Do you want to share your passions, products and services with potential customers out there? I’ve come across many creatives who do not setup a newsletter or mailing list, because they feel it’s too early. They worry about not having content to send out…or that only a few people will sign up. What?! It is never too early to start and having a few dedicated fans is the beginning of something beautiful!

Email marketing is so powerful, because it is permission based. It gives you direct access to your fans and supporters and gives them an easy way to just reply and make contact with you in return. Your email listees are asking you to keep them updated…that’s why it’s called permission marketing. Realize what a huge opportunity it is for any business, but especially creatives and indie entrepreneurs. In fact, email marketing is considered one of the most important tools to drive sales. You know how often people check email right? 🙂

Sign-Up For An Email Marketing Service
There are many companies out there that do the job of collecting contact info and storing it into lists, keeping everything organized in a database. The service will ensure you abide by laws, have the unsubscribe links as necessary…all the boring stuff. I do recommend doing a bit of research to ensure you choose a service that makes the most sense for your business…because sometimes it can be a pain to transfer all your contacts into a new provider. Just take a look at the options and choose – many companies offer free service up to a certain number of subscribers and messages before pricing kicks in for high volume users. I personally use MailChimp and love it…but there’s also AWeber and Constant Contact to name just a few others. There’s no excuse not to set something up when your email list is so important and there are so many free options out there.

Tell Everyone About It
Once you have a list setup, not only do you have to put a sign-up box on your website and/or blog, but also ask people to sign up! There are so many opportunities to do so, in social media, online profiles, business cards, advertisements and during day to day interactions with customers. For example, I always send my Etsy buyers a post-sale message that provides them with direct links to Etsy feedback and my newsletter sign-up. It’s a natural progression and you need to make it easier for people to follow you and keep updated. They’ve already bought something from you, so chances are…they love your already! Don’t forget to include in email communications or mentioning it every so often. You do have to ask people to sign-up, because some people don’t pay attention to sidebars. There are interested people out there, they just might happen to be busy the first time you told them about it…so make it an option every so often.

Set Up Your First Message
It’s important to set up a template for your email communications, so that your messages look professional. Some businesses go for the minimal all-text messages, whereas visual artists usually opt for something more designed to show off their work as part of the email. Thankfully, there are many ready-to-go templates that can be selected once you sign up for a service. These days, it’s pretty darn easy to create newsletters with the tools available online.

Test, Manage and Plan
Remember to always send test messages, so you can check out how it looks and check all the links before sending it out. A no-brainer, but mistakes happen all the time and it can be quite annoying to find a broken link or typos here and there. Once you get the hang of it, sending our emails will be a snap and you can manage your statistics as well as plan out a schedule that works with your business within the service provider you have chosen. In my opinion, you don’t need to send messages all the time, but I would say at least every quarter at the least. You can to keep things fresh and alive in the mind of customers…but you must have something worth it to send at the same time. That’s why I don’t like having a forced schedule – although it really depends on your business. Here are some ideas and it’s probably not that difficult to come up with pertinent news to share once you get into it:

  • New work! Your fans will definitely want to know about new products and services being offered.
  • Offer a discount, sale or limited time offer…maybe for the holidays or a certain celebration.
  • In the press – have you been published or interviewed somewhere?
  • Show openings, marketplaces and such events to announce?
  • Tutorial, tips, fabulous links to share to your audience?
  • Class schedules, traveling/show plans?
  • Offering your products in other shops? Licensed artwork? In a shop?
  • Announcing something newsworthy?

Remember the Ultimate Goal
In the end, never forget that you are communicating with your fans. You should be providing them with something useful – something they would like to see in their inboxes. So don’t forget your audience and the ultimate goal of your email list. It’s a service you are providing to your fans, because they want to stay updated on you and your work. You never want to be forced to just go through the motions though… we are all busy people and no one wants to receive a robot message.

So are you ready? I hope you are inspired to go set up your email list right now. And if you already have one, I hope there’s some good information here for your email marketing effort in general. In the coming weeks, I’ll be delving into specific topics about getting the most out of your email marketing. Please let me know what you think and if you have any other tips to share below in the comments – ciao ciao!

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