How to Monetize Your Food Blog in 6 Steps

Oh hey there foodiepreneur,

Want to turn your passion for food into a booming business? 

Or are you already a couple of steps ahead of the game? Are you regularly updating your food blog or nutrition website and already sharing recipes and knowledge and all sorts of foodie goodies with your growing fanbase? Maybe you already have some email subscribers or a few hundred Facebook fans?

Either way, you’re probably wondering – “How do I actually make money off of this? Enough money to make a living?”

Before I dive into the 6 steps to monetize your food blog I’ve got some good news and bad news.

The Bad News:

The 6-step system I’m about to share with you only works if your product or skill-set/expertise can help people. If you’re selling “magic beans” for $800 on your magic beans blog you’re probably not trying to help people. In fact, you’re probably a jerk. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m all for making profit. It’s why I started my business, and I’m going to guess it’s why you started yours. You want to finally be your own boss, call the shots, have unlimited growth potential, and make enough money to have bragging rights for life.

Right?

And that’s all well and good, but now ask yourself this question – did you also go into business because you genuinely want to make a difference in people’s lives? Does the thought of solving a problem for somebody and making their day to day life better in some way make you exceptionally happy?

If you answered YES then this bad news just became good news my friend. And you can now brace yourself for more good news:

The Good News:

You’re in the food industry. Food – glorious food! This gives you a MASSIVE leg up. Here’s why:

It’s easy to get people’s attention when you’re writing about something that brings their senses to life; food looks good, smells good, and tastes good. It also sounds good (sizzling bacon, anyone?) and feels good (ever dipped your hand into a bag of flour?). Not to mention connects us to loved ones, gives us vital nourishment and, well, the list goes on.

In a nutshell – food wins.

(*pauses to eat muffin*)

Alright – let’s dive into the 6 steps:

STEP 1) CREATE A BLOG WORTH VISITING

I hate to say it, but nobody likes ugly blogs. Or boring blogs. Here are the 3 absolute MUSTS if you want to entice readers to not only visit your blog, but spend some time on it and keep coming back:

  • Quality, consistent content that your readers want to consume. A recipe for organic lemon meringue pie? Yum – bring it on! A how-to guide for organizing my weekly grocery list with meal ideas? Oh my gosh even better!! A review of the types of scones at a coffee shop in Timbuktu? Ummmmm … pass.
  • A stellar user experience. Does your blog look clean and modern? Can your readers navigate easily through different categories? At the end of each blog post do you give your readers the option to share the post via social media? Or opt-in for a newsletter? Or read related posts they might like? If you’re worried you’re blog isn’t up to scratch I suggest switching to a food-specific premium WordPress theme with easy drag-and-drop functionality. Click here for some options.
  • Scintillating, mouthwatering images. I definitely suggest getting a good camera and learning how to use it. If you’re already taking beautiful photos of your beautiful food then more power to ya! But if you’re like me and you rely on Instagram filters to prove your artistic worth, then you should definitely take a look at Stocksnap.io. This site has a huge selection of free, HD stock photos that require ZERO attribution. Just search “food” and go nuts.

STEP 2) CHOOSE A TARGET MARKET

Ok, your blog looks amazing. Now what? Now it’s time to zero in on a specific group of people who could most benefit from your products/service. There are three parts to this step:

  • If you’re not totally sure if you have a target market, ask yourself these questions: what do all my readers have in common? Who is most likely to benefit from my blog? Who can be helped THE MOST from my skill-set/expertise? Who struggles with a problem I know I can fix? What specific area(s) do I specialize in or care about the most? The answers to these questions will help you pinpoint your target market.
  • Once you’ve got that sorted it’s time to summon your inner Freud and dive in deep into the minds of your target market. When it comes to food – what is their ultimate dream? What is their desired end result? What do they struggle with the most?  What problem does your product/service solve for them?
  • Study the answers to the above questions. This will help you to both position yourself and build your business around providing your target market with what they want while solving their biggest problems. This is marketing 101 and this will also give you a MUCH better chance of making money online. Which brings me to our next step …

STEP 3) SELL SOMETHING

It doesn’t matter if you’re a dietician, nutritionist, juice cleanse expert, fibre enthusiast, or baker extraordinaire – you can find a way to charge people for your expertise.

It’s more than likely you already are charging people for your expertise! Maybe you hold a weekly cooking class or workshop? Or maybe you work 1 – 1 with people to help them eat better and reach their desired end result (e.g. lose weight, increase energy, improve digestion, etc.)?

Here are the three key elements to a profitable digital product:

  • It’s digital. Meaning – it can be purchased and consumed on the internet. Anybody in the world can buy it. The simple example of this is an ebook. Take a bunch of recipes, turn it into a pretty PDF, and boom – you’ve got a product. A higher-end example is something like an online course – maybe you’re thinking big and want to create a members-only 8-week comprehensive cooking course filled with video trainings, worksheets, and Q&A conference calls? Or you might want to package your 1 – 1 consulting style work and do sessions via Skype? 
  • It solves a problem your target market struggles with and helps them achieve their desired end result. Example – maybe your target market is 20-somethings learning to cook for the first time? Well, you know they’re probably on a budget. And you know that they’re probably doubting their cooking abilities. So how about putting together an ebook called “50 $5 Meals that Make Eating Well Extremely Easy.”
  • A clear and strategic sales page for interested customers. This page should let your prospects know everything they need to know about what they’re about to buy. Say you’re selling a big recipe book that helps vegans with iron deficiency. You’ve put together your best, iron-rich recipes and turned them into a professional-looking PDF ebook. Your sales page needs to outline exactly what’s in the book including the categories in the book and any bonuses you’re offering, provide testimonials from past clients – but more importantly – it needs to describe how your prospects should expect to feel as a result of using your recipe book. I came across a great sales page last week for a company called Simple Green Smoothies and their digital product, a 21-day whole food cleanse e-course, check it out here for some inspiration.

STEP 4) CREATE A LEAD MAGNET

Here’s the thing – people need to know you, like you, and trust you before they buy from you. You can’t just reach out to a stranger and say “hey – you should buy my amazing product” because they’re going to say “beat it weirdo” and you’re going to feel bummed out.

So – here’s what you’re going to do.

You’re going to give them an amazing FREE product in exchange for their name & email address. Once you have their name & email address they become a lead (i.e. – prospect), and you’re now allowed to email them to offer them valuable things. But in order to GET their name & email you need to offer them something that they genuinely want.

So, for example, if you have a vegan blog you could make a PDF ebook called “The New Vegan Survival Kit” with recipes and helpful tips for the newbies. Another popular option is a webinar or video training, something like “How to Stay Energized Throughout Your Busy Day: a Free 60-Minute Video Training for Vegans (with bonus recipe book).” Before I keep rambling off ideas, here’s a list of everything you need to create a success ful lead magnet:

  • Make it specific! Find a target market within your target market. Solve a specific problem for a specific group of people. You’ll notice in my two examples above I didn’t suggest creating an ebook called “Vegan Recipes.” Instead, I zeroed in on two segments within the vegan target market – new vegans, and vegans struggling with fatigue and sluggishness – and came up with something that they specifically want and need.
  • A lead capture page for potential leads. This is pretty much exactly like a sales page, but instead of trying to get somebody to buy something you’re trying to get their name and email address in exchange for your lead magnet. If you’re wondering “How am I supposed to build these fancy sales pages and lead capture pages?” I’ve got another hot-off-the-press tip for ya – LeadPages. This software is perfect for entrepreneurs who want to set all this stuff up themselves, but they don’t have the technical skills to get ‘er done. You get a ton of customizable designer templates and lots of bells and whistles.
  • It sells your digital product at the end. The purpose of the lead magnet is to bring potential customers into your sales funnel. So you have to make sure you promote your digital product at the end of your PDF recipe book, or video training, or webinar, etc. If you’re worried about feeling salesy or slimy – just be yourself! Don’t use language you wouldn’t use in “real life.” Remind yourself how much value your product will bring to them and say something like “hey – if you loved this video training on how to feel more energized, then I think you’re going to love my 4-week online training that takes all of this to the next level.”

Simple Green Smoothies does another great job here. Before they send folks to their sales page, they offer them a free 30-day green smoothie challenge in exchange for their name & email. After somebody completes the 30 day challenge they start sending them to their sales page for the $75 21-day whole food cleanse. And – it’s all automated. Customers go through this entire system without them lifting a finger.

STEP 5) CHOOSE A TRAFFIC SOURCE & PROMOTE YOUR LEAD MAGNET

This is when things start to heat up. It’s time to promote your lead magnet (thus promoting your digital product), and because your lead magnet is so awesome it’s going to fly off the proverbial shelf. But before you start promoting the bejesus out of it you need to choose a traffic source. Or two. Or three.

A traffic source is anything that generates traffic, so you probably already have one up and running – your blog! But is your blog promoting your lead magnet? At the end of EVERY SINGLE BLOG POST you should ask your readers to opt-in for a lead magnet. You can send them to your snazzy new lead capture page and badabing badaboom – you have a potential customer. (Psssst – make sure you’re tagging all of your posts with juicy keywords and using simple SEO techniques so the Googlers of the world can find you.)

Here are some of the most popular online traffic sources:

  • Blog
  • Facebook Ads
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Organic Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
  • Youtube Ads
  • Twitter Ads
  • Email Marketing
  • Banner Ads

When I work 1 – 1 with entrepreneurs I always suggest starting with Facebook. Create a Facebook Business page and start growing your fanbase. Post links to your blog posts, and any articles, videos or inspirational quotes your fans might like. But most importantly – post the links to your lead capture page and sales page. Tell your fans about your amazing free and paid products.

When you’re ready – bring Facebook Ads into the mix. You can start with a low-cost $5/day campaign to promote your lead magnet and slowly work your way up as your sales grow. In my experience this is the BEST way to make money online. You tell Facebook exactly who to put your ad in front of, tell them how much you’d like to spend, give them the graphic and the copy, and bada bing bada boom – your target market is now seeing your ads in their Facebook news feed for a product they actually want. It won’t even feel like advertising.

“But how am I supposed to make money when I’m spending money on Facebook ads to give away a free thing?” I hear you ask. And I’m glad you did because that brings us to the last step:

STEP 6) SET-UP A FOLLOW-UP CAMPAIGN

Most people who opt-in for your lead magnet won’t buy your digital product. It’s just a sad fact of marketing – no matter how good your product is your prospective customer still isn’t totally sure of who you are, and if your product is right for them. And I don’t blame them – the Internet is full of noise and people making false promises.

What I’m about to teach you is the #1 step most entrepreneurs are missing in their sales plan. If you can master this then you’ll be miles ahead of your competition. Consider these important elements before you create your follow-up campaign:

  • Be real. Treat your relationship with your new email subscriber (i.e. – lead) like a real relationship. Don’t be all weird and salesy. When they opt-in for your lead magnet make sure they get an email right away that not only delivers the lead magnet but also says “hey, so nice to meet you. Welcome, etc.” Then follow-up with them a couple of days later – send them an email a couple of days later asking them if they enjoyed the lead magnet. Tell them a personal story about yourself. Give them some of your best resources. Be super nice. The goal here is to turn strangers into friends.
  • Follow-up with them outside of email. Have you noticed in the last year or so that sometimes when you visit a website you later see ads for that same website somewhere else? Maybe on another website, or Facebook or Twitter? This involves placing a piece of code called a “tracking pixel” on your website and it’s actually not too difficult! I use Facebook Ads to set all of this up and it works really well.

Ok, Let’s Recap:

I just unloaded a ton of info on you – so congrats on getting this far! Here’s a little visual summary for you:

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By | 2016-11-22T01:16:42+00:00 October 8th, 2015|Health & Wellness Services|0 Comments

About the Author:

Laura Lancaster is an online marketing professional living in Vancouver, Canada. She grew up in Australia and earned her bachelor's degree in media from RMIT University in Melbourne. Laura works 1 - 1 with entrepreneurs to help them set-up an online system that brings in sales. She specializes in Facebook ads management and strategy; copywriting and editing; email marketing; and creating and promoting digital products.

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