MailChimp :: Email marketing as a dinner party

This is a sponsored post by MailChimp

Does the thought of trying to write and send out newsletters have you quaking in your Uggs? Maybe you know you should be doing more with marketing but don’t know where to begin. Or maybe you’re not even really sure what email marketing is! That’s okay — we’re here to help.

Amy Ellis, Head of Integrations and Partnerships at MailChimp, gives a great presentation on “How to Run Your Email Marketing Like a Dinner Party”. With Amy’s permission, we’re sharing some of the highlights from her talk here. Are you ready for the first course? Grab a glass of wine and a cheese plate and let’s get your email party started!  

Your list subscribers are your guests
Think of your list subscribers as your friends. Email is an intimate form of communication and one that is great for building relationships if it’s done with tender love and care. Try and write your newsletters in a natural, conversational tone just like you would use when speaking to a friend. Because like friends, these are people who already like you and want to hear from you.

Don’t force people to come to your party…
You wouldn’t grab random strangers off the street and force them to attend your Game of Thrones-themed dinner party. They would be confused, upset and probably a little weirded out. That’s the same way people who end up on email lists feel when they get unsolicited emails. MailChimp recommends using a double opt-in system for adding email list subscribers, which just means they sign up for the list then confirm again via an automatic confirmation email. That way you know they really, really want to be there!  

…But do invite them if they want to come!
Because you’re crafty, you’re meeting people through your business every day. Invite them to the party! Use a list sign-up sheet or mobile app at your shop or craft show booth, add a sign-up widget to your website or Facebook page. Mention that you have a newsletter and ask people if they’d like you to sign them up. And make it easy for people to share your awesome newsletters with their own friends by adding share and social share buttons to your newsletters. After all, everyone loves a good party.  

Decorate, look great
You’ve worked hard to cultivate your brand; carefully selecting your logo and color palette, designing a great website or craft booth, packaging your items with care. You’d do the same for a dinner party, decorating with candles and busting out your nicest linen. Do this, too, for your email newsletters: make sure they are an extension of what you’re already communicating to your customers. MailChimp has some great examples of what you can do with a newsletter called Look What You Can Do . Have a peek and see what other creative folks have done to make their newsletters unique, fun and engaging.  

This Charming Hostess
At the center of every great party is a great host or hostess. This is your chance to shine, giving folks something to talk about and reflect upon until next you meet. Make sure your newsletter is filled with interesting subjects: what are your latest projects? What goes on behind the scenes at your shop? Have you been to any good craft events lately, or will you be going to one soon? What are your crafty friends up to? Use clear, interesting photos and keep the text fairly short (you can always link out to longer posts on your blog, which is a great way to build web traffic.)

You don’t have to cover all of the above topics in one newsletter, but it’s a good idea to have a loose publishing schedule so that you can plan ahead. As a general guide, you don’t want to send newsletters out so often that you’re annoying people, but you also don’t want people to forget about you or why they signed up to hear from you in the first place.

Relax, reflect
Once you’ve sent your newsletter, give yourself a day or two to relax, refresh and try to get the wine stains out of your sofa. Shortly after you’ve sent it, though, you’ll want to take a look at some stats to see how your newsletter was received. How many people opened it? What did people click on? Did you get any sales? You can then use this information to make your next newsletter even better.

If you follow these tips, people will be look forward to getting your newsletters the same way they do their best friend’s annual Groundhog’s Day bash. You’ll be the Martha Stewart of email marketing before you know it!

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Michelle Riggen-Ransom is a writer, crafter, and a Web Weaver for MailChimp. Her company Social Glu makes Craftmonkey, which connects Etsy and MailChimp to make sending simple, crafty newsletters easy and fun.

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