Email marketing is a critical part of most successful businesses.
No matter how much some businesses may downplay email marketing or say they don’t need it, they do. Email marketing gives you a direct line to your customers and keeps them in the know of your business.
When you are a newer business, or older that has never tapped into connecting to your customers with email it can be very confusing.
It can take an average of seven interactions for someone to go from initial contact to purchase. Keeping in touch with a newsletter is a great way to do that.
In this article, I am going to teach you how to get started with email marketing and give you some tips on how to leverage that list into more sales for your craft business.
Picking a provider
The first step to an effective email marketing strategy is to pick a provider. Email can be a tricky business when it comes to getting your emails into the inbox. You don’t want your email to look like spam, because no one will get it if it gets tagged that way.
The best providers have the authority to make that happen.
Another key to choosing who you use will be the ease of using the tool. As a small business, you don’t have time to learn some complicated systems. And who wants to be confused trying to send an email anyway?
There are three main providers that I recommend, with one coming out miles ahead when it comes to running an online store.
Klaviyo is the tool we use for our own candle business and the one we recommend and set up for our clients. Rather than being just another email provider, they focus on eCommerce email marketing.
Ecommerce is a whole different beast than service-based businesses. You need a way to connect your products, request reviews, and make the overall order experience complete.
That is where Klaviyo shines. Not only do they handle your regular newsletter-type emails, but they connect to your online store solution and use automation to handle the follow-ups and keep your customers coming back to your store again and again.
You can sign up for a free account here and try it out: https://www.klaviyo.com/
Mailerlite is my second choice when it comes to email marketing. They are also my recommended go-to for service-based businesses.
While Mailerlite does support automation, the integration with eCommerce is rather clunky. But from a newsletter standpoint, they are excellent. And the automation is great when you want to send an email sequence and freebie when someone signs up for your list.
Sign up for Mailerlite here: https://www.mailerlite.com/
My last recommendation is probably one you have heard of many times.
Mailchimp is extremely well known. And if you are doing blogging and don’t need automated sequences or a big list they are my recommendation.
On their higher plans, they do have automation and the interface is very easy to use.
Sign up for Mailchimp here: https://mailchimp.com/
There are tons of other providers out there. In the end, you need to pick the provider that will work best for what you are trying to do and is the easiest to use for you. What I think might be easier, might be an overly complicated feeling to you.
Growing your list online
Now that you have picked a provider, you need to get people on your list. While there are many ways to do that, here are my favorite methods to catch people online.
To get people to sign up you have to offer something of value. Think of an email address as a type of product. You need to ‘pay’ the owner to get the email address.
It could simply be a coupon. Or it could be some other useful information. Common with many businesses is freebies. Think free patterns if you sell sewing patterns. Or your top five tips on using product x.
Whatever you do, just make it fun, relevant, and worth something that encourages them to bite and give up the email address. Just make sure you disclose how you plan to use their email.
The first step is to start grabbing people that visit your website and drive them back to your email list.
Having a sign-up form placed prominently on your website can get your list growing. While I am not a fan of pop-ups, they do work for some people. I prefer to add subtle calls through all my content, or at the end of blog articles as you can see at the bottom of this one.
Utilizing your freebie or coupon on social media can work rather well to get people to sign up.
Another great way to get people on your list is to do a contest or giveaway of a higher-value product. As part of the entry, they could have to submit their email on an external form.
Think about how your audience interacts the most with you and take advantage of those interactions to help you grow.
The last method I commonly will recommend is using paid ads.
These can be either through search engines, other websites, or social media. Since it can take so many interactions, unless the audience for the ad is rather warm, they won’t buy right away.
What you need to do instead is send them to a land page or other content you have that can warm them up. Part of this warming can be to get them on your list and keep sending them new things.
Utilizing markets and events to grow your list
The foot traffic at some markets can be spectacular. So, wouldn’t it be great if you could convert some of them to your list?
Well, there are a few ways to make that happen that I recommend you take full advantage of.
Catch your customers
It is way easier to sell to someone twice than it is to go find someone new. And even if your product is the type they never have to buy again, I bet they know someone else who might. Your job is to stay in the front of their mind.
You can offer people who purchase a discount on a future purchase but only by signing up for your list. This will help you grow your list to people who probably already love your product.
Contests & drawings
The second-best way to catch that foot traffic is to run a contest or drawing. We have all seen these types of sign-ups at the local yard and garden show. ‘Drop your email here for a chance to win a free roof inspection’ or whatever they are selling.
Think about value here. You want something valuable enough to get them to think “yeah, I could use that” but not unbelievable. “Win a lifetime supply of XYZ” is not likely from a small business and leaves them with trust issues.
Make sure your form has a box that explicitly says they are agreeing to receive emails in the future from you.
Keeping In Touch
Now that you have people on the list, you need to start keeping in touch. On to using your list for more sales.
No matter how small your list is, those people are asking you to write them. Trying to write them consistently is best. You don’t want them to forget all about you.
Being sporadic in your communications is a quick way for them to no longer feel any value and unsubscribe from your list.
The goal of all email marketing is to stay top of mind while offering value to those on your list. And when you offer that value, those on your list will show their gratefulness through purchases.
What you send your audience can vary greatly depending on your products. But some easy wins to think about are:
- New product releases
- Seasonal topics
- Items on sale
- Clearance deals
- Blog articles (if you choose to blog)
- Quarterly reach out emails
- Business birthday and special events or markets you will be at
- Product highlight/story
No matter what you send, keep it on brand. Make sure your emails sound like they are personal and coming from you. Don’t go automaton and sound robotic. And don’t make every email about purchasing more from you. Yes, you are in business to make money. But a ran over audience won’t buy more.
Another thing to remember is don’t over-email your list. While they signed up to hear from you, they don’t probably want to hear from you every day unless they signed up for a specific sequence. Automation sequences are fine as long as they are related to something happening.
Think about a sale. You can probably get away with a few emails about the sale. But if you are popping into their email box every day saying, ‘sale sale sale’, I bet you will get an unsubscribe or even worse marked as spam.
Tips on your list
I have a couple of important tips I want to give you about growing a list.
The most important tip I can give you when growing an email list is to NEVER buy a list. Buying a list is a waste of time and money.
You will be paying to interrupt people who have no interest in you. Many will mark you as spam and kill any chance you have of creating a real list.
My second tip is to figure out how many people you need to sell to. A large list can be a blessing and a curse. The larger the list the more you pay to use it.
If your list is not highly engaged, then you need to filter those disengaged from your list. You don’t want to pay for dead weight. Focus on only collecting emails from those that are the most likely to purchase from you.
Don’t be afraid to remove people who have not opened an email in a year or whatever criteria you choose.
A small list of 50 can easily bring in more business than a messy list of 1000’s. It’s all about talking to the right people.
Laws are ever-changing, and you need to make sure you stay on the right side of the law.
Collecting email addresses and dealing with privacy concerns are becoming more and more regulated. You need to do your research before running contests and know the laws. In some cases, you need to document how you got the email and how you will use it.
You need to always have a way to allow people to get off your list or be completely forgotten should they desire.
The fines for violating privacy laws can be very steep and damaging to your business, so please do your due diligence before implementing any strategy listed in this article.
What’s stopping you?
Hopefully, this article has got you thinking. I hope you are chomping at the bit to get your email list started.
Email marketing is a great way to stay in contact with your future and present customers. I encourage you to sign up with a provider and start a list. Stay in touch and enjoy the growth that can come through those contact points.
Lead with value, share openly, and grow.
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