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Friday, April 15, 2011

Jumpstart your Email Marketing Campaign to Improve your Bottom Line!

I love getting emails.  Seriously.  I know that folks bitch and moan about getting "spammed" but the reality is that true spam is easy to deal with---a quick press of a button sends that bad boy to my junk folder forevermore.  It is a small price to pay for all of the good stuff that finds its way to my In Box:  coupons, free tutorials, recipes, a window into my competitors' world, etc.  Email  Marketing is AWESOME!  It is cheap, easy, fast, and effective...provided that you do it right.  Fortunately, there is a formula for email success.

1.  Build an Email Contact List.   Forget about the benign little guest register book on the counter---it is too passive and quickly becomes invisible. Train your staff to effectively gather this information from your customers on a consistent basis.   Many shopkeepers are surprisingly reticent to ask for this information.  Don't be!  Most folks will be happy to give up the address provided you offer value for the sign up by way of great newsletter content, sales information, free tutorials, etc. One surefire way to update your email list is to offer to email  a coupon for a free gift later that day.

This works on a number of levels:  the retailer has an opportunity to verify the validity of the email  before giving up any goodies and the customer makes a return trip to the store to redeem the gift---an additional sales opportunity!

Remember to use your website to capture email addresses.  An attractive sign up box for visitors to register for  newsletters, product updates, etc. is a painless way to grow your contact list.  The coupon give away works just as well online.

2.  Divide and Conquer.  It is a good idea to divide your list into groups, so that the emails can be narrowly targeted.   For example, I have a Master Contact List, which includes my entire customer list.  However, I have subdivided the list into several smaller groups:  Bead Store Owners, Yarn Store Owners, Needlepoint Store, Spinners, Felters, Jewelry Designers.   A carefully targeted email will increase the odds that the recipient will be happy to receive it because it is relevant to her.

3.  Make it a Habit.  Your customers will get used to seeing your missives and-- if you have quality contact--- they will build you into their daily ritual.  Despite what many retailers think, once a week is not too often.  A recent study reported that the unsubscribe rate actually increases with the infrequency of the email! If folks aren't used to seeing you, they will delete you!   The Crafty Retailer should send out a weekly email filled with pictures and links.  The more pictures, the more interesting.  Crafting is all about the visual. I am always kind of blown away when I see a craft retailer who advertises classes without posting any project pictures:   SERIOUSLY?  How can you excite and inspire without the eye candy?  Pictures are a  no brainer.  Additionally, the more links within your email, the higher the click through rates and the lower the unsubscribe rate.  Remember...your customers like to craft and you sell product they love.  Your email is like comfort food!

4.  Be Careful about the "From" line.   Will your customers recognize your name as the sender or is the  store name more likely to garner greater recognition?    I typically delete email from unknown sources, so an email from a known local store "The Fiber Factory" will get opened, while an email from "Mary Smith" --who the heck is she?--will not.

5.  Use the Subject Line to Hook your customer!   You know the is all about Salesmanship.  "Newsletter Update from the Bead Barn" might get put on the back burner, while there is a greater sense of urgency to read "Just In!  New shipment of Gemstones at 2005 prices!  Get 'em while you can!"

6.  Offer High Value Content to Improve your "Click Through" rate.   Art/Artist related newsletters typically garner a 17.53% open rate, and a 3.54% quick through rate.  How do your newsletters compare? I keep a newsletter cheat sheet near the computer so that I can jot down notes when I come across an item of interest while surfing the net.  That way, when I am ready to sit down and actually start typing I already have an outline.  You can download a newsletter cheat sheet here.

The definition of "high value" will vary.  I tend to open newsletters that give me something:  information, eye candy, a coupon, warm fuzzies, a giggle.  For example, a fiber store could include one of the hilarious photos from "What Not to Crochet," while a bead store owner could give directions on how to clean Swarovski crystal.  Consider including a favorite seasonal recipe, or note that your best customer's son just made it to the Little League All Star team.   It is all about building community!

In the Studio:
The recent fiber earring challenge left me very inspired!  In fact, we are working on a line of Felted and Embellished Earring kits that are wonderfully easy and delightfully inexpensive.  Here is a sneak peak at one of the designs...whuddayathink?

Update: Cooper the Demon Dog

 I lost my glasses.....and then I found them....sort of.

Cooper - 1, Glasses - 0.

Nonetheless, Cooper and I seem to be making our way. Only two accidents this week and no dead is all good!
Of course, we had to restock our chicken family after the most recent massacre and the new girls are happily nesting in the studio for now.  I am hoping that familiarity will encourage Cooper to feel more protective than  predatory!
So far, he is fairly disinterested.  I'll count that as a win!


  1. Coop, ya you sleeping in the studio
    I wonder how the glasses tasted ?
    Maybe a chicken necklace for Easter.
    You be good now. Jim

  2. Ha! provided a good laugh! He went after the chickens again----shot right between my legs and tore off after them. It took 15 minutes of chasing to get him! The chickens all survived, although there were lots of feathers in the yard. A chicken necklace just might be in his future after all!

  3. Hi guys,
    This post is very useful and very interesting to read. Really, this post is providing nice information.
    Keep it up!!!!!
    Email Marketing Campaigns

  4. Great Tips and thanks for sharing.....for the record: I love your emails and find them inspiring and validating.


  5. Thanks, Luna! Your shop looks so very warm and inviting! I lusted for the red rockers on the porch...lovely.