1. Customer Case Studies

Nomad Cooks – building a business with email marketing

Picture the scene – it’s a balmy British summer’s eve. You’re in the garden with friends and loved ones (following current social distancing guidelines, of course).

The wine is flowing. And so is the conversation.

One by one, three courses of restaurant-quality dishes are brought to your table. And you and your guests dine on fresh, seasonal ingredients cooked to perfection.

Best of all, once dinner is over, there’s no need to worry about the washing up – it’s done for you.

Sound like the sort of experience only a millionaire might enjoy?

Not any more. Because Nomad Cooks are bringing this personalised dining experience to residents inside the M25 for as little as £20 a head.

And they’re growing their budding business with EmailOctopus.

Picture of a dinner party with Jojo from Nomad Cooks as the evening's chef

The story behind Nomad Cooks

Nomad Cooks was born in 2020 after founder Jojo Kelly spent a summer working as a private chef for an agency in the Algarve. Frustrated by payments going awry, being sent to the wrong address and a growing concern that customers weren’t getting the experience they deserved, Jojo decided he was going to fix the problem.

Back in London, he started Nomad Cooks with the goal of making it easy for people to book private chefs to come to their home and cook restaurant-quality meals while they entertain their guests.

But it wasn’t just customers Jojo wanted to serve – he also wanted to give chefs like him more control over the dining experiences they deliver. And more of the money too.

By building a platform that connects customers directly with chefs, Jojo has made it possible for diners to get to know the people coming into their homes and cooking their meal. All the while, keeping prices in line with what you might pay at a restaurant.

But in order to reach new customers, Jojo and the team had to get their new brand in front of the right people. And for this they turned to email marketing.

One of our most successful channels has been email marketing.

Jojo Kelly, founder of Nomad Cooks

How Nomad Cooks is growing their mailing list

Jojo and the team at Nomad Cooks started their email list from scratch. And in less than a year they’ve grown an engaged audience of 1,100+ newsletter subscribers. They’ve done this primarily by running a giveaway.

Every month a subscriber gets the chance to win a dinner party voucher for six people simply by joining the Nomad Cooks mailing list.

To get as many website visitors onto the Nomad Cooks list as possible, the giveaway is promoted via a pop-up form powered by Getsitecontrol.

And there’s also a dedicated landing page on the Nomad Cooks website where visitors can subscribe and enter the giveaway.

The giveaway opt-in landing page used by Nomad Cooks to encourage sign-ups to their mailing list
Page on the Nomad Cooks website with details of the giveaway

But you can’t just wait around for potential customers to come to you. Especially not when you’re just starting out and your website is still building its domain ranking.

That’s why Nomad Cooks use Facebook Ads to promote their giveaway and get more people on their mailing list.

Organic posts on Facebook and Instagram also play a key role in turning social media followers into newsletter subscribers.

Instagram post by Nomad Cooks promoting their giveaway to grow their mailing list
Instagram post promoting the Nomad Cooks giveaway

How Nomad Cooks are nurturing new subscribers

Using the automation feature in EmailOctopus, Jojo has created a sequence of five emails to welcome new subscribers and nurture them into becoming customers.

The sequence starts with a welcome email, explaining who Nomad Cooks are and what they offer. Plus, subscribers are reminded that they’ve been entered into the prize draw to win a 6-person dinner party voucher.

The second email introduces three of the most popular chefs on Nomad Cooks, with a short bio alongside reviews from happy customers.

Next, Jojo explains why he founded Nomad Cooks. And in doing so, he also highlights what makes Nomad Cooks special – each chef gets paid 100% of the cost of the menu and Nomad Cooks also donate a school meal to a child in poverty for each guest they serve.

To help convince their audience that they won’t be disappointed in their service, the fourth email in the sequence includes five-star reviews taken from TrustPilot, a well-known and respected review site. This provides that all-important social proof to help nurture subscribers into becoming a customer.

Email number 4 in the Nomad Cooks welcome email series to nurture new subscribers into customers

But in case that wasn’t enough, the final email in the sequence provides new subscribers with a discount code. By this point, subscribers understand what Nomad Cooks is all about and why they’d want to use them. With a discount code, Nomad Cooks goes in for the conversion – a booking.

And it works – with a conversion rate of around 2%, through the welcome series alone Nomad Cooks ensures weekly bookings on autopilot.

Which makes all the difference to a young, small company just starting out. Especially when costs of acquiring new customers via paid advertising channels like Facebook are far from profitable.

How Nomad Cooks keep their subscribers engaged

On top of the five-email welcome sequence, Nomad Cooks also sends out a weekly newsletter to subscribers. These weekly emails include a profile of a chef, a top tip for hosting dinner parties and recommendations on kitchen gadgets.

The goal is to keep Nomad Cooks top of mind for when subscribers are ready to book a unique dining experience.

Because as Jojo himself points out, it’s not the kind of thing you’d book everyday. For many of us, it’s not something we might even consider in the first place.

So once Nomad Cooks have been able to plant the idea, and get potential customers aware of their brand, it’s important to keep building a relationship.

That’s where email comes in. We can provide a useful resource to people every week and be top of mind by subtly promoting our product while also adding value through blog features and tips“, says Jojo.

Nomad Cooks include tips and recipes to provide value to their subscribers
Section of a Nomad Cooks newsletter sent using EmailOctopus

What Nomad Cooks needed from an email marketing tool

During the first few months, Jojo used Mailchimp to run their email marketing. But he soon found Mailchimp too expensive and unnecessarily complex for his email marketing needs.

So he went looking for a better solution. And he came across EmailOctopus.

For Jojo, it felt as though EmailOctopus was designed especially for his use case – sending out a weekly mailer and automating a welcome series.

The drag and drop email editor makes it easy for Jojo and the team to build great-looking newsletters to send to subscribers every Monday morning.

And they take full advantage of the unlimited lists by managing multiple lists for subscribers, customers and chefs in the one team account. The segmentation feature also helps Nomad Cooks tailor their emails to customers based on how many bookings they’ve previously made.

EmailOctopus fitted the bill perfectly. It’s intuitive, easy to understand and it does the job that’s needed to be done, at a good price.

Jojo Kelly, founder of Nomad Cooks
EmailOctopus promo banner

What’s on the horizon for Nomad Cooks

With the summer season upon us here in the UK, Nomad Cooks are turning their attention to BBQs and garden parties. And with the European Football Championship now in full swing, it’s a great time to be suggesting a private chef takes care of your dinner while you and your mates enjoy the footie.

So for the next few months, Nomad Cooks will be focusing on content related to these topics. And email is going to be key to promoting this content to their audience.

But beyond summer 2021, Nomad Cooks is aiming to become the name Brits think of when entertaining at home, while making it as easy as possible for people to host guests at their house with the services of a private chef.

Search platform on the Nomad Cooks website that lets you find available private chefs in London
The search page on Nomad Cooks where you can find your perfect private chef

And the ambition doesn’t stop there. Jojo’s hoping that one day Nomad Cooks will be the equivalent of AirBnb for private dinner party chefs – a platform where you can leave reviews and filter for chefs based on their prices and cuisine specialties.

But more than that, just like AirBnb gave travellers a whole new option of holiday accommodation, Nomad Cooks might one day make at-home catering as natural a choice as going out to a restaurant for your evening meal.

And we say bon appétit to that.


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