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biz ladies: email marketing

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Today’s Biz Ladies post comes from Jordan Moore, an Internet marketing consultant who works with artists and crafters to grow their businesses online. She authored the best-selling ebook The Etsy Kit, a collection of tutorials designed for artists looking to expand their businesses using etsy.com, and maintains a marketing blog.

Jordan offers us some helpful tips on how to execute a successful email marketing blast to readers and customers. Thank you, Jordan, for breaking down the email blasting process for us! — Stephanie

CLICK HERE for the full post after the jump!

If you are like most small business owners, implementing a mailing list on your blog or website is not a top priority. You may be overwhelmed by the technology or just feel you don’t need a mailing list for your type of business. The reality is that all small businesses should gather contact information from their interested audience over time. Even if you don’t think you have a need for this information right now, you may in the future and will be glad you took the time to collect this data. Here are five important reasons to build your mailing list:

1. Use a mailing list to get the most mileage out of your marketing efforts. You are already working hard to encourage people to visit your site each day and give them a pleasant experience. However, they may not come back again unless they have a specific reason. Inviting them to sign up for a mailing list will help to ensure repeat traffic. In addition, if you are paying for traffic through advertising, a mailing list is a great way to recoup some of your ad costs, even if the visitor doesn’t buy something right away.

2. Use your list to inform your audience about new services, products or other newsworthy items. A mailing list allows you to control when your audience gets these important messages, instead of waiting for them to find it the next time they visit your site. Sending out a regular newsletter can help build a sense of community and loyalty among your readers in a way that blog posts and RSS feeds cannot. This is especially true if you’re a sole proprietor and you are your brand. Getting an email from Susie of Susie’s Stationary with her latest announcements is much more personal and powerful than seeing the same information pop up in your RSS feed.

3. Now that just about everyone from age 8 to 80 has an email account, we consider it one of the most accessible and user-friendly ways to communicate with an audience. Not everyone checks the same blogs or RSS feeds everyday, but most people regularly check their email. Giving your site visitors an opportunity to sign up for their preferred method of communication (email) is another way to reach a wider audience.

4. Use your list to get feedback on your site, services or products. While I would recommend using this sparingly, surveying your mailing list is a great and free way to gather valuable market research and insights from your target audience.

Setting Up Your List

Several mailing list service providers make creating a mail campaign super simple and straightforward. Personally, I think Mail Chimp is a great option if you are just starting out — they will let you have up to 1,000 subscribers for free and offer several point-and-click forms that require no HTML knowledge. Mail Chimp has a comprehensive and user-friendly guide to setting up your mailing list and campaign, available for download here:

http://resources.mailchimp.com/getting-started-with-mailchimp

Two other popular options are Aweber and Constant Contact.

Here are the four most important steps you will need to complete before you’re ready to launch your new mailing list (all of the instructions for this are in the Mail Chimp Getting Started guide):

1. Import existing names from your contact lists (only if you have obtained permission from these people to send them email).

2. Create the mailing list sign-up form that will be shown on your site. Mail Chimp has easily customizable pre-built forms.

3. Personalize the content for the sign-up forms. To comply with anti-spam laws, your mailing list will be “double opt-in.” This means that a subscriber will first enter their name on the form on your website, and then they will need to click a confirmation link in their email inbox. Mail Chimp will provide you with form letters; however, you can and should personalize them to fit your brand identity.

4. Install the form on your blog/website. Mail Chimp makes it really simple to customize your form via a visual editor and then lets you copy and paste it right onto your website.

That’s it! It’s a really simple process that should take just a few hours to complete. Once you start sending out newsletters or other correspondence, pay attention to your site analytics — I’m willing to bet you will see a nice spike in your traffic!

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26 Comments

Christina

This is amazing advice. I have long been trying to figure out how to reach my readers who do not have blogger and dont follow or use google reader. Thanks!

Allyson

Thank you! I needed a kick in the pants to get me rolling with my email database, and this is perfect!

Meg - White Nest

This came at an excellent time…I’ve been sitting on three pages of email addresses, procrastinating on sending out a newsletter! I feel better equipped and will start the process right away! Thanks again!

Lizet

You’re right, its didn’t seem important, but now it really does! Thanks so much for the great advice.

Wendy Kelly

We have seen a lot of success using Mail Chimp. I definitely notice a spike in traffic with each newsletter, but also the newsletter helps keep people involved and active in a more general way. I’d like to add that I’ve also experienced great customer service with Mail Chimp.

MagicMarkingsArt

Thank you for the step by step process. This is the perfect time of year to have a mailing list and now I’m a little more at ease about creating one.

Laura K. Aiken

This was another push for me to get with it! I already use mailchimp but I don’t do a newsletter nearly like I should.
laura.

Sam

Great timing – I’m getting ready for art/craft fair season and this is the ticket to a more coordinated email this time around.

RecipeRelay

The ‘marketing blog’ goes to a bloggers favorites D*S post, would love to have the actual marketing blog address – thanks!

Martha

Thank you for this!! Could we get another Biz Ladies post about creating the email itself (regardless of what email tool you might be using?) I’d love some tips and tricks for increasing open rates, avoiding spam blockers, etc. I’m sure there are some ‘best practice’ things that I’m not aware of. Love these posts, keep ‘em coming.

Polly Danger

Thanks so much for all this info, Jordan! I’m with Martha- I’ve got a newsletter system in place, but I send newsletters sparingly mostly because I have a hard time finding the right information to fill them! I can’t help but wonder if I’m sending the wrong messages or if I could be communicating better with my customers.

Erin

has anybody used both mailchimp and constant contact? i currently use constant contact but am wondering if mailchimp is better.

Kristen

Erin, I started out using Constant Contact and switched over to MailChimp. I would never go back! MailChimp is much more intuitive, fun, and FREE. I’ve looked at the code that both of them produce (I’m also a web designer) and Constant Contact’s is all over the place, making it more likely to look different on different email platforms. MailChimp’s code isn’t perfect but definitely a million times better.

Thanks for pointing out that you should obtain permission before adding people to your list! Please everyone, don’t add people straight out of your email contacts (including friends and family). Not only is it frustrating for the recipient, but you’ll get marked as spam by people :) MailChimp has some really good articles about the dos and don’ts of email marketing.

Ben

Thanks for the tips. Its always about creating value with the list instead of always selling them stuff.

Emma

thanks for this. Do you have any tips on actually getting people to sign up to your mailing list??

Yamayka

Thanks for all this essential information.I’d like to learn more about creating newsletters content. How to implement my products inside the newsletters?

Bernadette

I love the Bizladies it provides the most practical easily understandable (even for a quite mature lady) informations about a great variety of subjects….I have freely passed along the infos to my friends my children and their friends..One of the questions I am asked a lot is how can you get affordable health care insurance for artists , and artisans..have you ever had a post about it ? I could not find any. Is there any possibility of someone writing something about it ! It is such a problem for so many creative people working for themselves. Thanks again for such a good Blog!

May

Thx for this article. I’m almost embarrassed to say, I had no idea services like mailchimp even existed! I’m also wondering about Martha’s comment regarding spam blockers…

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