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How 9 Makers Are Using Email to Grow

Jan 31, 2022

I've said it before and I'll say it again:

Using email to connect with your community as a small business owner is the most affordable, most direct, most personal, and adaptable way to engage your community. It’s the way to engage the people who already want to hear from you.

Over the past months, we've worked with creative business owners through our multi-week intensives to help them grow their lists, foster relationships with their communities, and increase their sales through efficient automations and workflows.

But we've been wondering, in the months after these intensives, what folks are actually seeing as a result of their time and energy spent on these projects. Are they wildly increasing sales or have they completely dropped their goals... or somewhere in between? So we reached out to the makers who have participated in our Using Email to Grow Intensive... and here's what they said:

 

Elana of Elana Gabrielle

I was able to fully set up 7 automations, and set myself up with ideas and inspiration for email outreach. I also organized time on my calendar to create content, rather than just doing it last minute each month. The shorter deadlines and time helped me so much!

 

Eli of Peacesake Candles & Co.

Since our intensive, we have implemented many tips we learned and we have committed to improving our email marketing. The biggest win for us was being able to create a solid email strategy and we have slowly started implementing it. We have seen an increase in our conversion rate and we've been getting a lot more product reviews from our customers.

In the meantime, we're continuing to build our content pantry and hoping to launch our new onboarding campaign soon, it consists of 4 emails that help educate our customers about our products and help give them useful tips on how to get the most out of their candles as well as ways to recycle/upcycle their jars/bottles and help us reduce waste.

 

 

Jamie of The Memorable Image

I just switched over to FloDesk (their ending the beta pricing gave me a good ol’ push.) And I will start using it in December (I am sticking with Mail Chimp for a bit while I play with FloDesk.)

My main wins since the intensive involved my newsletter. I was part of the Bespoke Arts Summit in October and they made a video about me and my inspiration and my process. While that was stressful (I hate being in front of the camera) it made me really get my ducks organized. Once the video went live (there was 1 artist a day for a week) I used my newsletter to promote it and got the highest number of views in the first 24 hours and second-highest overall. I did very little other promotion around it (I am hardly on social), and my newsletter people loved it. The consistency of showing up weekly paid off. And because I had been reaching out regularly I felt like I had a relationship with my followers so I wasn't so embarrassed/shy telling them about my video and asking them to watch it.

 

K’era of k-apostrophe

My assistant and I just figured out how to do the automations on Squarespace and we've created drafts of all the automations for post-purchase emails. But in bigger news; I've been sticking to a monthly email schedule. Working with someone who actually writes and formats the content for me has also been helpful but we've put the content pantry to good use and were able to block out newsletters 3 months out. And, to top it off, I've received feedback from customers saying they've been enjoying the regular emails. They've found the content informative AND, I'm generating sales although through "gentle calls to action" content embedded into each newsletter

 

Katie of Katie Kismet

I had been sending my newsletters, with pretty good monthly consistency, via Mailchimp for at least 18-24 months prior to the intensive. I had an open rate of about 2-3%, which I had (in error, as it turned out) thought was normal. I'd also found it odd that those nearest and dearest to me (think: husband and mom) literally never mentioned receiving my newsletter.

After the intensive, I ended up changing over to MailerLite. After just two newsletters, my open rate is now 14% with a 3% click-through rate, and friends and family have gone out of their way to mention receiving it. So I don't know what the issue was with Mailchimp, but I don't think my emails were even getting into inboxes before the switch. It has made a huge difference!

Also -- I got my welcome automation set up before the fall markets which is GREAT!

 

Lily of Lily Smith Studio

My emails have been going great!  I've gotten really positive responses from both my welcome sequence and my first newsletter (readers responding to say they enjoyed the newsletter or to ask questions!), and my open rate is over 40% so far!  I'm sending out newsletters monthly currently, which has been really manageable, and overall I feel like the intensive left me with a clear path to improving my business by making sure everything adequately connects back to my story.

 

Sam of Samantha Slater Studio

Email-writing has been far more enjoyable since taking the intensive, and I now feature maker-friends in almost all my weekly emails. They feel far more authentic and fun to write. I also did a studio tour email which got tons of responses and I have had several people, in-person and via replies, tell me how much they are enjoying my content.

I haven't noticed any significant uptick in sales or clicks or anything like that however my emails seem to get between 24% and 35% open rates and when I did a pretty sales-focused new necklace email last week I got more orders for one piece than ever before, so could it be a combo of customers enjoying my emails more and the desire for that necklace? Who knows, but it worked and I am stoked.

I redid my cart abandonment email on Tuesday and really love it now (I redid them all actually and love them a lot but this one, in particular, feels really good to me). And I also really love my new welcome series.

 

Sara of Sara Golden

Very honestly, a few "life" things have gotten in my way, so I haven't been quite as able to implement the productive work I was able to start in the intensive. I got as far as writing drafts and signing up for Mailer Lite, but I've put events on my calendar this month and next to get everything in place bit by bit.

One thing I have started to do is simplify my bi-weekly emails. I've stripped them down to have fewer graphics (which saves me SO. MUCH. TIME.) and am trying to write them more like personal letters than sales pitches. I've seen people clicking through and interacting more with my emails and even heard from a friend whose boyfriend is on my list that he loves getting my emails because of all the other things I talk about or recommend. Husbands and boyfriends make up a significant customer base for me, so I'm really happy to be keeping them hanging on and entertained. Most importantly, sitting down to write emails feels so much less anxiety-inducing than it did before! It doesn't feel like such a monumental task, and I'm connecting with people in a way that feels more natural and helpful.

 

Vicky of Porpe Artifacts

I think this email intensive came at the right time for me as I was on & off with sending emails. I think I needed a little push and a few ideas communicated in an organized manner in order for me to jump-start and do it! Until today I have been regularly sending 2 emails per month and a few email blasts – like an extra thing when I have something important to share.

I have created a framework that indicates what is non-“sales-y” email for me. So at the moment, I have created a section in my emails in which I share things such as a Spotify list, a book, a podcast, a post, etc. that I have found interesting or inspiring and I feel that people will like it too. Also, I believe this is another way for them to get to know me, what inspires me and makes me happy! 

I have created 3 different audiences

  • My regular customers
  • People who are new in my list and they went through my welcome series, so they have a discount code, and are not my customers yet.
  • People who have signed up in the past through in-person events  -and because I wasn’t utilizing properly this list, I am not sure if they have bought anything from me or not.

So each of my newsletters has the same main topic for all the audiences. I only differentiate the bottom section where I make it more relevant for each audience. For example for the people who haven’t bought anything from I include things such as.. the inspiration behind a design, customer reviews, photos … etc.

The repository has helped to organize my ideas for the newsletter and for blog posts. So now I also create a blog post per month, and my goal is to increase to two blog posts per month.

Another tool that has helped me a lot with my English is Wordtune (an extension for Google docs). I just write what I want to say in English and then Wordtune will come up with different tones and different ways of rewriting my original text! This has helped me so much and also decreased the amount of time I was spending and the quality of my writing (plus I am learning as well 😊)

Having done this regularly for the past 2 months here is what I have observed

  • I had 170 pageviews, 36 unique visitors more from September to October
  • In September I had 0 online sales and in October I had 7!!!
  • I had 2 people replying back to me that they really liked my newsletter!

I know that these are small numbers but it seems that things are moving. My next goal is to turn some of the people that are on my list into customers, hopefully by the end of this year. Also, I will be participating in Renegade craft in Seattle this year and I will definitely be smarter with my strategy on collecting emails and using them properly, this time!

 

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