We are back with a Tips 4 Designers post. Today’s topic is e-mail newsletter marketing.

Newsletters are a great way to get your message out to hundreds of people all at once. They are also an excellent way to build and maintain targeted audience groups. Let’s look at these ideas and how they can work together as part of your marketing strategy.

Newsletter basics

What’s the big deal with e-mail newsletters? Aren’t these just spam that we all delete? No! I read newsletters, well, not all of them. I read the good ones, ones from sources that I’ve actually signed up for and ones that I enjoy. So, there it is—how do you get people to sign up? And then how to you get them to enjoy?

First, the sign up. Try asking. Simple, right? Put a sign-up form on your website. You can even add one to your Facebook page. Then ask people on your social media streams. You can also try adding an incentive. Give your newsletter subscribers something special, a free pattern, discount, or an exclusive something-just-for-subscribers.

Once you get people to sign up, a lot of folks keep their subscriptions because they:

  • enjoy your content and look forward to getting your newsletter, or perhaps they
  • don’t delight in your content but can’t be bothered to unsubscribe, or maybe they
  • don’t like or dislike your content but don’t want to miss out on future discounts and other exclusive offers. #fomo

Most e-mail newsletter services will have a sign-up form ready to go that you can copy right into your blog or website. I use a service called Mailchimp and they make it very easy to add forms to a number of services, even to Facebook. I imagine most services have easy-to-use forms like this.

targeted audience

Second, the enjoyment. The real deal here is content and this is complex. You need to know who your target audience is and this gets into audience groups mentioned above. For example, if you are writing a marketing e-mail about exhibiting at TNNA, you wouldn’t necessarily want to send it to everyone on your list because the general public cannot attend that show. It would probably be good to have a sub-list just for wholesale yarn industry contacts.

How do you filter people in this way? In the sign-up form of course! When you make your form, have check boxes for: Are you a yarn store? Are you a designer? etc. Then you can make audience groups based on these boxes.

When you can send targeted content to your customer it will make more sense, the reader will be more engaged and will be less likely to delete or to unsubscribe.

Plan and schedule

Now that you have your audience, your subscribers, and your content it’s time to get your message out. The key is consistency. I admit, this is where I fail. It’s best to plan a schedule and stick to it. If you want a monthly newsletter, pick a day, for example, the first Friday of the month, and stick to it. If you are going for weekly, same, make a plan and stay with it. Your customers will learn to expect, and hopefully look forward to, your newsletter on this schedule. Once you miss a day it’s too easy to keep missing it.

 

Stitch Sprouts designer Jen Lucas wrote about her experience with newsletter marketing on her blog last week. Be sure to check it out!

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Heather Zoppetti

Heather Zoppetti is a knitwear designer, instructor, author and owner of Stitch Sprouts. She spends her days filling orders, knitting, and rambling on this blog. She can also be found at Heather Zoppetti Designs.

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