Crickets to Cha-Chings Episode 015
Email lists for Etsy - How to grow them and what to write
Welcome back to another episode of Crickets to Cha-Chings. My name is Lauren and thank you for tuning in again this week! If you are enjoying it and enjoying the information that you are getting from this podcast I would so greatly appreciate it if you would leave me review on iTunes. That helps me to move up the charts so that more people find the podcast and are able to get the help on Etsy that they are wanting.
I wanted to spotlight a recent review that I received. This review comes from ChokeCherryHill, which sells beautiful handmade quilts on Etsy - everything from table runners to wall hangings, baby quilts, and full sized quilts. She writes “So glad I found this podcast. Lauren is easy to listen to and doesn’t make learning complicated. Looking forward to more podcasts from her.” Thank you so much for those sweet words, and I am so glad you are finding this podcast helpful and easy to implement. If y’all are looking for handmade quilted items, check out ChokeCherryHill on Etsy, and if you’re listening today and want to be in the spotlight review, leave me a review on iTunes and be sure to leave your shop name and you may be selected for the spotlight.
Let's go ahead and dive right In to our topic today: email lists: how do we use them, how do we build our sales on Etsy from them, and how do we even get started?
I recently got asked about email lists in my Facebook group, and I told the person that asked that it was too in depth of a question to answer right then in a FB post, but I would be sure to get to it in a podcast, so here we are.
You've probably heard the advice to start an email list in order to promote your products, because you don’t “own” the promotional space on social media or even on Etsy itself. Advice about building an email list kind of centers around the idea that no matter what happens - your instagram account is shut down or you are banned from Facebook or your Etsy shop is closed, you have the ability to advertise to your customers through your email list and to promote to them in a way that you can’t do on any other platform. And you have more control over what you’re doing on your email list - it is the only real platform that you own completely, although there are certainly still rules to follow with email.
Another advantage to email marketing is that you have the direct attention of your audience right there in their inbox. I know that so many of us say that we hate getting emails or that it is annoying to be sold to in email, but over and over and over again studies show that email marketing is the most effective way of marketing. Whether or not we SAY that we hate opening promotional emails, they still put the shop at the forefront of our minds, we open them, and we often click through to buy.
Email marketing also gives us the added advantage of knowing our customers better. When we know who they are, by knowing what they are opening, what kind of deals are enticing to them, and what they are interested in based on their replies or their clicks, we can better cater our products and our offers to that person. So email marketing can really help us to hone in on our customer and the future direction of our shop.
But before we dive into all the ins and outs of email lists for an Etsy shop, I do want to go ahead and say that this method of marketing is not for the beginner shop owner. If you are JUST getting started or haven’t even opened up an Etsy shop yet, starting and trying to build an email list will be totally overwhelming to you, especially if you are starting from scratch and have no experience with email marketing.
Similar to my episode about blogging, episode number 12, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with email marketing and I don’t NOT recommend it, but it isn’t something that you need to dive into right off the bat. There’s a process for building and marketing your Etsy shop, and if this was a college class I would say email marketing is Etsy 102. If you’re in Etsy 101 space right now, don’t worry about email marketing for the moment.
Ok so that being said, we’re going to assume you’ve been selling on Etsy for a little while and you want to build an email list because you think it will help you to build that community of followers and increase your repeat sales, because that’s really the people we’re targeting with an email list.
The first thing that you need to do is figure out how to get people on that email list to begin with. This is called your opt in offer, and it is what entices people to “opt-in” to your email list. I've heard people say before that you should have something other than a coupon for your opt-in offer because a coupon is going to attract a different kind of buyer, more like a bargain shopper or somebody that's looking for a deal because they're opting in because they get a coupon.
However, I actually have some experience with this, and I will tell you from my experience that the offer that I created, and I think this is probably the case with a lot of people, just wasn’t enticing enough to get people to opt in when there was no immediate financial incentive or reward. I spent quite a bit of time and quite a bit of money having this whole different thing created for me to have an option offer that was not a coupon, and it just wasn’t time or money well spent.
I had a graphic designer that I worked with create some nursery printable items to be able to offer to my customers since I sell monogrammed baby gifts and Monograms Nursery items.
I think I ended up with like 20 different images that people would be able to opt into this offer and get access to these Nursery printables that coordinated with my most popular monogrammed nursery items.
Like I said I was working with a graphic designer to design these and have them made in high resolution format and then I ended up offering them to do the very small email list that I had and also offering them on my Etsy site as an opt-in offer to build my email list up.
I literally never had a single person opt-in with these nursery printables, even though they were super cute and really on-trend and well-matched to the products that I was selling in my shop and therefore I was assuming well-matched to my dream customer as well. It just was not effective and ended up being a waste.
I then decided to go with what works -- there’s a reason why a lot of e-commerce stores offer a coupon or discount to opt in. So I changed up my offer to go with 10% off their purchase if they opted in. I grew my list from around 60ish people to about 10x that, around 600 people within about a year or so. Not huge growth, and not life changing numbers, but still a really solid increase.
I want to go off on a little change in for just a second about email service providers. There's a ton of information about email service providers and a ton of different service providers out there, but I would recommend if you are just getting started to go with Mailchimp. It is pretty easy to use, has all the features that you’ll need for a basic, smallish email list, and it’s free for up to 2,000 contact, which will take you awhile to get to.
There’s a reason that many bloggers and coaches recommend other platforms, like Mailerlite or ConvertKit. These are both great platforms, but they also offer affiliate programs, so that blogger is getting a kickback affiliate commission for recommending them. Again, I don’t think that’s a bad thing and they are great platforms if you need more space, and I actually use ConvertKit myself for my CreativeMomBoss mailing list, but they are far beyond what you need as a brand new beginner for an Etsy email list.
Ok, so anyway, back to building a list. After I decided to just go ahead and go with that 10% off coupon, I set up a link that went to a landing page in MailChimp for people to opt into. I created a short link to go to that landing page through Bit.ly (which is bit.ly) and then from there I promoted that link anywhere that I was promoting my shop.
I also, and this is really key in terms of getting people to opt-in from your Etsy shop, put the link in the description of every single one of my items. I wrote something along the lines of “Monogrammed nursery gifts are super fun. What to know what else is fun? Saving money. Sign up for the insider’s club to receive 10% off your first order” and then included the bit.ly link.
Now Etsy will not make that link clickable, so someone will have to copy and paste the link to take them to the landing page, which is a deterrent for people to sign up because it’s just one extra step for them. But if they do, they get that 10% off, so it just depends on how much they want the discount.
I also included a graphic in each one of my listings as one of my 10 pictures that are included in the listing, that gave those same details. It was a little more concise but it said something like want 10% off? Sign up for the Insiders Club. see description for link. And then I also included the link on the graphic as well, but because it’s a graphic no one can even copy and paste that which is why I said to see the description so that they were able to copy and paste it because it makes it a lot easier.
So that's how I got people to sign up, and then from there, I created an automated sequence in Mailchimp that would send them the coupon code as soon as they signed up. They could input that code into the promotional code box on Etsy, and get 10% off their order right then. And that was effective, but then where do you go from there? What kind of emails do you send after that and how do you use the list to actually grow your brand rather than just give 10% off and be done (because let’s face it, that doesn’t really benefit anyone but the person who is getting the 10% discount).
I would highly recommend after they receive the immediate opt in coupon, that you have what’s called a welcome sequence that they are automatically subscribed to on your list within your email service provider. The 10% off coupon can actually be included in this welcome sequence, because the first email in the sequence goes out immediately, so you could just make the first email the coupon and then have three additional “welcome sequence” emails.
In mailchimp you click on New Campaign, then Email, then Automated, and then “welcome new subscribers” and then “onboarding series.” From there it sets up four automatic emails, that you'll then have to go in and edit and actually write that will be sent automatically to your email list once they are subscribed and opt in. I do have a PDF that shows the walk through of all these steps as well as the rundown of what you can include in each email over on my blog at laurenkeplinger.com/015
A lot of people really struggle to know what to write or how to address their email list because it’s really uncomfortable to them and they feel like probably really nobody is that interested in what they have to say.
I would recommend in that first email with the coupon code, you also include other information to sort of set the expectation of what is to come for your customers. It should include things like how many emails they’ll be receiving to start off and how often you email after that, for example “you’ll be receiving two more emails from us over the next week to introduce you to our brand and our story, and then after that we typically send an email once a week to update you on upcoming promotions, new products, and giveaways” or something along those lines.
For the 10% off coupon email, I’d also include a graphic. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but I would make your coupon look more special than just having the coupon words in bold. You can easily create a coupon graphic in Canva that will be good enough and give the email a little more pizzazz.
About 2-3 days later, it’s a good idea to send another email to the new subscriber, introducing yourself and your brand to them. Now I am not all about personal branding in my Etsy shop - I tend to stay more behind the scenes and don’t really make my shop super personal. However I think it’s a good idea to put a little bit of you in there - what is your name, where do you live, and how did you get started. But make sure you are also presenting this in a way that serves the customer - why do they care?
This email should introduce your brand in a way that allows them to see how they fit into that brand. For example, let’s say you create Montessori toys for kids and that’s what you sell in your Etsy shop. Obviously, the people that are buying those toys have values in line with yours because it’s a pretty specific niche - so while you are telling your shop story and how you got started selling on Etsy, be sure to include why that matters to them and how that shop serves to fill the need in their life.
A couple of days after the email goes out, I’d send another one inviting them to connect with you. Tell them where you hang out online, link to your social media accounts, particularly your top social media account, which normally is Facebook or Instagram. Tell them why they should follow you - do you post behind the scenes pictures of the business, do you do freebies or giveaways, do you give them the ability to vote on upcoming projects you’re working on?
Again, always keep in mind how they are benefitting from this - why should they follow you and why should they stay subscribed to this list, because of course it is extremely easy for them to sign up for their coupon and then immediately unsubscribe, so you want to make sure you are adding some kind of value that they are going to stick around for.
A few days after that third email goes out, I’d do the last email in your welcome sequence. This one should be a “getting to know your customer” type email, and should focus on getting them to reply to your email and tell you a little bit about themselves. This is particularly valuable if you offer more than one main collection in your shop and you want the ability to segment your list into different interests within your group. It is also valuable if you have two main groups of people buying your products - say you have some people buying your products as gifts for other people, and then another segment that is buying it for themselves. The way of marketing to those people is different, so it is helpful to know who is buying what so that you can target those people more effectively.
After that welcome sequence is complete, they should then get added back into your regular rotation of emails that go out. This could be one a week, once every other week, or once a month. The frequency doesn’t matter, although of course more frequently is great, but it is important to set that expectation so that you’re not just randomly emailing at sudden spurts.
I’d recommend a once a month email to start off with until you get more comfortable and have more ideas about what kind of things your email list is interested in and what kinds of things they respond to well, and then try to increase the frequency to every other week or every week. And remember, these emails don’t always have to be sales or coupons. They can be new products, showcasing positive reviews, showing off a new collection, including “in use” photos that your customers have sent it (with permission of course), or just “did you see this” kind of emails where you send out a product picture of an older product. There’s tons of options out there, so don’t worry about coming up with brand new content, pictures, sales, and coupons every time you email them.
I hope that all this episode has been really helpful to you if you are on the fence about starting an email list or you have a baby email list that hasn’t really gotten any traction or you haven’t really done anything with. Again if you are wanting the flow chart of how to set up the automation and the step by step of what to include in each email, you can head over to laurenkeplinger.com/015 for that PDF download.
If you’re looking for more input or need any more help, as always we would love to have you join us over in the Etsy Roadmap free FB group. You can find that at laurenkeplinger.com/facebook and we’d love to have you join in the conversation!
That’s all I’ve got to say about email lists for now, but I will see you back here next Monday! Bye for now.