- Ali Millington
- Healthy food blogger Deliciously Ella has more than a million fans on Instagram. She receives over 400 emails a day – and makes a point of responding to every one. She told Business Insider that using travel time is the key.
At only 26 years old, Ella Mills, better known as Deliciously Ella, has more than a million Instagram followers and a healthy eating blog that has seen more than 130 million hits since its launch in 2012.
She operates three delis, has three different snack products in 5,500 stores (including Waitrose and Starbucks), a successful food and drink app, and three best-selling cookbooks.
Yet somehow, she manages to respond to every single email she’s sent every day.
“When I first started doing what I was doing, I decided that I would try and commit to myself that I would try and reply to everybody,” Mills told Business Insider.
“A couple of years later, in hindsight, [that] was probably not my best commitment because there’s now about 300-400 emails a day that need responses.”
Still, she has stuck to her goal because she feels a “real responsibility” to respond every time someone emails telling her a story about something they’ve done or learned from her, or asking a question.
- Ali Millington
“A lot of people say that I’m insane spending so much of my day doing that, but it’s actually been one of the key successes of building the brand, the amazing engagement we’ve been able to create, and the community we’ve been able to create from that support [has helped us] launch each step of the business.”
She added that she’s constantly learning from people as they “get in touch and tell you about certain elements of the brand they’ve come into contact with, that they like, that they don’t like, that they have thoughts on.”
So how does she fit it in?
She said she tries to respond to emails between every meeting she has. “I’ll be on my phone and try to reply to as many as I can,” she said. “I’ll go through our Instagram page and try to reply to as many comments, like peoples’ comments, like their messages, and just try to be engaged with every single person that touches the brand throughout every day.”
“I find travel time is actually some of the most useful time of the day because it’s the time you can sit down and reply to anything and everything, so anytime I’m sitting on the Tube or getting in a cab I’ll just spend the whole time replying to every single email so that you don’t get that backlog throughout the day,” she added.
“If I don’t get that, I get a little bit overwhelmed at the end of the day when you sit down and you’re like ‘Right, there’s just 200 people that need an answer in the next hour.'”
- Ella Mills/Instagram