Retaining Your Customer Base for Your Handmade Business Via Email Marketing
Selling and marketing your handmade products online has evolved a lot over the years. I think back to when Etsy was in beta and the first and only handmade marketplace of its kind and I’m just in awe of the both the technological advancements in computers and digital media as well how social networking has evolved. However, one thing has stayed the same whether your company is big or small – the email newsletter. Online shops to social networks all utilize email marketing and there’s a good reason why. It allows them to reconnect with consumers they know are already interested in their products, remind them they are still there and even offer them a little incentive to come back. Every time I’ve sent out my own monthly business email newsletter, it has resulted in sales. (I always include a coupon code so I can track the sales it brings in. And this is definitely the answer to “How do I let people know about my sale?”) But your business newsletter can do more than just bring in cash flow during slow or stagnant sales periods, it also has the ability to tell you exactly what type of content your consumer base is interested in!
For my email list I use Your Mailing List Provider, or YMLP for short. They offer a ton of great features to help you get the most out of your email list with everything from a built in editor and email templates to unlimited image hosting and embedded images as well as google analytics integration, newsletter archives and more. Some of my favorite features however are the groups and the email reporting.
YMLP allows you to create different sign up forms, each of which can contain their own custom fields as well as the option to assign that specific form to a specific group you create. This allows you to track where people are signing up for your newsletter as well as send out targeted newsletters to different groups of people. For example, the newsletter sign up form I have on Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen differs from the one on my blog, Soap Deli News. My main website registrations all go to my default group while the blog registrations go to a separate group I simply named “Blog Sign Ups” for my reference. You can also create different forms to track registrations you have via giveaways for example. You can then send out a different, customized email newsletter for each group or you can send the same newsletter out to everyone in all of the groups. Because hey, you might want to send your customers a coupon code, but give your subscribers who signed up through your blog notification of a new giveaway. Pretty neat, right? Well, there’s more of course. My favorite of which is the reporting for sent messages.
For each newsletter you send out you can track opens and clicks over time. This report will tell you how many newsletter recipients received your email, how many actually opened the email and even how many people clicked on links within the email. It will also tell you how many people unsubscribed or better yet, forwarded that particular email on to someone they knew! You can track this progress through the first day, the first two days, a week or even by the hour.
If you are trying to reach a specific country or state or you want to find out what locations you need to focus on to improve your reach, you can also track the opens by location. For the United States and Canada you can double click on those locations on the map to whittle down your stats to opens by state. (They seem to really like me out in California!)
If you want to know what types of devices or services are being used to open your emails, then check out the reporting for Email Programs Usage. It will tell you if people are reading on the go via their iPhone or accessing your email newsletter through a webmail, like Gmail or Hotmail, for example.
My absolute favorite report, however, is the E-mail Click Map. For each link included within the body of your email, you are given a breakdown of which links were clicked and what percentage of people who opened the email clicked on each particular link. Hovering over the percentage bar indicator will tell you how many how many clicks were made through that particular link out of all the click throughs made within the email. This will help to tell you what content your newsletter subscribers are most interested in and want to see more of without you having to survey your subscribers. All that’s left for you to do is come up some creative new content to encourage your readers to open your newsletters and visit your links!
To find out more about all of the fabulous features YMLP has to offer or to sign up for a free 30 day trial, simply visit YMLP here. You can also take advantage of their free plan for up to 1,000 subscribers.