Would you like to know what is better than social media to grow your creative business? Of course, you do!
An email list is what will get you better reach, visibility, sales, and conversions to your handmade shop.
If having an email list is new to you, or you’re not sure why you should be spending more of your time building one, stay on to read this post.
Hi! My name is Mei Pak and I help makers, artists and designers create a consistent income from selling their handmade products online.
Here are the top reasons why you need to start building an email list for your business now.
Before I dive in, I need to preface by saying that all these benefits you get from having an email list are really only valid if you maintain your email list and keep it warm. That means you’re staying in contact with people who’ve signed up to your email list consistently.
You won’t see the benefits of your email list as much if you only email your people once every few months. For the sake of keeping this post focused, I’m going to save that topic for how to keep your email list engaged, for another day.
Why focus on building an email list?
First off, you have to understand that you cannot expect random strangers on the internet to buy from you the first time they see your products.
That can happen, which is what is called impulse purchases, but it’s not what happens most of the time.
You cannot rely on impulse purchases to build up the backbone of your business.
There’s so much competition these days and people have so many options to choose from. More than that, I’m willing to bet that the things you and I make in our handmade shops are products that aren’t necessarily fulfilling an immediate need.
Our products are things like jewelry, art, bags, scarves. These are nice-to-have things, not need-to-have things. People are going to take their time buying, because of that. There’s no sense of urgency to buy unless they’re shopping for gifts for a special occasion like an upcoming birthday party, anniversary, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or Christmas.
You’ll see that sales tend to go up during these seasons when there’s both urgency and need or purpose to buy.
The rest of the time, though, people are just browsing your shop or social media for fun with no real intention to buy.
If a total stranger somehow came across your products online for the first time, it’s not likely they’re going to buy right then and there. What this means then for you, is that you need to concentrate your efforts on getting those people to come back to shop from you at a later time.
This also means, you have to have a way to keep front of mind with these people.
Rule of Seven
This is what’s called the Rule of Seven which is a marketing and sales concept that basically states that people need, on average, seven touch points with your business before they make their first purchase from you.
I would argue to say that this seven number is probably a lot higher these days because there is so much competition.
It’s not just competition from other shops that have opened in the last couple of years, but you're also competing for attention.
There is SO much content being created every day by brands, bloggers, businesses, and service providers. It’s insane, and it is impossible for any one person to consume all the content that’s put out there on a daily basis. There’s just too much and we have too little time in our day.
Because of this competition, you should expect that it’s now the Rule of Twenty or Thirty.
Another concept I want to roll in with the Rule of Seven is the know-like-trust factor. You might have heard other people talk about this before, but I feel these both work in tandem.
A big reason the Rule of Seven is relevant is that people need to know, like and trust you before they buy from you.
It’s not likely that you can do all of those things in just their first interaction with you. It’s like every other relationship.
Think about the last time you made a friend and how that relationship was formed. It took time and it started with two people getting to know each other. Then, if your values are aligned, or the other person possesses qualities that appeal to you, then you start to like them.
Then, after even more time, you start to trust them when they’ve consistently shown you that you can, by showing up on time to your lunch dates, by being a supportive and loyal friend, by being reliable and dependable when you needed their help.
This is exactly the same thing with your business and your potential customer.
That relationship needs to form first before they buy.
You might be wondering how to go about doing that and whether or not you can you do that at scale. You know you can’t possibly make friends with every single customer you have in your business.
That’s where having an email list comes in.
Email marketing allows you to speak in a one on one way with your subscribers, but it doesn’t take one on one effort.
An email list lets you do this in a way where it feels like one on one for the subscriber, but for you, it’s all automated.
Whether you’re emailing one person or 10,000 people, the effort is the same to you.
If you’re already familiar with email marketing, then you might also be familiar with the challenge of not knowing what to write to your subscribers.
I totally understand that.
Everyone struggles with that, even me.
To that, here’s a bonus tip I want to share with you.
Stop using broadcast emails and instead, start using more autoresponders.
Autoresponders make it so that you only write the email once and it continues to live evergreen for you for years.
You’ll want to build multiple emails, of course, but the beauty of autoresponders is you get to sit down once and crank out those emails in one go. That will take care of the Rule of Seven, the know-like-trust factor, and become an automated sales machine for you in your business.
You don’t have to worry about sitting down every two weeks or every month to stare at a blank page and not know what to write to your people.
If you want to know more about autoresponders, I highly recommend you sign up for my free workshop.
Organic Social Media Decline
Another reason why you should definitely focus on an email list is because organic social media has such low reach these days.
You know all about it.
The algorithms make it hard for organic social media posts to get seen by your fans and followers.
If you’re lucky, 1%-2% of your followers see your posts, but EMAIL has always been proven to have better reach compared to social media.
It’s not hard or uncommon to have your emails have an open rate of 30%-40% when you’re just getting started.
That is a HUGE increase from social media reach.
So if you’re launching a new product design or you’ve got a sale promo coming up, having an email list, even if you have fewer people on there compared to your social media, is going to get you more sales.
An email list is a great source for having a cash injection if you need one.
It’s like a tap that you can turn on and off for money to flow through.
Every end of the year I do a grab bag sale for products that aren’t good enough to sell to my regular customers at full price. We sell them at a huge discount and my customers love them.
Every time I do this sale I email my list about it and I always sell out in 48 hours.
I made almost $2,000 in sales and the work that went into that was just setting up the product listing in my Shopify site and sending out the email.
It took me all of five hours or less to do all of that.
Of course, it's important to remember I did spend years to build my email list to that point. So, if you’re just starting out, don’t compare your numbers with mine because that would be like comparing apples and oranges.
Not only does email give you better reach and visibility than social media, but email also converts better than social media.
It has a higher conversion rate compared to most other forms of marketing, simply because you’re having what feels like one on one interactions with your email list. You get to create more personal, deeper relationships with your customers.
I know that I would not have made all those sales if I had just promoted it on just social media.
People who have joined your email list have specifically raised their hand to say, yes, I love what I see, and I want to keep updated with more information.
They’re people who have filtered themselves as being very interested in what you make.
You Own Your List
Another really important thing that most people aren’t aware of with your email list, is that it's something you own.
It’s an asset in your business. No one can take that away from you.
When you look at social media, or Etsy, who ultimately has control over those platforms? Not you.
You don’t really own your social media following. There are so many stories of people getting their accounts shut down or disabled, sometimes for no good reason.
If you’ve put all your eggs in one basket, your business will be in serious trouble.
Now more than ever is the right time for you to start building and focusing on your email list.
I’m not a fan of using scare tactics or fear-mongering like this, but it’s the truth, and I would rather you be aware of this than not.
If you build your email list using best practices, you can usually see your business and sales grow as your email list grows. The growth of both things have a correlation with each other.
You cannot say that with social media.
If there’s one thing you should focus on this year, it’s your email list.