How to Make Money From a Food Blog

Do you have a food blog? If you do, is your goal simply to share information or do you want to turn your food blog into something that helps you generate money? If you want to generate money from your food blog, pay close attention to the following hot tips…

Money Generating Tip #1: Understand that your food blog alone is not what makes the money – your products and services do

Your food blog is not your business. It’s a tool to increase awareness and to build your credibility. It can also work very well as a lead generator.  All things that are essential if you want to grow your business and make more money.

Do not rely on your food blog to make you rich from the advertising dollars you may receive. That is not a sure-fire way to success.

Instead, build a business around solving a critical problem that a specific group of people want resolved, and use your blog to attract your ideal clients and bring them into your world.

Money Generating Tip #2: Write about what your audience wants you to write about

This may seem obvious, but bloggers sometimes write about what they are interested in or what they think their audience needs to hear instead of writing about what their audience wants to hear. This happens when you are writing from your perspective instead of your audience’s perspective.

Instead, you need to know who your ideal clients are so you you can write about the kinds of things they have interest in.  Next you want to write using the language they use to talk about their area of interest.  If you do this well, you will be able to build a loyal, active following of people who become your raving fans and who will be much more open to purchasing the products and services you offer.

Money Generating Tip #3: Get your blog followers to sign up for your email list

Use your food blog to grow your email list of ideal prospects by driving the people who read your blog to sign up for a free resource that you know they will love to have. In exchange for the free resource you ask them for their names and email addresses. Make sure that your free resource lets people know the next steps they can take with your business.

Once your blog followers are on your list, be sure to send them a link to your blog via email every time you post. In addition to sharing a link to your blog posts as they are published, invite your followers to any events you are hosting and promote relevant products and services to your list on occasion.

Money Generating Tip #4: Post regularly and have patience

So many people who set up a blog don’t keep it regular or they keep it regular for a while and then stop. You’ll never experience success by blogging if you do this. For blogging to work, you must post relevant information regularly, and you must do it for a while. If you do, all your work will pay off.

There are different schools of thought regarding how regular you need to post, and it can differ depending upon the group you are servicing, your goals and the type of information you share. I have found that I get good results by posting every other week. Experiment and see what works best for you.

Blogging is a fantastic and low-cost way to get the word out about you and your food business, and if you implement the tips shared in this blog post, you will be well on your way to generating income from your blogging efforts as well.

Do any of you have a food blog? How often do you publish? What do you do to drive business your way from your blog? Can you share any other tips?

For more ways to attract your ideal clients and grow your personal chef business sign up for my free audio e-course series 5 Secrets to Keep Your Calendar Fully BookedAs an added bonus you will also receive how-to articles and information about other client attraction resources as they become available.

How to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business

social networkI’ve had good success getting known and attracting clients as a result of my LinkedIn efforts. Spending time on LinkedIn doesn’t have to feel like a waste once you know what to do to get business.

The keys to getting clients from LinkedIn follow….

Be Sure LinkedIn is Where Your Ideal Clients Hang Out

To start, you must be sure that your ideal clients are active on LinkedIn. If they aren’t, no amount of effort will bring you results. LinkedIn is a great place for personal chefs to spend their social media time if they want to attract busy executives for instance.

Post Status Updates Consistently

I recommend you post a status update on LinkedIn 3 to 5 times per week to get the most leverage. When you post, make sure it is something your ideal clients want to hear about.

For instance, if your ideal clients are busy executives what topics would interest them that you know about? Perhaps topics of interest might be ones that have to do with balancing work and life; preparing simple, tasty and healthy meals in no time flat; or choosing a caterer for their next business function.

Most of what you post should be of benefit to your readers – something that will bring them value but will also position you as an expert in your field. Mixed in with all the valuable stuff you share you can occasionally promote your services or invite your followers to take some kind of action with you.

Business updates or news are fine to share on occasion too. For instance if you’ve just won a cooking challenge, share it. If you are cooking for a charity event, mention it. If you are celebrating 10 years in business, let the world know about it.

Join a LinkedIn Group and Become an Active Participant

See if you can join a local LinkedIn group – one that caters to people in your area especially if your personal chef business is local. Become familiar with the types of discussions that are started. Get a sense of the culture of the group and then start contributing yourself.

Better yet, start your own group. You get a lot of exposure when you are the one who is leading and managing a group. The people in your group will start to view you as a helpful resource. It’s a great way to stay top of mind and some of the people who are following you will reach out to learn more about what you do.

Personalize Your Connection Requests

Almost 100% of the connection requests I receive aren’t personalized. Most people use the generic request-to-connect wording that LinkedIn provides. Do not do this!

When you send a connection request personalize it. If you are sending the connection request to someone you don’t know such as a potential prospect, tell the person why you’d like to connect and why you think connecting will be beneficial. You can mention anything that the two of you have in common or have an interest in. Do not say anything that may be construed as promotional.

If you know the person, you should still take the time to personalize it. I use the person’s name. I mention something that we recently spoke about or something that we agreed to do in the near future. Sometimes I may mention how we met if the person is someone I don’t know well.

Start a LinkedIn Email Marketing Campaign

Once you and another person connect via LinkedIn, don’t drop the ball by never reaching out to them again. What good is having a bunch of connections on LinkedIn if you never interact?

An email marketing campaign is a great way to stay in touch especially with prospects. About 4 weeks after you initially ask someone to connect, send them a link to an article you think they would find very beneficial. In another 4 weeks tell them about a LinkedIn group that you joined that you think would interest them too. Think of something of value to send to them about 3 or 4 times before you finally ask them if they would like to set up a time to have a brief phone chat.

During this brief phone chat you get to deepen your relationship even further. The phone chat should be no longer than 15 minutes. Remember, you don’t want to sell anything to anyone at this point either. You are just networking and deepening your relationship. You want to express a genuine interest in the other person and if you can help them by suggesting a resource, a great networking group or a person who they should connect to, do so.

What’s amazing about using the email marketing campaign approach is that some of the people you reach out to will proactively want to learn more about you and your business and some of them will become clients.

This approach is such a great way to “sell” without selling.

Have any of you attracted a client using LinkedIn? What did you do to get that client and how did it happen?

3 Simple Website Fixes that Will Generate More Leads

Webdesign, Templates, Werbung, Präsentation, Design, AuswahlOne of the top ways sited by personal chefs to get business is their website. In fact, there are some personal chefs who manage to stay completely booked (at least for a period of time) just from their website leads. However, not all personal chefs have such success.

If you are a personal chef who isn’t getting the business you’d like from your website, see if any of the following simple website fixes will do the trick.

Website Fix #1: Don’t Bury Your Contact and Next Step Information

Your contact and next step information must be easy to find. Don’t put it just on the “Contact” tab of your website and don’t have it only in the footer in small print. Instead put this information in the header or on the upper right-hand side of every page of your website. And don’t forget to include your phone number. I’ve browsed quite a few sites that don’t list a phone number on every page (or at all).

You also want to be sure you use “call-to-action” language. For instance, instead of simply having a phone number listed, say “Call [your phone number] for a free initial consult” or “Call [your phone number] to learn more about how our personal chef services can be tailored to your needs”. You could also have a simple contact form that they fill out as an alternative way to reach out to you.

Website Fix #2: Use Lots of Food Photos but Make Sure They Look Mouthwatering

Professional, delicious-looking food photos are essential to have on your website. You want your website viewers to get an immediate sense of the kind of fabulous food you cook. You want the food to look so good, they can’t help but contact you.

Too often I’ve browsed websites that didn’t have very appetizing-looking food photos. In some cases, there were very few or no food photos at all.

I’ve also been to websites where the food photos were just on one page of the website. Consider including them in more places than that. Keep in mind that when people land on your website you have only a few seconds to make an impression. You want them to be blown away with how amazing your food looks the second they visit your site.

Website Fix #3: Include a Photo of Yourself in More Places than the About Page

For many personal chefs, you are your brand. As a result, you want to make sure people know who you are. What better way for them to get a sense of who you are than by sharing some photos of you in the kitchen, with clients, and enjoying the food you have cooked? It’s a good idea to have a headshot somewhere too – usually on your “About” page and perhaps in the header.

When people visit your site you want them to feel they can relate to you and connect to you. You want them to feel comfortable with who you are. After all, many of you will be going into their homes to cook. People need to feel they can trust you. The right kind of photo can help to convey that sense of trust.

In addition, what you do is very hands-on and tactile and photos can capture this nicely.

After making these 3 website fixes, be sure to add keywords to improve your SEO.  You also want to create a strategy to actively drive your ideal clients to your website. You’ll be amazed at how much better your website works at getting you clients.

Does your website bring business your way? If yes, what about your website do you think is making it so effective? Can you offer any other website fixes to increase the number of viewers who actually contact you? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

Turn Your Newsletter (or Blog) Into a Money Magnet

Human Hands and Newspaper - Illustration in flat style designDo you have a newsletter or blog? How is that working for you? Are you getting new business as a result of your efforts?

If not, you aren’t alone. Many personal chefs become quickly frustrated when the efforts they put into writing their newsletter or blog fail to yield results. They start to wonder if the time they spend is worth it, and they often come to the conclusion that it isn’t.

This is a mistake because if done correctly, you can get business from a newsletter or blog. It is one of the top, low-cost and simple ways to generate new leads and business.

So if you aren’t getting the business you desire from your writing efforts, you are likely making one or more of the following mistakes:

Mistake #1: Inconsistency

You MUST send out your newsletter or blog consistently or you won’t build a loyal readership, deepen your connection to your list or stay top of mind.  If you feel you can’t be consistent or you hate writing, sending out a newsletter or blog may not be the best marketing method for you.

Based on my personal experience, sending out a blog post every other week has worked well and during promotional campaigns I usually increase the number of blog posts to about one every 7 to 10 days.

Mistake #2: Boring Subject Lines or Titles

I currently have an open rate of about 30% and a click through rate between 10 – 20% for my blog posts which is quite good compared to typical averages.  I partially attribute my good open and click through rates to having attention-grabbing subject lines and blog titles that motivate my readers to open the emails I send.

If no one ever opens your newsletter or reads your blog there is definitely no point in spending the time to write.  If you want some tips on crafting attention-grabbing subject lines make sure you don’t make these top 3 email subject line mistakes.

This brings up another important point. If you have a blog, are you sending your list a link to your blog post? Or are you just hoping people will proactively visit your blog regularly to see what is new? It is best to have people subscribe to receive your blog and then you can send them what I call a “teaser” email to let them know when a new blog post is published.

Mistake #3: Irrelevant or Uninteresting Information

The information you share and what you write about must by highly relevant and interesting to your readers. A good way to ensure you do this is to know who your ideal clients are and what makes them tick. When you do, you will be able to think of topics of high interest to your readers.  Topics that have to do with solving a challenge your ideal client group faces often get good open rates.

It is also important to make sure that what you write about doesn’t sound just like everyone else. You want to use your newsletter or blog to help you stand out from the crowd and consistently put your expertise out in front of your ideal client group. If you do this well, you will be on your way to getting business from your efforts.

Mistake #4: Not Having a Landing Page with an Opt-In Box

Want to grow your list of prospects? Have a landing page that motivates people who visit to sign up for your newsletter or blog. To encourage people to share their names and email addresses in an opt-in box that is on the landing page, offer an enticing free gift that your ideal clients will love in exchange for their contact information.

Next you want to make sure you don’t keep your newsletter or blog a secret. Promote it wherever you go by promoting your free gift. Pretty soon you will start growing your list of prospects a whole lot quicker than before and more prospects means more business.

Mistake #5: Not Asking Your List to Take Action

If you don’t ask people to take action with you, they won’t.  Some actions you may want your list to take include things like signing up for a consult, hiring you for personal chef work, taking advantage of a special promotion, buying a cookbook you just published, purchasing gift certificates, or attending cooking classes to name a few possibilities.

But be careful…

If you bombard people with promotional material and requests, they probably won’t take action with you.   You must be sure to strike the correct balance between offering value and having a promotion.

Do you have a newsletter or blog? How is it working for you in terms of getting new business?

Top Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website

Having a website can be a great way to get the word out about your personal chef services; however, just because you have a website doesn’t mean it is going to magically bring you WEB TRAFFIC. Word cloud concept illustration.business if you don’t also have an effective strategy to drive traffic to it.

Here’s what you need to do…

Prior to Driving Traffic to Your Website

It is critical that your website has an opt-in box to capture the names and email addresses of the people who visit your site. 

This opt-in box should appear on each and every page of your website and should be located “above-the-fold” which is the location that everyone sees before scrolling down your website page.  Often the opt-in box is located on the upper right-hand side below the header, but sometimes it is in the header itself or on the top left-hand side below the header. 

To entice people to visit your website and give you their names and email addresses so you can build your list and stay in touch with your website visitors, offer a free gift in exchange for their contact information.  Your free gift should be something very juicy and exciting especially to your ideal clients.  This free gift could be delivered as an e-book, special report, audio e-course, short video series, email tips, or whatever.  Choose a format you think your ideal clients would prefer.

Now You Are Ready to Drive Traffic to Your Website by… 

  • Using Google Keyword Tool (www.googlekeywordtool.com) or Wordtracker (www.wordtracker.com) to research the best keywords and then optimizing your website content for these words and phrases so that when people search, your site ranks high.
  • Writing articles about various culinary topics of interest to you and your readers for a local publication.   Be sure the publisher includes a sentence or two at the end of your article about you and how your readers can learn more by checking out your website and signing up for your free gift.
  • Joining a personal chef association like the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA) at www.uspca.com so you can post your website link on their Hire-A-Chef site.
  • Posting a local advertisement on Craigslist at www.craigslist.org.  It may seem surprising, but I know of several personal chefs who have had success finding long-term clients this way.
  • Setting up a profile and becoming a reviewer on www.yelp.com.  You can review local restaurants, kitchen stores, and anything else that has to do with the culinary field.
  • Participating in and organizing community service projects.  This is a great way to get known in your local community, and it feels good too.  Be sure to tell the local press what you are up to.  They will often write a story about you, and they will usually allow you to include a little information about your business along with a link to your website and free gift at the end of the article.
  • Adding a link to your website and free gift under your signature at the bottom of every email you send out.  I am surprised how many personal chefs don’t even have their contact information in their email signatures!
  • Telling people to check out your free gift and website when you record your phone greeting.
  • Developing relationships with spheres of influence or people who are connected to many of the people you want to offer your personal chef services to.  Spheres of influence will often tell everyone about you, your free gift and your website.

These are just a few of the many simple ways to drive traffic to your website.  Choose one that you haven’t implemented yet and see what happens!

What do you do to drive traffic to your website?  Please share your comments below.