On the list of “Imperative Must-Do’s for your Business,” collecting the email addresses of your shop visitors sits right up at the tippy top.
(You can read why it’s so important right HERE.)
But, like I’ve talked about before, your visitors will not willingly hand over their email addresses without a good reason. Therefore, it’s up to you to entice them to give up the goods, by offering them something awesome in exchange. This is called your opt in offer.
You don’t need to offer a physical item to every person who signs up for your list. That’s totally unrealistic to most of us handmade sellers. But, you can offer a digital item. And, going the digital route is a fantastic idea because you only to need to spend the time and work to create it once. After that, it’s done, and you can give away over and over again.
You don’t want to just throw up any ol’ offer though. When crafting an offer, you want to make sure that it gels with your brand and products, so that it will attract the subscribers that are perfect for your biz – the ones you’ll be able to form relationships with, and that will actually lead to the growth of your business (and to future sales).
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Your offer should match your brand and products. My mini book “How to Grow Your Sales Through Blogging” could be fabulous, but offering it on my ornament blog is not going to sell me many ornaments.
- Your offer needs to be sustainable for your business. A 50% off coupon will get you a ton of subscribers. But it’ll probably kill your business, too.
- Your offer needs to be genuinely valuable. People have to actually want it. That’s the only way they’ll give up their email address for it.
With all of that in mind, here are 5 things that you can use and tailor to your business to help entice your visitors to join your list.
1. A coupon. A coupon is a tried and true way to get subscribers AND sales. The promise of a subscriber-only deal will give your potential customer a little nudge to visit your shop and have a gander at what you’ve got to offer.
2. A giveaway/contest entry. Have a monthly or bi-monthly giveaway of one of your products. (Just don’t give away your most popular products, or your subscribers will be less likely to buy from you right then… because they’ll be hoping to win it instead.)
3. A mini-book. This might take you a little bit of upfront time, but the results will be so worth it. You’ll need to consider your target market, and their wants and needs. For example, if you are a jewelry maker, and you have come up with a special way of cleaning and caring for your creations, write it up into a pretty e-book! (It only needs to be a few pages long.)
This will actually serve multiple purposes: For one, it serves your primary goal of getting their email address, since someone in your target audience would want to know this information. Second, it makes you look like you know what the heck you’re talking about. And third, if you strategically fill your little book with beautiful pictures of your products, and links to them (hint, hint!), you will likely raise that person’s interest in your items and encourage them to go to your store. (Win!)
4. A free pattern or tutorial. If you just gasped and decided that I’m some kind of wacko… just bear with me a second. I can give a good argument for this one because it’s what I do on my own blog… but I was right there with you once upon a time. Believe me, the very last thing I wanted to do was give something like that away for free. I know how much work it takes to write a good pattern.
But, I finally took the plunge, and I haven’t looked back since. I went from getting about 10 signups per week, to getting over 100. But, I also get more sales. And that’s because once someone downloads my free pattern, they realize… it’s a great pattern! They enjoy it. And that makes them want more.
There are 2 lessons here. Lesson #1: If you can make someone want what you have (not just see what you have; they have to want what you have), they will be glad to pay for more. Lesson #2: The more you give, the more you get.
(By the way, here’s an article about why you should consider selling your own patterns or tutorials.)
5. Any other kind of whitepaper (PDF). Do you sell handmade clothing or accessories? How about a current style guide? (showing pictures of your items, of course.) Do you make wedding related items? A pretty wedding planner for the bride-to-be would be gobbled up. Homemade makeups or skin care products? Create a “how to apply” or “how to use” guide. Handcrafted candles? How about a scent guide, with a description of the effects of each one? The possibilities are seriously endless.
When using any of these ideas, take a few minutes to think about these questions:
What do my customers look for online?
Why do they need my product, and what do they use it for?
What questions do they have, or what problems are they trying to solve?
These questions will help you take one of the 5 ideas above, and apply it specifically to your business.
It takes some time and work to think up and create something to give your subscribers, but I promise you, the results are worth it. For me personally, it has been the most effective list-building strategy I’ve ever done, and it’s led to huge growth for my business.