Why Your Crafty Business Needs an Email List and How to Build One

craftybusiness Mar 28, 2023

I continually get asked by crafters tip-toeing around the idea of starting to sell their wares what is the first thing you should do. To be quite frank, there really isn’t a perfect first step into the sea of entrepreneurship. Everything from checking with what state licenses you need, starting new social media accounts, to building a website have been answers that sound just fine to me. However, the one thing that I wish I would have done sooner because of both what it’s allowed me to share with my community but also how it has grown my profits is an email list.

You might immediately think, “I never look at the thousands of promotion emails I receive.” To that I say, “Are you sure about that?”

You might rarely open them purposefully because you had the intent to shop at a specific business or wait for them with bated breath, but I know for sure you have purchased or gone to a business website or social media because of an email. Why do I know this is a fact? Because 87% of businesses who use email marketing say that email is their highest driver of sales and top marketing channel.

If it is for them. It will be for you. In my experience, it has been for me, and why when a new inquisitive maker asks me, “What should I do first?” I say, start building your email list. It will be the one piece of technically free marketing you invest your time into which will return to you ten-fold over your time as an entrepreneur. I promise.

And with that first question, the most common next question is why I’m writing this post. How? How do you build an email list, continue to grow it, and use it successfully as a way to keep your crafty business in the mind of your followers and customers?

Start with providing value. 

A good email list is built by continually offering your subscribers new ideas, tidbits of extras, and a bit of an inside look. It’s important to keep this as the guiding purpose for your list. An email is a personal contact and respecting it as such will continually help you grow and receive engagement from your prospective customers and fans. 

As a maker, some ideas of what you can offer as the value you provide:

  • Printable patterns or templates
  • Mini tutorials or how-to guides
  • Access to exclusive discounts or sales
  • A free e-book or guide on a craft-related topic
  • A printable calendar featuring craft-related holidays or events
  • A curated list of online resources and tools for crafting
  • Access to a private Facebook group or community for crafters
  • A free sample of a new product or material
  • A craft-related quiz or game with prizes
  • Free personalized consultation or advice on a specific crafting project.

Signing up needs to be easy and accessible.

Your email list should be considered your 1st product. By first product, I mean it’s your number one product for you to promote, share, talk about, and remind those who have “purchased it” to refer others to join. There are several email list-building platforms on the market. Several of them offer a free basic plan that focuses solely on email. As far as which is better, my only opinion your business will always outgrow an individual platform. If you can, invest in a platform that offers you more than just email. If you can afford a platform that offers you more tools along with your email list it will help you do more and return more. The platform I currently use, and have used for the past ten years is called Kajabi. It’s a large investment but if you ever have questions please reach out and ask. I’m happy to show you the behind-the-scenes of the platform and all the financial benefits it’s provided having everything my business needs in one platform, especially my email marketing.

Ideas of where to promote, share, and post your email list sign-up form:

  • On your business website or blog
  • On your social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest
  • In your email signature
  • At the end of blog posts or other content, you create
  • In craft-related forums or discussion groups
  • At craft shows or events you attend
  • In your storefront or studio if you have one
  • In collaboration with other crafty businesses or bloggers in your niche.

Separate Your List into Groups.

As your small business takes shape you’ll also start to recognize your fan base and customers take shape into different segments. This is hugely beneficial when you have specific promotions to offer or new products. Being able to target those who will benefit most from what you have to offer allows you to provide the best to those who have provided you with their information.

Here are a few ideas of the types of buckets you could create:

  • Current customers who have made a purchase
  • Potential customers who have shown interest but have not yet made a purchase
  • Customers who have made repeat purchases
  • Customers who have signed up for a workshop or class
  • Customers who have subscribed to a newsletter or blog
  • Customers who have engaged with your brand on social media
  • Customers who have referred others to your business
  • Customers who have abandoned a cart or expressed interest in a specific product but have not yet purchased
  • Customers who have requested custom or personalized items in the past
  • Customers who have attended a craft fair or event where your business was present.

Lastly, it’s about consistency. It’s important to decide for yourself what the frequency of your emails will be. Many business consultants and marketers have opinions here too. My suggestion is to do what fits within your life and business boundaries. Taking the step to be your own boss means you get to choose the type of boss you’ll be, so treat yourself with kindness and be both dependable to your fans and customers as you are to yourself.