Newsletters & List Building.
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Let’s talk about newsletters. On another blog, I wrote a blog titled “3 Reasons Your Craft Business Needs A Newsletter” so if you have no idea what a newsletter could do for your business, I recommend starting with reading that post as it explains why a newsletter is vital.
But how do we start one, what do we put in it, and how in the world do we get people to sign up for it?
Let’s dive in.
I’m constantly asked these 5 questions below about newsletters. So today, I want to answer them for you the best I know how.
1. When Should I Start A Newsletter List?
Immediately! Don’t even wait to make your first dollar. A newsletter list is crucial for retaining your customers long term. Even if you have a Facebook group of 500+ members, you do not OWN those members like you do with a newsletter. If Facebook closes you down, you have nothing, nada, zilch. Even if your newsletter starts out small, it will grow if you create incentives for your customers to subscribe. We’ll talk about that a little later. A newsletter should go hand in hand with “opening shop.”
2.What Do I Use To Create It?
There are many different platforms to create newsletters. I have used a few of them but keep happily returning to MailChimp. First of all, it’s free for up to 2,000 subscribers, so even if you decide it’s not the platform you want to use, it’s a great place to start. Switching newsletter platforms is very easy, so don’t worry about choosing the wrong one. I’ve gone back and forth a few times between platforms and it’s been a very easy process. MailChimp is very easy to use with great templates to follow. But there are also great great tutorials found on Pinterest and even E-Books on Etsy (like this one) that can help provide more guidance!
3. What Content Do I Send Out?
This is where it gets fun… and overwhelming. Your newsletter does not have to be an 8-course meal. It can simply be an appetizer! Of course you can showcase all 35 of your newest releases, but the point of a newsletter, is to get people over to your website! (If you don’t have a website, we are going to dive into that as we move into 2018, but for now, here’s a blog post that may help answer some questions on where to get started with that.) Here’s 5 ideas of what you can post to get your ideas rolling!
- New Items (Showcase 1-3 and encourage them to visit your shop/FB/website to see the rest)
- Blog Posts with Affiliate Links (Huh? We’ll dive more into that this year, too, but here is a great course for learning about Affiliate marketing)
- Sale Items/Close Out Specials
- Notice of Giveaways (Hosted on your Social Media pages)
- Brand Rep Searches (People LOVE to get involved as brand reps for your business! You an create awesome trades of product for excellent pictures to use in your shop!)
The ideas can go on and on! Don’t worry about filling up three pages of content. A newsletter should just be a taste to see what’s in store. Something to make them WANT to visit and see what else you’re up to! Great pictures are KEY to drawing people in. Utilizing brand reps or taking a photography course like this one could help with your photography skills!
4. How Often Do I Send One?
I send mine weekly, but that doesn’t mean you need to. Just remember that consistency is important. Bi-weekly is a goal to aim for, but when you’re getting your feet wet, you may find monthly works best. You just don’t want to be the girl that sends out a newsletter once every 4-5 months. People will forget who you are by then and unsubscribe. You want to build that relationship with your customers and keep the door of communication open. If you fall off the planet for 6 months, and then come back and say “hey, buy my stuff” you probably won’t have the best results. But if you build your business to say “Hey! This is me! This is what I’m up to now! I know you want to be a part of this so I’m staying in touch!” your customer relationship status goes from “it’s complicated” to “in a relationship” and will continue to grow.
5. How Do I Get People To Sign Up?
BE CREATIVE with this! Here’s some ideas!
- Social Media Posts promoting a special sales code for those who subscribe
- Etsy Shop Banner with a link to the newsletter sign-up. with a % off discount for new subscribers
- Special Giveaway Offers for subscribers of your e-mail list. (Check in with giveaway laws in your state. Many require disclaimers to be listed)
- Any conversation you have with a customer, ASK THEM if you can add them to your newsletter. An old sales trainer of mine would always ask me when my sales call failed… “but did you ask for their business?” It always felt so weird to say, “hey will you uh, buy from me?” But it was amazing how many times I would say things like: “so, let’s get this going for you” and they would say “okay!” When you introduce the next step, they are more likely to go along for the ride simply because they feel like you know what you’re doing and they trust you. So if you are talking to a customer, or potential customer, and say “okay, great! I’ll get this order set up for you right now. Would it be okay to add you to my newsletter list for future sales and discounts?”…. they’re likely to say yes.
Your newsletter will NOT be perfect the first go ’round. You’ll make mistakes and learn along the way. But those mistakes are just stepping stones. I promise you’ll grow and that you’ll be so happy you started when you did.
In the Crafters Calendar we talk about customer personality types and colors on page 7 & 8 of the “Start here” guide. I would encourage you to read that if you haven’t already. The same sales trainer that asked me the above question, also taught me about how to identify and how to speak to different types of customers. This was a game changer for my sales career. I’m certain it will be for yours also!