Retaining Your Customer Base for Your Handmade Business Via Email Marketing

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Business Marketing - Retaining Your Customer Base for Your Handmade Business Through Email MarketingSelling 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.

Email Newsletter Reporting - Opens and Clicks Over Time

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.

Email Newsletter Opens By Location

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!)

Email Programs Used to Open Your Newsletter

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.

Email Newsletter Reporting - Email Click Map That Shows Click Throughs On Specific Links

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.

Soapmaker’s Guide to Marketing Soap Online

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Handmade Organic Tangerine Glycerin Soap from Rebecca's Soap Delicatessen at http://shop.soapdelicatessen.comSoapmaking has been one of my favorite past times for over a decade. I first really began selling my homemade soaps online back when Etsy was in beta. Then I moved onto selling full time for a good, solid four years on my local farmer’s market until the economy and my health took a turn. Now I sell my handmade soaps and other bath and body products exclusively online via my own storefront. I’ve  learned a lot, but as you know, the world of ecommerce is constantly changing forcing those of us who sell our handmade arts and crafts online, to keep in the loop or fall to the wayside. However, there is basic know how that every soapmaker should have under their belt before they begin their adventure into selling their handmade products to the public. This is where the new ebook from established author, Lisa Maliga, comes into play.

Selling homemade soaps online is one of the most difficult ways to get your products into the hands of customers. As people enjoy smelling and handling a product  – it’s very difficult to describe a scent through words in a way that everyone will get exactly what that fragrance is – homemade soaps can be an especially tough sale outside of farmer’s markets, craft shows and shops. So if you are considering selling your handmade soaps online and are looking for a basic foundation of information to get you started, The Soapmaker’s Guide to Online Marketing is for true beginners who really have no idea how to get started.

Want to sell you handmade soaps? Then be sure to check out the Soapmaker's Guide to Online Marketing. This beginner soapmaking book details how to get started making soap as a business and not just a hobby. Easy to read and understand, this soap marketing book is perfect for the average soaper just getting their toes wet and wanting to sell their handmade artisan soaps.

The Soapmaker’s Guide to Online Marketing starts you off with a questionnaire that will help you determine if you’re really cut out for selling homemade soap online and also advises against premature selling – with specific instances of mistakes and pitfalls. There’s also a brief section over viewing online marketplaces you can sell your handmade soaps, including self hosting creating your website (I’m a fan of the ease of Weebly) and obtaining a domain name. There’s also advice on setting up things like a policy page that covers deliveries and returns and how to handle delivery issues. In addition there’s useful information on SEO, using meta tags, branding, photographing your products, and finally promoting your website using methods from a press release and Pinterest to creating a newsletter and youtube videos to using both paid and free advertising. You’ll also discover useful information on business basics, running a home office, invoicing,  shipping, pricing guidelines, labeling, creating your brand and how to avoid online scams.

Finally, The Soapmaker’s Guide to Online Marketing provides a handful of beginner glycerin soap recipes as well as resources and online shops for buying wholesale supplies for soapmaking, fragrances, molds and packaging and information websites, books and forums you can use to research for further information into this wonderful craft.

If you’re interested in learning more about making handmade melt and pour soaps, be sure to check out Lisa’s first soapmaking book, The Joy of Melt and Pour Soap Crafting. You can also now buy her latest book on making homemade shampoo bars, How to Make Handmade Shampoo Bars: The Budget Edition, in paperback. (You’ll love the large, easy to read text!)

Or check out her video (above) for a recipe on making Lisa’s Pink Clay & Shea Shampoo Bars!

Do you have questions about marketing your online business? Feel free to ask questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. Also feel free to share some of your own tips, tricks and basic know how! (Also be sure to follow Soap Deli News on Blog Lovin’ and never miss a post!)