activity. You’re gonna find that your audience is then going to expect that, they are going to look forward to their email. If they don’t get it, they’re going to write to you and they’re going to say, “Hey Jennifer where is my email, You always send them out on Wednesdays at noon and I didn’t get it. Is everything okay?” Your audience will follow suite, they’re going to expect and look forward to your content, definitely.


Jennifer: That is the problem we all hope to get to is where our customers are emailing us and say, “Hey, Im looking for your content, where is it?”


Karen: Yeah.


Jennifer: I would hold that up as a holy grail.


Karen: Just be consistent, be authentic, and just be open to developing your business and not keeping anything stuck in stone, just roll with it, feel it, get the vibrations coming in around it and your audience will tell you exactly what they want. Just listen.


Jennifer: Well Karen thank you so much for your time, I know you are obviously an expert also on other forms of online marketing but really appreciate speaking to email marketing today. I would encourage anybody whos listening today to definitely go out and check her website at and we will have a link on our site. You can learn a lot from her, by watching her videos, there is just a tremendous amount of information out there which as entrepreneurs we are all a little starved for and looking for folks to help us out there to guidance in some of these things, on how to grow our business. So Karen thank you so much, we really appreciate your time.


Karen: Thanks so much for having me.


Jennifer: Absolutely.


Jennifer:I hope you enjoyed today’s podcast and it gave you some food for thought about about ways to you can use email marketing for your business. If you’re not yet aware, you can find this podcast series and subscribe to it on iTunes by searching for the words Small Food Business. I would also love it if you could leave a review as that helps other food enterpreneurs find the podcast in the iTunes system.

In the next podcast, we’ll be talking with a crowdfunding expert who is going to share some tactics and ideas on how food businesses can utilize crowdfunding to successfully raise capital.

In the meantime, as always, I invite you to join the Small Food Business community at In light of today’s podcast, it’s worth mentioning that Small Food Business also has a monthly e-newsletter that contains information and insight for food business onwers that’s not found on any of our social media channels or on the website itself. If you decide to join the Small Food Business newsletter, I promise that your information will never be sold or shared with anyone. You can sign up from the Small Food Business website or through our Facebook page at We’re also ona host of other social media channels as well and I look forward to connecting with you.

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