Episode 55: Email Marketing 101: Or, Why and How to Set Up an Email List for Your Creative Business


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If setting up (or enhancing) an email list for your business is on your list of New Year’s Resolutions, listen to this episode.

In this episode, I talk about why you should start an email list, how to get started, the different approaches you can take to an email list, and how to grow your subscriber base.

Why should you have an email list?

Here are just a few reasons why having an email list by benefit your business.

  • It provides you with a direct connection to your fanbase without another platform as an intermediary.
  • People check their email regularly throughout the day, so you can connect with them on their schedule.
  • Your subscribers will have a direct, individual connection to your emails (rather than the feeling of being "broadcasted at" that comes with social media posting).
  • Business report seeing boosts in sales after sending out emails to their subscribers.
  • When your business faces another disruption (e.g., your website goes down), it's a great way of letting your audience know what is happening.
How should you set up an email list?

The most important thing is to get started, not to develop the most masterful email strategy that ever existed. You can always improve and update over time.

I recommend starting with MadMimi or MailChimp, both of which have permanently free accounts for small subscriber lists. Both offer affordable plans for people with smaller lists, as well, so you can grow your list before spending a lot of time researching different companies and features. MadMimi is a bit easier (more "low tech") to use, while MailChimp offers more features in its free plan.

How should you approach your email list?

There are several simple options to consider for your email list.

  • RSS feed: If you have a website or blog that you update with some regularity, you can set up an RSS feed so that your subscribers are alerted via email to any new posts on your site.
  • Newsletter: You may want to write an email to your list on a regular basis (e.g., weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly). This can include links to your latest posts, original content for subscribers, roundups of relevant information you’ve found online, and more.
  • Updates: You may choose to send sporadic emails to your list when something new happens in your business (e.g., a new product is released, you’re teaching a new class, or there’s a sale).
  • Autoresponders: You may choose to set up a sequence of replies that are automatically delivered to your subscribers on a schedule based on when they subscribed. For example, the first email can be sent one day after they subscribe and the second email can be sent two weeks after they subscribe.

Listen to the episode for more details about each approach.

How do you get subscribers?

Once you understand your approach, you can start recruiting subscribers. Consider letting potential subscribers know more about your approach wherever they can opt-in to subscribe.

Here are some other ways to grow your email list.

  • Update your website: Include subscription opt-ins in a sidebar, your About and Contact pages, and even in posts on your site.
  • Update your social media profiles: Use the “sign up” option on your Facebook page, and include a link to your email list on your Ravelry, Etsy, G+, and other social profiles.
  • Update your “thank you” message: Change the automatic reply sent to your customers on Etsy and Ravelry (or other marketplaces) to include a link to your mailing list.
  • Giveaways: Some companies offer giveaways to their subscribers as an incentive to encourage people to sign up.
  • Lead magnet: Offer a free ebook, checklist, or other desirable product “in exchange” for a subscription. Tip: Do not get stuck on this. If you don’t have a lead magnet, you can still start an email list.
Resources mentioned in this episode Some announcements:
  • I'm bringing back 31 Days to Pod Launch, a 31-day challenge to guide you through a DIY approach to setting up your own podcast, as a free email course in 2016. You can find out the details and sign up here.
  • The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur is now on Facebook. Please stop by and like the new page here. In addition to podcast episodes, I share at least two links every day with information that is helpful for small business owners.
  • Please take a moment to fill out the listener survey and share your feedback for upcoming episodes.
Do you have an email list? What approach(es) do you use? What email subscriber provider do you use?

Share your comments in the show notes for this episode at http://creativeyarnentrepreneur.com/episode55, in the Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook group, comment on the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Facebook page, Tweet me at @cyeshow, add me to your G+ circle and send me a note, or leave a message at 646-713-8973.

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