Why do email marketing, and how can you get email addresses?

“Start a newsletter” or “collect email addresses” is often advice given to small business owners, but if’s often something people delay because it seems too hard or even a bit pointless. But it’s absolutely not pointless and easier than you think, too – and can make a big difference to your sales!


Why do email marketing?

By sending emails or newsletters to your list of customers and potential customers, you are getting direct contact with them. Even though we are all subscribed to probably more lists than we’d like these days, if you send interesting content to people who have expressed an interest in your work, then it’s a great way to contact them directly.


Your email list is also more “yours” than other ways to get in touch, like social media. For example, you might feel that Instagram or Facebook is a great way to chat with your customers and you’re probably right: but at any moment these social media platforms could change their algorithms and stop showing your posts to people, they could ban you or shut down your account or they could close entirely.


Staying in contact through newsletters is also a great way to nurture your potential customers who aren’t quite ready to buy when they first come across you. As they get to know more about you and your business they’re much more likely to become ready to buy.


Similarly, staying in contact with your previous customers through newsletters is a great way to encourage repeat business, drive traffic to your market stall or to get them to refer you to their family or friends.


Tips for collecting email addresses

One of the simplest ways to start your email list is to physically get people to write down their name and email addresses when they meet you at markets. You can have a clipboard with a list ready for them to add their details along with some incentive to sign up. This can be as simple as promising that people on the list will be the first to know about new designs or sales, for example, or you can offer a give-away prize that will go to one of the new people joining the list that day.


There are also a number of ways to gather email addresses from your website. You can use a pop up window for example – they don’t have to be annoying ones, for example you can use an “exit intent” pop up which only shows up when the viewer is about to click away to a different site. You could also include an option at checkout for people to opt in or out of your newsletter. Another option is to include a “lead magnet” on your website somewhere: an incentive for people to sign up to your newsletter. This could be some information in a PDF, or a discount for use in your online shop.


Beyond your website there are also lots of other places to give people the chance to sign up to your newsletter. You can use a Facebook integration so there’s a form as part of your Facebook page, or add the newsletter sign up link to the signature of your email. You can use that same link to mention your newsletter on social media ahead of a newsletter coming out, for example by saying that newsletter subscribers will get exclusive news first.