One of the biggest complaints about selling on Etsy is how huge the marketplace has become and how difficult it is to get found. Instead of depending on Etsy search, the best way to drive sales to your Etsy shop is through an email newsletter.
Email is accessible to everyone. My 11-year-old daughter has an email address as does my 88-year-old father-in-law. For most people email is the first thing they check in them morning and, if especially if they have a smartphone, they likely check it multiple times throughout the day. Most importantly, you own your email list and are in complete control of it, unlike the list of followers you have on social media where algorithm changes can limit who will see your updates.
Now more than ever email marketing is crucial for Etsy sellers, but of all of the marketing strategies out there it’s the one that’s the most overlooked. I think part of the reason email gets left out of the marketing picture is confusion over how you can add your Etsy customers to your list. I’ve read quite a few posts on the Etsy forums and elsewhere in which Etsy sellers ask the following questions:
- Can I automatically add my customers to my list?
- Can I email old customers and ask them to join my list?
- Can I convo customers to ask them to join my list?
- Can I email my current customers and invite them to join my list?
It’s easy to let confusion over these issues become an excuse for not setting up a mailing list at all, but that’s a serious mistake. Email marketing is incredibly effective and as we inch toward the holiday season now is the time to start building your list. So, let’s take a look at how Etsy sellers can do just that.
The first step is to choose email software. You absolutely need email software to manage a mailing list and send professional looking emails to your customers and fans. Mailchimp, Aweber, and Mad Mimi are all good choices.
Email software will help you resolve these questions about adding customers to your list, too, by giving you a way to set up a doubt opt-in to your new subscribers. This means that people sign up for your list, than confirm by clicking on an email they get in their inbox. This is the least spammy and most respectable way to grow a healthy list. It’s also illegal to automatically add someone to your mailing list without their consent. Email software also gives your subscribers a way to easily unsubscribe at any time, another legal requirement for email marketing.
Email software also helps you set up beautiful templates with little effort. I use Mailchimp to set up a template I use each week. It was drag-and-drop and very easy even if you aren’t particularly technically savvy. If you need some help, though, you can hire a Mailchimp expert to get you set up.
So, can you automatically add your Etsy customers? Sort of. Aweber has an Etsy integration that automatically sends your Etsy customers an opt-in email. Customers then have to click to confirm that they want to be added to your list. It’s an opt-in, but not a double opt-in. Mailchimp has PayPal integration that works the same way (but no integration for Etsy Direct Checkout). Some Etsy sellers feel comfortable with this system and rave about how easy it is (Lisa Jacobs of The Energy Shop is one). Others don’t like it. I don’t have this kind of auto-add enabled.
Can you email your new customers and invite them to join? Here’s what Etsy says:
The key here is that you need express consent. This is an area that you’ll have to interpret on your own. I feel comfortable sending a single thank you email to my customers offering them a coupon on their next purchase and inviting them to join my list via a double opt-in. I’ve been doing it for three years and it has been a solidly positive strategy, helping me to build my list to 7,000 subscribers.
Other Etsy sellers disagree and don’t feel comfortable with this approach. If you fall into that camp, you can still invite your customers to join, albeit in a less direct way. Definitely add your email opt-in to your About page and your Shop Announcement. Be sure to connect your social media accounts to your Etsy shop and post about your newsletter on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Etsy seller also often wonder what they would put in an email newsletter if they had one. After all, nobody is going to buy something from your Etsy shop every week! You don’t want to be constantly running a sale in order to have something to email your customers about, either, so what do you have to tell your subscribers every week, or twice a month?
There are so many articles out there emphasizing the importance of email marketing, but none of them seemed to actually tell you what the content of the emails should be. Often you end up feeling guilty about sending a newsletter because you know it’s overly salesy and likely to annoy your subscribers. Or you feel guilty about not sending your newsletter because you know you should but just can’t figure out what to say.
Think of your email has a handmade gift for your biggest fans. Instead of guilt, you should feel excited to share your email with your subscribers and you will if you know what you’re sending is something they’ll look forward to receiving. If you’re interested in figuring out what that is, I hope you’ll check out my ebook, How to Create a Powerful Email Newsletter: A Comprehensive Guide for Creatives or RSVP for my upcoming CreativeLive class, Email Marketing for Crafters. And if you’ve already got the content figured out, I encourage you to get started sending!