Angus and Lorna's key recommendations for your craft business mailing list
Why sending email newsletters is good for your business
Customers buy from people they know, like and trust – newsletters are the best way for building and retaining this relationship. An email allows you to write more in more detail than within social posts. The people on your mailing list are VIPs so contact them regularly to let them know you care.
Who are you writing to?
Existing customers – if they are not on your list already, invite them to join and state how often you communicate.
Potential clients – new people you meet at shows and events, capture their email addresses in a notebook (make sure to shred all data once you've transferred them onto a secure database) or even better get them to sign up on a mobile / tablet device.
Website visitors – you might give visitors the option to select what they would like to hear from you about specifically, for instance those interested in workshops, commissions or general news.
Organisations – particularly those you are a member of, for example Craft Scotland, Design Nation, Crafts Council. It may help to identify which individuals are keen to hear from you, for example if they are in charge of promoting their members on social media, your email can help provide them with content they can share.
Journalists – if they get in touch with you, ask if they would like to join your mailing list.
Galleries – your stockists have a keen interest in you as it helps them understand and sell your work on your behalf
You are accountable for how you use people's data. Explain how you are using peoples' information in simple language. Be transparent about the information you are keeping and how you will be using it.
A few basic principles:
- be specific about what information you are storing, their name, email address etc.
- maintain accurate and up to date information for people on your lists, remove addresses if you receive bounced or automatic replies stating the person has left the organisation etc.
- always allow people to unsubscribe
- store data safely and securely, this is your responsibility and if you use a software package such as MailChimp, look at their policy
For more information, we recommend you visit the Independent Commissioners Office.
What and when to write
- Try to provide interesting and relevant information and not just work for sale
- What makes you different from others? Make it personal with your own voice
- Consider your projects for year ahead; give your readers advance notice of forthcoming events
- If your mailing list really is your VIP list, then your newsletter comes first before social media
- Be consistent in how often you write, we suggest quarterly to start with