Why Every Maker Needs an Email List

Every Maker and Handmade Entrepreneur needs an email list. There is no doubt about that. If you want your products to sell, you need to spend at least as much time making them (maybe more, depending on the stage your business is in), as you do marketing them. The easiest and least expensive way to do that is via email.

Many Makers come to me asking how to increase sales. You may think I offer tips on sharing the benefits of the products they are trying to sell, or even finding out what those products are. If you think that, you'd be wrong.

My first response to any question about how to increase sales is to ask whether or not the Maker is using email to connect and build customer relationships. The answer is frequently that he or she does not. If that's you, then this article is written especially for you.

Frequently, when I start working with someone on marketing, and begin to peel back layers, I discover that the person is trying to make money via some combination of two things: social media and hope. The former only works if you already have an engaged audience. The latter never works at all.

If you want to sell anything, you must take your mind off your products and put it on your people.Click To Tweet

Donna Maria, Indie Business Network

The bottom line is this. If you want to sell anything, you have to take your mind off your products and put it on your people. You have to get people's attention before you can sell them anything.

In order to get people's attention, you must communicate a specific message to them, using a means that they understand. It has to be easy and it cannot require much work on their part. It also has to be quick and as inexpensive as possible for you.

What tool fits this bill better than anything else? Email.

Email is easy.

Email is inexpensive.

Email is ubiquitous.

Email is long lasting.

Without an email marketing strategy, your sales efforts will be hampered, and you will struggle to build an audience of willing buyers, and you will become frustrated and burned out. Don't let this happen to you.

In this article, I’ll share why you must use email to connect with your customers. I'll also debunk some of the myths you may have about email marketing. Finally, I'll share how to start using email to market your products immediately.

Everyone Has an Email Address

What is the the only thing that everyone in the world who uses social media or any type of app known to man have in common? Drum roll please …

An email address.

You cannot create a social media account or start using an app anywhere in the world without an email address.

According to a June 2017 report published by Radicati, a market research firm in the computer and telecommunications industry, “[e]mail remains the most ubiquitous form of communication for both business and consumer users.”

Let's look at the data.

Citing an earlier Radicati report, Lifewire, a business that studies and simplifies complex technology issues, says that there will be more than 3.7 billion email users worldwide by the end of 2017. That means that nearly 54% of the entire planet maintains at least one email address.

Compare that to Facebook. According to a Statista, an online statistics portal, report, as of the second quarter of 2017, Facebook had 2 billion monthly active users.

2 billion Facebook users.

3.7 billion email users.

You do the math.

If you are not using email to reach your target customers, you are leaving customers and money on the table.

2 billion Facebook users. 3.7 billion email users. Do the math. If you're not using email, you're leaving customers on the table.Click To Tweet

Donna Maria, Indie Business Network

Email is Not Dead

There are a number of articles in reputable publications, including this one, that are authored by people who say that email is on its death bed, but even they acknowledge that whatever may one day replace email has yet to be invented.

Do you want to ignore a viable marketing channel in 2017 just because it may not work as well in 2027? Some entrepreneurs did that with blogging, and they have lived to regret it.

This recent report from Adestra, a one-to-one email solutions program, says that, as of 2017, email continues to be consumers' preferred channel of communication.

While it's true that all email messages are not opened, and that Gmail and other email clients are making it easier for consumers to mark unwanted emails as spam, that should not concern you if you are focusing your efforts on your target customer today. All technology evolves, but you still have to use what works today.

The people who will grow to love you and your brand will not ignore your email messages simply because you send them via email.

If this topic interests you, then you have probably read studies and reports saying that the wave of the future is mobile apps, and that your customers want to hear from you exclusively via apps because it's easier for them to hear from you on the go. I think there is some truth to that, and there are ways to make that happen today with services like Facebook bots and podcasts for example. I encourage you to try those options. But until you have the resources to use them correctly, use what you have now to connect with your customers in the most efficient and effective way possible now — and that's email.

Do you want to ignore a viable marketing channel in 2017 just because it may not work in 2027?Click To Tweet

Donna Maria, Indie Business Network

How to Start Using Email Marketing Right Away

Here are the things you must do to start using email marketing right away. You do not have to drag this process out. It should not take a ton of time to get started. Let's go.

  1. Invite people to sign up to receive the newsletter

    The first thing to do is to brainstorm an incentive to get people to sign up for your newsletter. Can you give them a discount code to use within a certain period of time? Do you lead a Facebook group that they can join to connect personally with you and your brand? Can you write a special report on a topic that complements your brand, that interests them and can help them live a better life? Can you offer insider information something that interests and entertains them?

    Choose one thing as an incentive. Decide what it is, and then move to the next step.

  2. Choose an email service provider

    Once you know what you'll offer, you can decide on a delivery method that makes it easy for you to send a single email to a lot of people and not have it marked as spam by the receiver's email client. The best way to do this is to use a service that is good at helping you create “drag and drop” email message templates that your customers are likely to open and take action on. For most Makers, I recommend Mail Chimp for this. You can also use Constant Contact, Aweber or Get Response.

  3. Set up an opt-in mechanism

    This simply means making it easy for your customers to see how to sign up for your email newsletter through the service you choose. Fortunately, all email services offer helpful step-by-step instructions on how to set up a form your customers can use to opt-in to your email list by using their first name and email address. MailChimp (see above) makes it especially intuitive and easy, which is one of the reasons I suggest them.

    Make your opt-in mechanism easy and attractive, but not intrusive. Make sure it does not overly distract from your website viewing experience, especially on a mobile device, or Google could penalize you. (Ask your email service provider for more information about this if it's a concern, or see this article.)

  4. Send out emails

    Do not be shy about this. You may hate receiving emails generally, but I bet you like getting them from brands you know, like, and trust, and want to hear from, right? Your email is not for you. It's for your customer. Write love notes to your customers. Inform, entertain, and connect with them. Ask them questions. Answer their questions. Share your life with them. Tell them how their fellow buyers love your products. Let them know where they can buy your products in retail stores or online at your site and at local markets.

    There is no right or wrong time of the day, no right or wrong day of the week, and no right or wrong publication frequency. I suggest starting bi-monthly on a date that works for you, and then tweaking from there.

    Whatever you do, don't delay connecting with your customers simply because you cannot decide which day is best. Decide and then act.

    Be consistent. Let them know they can count on you. If they can count on you, then you will be able to count on them. But you have to go first. So. Go.

  5. Share and ask others to share

    Share links to your newsletter on social media, and ask your friends and customers to share along with you. This will help build community around your brand and encourage others to sign up for your publication as well.

    While you should share regularly, don't over-ask your customers to share. You might simply embed a share link in the bottom of your newsletter, and maybe proactively ask people to share every now and then — especially when you see that they are super engaged about a particular issue.

Get Out In Front of Your People!

No business can generate consistent sales without a plan to be consistently out in front of the members of that businesses' target audience. There are lots of ways to do that, but one of the very best is email.

Do not procrastinate. Do not delay. Do not ask me why your sales are low unless you are using an email newsletter. Then, we will have something to roll up our sleeves and sink our teeth into with when you book your consultation with me.

Need More Support?

If you need assistance asking laying a solid foundation for your brand or using an email newsletter effectively and consistently, the help you need is just a click away with your Indie Business Network membership. Join today and get the support you need to grow your business.


Is this article helpful to you? Do you use email consistently to connect with your target audience, customers, and prospects? What service do you prefer? What tips can you share? If you are inspired by the information here, or have something to add, feel free to share in the comments below, or share on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.