Skip to main content

Priority #1: Email List

Lesson 5 from: How to Build a Business While Learning Your Craft

Megan Auman

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

5. Priority #1: Email List

Lesson Info

Priority #1: Email List

- [Megan] We're going to talk about our very first priority, which is your email list. I don't care what you're doing or who you are or what you sell or who you're selling it to, you have to have an email list, this is non-negotiable. So remember, we're talking about this idea that what really drives your business forward is simply your craft and your audience, right? Something to sell, somebody to sell it to. And the best way to connect your craft to your audience is through email. Even though everyone always is going to be like, "Email's dead, email's dead, email's dead," it is super-important. Part of the reason that it is so important is because people have to give you permission, right? They have to say, "I want to be on your email list." That means that they are inviting you into their inbox and that makes them the most valuable customers you have. And it's also really important because as we know, every social media platform on the planet likes to tinker with how things show up,...

right? There was the big to-do when Instagram changed to algorithmic feeds. Yeah, I don't really love it either but it is what it is, right? We can't change that but we have much more control of the way we're showing up in people's inboxes, so it's really essential. So I want to start by just taking stock of where our studio audience is, I'm going to put you guys on the spot, and I want to find out where you're at with your current email list, and by email list, I don't mean, "I have a collection of things that I wrote on a scrap piece of paper," or, "I have this list that I sometimes dump into a Bcc in my Gmail," totally illegal, do not do that, right? I am talking about you have signed up for an email provider, MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, whatever, you have something and there is at least a person on it. So let's start there, so who actually has an email list? You can just go show of hands. Okay, so who...Michelle, you do not? - [Michelle] I don't have anything yet. - Okay, you're perfect, perfect. - Brand-new. - We're going to fix that. What's happening back here? You just don't have one? - [Jordan] I don't even know what I would email people, I guess. - All right, okay, we're going to solve that problem. Matt? - [Matt] Yeah, I should have one because I'm always like, "Oh, yeah, I should send out emails," but then I don't have any easy way to do it, so it's literally going to copy and pasting and then getting that address from this to... - Yeah, also illegal. - Yeah. - There's that, not only is it complicated, it's illegal, so, okay, we're going to fix that. - Double whammy. - So for those of you who do have an email list, who's emailing their audience at least once a week? Good job, Tony. How about once every other week? Okay. At least once a month? Amy? Denise, do you even remember the last time you sent an email? You're looking a little guilty there. - [Denise] Yeah, I struggle with emails because I struggle with putting the emails together, the girl that I work really closely with that does all of my graphic design and photography and stuff, she's like...oh, she's just a whiz with it and so she can throw together an email and it looks incredible, the photography and the design and everything looks so good and then I'm like, "Oh, well, I'm not going to send out an email now because I can't do that." And so, the last four or five emails I've sent out with Christmas Specials and Valentine's Day releases and codes and stuff like that, I just have taken her email that she sent and subbed out the picture and changed the wording but how many times can I get away with that? Because I can't actually change the size of the picture and I'm just like... - You can probably get away with that more than you think you can. - Yeah, I am banking on that but it's at a point where I'm like, "Oh, okay, they're going to notice that every email looks exactly the same with a different picture." - Oh, they're not. So here's the thing, right? You obsessed and when you log into your email, you see here's the last seven emails I sent, right? They probably deleted six of them or not opened them or whatever, right? So they are not going to remember and on top of that, it's that consistency that actually helps them recognize your brand. If every email looks different, they're going to be like, "What's this person? It's like (inaudible) Organics, I don't even remember this. Unsubscribe," right? It's that inconsistency that causes people to hit the unsubscribe button because they don't remember who you are. So, yes, we're going to get you... - [crosstalk]. - Yeah, we're going to get you over that problem. Anyone else who's not emailing regularly? Richelle, what's going on there? - [Richelle] I really struggle with writing emails. I just...the bothering people thing and then being boring is... - That your biggest fear, being boring? - It actually is. - I understand because that's actually a fear of mine, so, yeah. But your email list really is the most powerful tool you have for connecting with your audience and it's essential no matter what your audience...what audience growth strategy you're using. So whether you're using social media or whether you're using search or whether you're selling to stores, you have to have an email list. So your email list is how you nurture relationships with audience members who aren't ready to buy yet. Who sells products where the bulk of your products are, say, over $100? Caleb's like, "Me now." Right, so for most people, not an impulse buy, right? They have to think about it. When they're on your email list, you can nurture and help them think about it. Of course, even if your products are less expensive, sometimes people just aren't ready to buy right away, right? We're going to nurture that relationship. Your email list is also how you turn one-time customers into repeat customers, so this is especially true if people are finding you, say, through search or through press, they're coming to your site, they've bought a thing, and now they're not on your email list, they've moved on with their life but it's so much easier to sell to someone who has already bought from you. I mentioned it in that question about selling to stores and how that relates to always be releasing, right? So for a store...particularly for wholesale, the money is not in the new accounts, it's in the reorders. It's so much easier to call up a store and get a reorder than it is to try to get a store to commit to you for the first time. It's the same thing with your existing customers, someone who buys from you trusts you, and that means they are much more likely to buy from you again and they are much more likely to be the ones who are excited when you bring out a new product. Your email list is also the one collection of your audience members that you actually own. You do not own your social media followers. If Facebook who now owns Instagram decided tomorrow that Instagram was a horrible use of their time and money, they could just turn it off. I'm sure there's a master switch, right? "Cancel Instagram." They could, they really could. Facebook could block you or they could all do crazy things, right? "I'm going to switch to some algorithm where your audience sees your post once every 12 weeks." You don't know, they could do that, they could decide it's fun. You don't own those followers, your email list, you do because even though you're going to use an email service provider, I can go into MailChimp and every morning I can download all those emails. So that means if MailChimp is like, "Hey, guys, peace out, we're gone," I can take my whole list and I can go to AWeber or I can go to ConvertKit or I can go wherever, right? You own that list of customers, it is the only one you own which makes it significantly more valuable. It also usually is the case that an email subscriber is worth more money to you over the long term. So I think I quoted this stat in a different class but it was something like running some numbers of social media followers may be worth like $1 to $2 annually, whereas an email list subscriber is usually somewhere in the $20 to $50 range annually, so they are way more valuable and it's because they have said, "I want you in my inbox," right? "I want you to come in," they've invited you into their personal space, that's really valuable. It's so valuable that I'm going to say something super-crazy, which is that if you're like, "Well, I don't have a website yet," I don't care, set up an email list. Michelle, you have nothing, right? Right? Okay. Email list is even more important than a website. I know it sounds crazy but it's true because let's just say that you're like, "I have nothing." Okay, I'm going to throw up an Instagram profile and I'm just going to put a link to sign up for my email. So if you were like, "Okay, I have to have a website, I have to get started," so you put the link to your website and then no one comes to your website anyway or if they do, they're gone forever. So you're like, "Hey, guys, I'm getting ready to launch, if you want to know, join my list, link's in my profile," then when you launch the website, now you've got an email, you got a list of people that you can send an email, "Hey, guys, I launched my website, here it is." So for those of you who are in the very, very, very beginning stages, your first priority should be your email list and those of you who are further along and do not have an email list, your first priority is getting one set up. But I want to simplify the process of starting your email list because I think that one of the reasons that people don't do it is, they have this analysis paralysis, decision-making, I don't know, right? I just named four email providers and then you're going, "Which one should I pick?" I'm going to tell you guys what to do for a minute, okay? I'm going to ask that you trust me and I'm going to save you some headache. I'm going to save you some decision-making of "I must pick something," okay? So here's what you're going to do, you're going to go to MailChimp, you're going to do this because it's free under a certain number of subscribers and while there are other services that are really better for info marketers, MailChimp is great for product people, they have amazing Shopify integration, so if you're using Shopify or thinking about using Shopify for your store, it's perfect because they integrate seamlessly. And again, did I mention it's free? It's free under a certain number of subscribers. It's friendly, it's easy to use, there's a happy little monkey that shows up. Just do it. If you hate it, you can always download your list and go somewhere else later. It's not a big deal, just do it. All right, then what you're going to do after that is you're going to start where you are. So you're going to email your friends and family and ask them if they'd like to join your new list, you're not going to just put them on your list because that's illegal, okay? Basically, the moral of the story is, you cannot put people on your list, they have to say they want it. So you're going to go to MailChimp, you're going to set up that list, and then you're just going to email your friends and family and you're going to say, "Hey, guys, in case you didn't know, I have this business." They might not know, right? "I have this business, I set up an email list, if you're interested in finding out, please sign up, here's the link." Right? It might only get you a couple of people, but guess what? Yay, that's a couple of people on your email list! Then you're going to go to your personal Facebook page. If you have a business one, you're going to ignore it for right now. The one that you actually use to interact with friends, family, and those people you went to high school with that you don't really talk to, but suddenly when they realize you're running a business, they might think you're cool, right? Even though they were cooler than you in high school. I'm not talking from experience or anything here. Okay? So you're going to go to your personal Facebook page and you're going to say, "Hey, guys, I just set up an email list for my business." And if you already have an email list, you're going to be like, "Hey, did you know that I have an email list for my business? You're going to sign up, please?" And then if you don't have a website, you're just going to add a link to sign up in your social media profile, a little place where you get to put a link, put the sign up and then put a little text that says, "Please join my email list," okay? If you have a website and your social media profile links to that, you're going to put a really obvious email sign-up on your website. Literally something pretty substantial and we can talk about how to do that if anyone has specific questions, but literally, you're going to do this, this is where you're going to start and you may have 3 people on after this happens, you may have 20 people on, maybe you're super-popular on Facebook and you end up with 100 people on your list, whatever it is, awesome, now you've got a list, yay! All right, any questions about that from you guys? Email list's fun. - This is all internet magic to me, I didn't know this existed. I literally thought an email list was people who you email with like, "Hey, how's it going? I made some things, here's a picture, see that." - So, there is services that do this and the reason that they exist is because of spam laws. When I keep saying things are illegal, it's because there are laws that prevent you from spamming people which means you can't do that anymore. And so what these services do is they make it easier for people to sign up and ensure that they, in fact, wanted to be on your list and then they make it really easy to create the email and send it out. And actually, what's really magic, since we're talking about magic, is that you don't even have to send the email out in that moment, you can schedule it for later. So if I wanted an email to go out while I was standing right here, I could have written it and scheduled it. I didn't, I made it go out before I stood up here this morning but I could do that, right? So that's the other beauty, is, you can write the email when it's convenient for you and send it out when it's best to your list. - And then my other question is for your email list, then that's people, that's not stores, so you would have a separate, like, these are my stores that I email, these are just individual people that I am emailing? - Correct, so within MailChimp or any other email service provider, you can create multiple lists, so I have one list that's literally all my customers and then a second list that's my stores and then the stores, that's all my current accounts, and so then they I just tell them like, "Hey, you guys bought from me, just so you know, you go on the email list," so you just confirm...I just verbally confirm that and my stores, I do manually add to my list but I give them a heads-up that that's happening and they still have the option to unsubscribe. - Okay. - Okay, so the other thing that really holds people back on the email list is this thing that's been passed around the internet now which is that you need a fancy opt-in freebie or a lead magnet to get started. So if you follow any information marketer on the internet, this is what they're going to tell you, "You need to give people something to get them on your list," right? A PDF download or whatever or whatever. No, you don't and here's why, that stuff works fantastically for an information marketer, you are not an information marketer. So if someone joins your list because you gave them "12 Tips to Wear Boyfriend Jeans with a Statement Necklace," doesn't mean that they want to buy my statement necklace, it just means they care about how to get dressed in the morning, that does not make them an ideal customer. And here's the thing, MailChimp is free but it's only free up to a certain number of people, so at some point you're paying for them and I want to pay for people who really actually care about my work. Plus, if you think you have to do this, it holds you back, right? You're like, "I got to write this thing. I got to do this. No, I don't have an email list, I don't have an email list, I don't have an email list." Here's why people should join your email list, be the first to know about new work. It's as simple as that. "Join my email list, be the first to know about new work." If you're the kind of person who feels comfortable running sales, it's, "Be the first to know about our new work and exclusive sales." It's seriously as simple as that because you know what? The people who join your work because they want to know about new work and exclusive sales, that means that they actually want to know about your work and that also makes sending out emails easier...we're going to talk in a minute about what to actually send because I know that's the other sticking point, but it makes emails easier because you don't feel like, "Oh, I have to come up with this epic thing that's super-useful." If you're an information marketer, yes, you have to come up with an epic thing that's super-useful, but if people join your list because they want to be the first to know about new work and exclusive sales, then your emails get to be about your work and they don't all have to have sales coupons. In fact, most of them shouldn't, so we're going to get to that in a sec. Before we get to the "What to send," does anybody have any questions thus far about the process of signing up? Does anyone have an email list set up but they're thinking, "It's on some other platform, I need to move it," or everybody is good? Okay. Do we have any questions from online? Okay, so, "I have avoided sending emails in a long time because I have changed offerings in my art and what I want to make now. Should I still email my current list or start fresh?" This is a really great question. So first, Darnita, if we had a time machine, what I would tell you to do is, as you're making those changes, share them with your list. So for anyone who ends up going through a transition in the future, don't wait until the new thing is done to tell your list about it because then it's that surprise thing again and you're like, "I don't even remember who this girl was and I thought she was making jewelry and now I'm getting something about scarves," and I can say that because I did that and I already made that mistake, you guys are learning from all my mistakes, okay? That said, you should absolutely email your current list because they are valuable. And so, what you want to say...let me start by saying what you don't want to say. You should never ever send an email that says, "Hey, guys, I know it's been a while since I've emailed you." Do not remind them that it's been a while, just act like you went into the grocery store and even though you haven't seen them in 20 years, you're going to pretend you're best friends, okay? Do not remind them that you haven't showed up in a while because then they're going to be like, "Who is this flake in my inbox?" Just start talking as if you're there, they'll figure it out, okay? So that's first thing, you're not going to say, "Sorry, I haven't been here." Instead, you're going to go to your current list and you're going to say, "Hey, I'm so excited about this new work, I want to share it with you," and it might be that you want to give them a little reminder like, "Hey, remember I used to make this thing but now I've got this," if you want to set some context, if you don't, it's okay, but send your current list an email and let them know it's your new direction. I would not start a new list, I would just say, "Hey, guys, this is what I'm working on now, I love it, I'm so excited about it, I hope you are, too, but I understand if you're not and if this new thing is not for you, here's my unsubscribe button at the bottom," and people might unsubscribe and that's okay but it's better than starting fresh, it's a lot of work to start fresh. So reach out to that old audience and just let them know, "This is what's happening, if you want to know about this, just stay here, do nothing, it's cool. And if you don't, that's okay, here's the unsubscribe button," and if you don't want to point that out, that's fine, too, they'll figure it out, okay? They know the button's down there, legally it has to be down there, so they'll figure that one out. All right, next question. Okay, "I just dived into the world of selling my digital work on Etsy this month as a side hustle. Email list, zilch, nada, not a single person. I feel like I'm supposed to have a blog or website or something more than just the shop to offer before I can start asking for emails." Olli, no. So email list before website, most important thing. And again, remember that the whole goal of this is to find out about new stuff, so I don't know what your digital work is exactly but I'm thinking you're probably going to be able to release a lot of it, right? So if those people want to know, just say, "Hey, guys, you want to be the first to know when new stuff hits my Etsy shop? Join the email list," and you can put that right in your Etsy profile and if you've got social media, you can put that in your social media profile. So you do not need any of these other things, this is really...I know I keep come back to that "If you were an info marketer," and here's the thing, I have a lot of friends who are info marketers, technically I'm an info marketer on not the jewelry side, the side that you guys come to me for teaching. I love info marketers but the reason that people buy from info marketers is not the same reason they buy from makers and it's really important that we understand that distinction and I'm driving this home because you're going to go home and you're going to be like, "Wow, I didn't even know this email list thing existed and maybe I need a little more info and I'm going to Google," and some of those things are going to contradict what I just told you here, but those are written by info marketers, I am telling you what works for a maker. And so you don't need to have all of this other content because producing your products and putting them on Etsy is your content, that's the thing that people are coming to you for, and so you don't need all this other stuff, you just need to give them away to know when new stuff shows up in your Etsy store and that's the power of your email list. All right, next question. "Can you send an invite email, similar to what you'd send your friends and family, to past customers, and invite them to join your email list?" Jacinta, this is also a really great question and it depends on where your past customers came from. So I not quote me on this, but I believe that Etsy actually has policies prohibiting this but you can't email your Etsy customers outside of Etsy. And so if your customers come from Etsy, the unfortunate answer is no. You're just going to have to think about moving forward how to do that. So, for instance, I would put...I would get something printed that you can slip in every Etsy order that says, "Don't miss out on new stuff," or even, "Want a little discount code? Go here and join my email list." - Could you message them within Etsy, like the direct messaging? - I think that is also not allowed, if it's a specific call-to-action of like, "Please join my email us," I believe that's also against the terms of service. I am not an Etsy lawyer, do not quote me on that, but I believe that that is also against terms of service. Now, that said, if, say, you have customers on a Shopify store, you could do that but you can't send them a mass email, you need to email them one on one and reach out to them that way. Matt. - So I have customers, past customers that have bought stuff on the website and it's a Squarespace website so probably similar to Shopify but they have their name, their address, all that stuffs and their email addresses on there, so yeah, using that, I've already sent them a confirmation email, so it's like the conversation's already started, so it's like... - Yes, so what I would do in that case is, I would not send the email so that it sounds like the only reason you're sending the email is to get them on your email list. What I would do is send it as a follow-up, "Hey, I hope you loved your order, just wanted to check in and if you want to know about new products, please join my email list." So, make sure that it's very like, "I'm checking in on you first and..." - Yeah, it's a good genuine nice thing not just a, "Sign up to my email." - Exactly, (inaudible). Instead, it's like, "Okay, I just want to check in and if you want to know more, you want to keep up, here's the email list." - Right. Okay, cool. - Awesome, that's a great question. So yeah, it's a little bit of a gray area and this is why...because, again, we don't have time machines, wish we did, but we don't, and so this is why I'm really saying like, "Email list even before website," if you're just starting out because then you don't have to worry about things like, "Well, I didn't capture my past customers," so you want to make sure you have that in place. All right, I think we have one more question. "Do you think a Boost or Facebook or an Ad to promote email list is a good idea?" So, maybe. What I have found is that you cannot do any's really hard... not "you cannot," it's really hard to run an ad to a cold audience that literally just says, "Sign my email list...sign up for my email list," right? It's like walking up to a stranger in a bar and you're like, "I just met you but can I have your phone number and also your home address so I can show up and knock on your door?" Because that's basically what you're saying, right, with an email. Like, "I'm going to show up and knock on your door today." That's asking a lot. That said, sometimes you can have success with boosting to existing audience, so...especially because on Facebook, if your post has a link in it on your business page, no one's going to see it unless you pay to boost it, that's just the way Facebook works now and if you're trying to get them on your email list, it means you're putting a link in. So I will sometimes do boosts, let's say I'm running a big sale, so once a year I run a really big sample sale, I'll do to some posts on Facebook that say, "Hey, guys, the sample sale is coming, email list members get to shop an hour early," that's a big deal when there's limited quantities, "Email list members get to shop an hour early, here's where you join the list," and I will boost that to my existing audience and that I actually have seen good results with. So that is a really good way to handle that but I would never do cold traffic, I would never do just an ask that says, "Please join my list," because they just don't know enough about you. Jordan. - Just one more question. So if you were going to go old-school and, say, you're at a craft fair and you do a giveaway and people can like, "Sign up for my email list and be entered into this giveaway," or do that online, is that legal? If people are writing their email down, putting it in a box, and then you're taking that, putting that in? - So, sort of. If you're doing a giveaway and they're being added to the list, you need to tell them that entering this giveaway automatically adds you to our list. If you're clear about that, then it's legal, if you're not clear, then it's illegal. That said, at a craft show, I would not do that and here's why. If they think they might win something, they're not going to buy it, so instead what I would do at a craft show, and this is a very legitimate strategy, is, "Here's a clipboard, here's a piece of paper, here's a pen, please join my email list. Write your name, write your email." It's as old-school as it gets, but that's how people built email lists way before people were selling on Etsy, so that's the best strategy to do that. And it's something that you can also call out to people, so if you're having a conversation with them and they're like, "Oh my gosh, I love your work but I can't buy anything today," for whatever reason, you know how honest people are at craft shows, they'll tell you their life story about why they're not buying, you're like, "Okay, great, that's fine. If you want to keep in touch, please join my email list, then you know when new products or then you can remember me." So, invite people to do it, don't just assume that they're going to see it and do it. - Okay. - Awesome, I think we have one more question. Perfect! So it's not a question, it's a comment but I love it, "Yes, I have a doable first step." Yeah, and this really is your first step, so do not wait, in fact...don't do it right now because I'm going to keep talking, but as soon as we go to break, go online, go to MailChimp, create the list, super-easy. All right, I think we have another comment or question. Yeah, hi, Ellen. Oh, I wish Ellen was here. All right, "Megan is right as usual," thanks. "Richelle!" I loved it that's Ellen comment to you. "Richelle, love you and your stuff." All right, "I want email from you, your process, what you're reading, what inspires you. Indulge us." Thanks, Ellen. Oh, I miss Ellen. All right, Ellen was in a previous class. And that's it, all right. So now let's answer the second part of this, "I started my list, what am I supposed to do with it?" So I'm going to make you guys make a little commitment right now, so regardless of the size of your list, you should email them every week or two. Ideally, you should email them once a week but I know that feels scary for some of you, so we're going to baby-step in with every other week, okay? But right now I want you to pick a day of the week. Guess what? It doesn't matter. In the grand scheme of things, that might matter a little but it doesn't matter enough to obsess over it. So pick a day of the week right now, I would skip Monday, people's inboxes are really full on Monday mornings, right? So I would skip Monday but any other day of the week, it's cool, and commit to it right now. Richelle, what day are you going to email your list? - Thursday. - Perfect. Michelle? - Thursday sounds good. - Yeah, Thursday. - [Woman 1] I do Wednesday. - [Woman 2] I'm Tuesday. - Perfect. - Tuesday. - Tuesday. - I'm actually an information marketer in my other business, so yeah, Thursday is... - Perfect. - [Woman] But I'll go Thursday. - I just do it when everyone's done. - All right. - I'm going to do Thursday because I planned my Instagram posts on Tuesday, so, get a little break. - All right, so everyone's committed, you're going to put that on your calendar, you're going to remind yourself, "Okay, this is when my emails go out." And again, if you're not ready for every week, start with every other, every other Thursday, you're going to sit down, "I'm going to email my list." Each email should contain one idea and one call to action and that is it, Denise. One idea, one call to action, you asked the question. That is it. There is a really famous statement from someone that I can't remember now which is that, "A confused mind always says no," so if your email is like, "Hey, guess what? This is a new thing and also let me tell you about this funny thing that my kids did, but also two weeks from now, I'm releasing new product, and, oh, yeah, then there's this other thing," and then you're like, "Why did no one click over and buy the thing that I told them about?" Because by the time they got to the end of the email, they forgot what the other thing was. So one idea, one call to action. The call to action supports the idea, right? So the idea is not, "Hey, let me tell you about a new necklace," and then the call to action is like, "Please go shop it at a store if it's not at a store," or something like that, right? The call to action is related to the idea. But this is how "Always Be Releasing" works, right? We can always be releasing by always sending out to our list. So I'm going to give you guys, I think there's four, topics that you can send to your list and you can just keep recycling these over and over and over again. So the first one is, "Here's something new I want to share," this is obviously perfect if you have something new and it can be super-simple. So in my "Here's something new I want to share" email, I have a little paragraph that says, it literally...we're not getting creative here, it's fine, "I'm so excited that I just released four new necklaces." Literally, what it says. Then I did a little description about what my friend said, there's one picture, this is the same picture, and then it's literally like, "Each necklace is one-of-a-kind, go here," and then in case they didn't read that, there's also a button, "Shop Now." That was the whole email. What's interesting about this is that when I used to do these kinds of release emails, I always felt the need to put in a whole bunch of pictures. When I put in one picture but I said I had four necklaces, way better click-through because they were like, "Well, what do the other three look like?" So you don't have to have 20 images, right? One image, one call to action, "Go there." It can literally be as simple as that. If you don't have something new, you might do something like, "Here's a roundup of products you might be interested in." So again, it was literally a paragraph, a picture, a paragraph, a call to action. So what I did in this one was, this was an email I sent out before the holidays, I said, "Here are all my products under $100, I've created a roundup. They're perfect for gifting or if you want a self-gift, that's fine, I won't judge," that was the email. You can inject your personality in here, Richelle, you don't have to be boring, so you can have an interesting image, a little bit of text, inject your personality, and that's all. And so, in this case, because I think people might have this question, when I say, "I did a roundup of products under $100," I obviously did not put all the products in the email. What I did was I went into Shopify, my store is built on Shopify, and I just created a collection that was everything under $100 and actually in Shopify, because you can do automatic settings, I think I literally turned it to say, "Any product under $100 that had at least one in stock, make this collection," took two seconds, and then I put it in the email and sent it out. So if you're not sure and you don't have anything new, just remind people of something that exists. This is really important as your product line gets bigger, right? As you add new things, people are going to forget about the old ones but this is one of my bestselling necklaces so why not highlight it? You can always send something out again. "Here's something you might want to know about what I make." So we assume that our customers paying so much attention that they know everything, they're not, they don't. So for example, I did an email where the subject line was, "What is that stone in the Contra collection?" So I don't really talk about that a lot and people always ask me, "What is that stone?" So this is a perfect example, what do people always ask you about? "Here's something I think you should know." This one did get a little longer and because it was starting to get long, I actually linked it to a blog post, so in this case, the call to action was not, "Hey, go buy this thing," it was, "Go read more on the blog post." That's okay, too, but if you don't have a blog, just write the whole email, that's fine. Some of them can be a little longer as long as it's still one idea, and so that's the difference, that's how you know the length, so the length can vary but it's always about one idea. Matt? - So in regards to different lists for wholesale and for direct-to-customer emails, is it the same consistency and the same conversations that you're putting out there or is that a little more less for... - So it's a little less for stores, so in talking to my friends who are buyers, they are like, "I get 200 or 300 emails a day," so you don't want to be that person that bombards them, so I would say with a store, maybe every four to six weeks depending on what's going on. So I wouldn't go crazy long because then, again, they forget about you but you don't want to email your stores with as much frequency. That's a great question. Okay, so another example is "Here's where you can buy my work" and, again, these examples here, these are separate emails. So it might be I have an upcoming craft show, I think I did that with this one, like, "Hey, if you're going to be in D.C. this weekend, I'm going to be in D.C., come shop me at Crafty Bastards." But it might also be...I sell wholesale but I also have this list of customers, "Hey, guys, I just sent off a new box of work to this store, here it is," and this is the beauty of MailChimp, you can actually select people by location. So if you're like, "Well, I don't want to bother people on my list in California to tell them that I opened up a store in New England, you could say, "Okay, I just want to do that geographic area." If your list is small, I would still send it to everybody. Two reasons, one, it builds more trust with your audience, "Oh, well, that's cool, they're in store, I didn't realize that. I just thought they were online," and two, people travel, so you might have someone who's in San Francisco who is in New York City for a conference and they heard about your New York City store and they want to go check it out. So if your list is massive and you're really like, "I don't want to bother people," you can segment based on location and MailChimp is pretty smart, they look at people's IP addresses, they make some best guesses, but if your list is small, just share and your stores will love you for that, right? Your stores are going to love you if you're like, "Hey, just sent a bunch of work to the store, you should go check it out," and then when you walk into the store and they're like, "Hey, I want to see Megan Auman's work," and the store is like, "Oh, how'd you find out?" "I got an email from Megan." Oh my God, your store is going to love you so much for stuff like that, okay? And this is a great way to use your list if you're not actively selling online, so if you don't have a website or you're not good at updating your website because you're doing a lot of craft shows or you're mostly sending it to stores, this is a perfect way to use your list. They went to the store, "Hey, guys, check this out," or, "Visit me at this craft show," it's a really good way to use it. And there is a fifth way, you can also say, "I'm having a sale," but this is not your default, just give you four other things that you can do that will make up the bulk of your emails but occasionally, you might have a sale. There's a lot of reasons to have a sale, you need a little cash flow, you've got some excess inventory, it's your birthday, whatever it is, right? And so then it's really simple, "Hey, guys, here's the code, I'm having a sale." Now, there is one more type of email that we didn't really talk about which is that you can actually tease out some of these things. So if you're planning on launching something new next Thursday and this Thursday you don't know what to send, "Hey, guys, next Thursday at 11 a.m., I'm dropping something new. You're going to get an email to remind you but I just thought you might want a heads-up." People appreciate that, especially if your price points are higher because people want to plan their spending. Same thing with the sale, when I do my biggest sales of the year, I always send a preview email, "Hey, guys, this sale is coming up in a couple days, don't forget that as a mailing list member, you're special and you get to shop the sale first," people like feeling special, "So you get to shop the sale first, here is when the link to the sale email is landing in your inbox, you'll get it." I've had people on my Facebook page like...because the email didn't deliver immediately because it's email, it's not perfect, and they're like, "It's 11:02, I didn't get your email yet. Where is it?" Because I built that little bit of anticipation and now they are waiting for it. The beauty of also sending those anticipation emails is that people act quicker because now they feel like something's happening. When I do an anticipation email and then a big sale email, most of my sales come in the first hour after that email comes out. It really works, so that is another option. Jordan. - Is there a way that you can do that to make it so that only your email subscribers can shop at a certain time or is it just more, "I'm going to put things on Etsy and I'm going to let you know when they're there and I'm not going to let anybody else know?" - So with Etsy, there's not a way to do it that only they can shop, what I do in Shopify is I create a secret collection and then I only send that...I send that link first to my list, but with Etsy, it's basically just like, "You guys get the reminder first," and it's likely if they're not on your email list, they're probably not sitting there waiting for your Etsy shop to update anyway but there's no way to handle it with that. - Okay. - The key with all of this is simple and consistent, one idea, one call to action, do it often. Now, I'm going to warn you, people are going to unsubscribe, it's just going to happen. It does not mean that you are not awesome, it does not mean that you are failing at business, it's just that people get a lot of emails and sometimes they're going to get an email and remember like, "Okay, I'm not really into this thing anymore," and that's fine, they're going to unsubscribe. If you haven't emailed your list in a while, that first email back, you're going to get a lot of unsubscribes. It's just the nature of the game, it's fine, it's okay, they're not your customer, moving on, but I want to forewarn you so you don't freak out, all right? Any other questions about email? Jordan. - It is okay to email something that maybe isn't related to your product but it's related to your brand? A lot of my brand is connected to unplugging with your kids and simplifying their life to foster creativity, would it be okay to send out an email and be like, "Spend 10 minutes reading to your kids today," or that's maybe not necessarily on product but on the brand? - So you can, but in that case, I would break the one idea, one call-to-action rule because you want to remind people of why they're on your list so I would at least at the very bottom maybe just do a little P.S. that's calling out, say, a product that you have, just so that people remember that that's why they're on your list because that kind of thing is super-helpful but then they're going to be like, "Wait, I thought this was the girl who makes this thing and now she's just giving me life advice?" So you want to make sure that you remind them like, "This is what's happening," and I would also test that out sparingly to start but it is if you're like, "I don't really know what's happening," and you're really stuck and you have that idea, you can do that, that's fine. Any other questions? Michelle. - So you are just starting...and like you said, you start an email list, but if you're still building products, do you need to send an email out to teasing like, "Website is coming, products are coming," or how long... - Yeah, that's a great question. So I would absolutely send some teasing emails and I would probably still keep to the every two weeks but what's nice about this is that it actually forces you to get stuff done. If you send out that email and you're like, "Hey, guys, the website's coming in a month," then make the website come in a month, okay? But, yeah, you absolutely want to tease people out just so that they know that something is coming and that they've had time to think about it because if they have time to think about it, then they're going to be more ready to buy. Richelle. - How do you feel about pop-ups? - As a sign-up? - Yeah. - So basically, what Richelle is asking about is those annoying but effective pop-ups that show up when you go to people's websites. I have mixed feelings about them, so first of all, they work, technically. That said, my understanding is that Google is starting to hurt people in search ranking if they're using pop-ups, so you may want to think about using it sparingly. The other thing is that check how your pop-up looks on mobile because 50% of shoppers are shopping on mobile. This actually goes for everything that you're doing, your website, your store, whatever it is, 50% of customers are shopping on mobile, that's huge, so that's phones and tablets. What I see a lot is that people set up these pop-ups and on a desktop browser, it's very easy to X out of them and on mobile, you cannot get to that button no matter how you twist your screen around, right? You're zooming in and zooming out, zooming in, zooming out, you can't get rid of it. So look at it on mobile, look at it on your iPhone, look at it on your friend's Samsung, look at it on a couple things, if you can't click out of it, get rid of it, find a new one. Or, I think my... the pop-up that I use on my desktop, I have it disabled for mobile, so that's another way to do it. I prefer things that just exist in your page and are really obvious, if you go to...not my store, but my main website at, literally, there's an image and then a big sign-up bar and if you're on any other page, that sign-up bar scrolls to the top. It's really obvious what I want you to do when you're on my website, right? That I like a little bit better but that said, pop-ups do work, so play with it, see how it works for you, and don't be afraid to just get rid of it if it seems like it's not working. Sarah. - [Sarah] How do you make your email content different than your Instagram content or something? So if someone's following you on Instagram, they're not just seeing the exact thing over again when they get an email from you. - So that is a great question and the answer is you don't worry about it because chances are most people aren't seeing most of your posts, and so what I would say is if you have a great image, use that image in your email and your Instagram, change the copy up a little bit. So on Instagram, it might be a little more conversational but then in your email, it's much more, "Hey, here's this thing, here's why you're going to love it, go buy it," but you can use those same images. People, A, are used to seeing the same images, how many ads do we see that appear all the time? And then if the images are good, they're happy to see them, right? They don't mind seeing that cool image again because they're like, "Oh, that's a cool email," or, "A cool image." The same thing goes for reposting your images on Instagram. I used the same image four times last year, you may have seen it, it's hand holding a bowl...actually, we're going to look at it in a second. Okay, I use it over and over again, gets a lot of likes every time. Two of my top nine for 2016 were the exact same selfie, literally the same. I was like, "Really?" Okay, you guys like selfies but it's the same selfie, I just reposted it six months later because I needed a selfie and I was not in a state to take one. You can use images again, people don't even remember, okay? So don't feel like...and if you're really concerned, just don't do them on the same day but you can absolutely use them again.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Grow Your Audience Quick Start Guide
Build a Business Class Workbook

Ratings and Reviews

Liana Badea

I truly enjoyed this class, as it is very detailed, but straight to the point. 30 modules, more than 10 hours, it is so worth it! I also loved the interactive part of it. Building your business from scratch is not easy, there is so much to do. This class gave me some important pointers and valuable guidance, thank you Megan! I strongly recommend this class to anyone who wants to work smarter, not harder and be successful.

Kristen Girard

Fantastic class! If you have never taken a Megan Auman class, this is the perfect one to start with. It filled in some knowledge gaps that I didn't know I had. Lots of great basic knowledge that I haven't been able to find elsewhere. Super helpful!

Maike Armstrong

First of all, it's so fun to learn from Megan! She is so motivating and enthusiastic – making you feel great about your business even when you are just starting out. The class is well put together, easy to follow and has simple, actionable steps to follow in order to actually move forward. I definitely recommend you check it out for yourself!

Student Work