Thursday, July 26, 2012
from Handmadeology.com check out this site...very good for those who create and sell.
Marketing 101: Niche Markets Part 4
Have You Done Your Newsletter?
Part 1: Niche Markets
Part 2: What is your wackiest marketing idea?
Part 3: Getting out there
Yes, a newsletter is “one more thing to do,” but it can be one of your best marketing
tools. You have a unique product, one that many people may not understand. Your
newsletter is how you explain what you do and create interest that leads to sales.
I’ll take you through our own journey with Marble-T Design. If there are mistakes to
make, we’ve made them. We’ve read a lot about doing newsletters, looked at programs
available, and just generally put off doing this important piece of marketing.
We started with a general monthly newsletter, sent as a regular email. Nothing fancy
at all. We figured out how to keep an email list of preferred customers, and we figured
out how to send to groups, without having to do each one separately. This was 15 years
ago, and trust me, initially we sent them one at a time to every single person. Thankfully,
email programs and online assistance have come a LONG way since then!
However, we had probably $75 in sales every single month. We had about 300
subscribers (all opt-in off the website), and we had a wider variety of items available
from our website.
Then we just stopped. We kept meaning to get back to doing the newsletter, but it never
happened. We went through two computers and new email programs, and we transferred
the names each time. Now we’re with a new program on line, we’re up to just over 200
subscribers, and we have a nice, new format that is developing.
What are we doing now that seems to be working?
1. We made the commitment to do a monthly newsletter. This may seem pretty easy
to do, but we had problems. We wanted something classier than just a plain ole email.
So it meant looking at various email programs available on line. We have now done
April, May, and June for this year, and the July newsletter is now in draft form. If you
procrastinate, then this is not something easy to accomplish.
2. We looked at several of the various email/marketing programs available and
tried two of them. A lot of internet marketers recommend Aweber, but there is a cost
involved. More importantly, I didn’t feel it would work for us. There were a lot of options
we didn’t need, and probably won’t need, so we eliminated that. We initially went with
Constant Contact, monthly for $15, with a sixty-day free trial period (that’s what sold
us). Technical support was fabulous, and they designed a template for us (free of charge)
that complemented our website. We had a few concerns: the learning curve was steeper
than I would have liked (especially since I was still working full time and was limited
in marketing time). The main concern was that I couldn’t put more than 5 pictures in a
newsletter without having to go to a premium plan. Let’s face it, niche markets have to be
very visual, and the limited number of photos just didn’t work for us.
3. Decide on a program to use, even if it is just doing a monthly email from your
regular email program. We decided on Mail Chimp, completely free up to several
thousand subscribers. It subscribes people very easily, sends you notifications, and
provides some really good, easy-to-interpret stats on how your newsletter is doing.
And….I don’t seem to be limited in pictures. The learning curve may seem steep if you
haven’t used the program before, but it didn’t take me long, and now I have a set template
to use each time.
4. Make sure all the names/subscribers are “opt-in.” You can have problems with
sending spam emails if you just randomly send to people who haven’t subscribed. Don’t
bombard folks with unwanted emails. If folks have signed up for (in our case) free fabric,
I’ve included a note on the sign-up form that they will be added to our data base and
receive emails of coupons and news about marbling.
5. Put up subscription forms on your blog, website, Facebook page. Mail Chimp
gives you code to add easily. For your blog, you probably just need a widget for the side
bar. Facebook has a link to get Mail Chimp on your business page. You might have to
have your web host do the code to get your sign-up form on your website. Have your
sign-up everywhere you can.
6. Think about consistency in your newsletters. Physical appearance lets you brand
yourself through your newsletter. Let people see the same layout and features each time
they receive a mailing from you. Be consistent with the time of month you send the
newsletter. We schedule in our datebooks to be sure the newsletter gets written in the
third week of the month and then goes out on a Tuesday the last week of the month. This
is based on research showing when it is best to send a mailing, including what time of the
day has a higher opening rate.
7. Think about each part of the newsletter as you format it. I’ll show pieces of the
previous newsletter for examples. Make yours uniquely yours.
* First, have a heading that won’t automatically send your newsletter into a spam
folder. Stay away from “free” and words that could hint of spam. We finally decided
on “Out of the Marbling Tray,” so that it would be obvious the newsletter came from us.
Also, work your elevator pitch into your heading. Keep reminding people of what you’re
about. Ours is “An Ancient Art Made Modern.”
* Second, keep the obvious sales pitch for the end of the newsletter. We put our
Monthly Special at the very bottom, as we want folks to get to know us and our art; that’s
more important to us.
* Third, make the special offer something they won’t find on the website. Make it
very special for your subscribers. Consider a freebie – we do a monthly give-away of
* Fourth, use pictures of what you do! We always try to include some information
about marbling, including links to YouTube videos of exquisite Turkish marbling.
* Fifth, feel free to spotlight others. This raises your chances of getting your
newsletter passed along to others. We spotlighted our marbling supplier in our last
newsletter. Let folks know you’re willing to share information.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Monday, July 16, 2012
Our new house! We moved in 2 weeks ago. It will be a huge work in progress. If you like home decorating as well as fiber arts like I do you may want to follow me/us on my other blog which is more about our total house remodel project and other of my ramblings. (lovingallthingsfrench.blogspot.com). I am on that blog much more than this one...mostly as my focus has been finding a home and decorating etc...more than creating artwork lately. This isnt to say that I am not very very excited to get my art studio built and start being more creative again very soon!! My husband will be building a 2 story garage (the house currently does not have a garage any longer since the fall of the carriage house.) with an art studio on the bottom. This will be the nicest art studio space that I have ever had and will overlook the creek running in our yard and will have a walk out to a deck with a hot tub...He is going to put a fireplace in my studio and I sit and dream and plan away at my potential future space! Also, I asked him to put a kitchenette and 3/4 bath in the studio so I wont have to go to the main area of the house till I am good and done with creating on any given day or into the night!.....SO..I do have plans to once again get creating. When we get to the art studio building and creating...this I will post on this blog!
I cant tell you how relieved we are to have moved and can quit looking and to be in our, hopefully, forever home. This house is old and needs so much work and love. We have a 16 page list we are going to try to follow to keep us on task. Basically, we are taking things one room at a time. Not so fun, but needed, is to start in the basement. So, I will not be posting any house remodel pics till after the basement is done. (It is a really yucky basement....I wont even go down there....) The house will not always be purple....my husband has plans to brick it with antique cream city bricks and stone. His specialty is masonry so he really excited to have this be his masonry masterpiece! We have so much to do that it is easy for me to get totally overwhelmed. I have to remind myself to be patient.
We moved to a new city so Its been fun to do some exploring and learning and meeting new people. However, as you can tell by the grass in the picture above, we are experiencing a heat wave and drought that is surpassing even what we had in 1988....Its bad...and its hot...and we dont have air conditioning! In fact, many of the old windows do not even work properly and many do not have screens...so its been really uncomfortable and its been too hot to even walk around the town. But everything IS in walking distance once the weather is tolerable. My first new friends have been my swimming ladies. Every day at 11:00 I go right across the street to the city pool and do water aerobics. I love it...and I love my new swimming friends! In fact, one of them mentioned the possibility of starting an art group when she found out I was an artist. I always thought a small art group whether or not they did the same art as you or not, would be fun and help to keep ourselves accountable to keep at creating art. If you know you have 'show and tell' or whatever or at least someone to show what you've been up to, you would/might be more likely to get yourself creating! Also, we could collaborate our own little art shows a couple times a year. Course, I also want to start a local book club as I dont want to be driving to my old book club anymore and I was thinking I wanted to start a dinner group here as well. I love to entertain and I also love to see other people's homes...and Im a foodie....so these are some things, besides starting my new church (a block away!) that I am looking forward to starting and getting involved with! I want to start a women's ministry group at my new church in the fall. (Wish you, my blogging friends lived close so you could be a part of all of it!)
If you dont mind, I might just plop down and write about my life here even though I am not creating art right now. My art is trying to figure out how to remodel and decorate my home...which is art! I still spend quite a bit of time compiling fiber art ideas and looking at what every body else is doing. I am going to go to Rachelle LeBlanc's Rug hooking week retreat...I thought it was this August...but then I found out its not until next year! Alls good though as I really was not in the right place yet to be going to week retreat right now. Cant wait already till next year...I love Rachelle and I love her rug hooking! I am so inspired by her work. If anyone wants to go with me in Michigan next summer let me know as it already filling up and believe it or not you already need to put your deposit in! It will coincide with the big rug hooking convention every year..which I am having a brain fart right now with the name of it but you know! The retreat is just an hour away...so I was thinking of going to that for the first 2-3 days and then on to the retreat with Rachelle. Like I said, I would love to drive with someone(if you live anwhere near me) or at least room with someone...its more fun that way! Let me know.
The Artistry of Hooking People Workshop and retreat
Musso Farm, South Haven, MichiganAugust 18-21, 2013
Classes will be from 9-4:00. Cost Details-$750 total
Includes Artistry of Rug Hooking Workshop book and wool for skin tones and hair color.
Contact : Jenny Drilon
Accomodations. Private room, meals provided. This is a lovely farm with many sleeping options. There are two houses and a couple of cottages. Classes will take place in the main house unless weather permits we will hook in a lovely screen porch. Meals will take place in the main house. Rooms will be in Main house, cottages and Riverside.