Building Your Mail List is your #1 Growth Priority

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Are you spending MORE TIME building your mail list and bonding with your readers than promoting your blog on social media, networking and commenting on blogs? You should be. Here’s why.

Why Building Your Mail List should be your #1 Blog Growth Priority | Another great tip from Food Bloggers Central

There is a lot of literature “out there” about why building mail lists is so important.

I haven’t read a single one of them.

Because to me, it’s completely obvious. Because I got burnt early on.

Your Mail List is the Only Source of Traffic within your control

I learnt the hard way. Early on when I started my blog in May 2014, my Facebook page was hacked which meant zero reach and no new followers. It took 6 months to sort that problem out. Then my Pinterest account was “ghosted” in August 2014, which was my #1 source of traffic at that time and decreased by 70% overnight. (PS I did manage to get the problem sorted, but it took a couple of weeks then months before Pinterest traffic levels picked up again.)

If you look at your sources of traffic, how many of them are completely under your control?

Are you building your blog ENTIRELY on rented land????

Ask yourself these questions:

Impact-of-Pinterest-disappearing1. If Google changes search algorithms or you have an issue with your SEO optimisation plug in and recipes that previously ranked highly are suddenly buried on the 50th page of search results, how will that affect your daily traffic?

2. If Pinterest shuts down, or your account is hacked or blocked and you no longer receive referrals to your site from Pinterest, how will that affect your blog?  Same with all other social media channels – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Stumble Upon, G+.

Or what happens when a social media platform falls from grace? Like Stumble Upon, which used to be far more popular than it is today.

3. How much traffic do you get from recipe sharing sites, like Yummly, FoodGawker and Taste Spotting?

With the exception of your mail list, the thing that every single source of traffic has in common is that they are not within your control.

Which is why you should be spending more time building your mail list than on any social media channel, submitting to recipe sharing sites and groups, networking with other bloggers, and blog commenting.

Long Term Readers Are More Valuable than Drive Though Traffic

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In addition to control, the other reason why mail list subscribers are so valuable is because they are long term, repeat readers, as opposed to what I call “Drive Through Traffic”, being people who happened to see a pin they liked and popped over to your blog to grab a recipe.

I don’t need to go into details here, it’s obvious why mail list subscribers are more valuable to your long term blog growth than Drive Through Traffic. :-) They will share your posts, they will tell their friends, they will engage with your blog.

Mail list subscribers are gold. I get a nice bump in my traffic for each new post I do from my mail list subscribers.

Email is the BEST form of engagement

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning or get to your desk?

Check your emails.

1369223_35747408There is no better way to engage with your readers than by email. Instagram is fleeting. Tweets are forgotten. Facebook’s reach is so dismal nowadays, it’s not on my radar. Pinterest is about as impersonal as you can get.

Sure, you can set up emails so new posts are automatically sent out with automatic subject headings and no personal message. But even your new posts themselves are a helluva lot more personal than anything you see on social media…..

And the beauty of your mail list is that you have the option to engage with your readers on a VERY personal level by writing personal messages. This is how I choose to do it.

Which leads me to my next point….

There is no better form of promotion

Whether you are promoting your content or, even more important, something you are selling, there is simply no better potential client base than your Mail List.

I haven’t started selling products on my blog….yet.

Watch this space!

What I do know is that my Mail List is my key potential customer base. And I can’t wait to start tapping into it!!

I Spend More Time on Building My Mail List and Nurturing My Readers Than Any Other Form of Blog Promotion

That includes every single form of social media, recipe sharing sites, networking with bloggers and commenting on blogs.

Does that surprise you?

Shifting my focus from social media to building my mail list and connecting with my non-blogger-friend readers has been instrumental  for why my mail list has been growing at almost 70% per month for the last 8 months (since September 2014)

Want to know how I did this? Sign up to Food Bloggers Central so you don’t miss out when I share how I do it!

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The Food Photography Book by Nagi from RecipeTin Eats


  1. says

    Perversely, I have been putting this off for ever so long until my website looks a bit less bare… I think I have now reached the point where I will dip my toes in the mail list pool and see if I can figure out exactly how to do it. Thank you so much for all your tips and advice on this site and the fb group. I would not have been able to get this far without much of it.

  2. says

    I LOVE the idea of changing up a personal message for each post that goes out…I just switched earlier this year from MailChimp to Mad Mimi for pricing reasons, but I’d love to hear more about how you go in and manually change/send each post.

    • Nagi says

      Hi Melissa! I just manually change the message in the text box which I put at the top of each email. :) Do you remember the widget boxes they have in Mail Chimp? I just drag the text box in above where the new post goes! :)

  3. says

    Hi Nagi, For the life of me I can’t find information about the plug-in folks are using that automatically sends the blogger’s response to a reader’s comment through email. I thought I saw it somewhere on this site – and now I can’t find it! Do you have that info or was this merely a dream?? haha! Thanks, dear!

  4. says

    Oh Girl!!! I wish I could hug you for writing such wonderful posts. It’s like you helping me learn to walk the world of blogging by holding my finger. That’s exactly how I feel reading your posts. I have been procrastinating my email list. I guess time to buckle up my shoes..Thanks for such wonderful posts, Nagi. Looking for more

  5. says

    Nagi, ths is spot on. I really want to focus on this and I need to take the time to personalize my messages to get more engagement. This is a great reminder! I’m excited to see what your tips are as I’ve been getting good growth recently but always looking for new ideas.

  6. says

    This post comes at the perfect time. Thanks to your earlier post we are going to switch to mail chimp and Optin Monster and we can’t wait to know what other suggestions you have for us to grow our mailing list. Like Kevin, we just need to figure out how to transfer our current mailing list to mail chimp. Not looking forward to the techie stuff.

    • Nagi says

      Hiya! I’ve got that covered for you :) A new post is coming soon for how to transfer your mailing list to Mail Chimp and set it all up. It’s not hard, just took time to figure out all the steps. So you can benefit from the first hand experience I got doing it! :) Post will be up soon

      • says

        We have been anxiously waiting for the post on how to transfer a wordpress mailing list to Mail Chimp. I think I remember seeing on Facebook that you have a draft for it. Any chance you can email it to us? mayihavethatrecipe (at) gmail (dot) com

      • says

        Hi Nagi! Any chance you got around to posting about how to transferring your list to mail chimp. I have been trying to navigate mail chimp and have been getting a little confused. Would love some literature on it to help me finally get it set up and start growing my list!

  7. says

    I’ve just started looking at my mail chimp properly and how I can utilize it, I’ve been using it for a while to collect subscribers – but up until my latest post all I did was have my new posts automatically sent out. But reading this post is super helpful to see how much I still need to step up my game! I don’t have many subscribers but I definitely want to nurture them, and can’t wait to see how you’ve grown yours!

  8. says

    This is such a great reminder and is exactly what my husband keeps telling me! It is so easy to get caught up in the instant gratification of pinterest but I totally agree that growing your mail list has more long term benefits that are within your control.

  9. says

    Oooh, can’t wait for episode 2!
    I really need to figure out how to personalise my Mail Chimp email – I can see how valuable that is … and set up opt-in monster … ooh, so many things to do, but so worth it!

    • Nagi says

      Personalising is great – I do find that readers respond to those emails (literally, they reply when I start an email with “Hey, hope you had a great mother’s day!), I get responses saying “Yes I did, thanks for asking!” Seriously!! :) BUT it is a high risk strategy because you need to remember to update the message for every single new post. I’ve made the mistake soooo many times, but I just make a joke of it in the next email I send out!

  10. says

    I’m so agree with you on this Nagi. I used to send out automatic feed and I didn’t feel any connection with my readers. But since I started to craft the weekly newsletter, posting questions and sometimes just talk, I began to receive emails from readers. It is quite time consuming to write it every week, but it’s totally worth the time. Some readers never leave comment on my blog, but they enjoy reading the emails. Although the newsletter only send me 2% traffic, but it’s really high quality traffic with the longest duration time.

    • Nagi says

      Absolutely Maggie! Your newsletters are some of the best I have ever seen, even compared to some professional companies. I know you invest time in it and I think it’s really worth it.

  11. says

    Nagi… this is fantastic. In the past month I have made keyword optimization and mail subscriptions my goal…and it’s worked!!! My numbers are getting steadily higher :) My designer and I are redoing my site to optimize subscription growth and I just know that will be the key :)

  12. says

    Thanks Nagi! Currently I have finished my book. I am reading through and setting up OptinMonster with MailChimp. I am not a techie and this is a bit confusing, but will figure it out. Thanks for the encouragement as this is so important and thanks for this post. IT’S TRUE!

    • Nagi says

      Hey Kevin! I’m actually working on the Mail Chimp and OptIn Monster posts right now! So they’ll be out in the next week or so :)

      • says

        I actually just finished the entire process! I was able to conquer the techie madness :) Quite happy with everything except tweaking a few more things like formatting, but everything works. Can’t wait to read the next post to see if I might improve… Thanks for inspiring, the cookbook giveaway is LIVE.

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