Building an email list

Last time I shared with you why you should build an email list for your craft business.  In this post I’m going to be talking about how.


How to build an email list – the tools you’ll need

An email list provider

There’s a few options here that you can go with.  Your choice will depend on how involved and in depth you want your interaction to be with your subscribers.

The easy and cheap option is Mailchimp.  I use Mailchimp for some of my other websites and find it an easy and basic set up – the best thing is though that it’s free for the first 2000 subscribers

This means that you can start collecting subscribers email addresses straight away at no cost to yourself and have a great way of keeping in touch with them.

Mailchimp is great and free if all you want to do is send out newsletters once in a while with what you’re up to.  If you want to get a little bit more advanced and send out set emails to people when they sign up (for example you could send an email with all your popular makes a week after someone signs up) which is called an autoresponder you’ll have to pay through Mailchimp or try another provider.  Check out Mailchimp here.


The email provider that I use for this site and which is really good is called ConvertKit.  It’s a little bit more of a cost – $29 a month for the first 1000 subscribers, but will give you a lot more power.  For example you can set up autoresponders for people signing up, you can add tags and segment the people in your lists and easily send emails to set people.

Ok, a little bit more about tags and segmenting and what I mean by that.  Let’s say that you want to keep track of people that have bought from you.  You can add a tag to those people and then you could send emails to just those people with that tag if you like, or similarly to those without it.  You can tag for whatever reason as well – maybe you want to know who clicks on a link and is more interested in your things than others, you can tag those as ‘warm’ subscribers – people who may well be likely to buy.  You can then change the way you word your emails to those people if you like.  You can see more about ConvertKit here.


There are many, many options.  These are just two that I have personally used.  Some people also like to use Aweber which has the advantage of being able to connect to your Etsy store and curates your customer emails from there too.  I haven’t personally used that one, but I know it comes highly recommended and isn’t as costly as ConvertKit.


How to get those first email addresses

Once you have a means of storing and using your addresses, you’re going to also want a way of collecting emails.  The email providers will have a way of doing this either by embedding a sign up form on your website (like I have at the  bottom of my blog posts) or will have hosted page that you can send a link to people so that they can sign up.  So even if you don’t have your own site yet (even though I think you should) don’t let that put you off.

So, grab the link to where your form is and share that around – add it in to your Etsy receipts, share it on social media.  Do anything you can to get it out there in front of your fans.

Other options are having a pop up form on your blog.  I have a love hate relationship with these but they’re definitely worth exploring and testing out.  If you have a wordpress blog then take a look at some pop up plugins – I like PopUpAlly.


An incentive for your fans

As simple as it sounds, setting up a form on your site to collect email addresses might not provide you with the best results.  Why?  Well, nowadays people are a little bit more selective with whom they give their email addresses out to.  Not many people really feel the need for just a newsletter and so having just that as your incentive to opt in might not have great results.

So what can you do?

This will depend on your business and what you make, but some ideas are:

  • A percentage off coupon for new sign ups
  • Entry in to a prize draw, drawn once a month/quarter etc (see below)
  • Something for free – e.g. a digital product (for example – see my sign up form below this post).


Those are just a couple of ideas.  If you have a physical product that you ship then offering something for free might not immediately sound like something that you can do.  But I urge you to think about your ideal customer, the person that you want to be on your list and see if you can think of something that will work for your business and could be something they’d want or need.  For example, perhaps you make general gifts.  How about a downloadable calendar that people can fill in with dates of important birthdays?


There’s also no reason why you can’t have multiple ideas and ways for people to sign up!


Running a competition

Competitions are a great way of getting people on to your list.  You’re offering them an incentive to join – a chance of winning something – and so they’ll be more likely to part with their information.

Many people run competitions to increase their social media numbers and I think that doing so is really missing a trick! Social media numbers are vanity numbers, and we all know that we hardly can get seen by the amounts that are on our accounts – what if those people were on a mailing list and you could send them a targeted email each month with your best and new products!  I reckon you’d get way more interest.

Next time you run a competition – consider making the only requirement joining your list.  You’ll find people will still share anyway, but you’ll gain something that is more valuable than a number increase.


What to share with your subscribers

Once you have your list, you’ll need a plan of action of what to share with your new subscribers.

You have a couple of options:

Newsletter – every month (or whatever time frame you decide) send out a newsletter stating what you’re up to, your most popular designs this month, posting dates for special occasions etc.

Autoresponder – this will send out the same emails, at set times out to sign ups.  For example if I sign up one day I’ll get a welcome email, whatever my incentive was (perhaps just a reminder that I have been entered in to the competition) and maybe it will also tell me to check out the website.

A week later I’ll get another email.  This time it will tell me about the popular items on the website and encourage me to check them out.

Perhaps a month after that I’ll get another email reminding me about the social media accounts and asking me to follow along.


The advantage of an autoresponder is that your sign ups will always get the most relevant info from you, regardless of when they sign up.


Both – You could of course have a mixture of the two.


Whatever you decide, do it with your ideal customer in mind, inject your own personality in to it and you’ll be on to a winner!  If you’ve any questions about this, put them in the comments box and I’ll do my best to answer.

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