Bloom Business Basics Bootcamp Week 8: email Marketing

I’m going to make a bold statement here:

If you are a handmade business owner (well, any kind of business owner, really): a well-nurtured and engaged email list is the most valuable asset your business can have.

Say whaaaa??

Hear me out: This statement comes with 10+ years of personal experience and a LOT of trial and error.

I have had my handmade business since 2010, and like many artists and crafters, the majority of my business’ income came from craft fairs, art shows, and vintage/barn sales. The great thing about those events (besides cash flows) was that I had the chance to meet SO many people! I formed personal relationships with customers who came to see me show after show and year after year. 

I realized, though, that outside of my social media sites, I didn’t really have a way to contact those loyal customers to let them know when I’d be in their area, what new designs I had, etc. So, I decided it was time to start building my email list! Slowly but surely, I collected the contact information from my best customers and kept in contact with them via email. I also added signup forms to my Etsy shop and website, so people who visited my site could get right on that list too.

Fast forward to today, when there are ZERO art or craft fairs happening (at least not anywhere in the Pittsburgh area), and I am reliant 100% on online sales.

Now, if this was like 5 years ago, I might have had a real problem on my hands.

Thanks to my email list, though, I have been able to not only sustain my business online, but have been able to THRIVE. My online sales are more than double what they were in 2019.

Now you might be thinking, “ok...that’s awesome for you, but I don’t have an email list so WTH?!”

I’m going to let you in on a little secret:

You probably already have an email list (you just don’t know it yet), and it’s easy to get started with sending those emails!

If you think that you are starting from scratch, here’s what to do:

  1. Gather up all of those miscellaneous notepads, pieces of paper, business cards, etc that you have collected at shows over the years
  2. Sit down at your computer, open up a Google Sheet (or any kind of spreadsheet) and type in the names and email addresses (it’s good to have a master sheet, and it’s easy to import them into the email service provider of your choice).
  3. Look back through your business emails: if you have emails from previous customers, reach out to them and ask if they’d like to be on your mailing list!
  4. Select an email service provider (I have a guide here that will help you find one if you don’t have one already) and set up a landing page/opt in form. This is a form where people will sign up for your email list. As a side note: the landing page link exists on its own, so even if you don’t have a website set up, you can still share this link on your social media sites and encourage customers to sign up!
  5. Once you are set up with your email service provider, create some simple automated email sequences and start nurturing your audience! Automated sequences are emails that are sent to someone automatically when they take an action. A good place to start is creating an automatic “thank you” email once someone has filled out the form.

Once you have the email service provider selected and the landing page/form created, you want to share that signup link allllllll over the place! Post it on social media, ask friends to share it, post it on your personal page, post it on event pages for shows that you have participated in...anywhere and everywhere you can.

Then, you nurture, nurture, nurture! This means sending out emails on a regular basis (at least monthly, otherwise your customers are likely to not remember signing up), offering value to your audience, and inviting them to respond and have a conversation (engage!) with you. 

Since we don’t have the opportunity to create and nurture these relationships in person at shows, it’s going to be crucial to the success of your business that you take this opportunity to build up and work on your email list: not only are you working to get them to your website now, but you are also working towards bringing these new customers to your art and craft shows if/when they do return. 

This was a VERY general overview of email marketing...the takeaways are, just get started! The first step is the hardest.

We talk a LOT about email marketing and all things handmade-business related over in the free Bloom Facebook group: if you haven’t already, please pop over and join us!

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