Tag Archives | email marketing

10 Things to Email Your Subscribers When You Don’t Know What to Write

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It’s probably already been drilled into your head at some point that building an email list for your creative business is extremely important. What some creatives forget that it’s even more important to nurture that list by sending emails and building engagement with the people on your list. You don’t want your subscribers to simply glance at your email in their inbox and toss it in the trash. You also want them to take some kind of action when they see your message. In order to accomplish that, it’s key to have content in your emails that pique the interest of your subscribers.

But what kind of content? Sending an email is usually one of the first things that crosses your mind when you want to announce your latest sale or offer a discount or promote new items on your Etsy store. And that’s fine in limited doses. If that’s all you’re sending out, it gets old rather quickly. You only have to open your own email inbox to see how tiresome constant sales messages disguised as email can get.

So what, then, will pique the interest of your subscribers? If you’re stumped for interesting, non-sales email content or you just want to mix things up from your usual offerings, here are a few ideas:

1. Your latest blog post– Do you blog? Then you have ready access to content to that your subscribers would most likely be interested in. There’s no guarantee that your subscribers keep up with your blog, and in some cases they may not even know you have one. So basing some emails around your blog content can be a good way to send more traffic to your blog and it can make for an great email.

Go through your most recent or your most popular posts to see which ones would make good candidates for your email. You can either send excerpts to individual blogs or you can create a list of posts based around a common theme. Or you can use an existing blog post as a springboard into a related article exclusively for your email subscribers.

2. Works in progress– People join your list because they’re interested in what you do. Think about sending an email with photos and a brief story about what you’re working on right now. You’re not necessarily trying to sell your work in this type of email. Rather you’re inviting them into your studio and giving them a peek at what may be coming before the rest of the public gets to see it.

3. A useful link, article, video, podcast, or other resource you’ve found– Sharing content from other sources, like that interesting podcast you just listened to, an entertaining article you just read, or a link to a useful resource can help make your emails a source that your subscribers want to open and read. Artist and author Austin Kleon does a great job of this.

Austin_Kleon_Newsletter

4. A recent success– Have you just won an award? Were you just featured in a magazine or invited to speak at an event? Or teach a course? Share these events with your subscribers. Tell the story of how this particular piece of good fortune came to you and how they can share it with you.

5. A recent failure– Setbacks and failures are part of what makes you a real person to your subscribers. You don’t have to share financial setbacks or issues of a sensitive nature. But relaying some stories of creative difficulties or problem solving can help you pull back the curtain on the realities of being an artist, which is something that many people find fascinating.

6. About an upcoming show or event– Sending an announcement about upcoming events like open studios, exhibitions, or an art fair you’re participating in is a great way to keep your subscribers in the loop and to keep your work in their minds. Incidentally, you can also include news about other related art events of interest your community as well. Not all announcements have to be related directly to something to your participating in.

7. A survey– Take the opportunity to learn more about your subscribers by sending a short survey. You can use the answers to help you create a detailed profile of your subscribers. The Creative Business Toolbox has a video on how to create a customer profile and a handy worksheet of questions to include on your survey.

8. A fun quiz– Quizzes and polls can be a fun way to engage your subscribers and perhaps learn a bit more about them as well. If you’ve never created a quiz before, here are some tips to help you get started.

9. An invitation to follow you on social media– Send an email to invite your subscribers to follow you on social media. List the channels you’re currently active on, tell your subscribers what kind of content you share on those channels and ask them to follow you. It’s also useful to link following you to some kind of incentive. For example, you can also ask them to share which channels they’re on so you can follow them back in return. Marmalead is using their photo contest as a way to encourage social media follows. Their email announcement clearly highlights all of their social media outlets to make it easy for subscribers to take action.

Marmalead_social

10. An answer to a frequently asked question– Is there a question (or questions) about your work that seems to be a frequent topic of interest among your customers? An email, or a series of emails addressing the most frequently asked questions about your work is excellent content for both new subscribers and the subscribers that’s been with you for a while. You can also invite your subscribers to submit questions for future emails.

Hopefully these ideas will help you kick start some more creative emails. Your email subscribers will appreciate it, plus it’s a lot more fun to send useful content instead of constant sales messages.

30_Minute_Email_CoverIf you want more ideas on what to send your email subscribers, plus a template you can use for your emails, sign up for the Creative Business Toolbox. There you will find a library of free resources that you can use for your creative business, including the 30-Minute Email Template, where you will find over 20 more ideas for your emails, and a handy template you can use to prepare and send your email in 30 minutes.
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Online Ways to Get More People to Your Art Show Booth

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Are art fairs and craft shows a significant part of your sales strategy? If so, you know that getting people to come to your booth and buy is absolutely critical, which means that it’s important to pick shows that are a good fit for your work and that are well advertised and well attended.

But just picking the right show isn’t the only thing you can do to help ensure that you have good sales at a show. There are some things that you can do beforehand that can help point potential show goers to attend and to visit your booth. And much of this can be done online. Here are some tips to help you build your show following.

Use your website and/or blog

If you have a website or a blog or both, this should be a central place to help you promote the shows that you will be participating in.

1. Provide a detailed show schedule on your website– Posting your upcoming show schedule on your blog or website is starting off in the right direction. But simply providing a date, location, and time does nothing to actually encourage people to show up. Think of your show schedule as an online invitation to come see you in person. Provide details such as:

  • your booth number (don’t make people search all over the show to find you)

  • a map of the show with your booth highlighted

  • directions to the show

  • parking information (if they need to pay and where to park)

  • information about special events (kid’s activities, entertainment, etc)

  • a link to the show website (if available)

  • information on any demonstrations, show specials, or exclusive lines you’ll be offering at the show

  • insider information (if you’ve done this show before, provide some useful tips like the best place to park, restaurant recommendations, the best time to arrive, etc)

Yes, people can get all of this information directly from the show website, but they’re already on your website. Use the opportunity to give them what they need and to persuade them to visit you at the show.

2. Offer downloadable show coupons on your website– Show exclusives, whether it’s special items, a free gift with purchase, a discount, or some additional service with purchase are one way to get people who may have been planning to attend the show to specifically seek you out. One way to track this is by providing something tangible to remind them to visit you, like a downloadable coupon. It can be a PDF download or a web page that visitors can print out and bring to the show to receive your special offer.

3. Blog about your shows– Blogging about your shows is great way to build anticipation about the show. Plus it’s also just great content for your blog. Some good show related topics can include:

  • Show schedule announcements- write a blog post on your upcoming shows

  • New work and show exclusives- write about any show exclusives or new work you’re planning to debut

  • Pre-show preparations- highlight some of the behind the scenes prep work you’re doing for your show

  • Show set up- let customers peek behind the curtain to see how you set up

  • Local color- blog about interesting facts about where the show is being held, interesting artists you meet, work you admire, local points of interests, great places to eat, etc

  • Triumphs and fails- you most definitely want to highlight any awards or compliments you get about your work or if you’re being nominated for an award or some other type of recognition. And don’t be afraid to relay stories of when things don’t go so well…like getting a flat tire or getting lost or bad weather. It’s all part of making you and the show experience real.

Use your mailing list

You email list can be a valuable tool in promoting the shows you will be participating in. So what if you don’t have an email list? Here’s how you can use your next show to remedy that:

1. Collect email addresses at your shows– Ask visitors to your booth to sign up to your email list. It can be as low tech as subscribers filling out a paper sign up sheet or guest book or you can use a tablet and an app like Mailchimp Subscribe to gather sign ups electronically. Don’t forget to ask for email addresses from the people that purchase from you as well. If you’re using a card reader like Square or the Sell on Etsy app, gathering email addresses from the people who buy from you is
a breeze.

2. Offer an incentive for signing up for your list– Most people will sign up for your list if you simply ask them to. Offering an incentive or a thank you gift upon sign up can help tip the scales for those folks are are a bit reluctant to sign up for yet another mailing list. A sign up gift could be a coupon, a free gift with a first or next purchase, or access to exclusive offers. Think about what your customers find valuable and create a gift that captures that value.

3. Send a welcome email– One mistake that a lot of artists make when gathering email addresses at shows is getting the emails, and then failing to actually use them until much later. Your show subscribers aren’t likely to remember who you are and why you’re sending them email if your very first communication is weeks or even months after the event.

Solve that problem by sending a welcome email immediately or within a day or two after sign up. If you’re using an electronic sign up app like Mailchimp Subscribe, you can create a “Welcome” email that automatically greets new subscribers to your list. If you’re gathering email addresses through a paper sign up sheet, you’ll need to add all of your email addresses to your email list provider as soon as possible after then show…definitely within a day or two. Once you get them into your system, send each of your new subscribers a welcome email reminding them that they signed up for your list at the show.

Also, don’t use Outlook or Gmail to handle this process. Use an email list management service like Mailchimp (it’s free up to 2,000 subscribers) to handle your subscribers and to manage your emails.

If you do have a current email list, here’s a couple of things you can do to encourage more visitors and more sales:

1. Send a special show mailing– Send out a special show centered mailing to your list a few weeks before the show. Provide the details of the show, a link to the detailed show schedule you have on your website and/or blog, and links to any relevant stories you may have written about the show on your blog in the email. Don’t forget to include information about any incentives or show specials you’ll be offering and provide a link to any if you have a downloadable coupons you’re offering as well. You may even wish to drop a quick reminder email a day or two before the show.

2. Follow up after the show– Sometimes the best sales come after the show is over. You may have someone who meant to come back to your booth but didn’t get the chance. Or perhaps someone is better able to buy something a couple weeks after the show. One way to encourage after show sales is by sending a follow up email to new show subscribers a couple days to a week or so after the show. Specifically target people that signed up for your list during the show, but didn’t purchase anything yet. You can offer an extension of your show special, or you can offer a time limited after show special specifically to your new subscribers.

And don’t neglect to send a mailing to all of the people who did purchase from you as well. It can be a simple note to thank them for their purchase. Or you can provide an offer on their next purchase, or you can encourage them to follow you on your blog or on social media. Use the after show mailing to deepen your new relationship with your customers.

Use social media

Social media is a very valuable tool when it comes to promoting the events that you’ll be participating in:

1. Piggyback off of the event’s social media– Most shows will be doing their own social media promotion, so be sure to join in. See if the show is using a hashtag to tag their updates. Use it in your own show related updates to get yourself in front of the people following that tag. Reshare and repost official updates in your own social media channels.

2. Find influencers associated with the show– One cool thing about social media is that it’s much easier to come in contact with some of the movers and shakers associated with the show, like the show promoters, other artists, and art collectors that attend the show every year. Visit the social media pages of the show you’re participating in and see who’s following the show. Find out who’s actively promoting the show and follow them. Find some of the other artists who will be participating in the show and start networking before the show. See if there are local journalists that will be covering this show and follow them on social media. Local gallery owners, gift shop owners, and other small businesses often visit shows to find potential artists for their shops. Do a little research and see if you can find some of these folks on social media as well.

3. Create a social media strategy– The idea of using social media is to build excitement around the show. From a few weeks before the show until the day of you should have constant updates about the upcoming event in social media. Sending out one or two tweets the day before the show isn’t going to cut it.

So a couple of months before the show, sit down and create a social media strategy. Decide which channels you’re going to promote on. Figure out what hashtags the show promoters will be using and incorporate that into your plans. Decide what kind of show related updates you’ll be sharing and when. This could include things like:

  • Sharing photos of the new items you’ll be offering on Instagram
  • Creating a show pinboard on Pinterest and post pins of recommended restaurants, points of interest, and other show related information
  • Sending updates about pre-show preparations on Twitter
  • Doing a Q&A session about the show on Periscope
  • Writing a show announcement on your Facebook page and pinning it to the top of the page

Use a social media management tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to help you preschedule and manage these updates so that you’re not spending all of your time on social media. And don’t forget to include your booth number and location in some of your updates so that people can find you.

4. Photos…share lots of photos– Take advantage of the visual nature of Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter and include plenty of images with your updates. These images can include:

  • Finished work you’re exhibiting at the show
  • Works in progress
  • Images of you
  • Images of your booth
  • Images of your studio
  • Images of any exclusive work or show specials you’re offering

5. Don’t forget to be social– Unlike your website and your mailing list where the focus is pretty much all on you, remember that social media is…well social. Have a good mix of promoting the show as a whole along with promoting yourself as a show participant. Join in on discussions about the show where you can. Like and comment on updates from other show participants. Reshare and repost other people’s updates about the show. Remember, you also want to help create excitement about the show in general so that more people will attend. You can do that by participating in the community and helping to create the buzz.

Conclusion

Often success at an art or craft show can seem to be somewhat out of your hands. In truth, there is a lot that’s out of your control. What is in your control is the shows you choose to participate in and the promotion that you do on your own behalf. Take advantage of the tools you have, and with a bit of planning and effort, you can help make your next show the best one ever.

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6 Ways to Promote Your Email Newsletter with Social Media

6 Ways to Promote Your Email Newsletter with Social Media
Email marketing and social media are two things that works well together. If you have an email newsletter, you can use it to bring more attention to your social media presence. You can also use your social media to bring more attention to your email newsletter through your social media network. Here are 6 ways to do just that:

1. Provide content worth sharing– Social media is based on sharing. One of the best ways to promote your email newsletter is to make it so worth sharing that your subscribers can’t help but to talk about. Yeah, this is waaay easier said than done, especially if your newsletter is just an ad for your latest sale. The average subscriber is probably not going to share a newsletter that’s just a plea to buy something.

Think about the emails you get…the newsletters that you’re on…the ones that you stay on and actually open. What about them makes you want to keep getting them? What about them makes you open and read them?

One of my must open email newsletters comes from BookGorilla, which is a daily digest of free or deeply discounted Kindle books. I literally check my email around the same time every morning so I can open that email when it arrives. Eight times out of ten, I won’t find something that interests me. But I keeping looking for the emails and opening them because I’ve found enough great books and deals that it makes it worth my attention. And every now and again I’ll find a deal that a friend might like that I’m happy to share it with them. That’s content worth sharing.

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This is not to say that you can’t include sales or news about what you sell. That’s part of the reason why you want an email list. And that’s also part of the reason why many of the customers who like your work is on your list. You just need to have a careful balance of interesting content that informs, entertains, or enlightens your customers as well as content that promotes.

Doll and toymaker Abby Glassenberg does this beautifully in her newsletter where she shares useful news and links at the beginning of her newsletter and then has a section on her latest products towards the bottom. I usually always find something share-worthy in her newsletter.

One of the best ways to promote your newsletter is to make it so worth sharing that people can’t help but to… Click To Tweet

2. Add sharing links in your newsletter– If you want people to share your email newsletter, make it easy for them. The fewer hoops they have to jump through, the more likely it will be that they will share your content. In fact, just having the share button or link there could help encourage them to use it.

Most email management services like Mailchimp and Constant Contact makes it easy for you to add these links to your emails.
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If you’re not using any of these services, you can try using the Share Link Generator to add these links to your emails manually.

3. Use your blog to encourage sign ups– If people are already reading your blog, then it’s a natural step is for them to join your newsletter. Adding a sign up link or an attention grabbing sign up form at the bottom of your blog posts is a good way to point your blog readers to your newsletter. It could be as simple as adding a link with a clear call to join your list at the bottom of your blog posts. Or you can be a bit more elaborate. The Work Your Art blog uses a hard to miss graphic at the bottom of their posts to encourage signups.

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Speaker Michael Hyatt puts the actual sign up form at the end of his blog posts.

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Laura_Simms_twitter4. Link to your signup page on social media profiles– Most social media sites gives you some space in your profile to add a website link. Instead of dumping people on to your homepage, why not point them to your newsletter signup page instead? Laura Simms from @createasfolk links visitors from her Twitter profile to her signup page where you they can sign up for her free training.

If you use Mailchimp or Constant Contact, you can do one further and add your sign up form directly on your Facebook page so that visitors can subscribe directly from your Facebook page.

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If your email service doesn’t integrate with Facebook, you can use the new Facebook “Call to Action” button to link to your sign up form instead.

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5. Share your signup page on social media– As well as linking to your newsletter sign up, you can send the link to it as a tweet or create an eye catching graphic and post it on Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram. Include a link to your sign up form in the graphic and in the description area of your photo.

6. Create an incentive and promote it through social media– Of course when you’re asking people to join your newsletter, you should say something more compelling than, “Please join my newsletter”. Most people already get plenty of email, so they need a good reason to give up their email address to get more. Incentives like free information, a giveaway, a free gift, or a coupon code may be just the thing. For BookGorilla, the daily deals contained in the newsletter is the incentive. So they highlight that benefit clearly in this tweet:

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In other cases, you may have other incentives apart from the content of your newsletter, like a coupon code, or early access or a giveaway. For my newsletter, I highlighted my monthly giveaway in this Instagram post.

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So now it’s your turn. Have you found an effective way to use your social presence to get people to your email list? If so, share your great idea below in the comments!

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5 Ways to Make Your Email List Signup More Visible

5 Ways to Make Your Email List Signup More Visible

Are you having a hard time getting people to sign up for your mailing list? Perhaps they don’t know where to sign up.

I’m constantly surprised as to how many artists don’t have an easy way to sign up for their mailing lists. Other than actually purchasing something from you, joining your list should be the number one thing that potential buyers should do on your website or blog.

In fact, I’d argue that the first thing that your website should do is to help build your list. There’s no guarantee that a visitor will come back to your website even they like your work. But if you have a way to contact them, you will be able to encourage them to come back in the future.

Even if you don’t sell directly from your website, you still want to build a list of people that are interested in your work so you can tell them where your next show is going to be, or invite them to your next open studio, or point them to your latest gallery showing. Your mailing list is your most valuable asset…why make it harder for people to join it? Here’s 5 ways you can make your email list signup more noticeable.

1. Add your sign up form to every page– Don’t restrict your sign up form to one page named “Newsletter”. Or stick a teeny, tiny link to your signup form at the bottom of one of your pages. Most visitors aren’t going to go out of their way sign up for your list if they have to search for it. And even if they like you enough to look for a sign up form, they may give up if they can’t find it quickly.

2. Put your form or link in multiple places– In addition to putting your signup form on multiple pages, put it in multiple places on your page, such as:

  • Your blog/website header
  • Your blog/website footer
  • At the bottom of blog posts
  • In your blog comments
  • On your blog byline
  • In your blog/website navigation
  • On your blog/website sidebar

The Fresh Rag website has three ways to join their mailing list on the front page:

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3. Think about using a popup– Yes, I know…everyone hates popups. Do you know why they’re still around? Because they work. Even the fabulous Marie Forleo has a popup on her website.

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What people really hate are annoying popups. When set up correctly a popup doesn’t have to be annoying. Depending on the type of software or service you use, you can limit how many times it the popup appears and when it appears so that it doesn’t become a nuisance.

The most important thing your website should do is to help build your mailing list Click To Tweet

4. Make your form stand out– Most email signup forms look like they were added as afterthought. They shouldn’t. Your form shouldn’t simply blend into your page it should grab your visitor’s attention. This could be accomplished by simply adding a background color to your form like the one on the Fresh Rag website.

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Or you can go all out with colors and graphics like Michael Hyatt does on his website. You’re not likely to miss the form on the front page of his website.

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Or the form at the bottom of each blog post.

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The Being Boss Podcast website uses black and bold typography to make their signup stand out. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s at the very top of the page.

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5. Get creative– A sign up form isn’t the only way to encourage signups. You can use a variety of methods to encourage sign ups including links, graphics, popups, or slider bars on your header or footer.

Speaker and author Simon Sinek includes this little graphic at the bottom of his website.

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The cool thing about this graphic is that it’s not asking if you want to join a list, it’s asking if you want inspiring notes sent to your inbox. It’s less about joining the list and more about what the subscriber will get by joining it.

Kelly Rand’s Handmade Will Save the World links a “Weekly Links & Happenings” graphic to her email form.

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This example is from a guest post from the Duct Tape Marketing website where the author put a simple link to their list in their mini bio. Something similar can be done on your blog with your own blog posts.

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The Fresh Rag site has a simple signup link at the top of their pages.

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In the next few weeks, try one of these tips to help improve the visibility of your email list on your own website or blog.

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