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When I started my business, one of the most common pieces of advice I was given was to "build an email list".
Can I let you in on a secret?
I did the total opposite, I ignored it.
I wanted to focus on running my shop so much so, that I did think about how important it is to develop solid marketing strategies upfront. It certainly did not cross my mind about building a foundation that was not only going to allow me to run my shop but would maximize the growth of my shop as well.
If I can be transparent with you for a moment, in all honesty, I was afraid to do so. I wasn't quite sure how email marketing would fit with my business, much less what to do with it. For that very reason, I totally placed it into my fear fortress.
I'm sure you are familiar with that place. It’s a place of insecurity and doubt when something new comes along that just might change your way of thinking. But you are way too scared to take the leap for fear of failing.
Yeah, that place...
Because of my fear, I decided to go in another direction. I tried my hand with social media. As much as I love social media, I must admit, I was displeased at the results I was receiving.
That moment is when I decided that if I wanted a thriving business I had to set my fear fortress on fire.
In the words of Steve Harvey, "You eventually are going to have to jump. You cannot just exist in this life. You’ve got to try to live."
In other words, take a chance. If it fails, you can at least move on knowing you tried.
And so, I jumped.
I’m sure you’re wondering how can email marketing benefit your Etsy shop. Outside of the fear, I also had very little interest in emails. The very mention of the word “email marketing” screams borrriiing. But it doesn't have to be, even if it isn't your thing.
Let me lay things out for you...
Part of running an Etsy shop is that we wear many hats. Often, more than we would care to. Unfortunately, when you are starting, it is a necessity. In most cases, you just aren't at the point in your business in which you can pay for someone to assist you. So most of the time, it's all on YOU.
Marketing is one of the many roles that you are responsible for. Not to mention that it carries a large weight in your business success. Fun fact, 80% of your efforts should be focused on marketing and the other 20% on creating products.
Are you kidding me? Nope!
Think about it. If you are churning away making products, but not sharing your creations with the world, what's the point? No one knows what you're up to if you don't take several opportunities to put it out there.
If you are spending countless hours with the creation process and very little time promoting, you are wasting your time. After creating your product you don’t just set it and quit it.
So what do you do instead?
Your end goal is to make money -- no shame in that at all. That is what landed you here. You should begin by spreading the word to generate sales. Creating buzz about your business and products in front of an audience is referred to as a marketing message.
That new shiny, dazzlingly product you added to your shop should be shared with your audience. The sharing process is known as a marketing message.
Are you introducing a new line of products...
...or maybe you just completed tutorial video showing your audience how to use your product in a specific way...
...these are all marketing messages. And they all deserved to be put out there.
Here's where email marketing comes in. Having an email list allows you to convey your marketing messages seamlessly to YOUR audience.
Let's dig deep for a moment.
Most shop owners put in gobs of time on marketing efforts, such as the number of social media followers you have or your # of page views on your blog. I can admit, I was one of them.
It was all about Instagram. I went in hard to build my following. I posted like a crazed maniac to establish notoriety and to increase sales. It wasn't until I underwent my prelaunch for a new product, that I realized Instagram just wasn't providing me with the results I needed.
Now let's be clear, I am not suggesting you kick social media to the curb.
In fact, I encourage you to keep it around. It's an awesome way to interact with your audience. For me, Instagram is better suited to connect with my peeps visually and helps new customers to find me. But it certainly wasn't creating a solid foundation for driving a consistent flow of sales.
And as important as your social media outreach is, it is not the end all be all. It shouldn't be your sole driving force for growing your business.
This brings me to today's topic. I’m going to be covering how implementing an email list will be the most valuable marketing method for your business until the end of time.
Let me first start by pointing out why having an email list is golden.
Direct Path To Your Peeps
An email list creates a direct path to your audience, your peeps, your followers. No middle man involved. It’s just you and the people that love your content. Your audience loves you so much so, that they yearn to stay connected with you. They want to hear more of all the goodies you have to share.
Hence the reason they are on your list.
The sweet spot is, as long as you nurture them and express value that is relevant to their interest, they are in it for the long haul.
You Earned It, Now Own It!
Your email list gives you 100% control. ANDDD, are you ready for this?
It's all yours!
Social media or even Etsy for that matter, doesn't belong to you and neither does its audience. It's someone else's property that we are building our business on. Which means you are at the complete mercy of someone else. If these platforms die out tomorrow or make a monumental change, you have no say so on the matter.
No one has time for that. You need way more protection for your business.
With social media, you are now a passenger of up and down rollercoaster of changes. Algorithm changes or even a deletion of your account without warning. Relying on any platform (that includes Etsy) will lead you into a black hole that could allow you to lose everything. It's unbelievable how people depend on it to bring them sales. And I have to tell you it really makes me cringe.
Think about this for a moment...you just created a new product that you know your audience will love. You head over to your social media account to make a post about your new release. You walk away feeling accomplished and excited to hear the reactions of your followers. Only to be disappointed that less than 20 people out of your 3000 followers cared.
Newsflash, it's not that they don't care.
The problem is your followers did not get wind of your post on their direct feed, which is where algorithm changes come into play. Imagine for a moment that all 3000 of your followers post at least once a day, it becomes virtually impossible to view everyone’s daily feed. That now puts you at a disadvantage, the fewer eyeballs on your products, the less they sell.
Not a good way to get yourself out there.
You want to share your content that lasts longer than a few weeks. You want your messages to keep working for you months after you've created it. Your email list, on the other hand, takes out all the guesswork on who is and isn't coming into contact with your messages.
The Power of Persuasion
What's one of the first things you do when you wake up in the morning? Check your email. Well, at least I do. And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who does.
According to Eleventy Marketing Group, 9 out of 10 email users check their email at least once a day. In fact, email marketing provides a much greater ROI (Return of Investment) of 122% compared to social media's lag of 28%.
Yikes! Bananas, right?
With these numbers, you have a much greater chance of promoting your business through email and getting consistent sales.
Everyone on your list is there for a reason, to connect with your brand on a more personal note. Because they chose to opt-in to be a part of your list, you have the green light to promote your brand to them without it being a major turn off.
Don't be alarmed by those who do choose to unsubscribe, because it doesn't work for them. Buh-bye! Here's the thing, you only want to entertain those that want to be there. They are the ones who will benefit from what you are sharing, anyone else is simply taking up space.
Alright so here are some ways you can engage with your email list:
- Share your new products.
- Share behind the scene action or news about your business that affects your audience.
- Implement a strategic series of emails to persuade your audience to purchase your items.
- Reminders about sales.
- Share your latest blog posts without focusing on monetizing.
Engaging with the audience on your list creates a bond of trust and loyalty. Resulting in the likelihood that they will buy products from you over and over again. Even if you aren't selling a product or service at the moment, it is a surefire way to get people back to your site.
Making It Work With Etsy
Now that we have covered the benefits, let's make it work for your Etsy shop. Having an external website allows you to easily capture emails of your subscribers.
With Etsy, we don't have that option. But that doesn't mean it can't be accomplished. I have a simple workaround for that. Here's the rundown...
- Begin with thinking about a freebie you would give to your subscribers for joining your list. You can offer free shipping, a percentage off their order, or even a printable they could benefit from -- the sky is the limit. The key is to make it something that would be way too irresistible to pass up.
- If your freebie is beyond a discount, be sure that it is relevant to your products. You wouldn't want to give away a social media calendar if you sell children's products. You want to attract the right people to your list.
I decided to give away a free bow to those who subscribed to my list. My products are hair bows, so I made it that much easier for my target audience to sign up for my list.
- Choose an email service provider - my choice is AWeber (and works great with Etsy). An email service provider simply manages and organizes the emails you collect. There are many that you can choose from based on the needs of your business and your preference.
- For HelloFrankie.com, I use Convertkit. I love the simple interface and the robust nature of segmenting my subscribers based on their interests. However, for my Etsy shop, I use AWeber and would highly recommend it for someone who is just starting. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what platform you go with as long as it does what you need it to do -- capture your subscriber's emails.
I have to gush about AWeber for just a moment. It is definitely one of Etsy's best-kept secrets. I started with Mailchimp but switched to AWeber because of its simplicity and the fact that it integrates with Etsy.
Every time someone makes a purchase within your shop, the customer is sent an email asking if they would like to join your email list. They click confirm and DONE!
Want to test drive AWeber? Use my special link and start for free.
- Next, you need a sign-up form to collect emails. Most email services allow you to build and customize a sign-up form.
Almost there... now it’s time to wrap it up.
- Create an image that will fit into your Etsy listing photo space. This graphic should include directions on how to subscribe, the link to subscribe, and what freebie you will give them in exchange for their email. You can create a very simple graphic in Canva, my favorite tool for creating all my graphics, Pinterest templates, and so much more.
Here's an example of what my opt-in image looks like in one of my Etsy shop's.
Need a tad bit more inspiration? Here are a few shops that are totally rockin' it with building their email list.
Modern Pink Paper: Invitations
Bee Handmade Boutique: Fabrics
Paper and Oats: Printable Planners
- You've designed your image, now it's time to upload it to your shop listings. Once uploaded, arrange your photos in the order you see fit. I choose to arrange this image as the second photo a customer sees. However, you can always arrange this image as the very last one within your listing.
- To take it a step further. Make mention of your sign up in the descriptions as well along with a link. We want to cover all bases, just in case your customer doesn't scroll through your photos.
- To monitor your email list performance on Etsy, sign up for a bit.ly URL to give you an idea of what is and isn't working for you. This helps with making any necessary changes to optimize your results.
- Don’t forget to use any opportunity to promote your list sign up. You can promote on social media, remind your customers when communicating via Etsy, or include this info. package inserts.
Viola! You just created your first opt-in (freebie) for your Etsy shop.
Whew...thanks for hanging in there with me. I know it’s a lot of work up front, but hey what business strategy isn’t? The beauty is that once implemented, your list will grow on autopilot using these strategies.
We learned why you need an email list and how to maximize your time focusing on list building rather than social media. I'm super excited to see how things turn out for you guys. Now that you know how important building your email list is, I urge you to get started today. Leave a comment below to let me know what step you're on and if you have any questions.