Part one of the How to Run a Handmade Business on a Budget series.
When I first started selling my handmade crochet creations and was beginning to do research on starting a business, a recurring theme was “you need a newsletter”. Start collecting emails NOW and keep a list and send out a Newsletter, that’s what everything I was reading was telling me. I kept thinking, what in the world could I possibly send out? Why would anyone want a newsletter from A Crafty Concept? So I didn’t create one; until I started my blog.
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may recieve a small commission from items purchased at no extra cost to you.
Here are a few things that I’ve learned since creating a newsletter.
- People who sign up for your newsletter are your biggest fans. They are a group of people who have willingly chosen to receive updates from you. They love you. This makes marketing to your target audience easy-peasy because all you have to do is send out an email.
- You DO NOT need a blog in order to benefit from having a newsletter
- You can still benefit (greatly) from a newsletter, even if all you sell are finished pieces.
- It’s not hard!
Let’s dive right into how awesome newsletters are.
I would be comfortable saying, if you are not in a season of business where you think you could benefit from starting a blog, you should start a newsletter instead. I highly recommend MailChimp. Mainly because it’s well known and widely used so there’s a lot of resources and tutorials about how to use it and usually pretty easy ways to integrate it into a website (if you so choose in the future). Also, I recommend it because it’s what I use, and the only service I’m familiar with lol. (This post is in no way sponsored by MailChimp, I just love the service and think you might too.)
Making an account with Mailchimp is free and you don’t have to pay anything to use it until you get 2k subscribers. At that point you would be required to start paying a monthly fee, but 2,000 people is a lot yall! I still haven’t reached 2k subscribers and I’ve been doing this for nearly 2 years.
After you make your account, the first thing I would do is create a landing page. I didn’t know what a landing page was, or had even heard of it before, but it’s basically a one page website. It has its own URL, it’s totally customizable so you can designed it to fit with your brand, you can add buttons, pictures, forms, links, html codes, videos, social media icons, basically anything you would want to have available to your customers. AND IT’S FREE! I currently have two landing pages, my Instagram Links page and my Subscription page.
I love my Instagram Links landing page. As you probably know, instagram only lets you attach one url to your profile. If you make that one URL to a landing page, suddenly you have unlimited options, and not just that, its branded! With other linking services, you don’t get to customize it to match your brand. In my instagram links page I have a link to my most recent blog post, my etsy shop patterns page, my etsy shop beanies page, my amazon shop and a subscription form. So my Instagram people can subscribe to my newsletter right in my instagram link, without having to follow a bunch of steps.
Here’s some more fun tidbits about Mailchimp landing pages.
- There isn’t a limit to how many you can have, so technically you could link other landing pages to your main landing page. So if you wanted to create a “behind my business or about me type page” you could make a separate landing page for that and link it to your main landing page as a button.
- You CAN NOT make a custom URL for your landing page, so it’s not super great for advertising your business verbally or like on your business card,
buuuut, what you can do is purchase a domain from GoDaddy (or another domain providing service) pretty inexpensively, and forward it to go to your landing page. I bought www.ACraftySipandStitch.com for a year for $1 and it just goes to my Facebook group. Make sure to do a quick google search for coupon codes before you purchase a domain though, there’s always a deal somewhere!
- You can set your Mailchimp to automatically send out a newsletter to new subscribers, I literally just found this out while doing research for this post.
- You can set different landing pages to be linked to different newsletter groups, so if for some reason you needed more than one list of contacts, you can create multiple landing pages to market to each list.
- If you don’t have a website for your business, this is a great, FREE, way to look super professional and give your customers/target audience the information and resources about your business they may need.
So you may be thinking, ok a landing page sounds great, but why do I need a newsletter? Like I mentioned above your newsletter subscribers are your biggest fans. With an email, you can reach them directly, unlike with social media where you post something and just hope they see it. If they signed up for your newsletter, it most-likely means they are interested in you/what you do and WANT to learn more, so they’re gonna read your emails. Now its not 100% of your list will read your emails 100% of the time, but your chances of reaching your target audience are higher with a newsletter.
But what would you even put in a newsletter?
This was my thought exactly. When I just sold finished pieces, let’s say Claire Bun Beanies, I didn’t know what I would email about once, let alone weekly or monthly. Now that
- Sales/Specials- Duh. Every time you are running a sale or some sort of special, you need to tell your newsletter list peeps about it. They’re going to want to know.
- New Products- If you add something new to your shop (or just your business in general if you don’t have a shop) tell your list about it. Let them know like ” hey you love this and this item from us, get ready to add *new product* to the list!”
- Gift Guides- These are especially good for specific seasons or holidays. You could do a “Gifts for Mom” guide around Mother’s Day to let your audience know hey I offer all of these pieces, and moms would love them! You could do a “Gifts for everyone on your list” guide around Christmas time and maybe split it up by price (Gifts under $25, gifts under $50 etc.) Sometimes people need you to plant the idea in their head instead of just hoping they will come to it on their own.
- Styling Suggestions- If you sell beanies, show some outfit options for how to wear specific pieces from your shop, maybe you could do a “Dress it down or dress it up” type post. If you sell handmade baskets, you could do a “5 ways to use your *business name* basket” and give some great options for what to store in your baskets, how to decorate with your baskets. Help your customers think of outside the box ways they can benefit from having your products in their home.
- Events- If you are going to be at a local craft
fair,if you are hosting a sip and stitch or a crochet class, if you are doing a pop up in a local shop, if you are doing a meet and greet…. tell your audience!
- Giveaways- If you have something going on over on your social media platforms, let your subscribers know! They may not see your post on social media.
- Tutorials- If you sell messy bun beanies, maybe send out a video (or photo) tutorial showing your audience how to put one on! Maybe show a tutorial on how to clean your product, how to repair your product etc. Again, think outside of the box here.
- News- If there is anything happening in your business, like if you were featured on a blog or in a local newspaper, if you did something amazing like paid off your student loans with your business profit, if you are participating in a charity/fundraiser, tell your subscribers!
- Target Audience Specific Info- If you know your target audience is mostly moms and you stumbled across an amazing mom blog that changed your life, tell your subscribers. Be a resource to them, this will help build trust and loyalty within your customer base.
How do you get people to subscribe?
You need to present your newsletter in a way that the customer feels like they will be benefiting from being on your list. Why should they sign up? What problem is being on your newsletter going to solve for your customer?
Something that is suggested around the internet is to offer something to people when they subscribe. Maybe you make a guide (like we mentioned above) and when they sign up to your newsletter the receive a free styling guide unique to *business name* products.
Maybe you give them a coupon code and they can save some monies.
Maybe you send out something free each week like I send out wrap labels.
Some companies send out free fonts, free procreate brushes, free clipart, free digital wallpaper, whatever your target audience is about (fashion, home decor, mom life etc.) think about what you can realistically offer them through your newsletter and do that thing.
I just found this amazing podcast through my friend Maria at Maria Blue Crayon and I had to share it with you! It’s a podcast episode by Simple Pin Media called “Grow Your Newsletter Using Pinterest“.
I wanted to post it here for you guys so you could check it out too! The play button to listen to the podcast episode is at the top of the page, but if you scroll down you can see the “show notes” that breaks down the whole episode in an overview!
If I would have known about landing pages 5 years ago when I was selling a bunch of random crochet awesomeness, I would have created one that had pictures of things I’ve made, links to all my social media platforms, a contact/email button, any contact info I wanted to share, a “send money via PayPal” button and a subscribe form. It would have been a game changer!
Something I would suggest; if you have a few shops you admire that are like #businessgoals for you, subscribe to their newsletters! See how they format everything, listen to what tone they use when they’re writing to you, pay attention to how often they send out emails and what information they are putting in each one. Notice the things they do that make you say “oh that’s so smart”, then you can implement similar practices in your business. If you need more help on the design aspect, search google for “newsletter templates”, “stunning business newsletters”, things like that, and you should see lots of options to get the ball rolling.
I really hope you guys loved this first post in the How to Run a Handmade Business on a Budget series. Please please if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. If I notice a lot of people are asking the same questions, I will update this post to answer them. If you’re not sure about something, most likely someone else is just as not sure. I am happy to help. Also feel free to comment anything you would like to add about MailChimp, newsletters or landing pages! Your comment may help someone grow, which is what we all want!
Here’s a great Tutorial to help you get started!
Have fun setting up your new landing page and newsletter!