The first time I did an art show about 8 years ago, I decided to put a pretty little notebook out on one of the tables with a hand-written note asking folks to leave their name and email address. I knew a little bit about marketing a business, having started a photography business with my husband a few years earlier, but I wasn't really sure what I would do with the names and email addresses once I had them.
And then it hit me! I could send them a snazzy newsletter crafted in Publisher that would tell them where I would be next, what sort of fresh fused glass goodness I was creating and if and when I would be teaching fused glass classes. (It is still hard for me to believe that folks have been asking me to teach them how to create their own fused glass goodness since my very first art show, but it is true, and it makes me smile.)
From my humble beginnings, I have upgraded my information delivery system to MailChimp and my pretty notebook to a sheet of paper on a clipboard. While I consider MailChimp a major upgrade, in all honesty the notebook was a lot prettier than the clipboard. Maybe it's time for a change! But my point here is that over the last 8 years, technology and information delivery have evolved in ways that make it super easy to keep in contact with people who like your work or want to know more about you. For one thing, you can have multiple mailing lists for different kinds of information, like a newsletter just for sales or when you will be teaching classes.
So, for the last eight years I have been telling my fellow artists, creatives and crafters to put out a pretty little notebook or dull, boring clipboard and collect up all this valuable data, but they don't. Well, most of them don't and the few that do, don't really do anything with the valuable data even though it could help them grow their business, which is what lead me to write this post. Let me know if you find this information helpful or if you have some ways you'd like to add to the list, I'd be glad to share them!
1. Treat your subscribers like the gold they really are!
Make sure everyone who subscribes to your newsletter either at an art show or craft fair, or online via your website or Facebook, knows they are special. Don't hammer them with too many newsletters. Make sure the content is useful or important to them. This is where different lists for different types of customers comes in handy. Maybe some folks want to know where you will be set up next and other may want to know what new soaps you will be offering for the holidays. Set expectations and follow through! If you promise a newsletter once a month, deliver on it. If you say it will be sporadic, don't suddenly start sending a newsletter once a week. Never give people a reason to hit 'unsubscribe'!
2. Give people a compelling reason to sign up for your newsletter!
Sometimes it is easy enough to just put out that pretty notebook or dull clipboard and ask folks to leave their name and email address, other times you might need to give them some incentive. If you are collecting your names and email addresses at events, then you will have to enter them into MailChimp (or whatever mail program you decide to use) and you probably won't be able to autogenerate a message with a nice thank you discount or special offer, but don't despair! I find it is very easy, using MailChimp, to send a specific message to anyone who has been added to my list after a certain date. Again, set expectations and follow through! If you promise a discount when they sign up, deliver on it.
3. Make the content count!
Content is important no matter what the delivery method. If you are blogging, content is important. If you are posting on Facebook, content is important. If you are putting up images on Instagram, you guessed it, content is important. Great content is probably the best way to grow your creative business with a newsletter because if your subscribers love your content, they will share it. Even better, you can encourage them to share it without seeming pushy. For example, if your newsletter features several different types of information such as a calendar of events, new products and upcoming, you can encourage subscribers to share the newsletter with anyone they think may be interested in this information, AND...be sure to encourage them to have their friends subscribe. When your subscribers pass along the information they are endorsing you, so their friends will be more likely to hit 'subscribe'!
Since I am such a huge fan of newsletters I will be doing a more in-depth post soon, with some of my best tried and true examples of how my creative business has grown with newsletters, so be sure to check back with me!
Share your tips for suggestions for using a newsletter to grow your creative business in the comments or tweet them to me at @PinkSparkCr8ive and I will share them! Spreading the love!
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