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Hi! I’m Lucy. Chardonnay and vintage finds lover, founder of the handmade jewelry brand bel monili *and* your new guide to making your handmade business WORK online.
I’m going to make a bold statement here: a well-nurtured and engaged email list is the most valuable asset your business can have. This applies if you are a handmade business owner or any kind of business owner, really. And, I have the best email marketing tips for you today!
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
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 2020, when there were ZERO art or craft fairs happening (at least not anywhere in the Pittsburgh area), and I was 100% reliant on online sales.
Now, if this was like 5 years prior, I might have had a real problem on my hands.
Thanks to my email list, though, I was able to not only sustain my business online, but it THRIVED. My online sales were more than double what they were in 2019. So these email marketing tips come from my experience and my belief that email marketing is the key to online business success.
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!
No, I don’t expect you to have special powers! An ESP is an Email Service Provider. It’s software that manages your email list, and gives you the tools to send emails out to them.
Popular providers are Mailchimp, ConvertKit, MailerLite, etc. Each ESP comes with pros and cons, and pricing varies. Some have free plans for a lower number of emails.
Pick one that fits your needs, and start using it to gather new sign ups! Many of these ESPs integrate with sites like Shopify.
All of them will give you a link to a sign up form that you can share with anyone and everyone. Use the link and add it to your email signature, your invoices, make a poster and put it up at craft shows, anywhere you can think of.
So you figured out you actually have a list to start with, and now you have a plan to get more email list subscribers. Awesome!
Now you need to actually write those emails. Here are my best email marketing tips to get you started:
📧 Send out emails on a regular basis. At the minimum I would say send one per month, but twice per month or even weekly is better. You don’t need to do more than that. Otherwise, your customers are likely to not remember signing up.
📧 Offer value to your audience! Think about what they’d be interested in hearing about. Share new items and any sales you may be having. Talk about how you came up with a favorite creation. Give your customers ideas on how they can use your items.
📧 Invite your email list members to respond and have a conversation with you. Ask questions and ask for feedback!
📧 Use personalization in your emails. Most ESPs give you the option to add the recipient’s first name in the subject line and/or the body of your email. There’s something about getting an email that’s addressed directly to YOU that makes it more interesting. So try to use your recipient’s name in as many emails as possible.
📧 Try to craft a “hook” for your subject line. You know how many emails we all get in a day. How can you make yours stand out? A fun, enticing subject line!
Here’s a free tool you can use to help you craft awesome subject lines: Coschedule’s Email Subject Line Analyzer
📧 Use only one, clear call to action (CTA) per email. For example, if you want the recipient to visit your website, don’t also ask them to go to your Instagram page in the same email. Make this one email about your website, and the next email can be about your Instagram page.
You can always include links at the bottom of your email to your social media pages, but the SUBJECT of your email should be one call to action.
📧 Resend the email to the recipients that did not open it the first time – but change the subject line. Wait about 3 to 5 days before resending. This is a good way to get more people to open your emails!
📧 Pre-header text is as important as your subject line! This is the text that appears right after your subject line in someone’s inbox, before they open the email. Use it to amplify your subject line and get your recipients even more excited to open your email.
📧 One more thing about the subject line – keep it short! Remember, most people are using their phones and there’s not a lot of space for the subject line to appear.
I hope I’ve stressed just how important it is to have and use an email list for your business. These email marketing tips are designed to get you started. Once you have your list set up and going, keep learning more about using it.
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!
After running bel monili (my handmade jewelry business) for 10 years, I launched Bloom in 2019 to create a community where handmade business owners could learn, grow, and support each other in this wild venture of small business ownership. Welcome to Bloom!