Building your email list


Back in April, my monthly Designer Newsletter contained some information on how to build your email list. With all the new GDPR regulations coming into effect today (and our lists taking a sizable hit from the resulting permission passing campaigns), I thought it would be a great time to re-share this information. I’ve tweaked it a little to include GDPR-specific information, as well. I hope you find it helpful!

Your email list contains your biggest fans – these are the people who have chosen to receive communication from you and are interested in what you have to offer. If you’ve recently run a permission passing campaign to ensure your list complies with the new GDPR data protection regulations, this is especially true! Most marketing folks will agree that a healthy email list with a good conversion rate is so much more valuable than a bloated list containing subscribers who never open your emails (let alone purchase from you).

So now that I’ve convinced you that you need an email list (and you do!), how do you build it? Building your list is an ongoing project that you will want to work at consistently.

Keep in mind that when using any of the methods described below, if you have subscribers in the EU (and most of us do), you must make sure you are compliant with the GDPR. I am not a lawyer, nor a GDPR expert, but for the purposes of sending emails, this basically means:

  • You must receive explicit and active consent to email your subscribers, and
  • You must only send the types of emails that people have consented to receive.

So, with GDPR in mind, here are a few things I have done that have helped me grow my list significantly since I started it two years ago:

1. Create an incentive for opting in

  • This should be something relevant and valuable to your followers and fans.
  • For the design section of my list (i.e. the group of subscribers interested in me as a designer), I offer a free pattern, but a coupon code could also work.
  • With respect to the GDPR, you cannot simply collect email addresses from the people who download your opt-in incentives and then send them marketing emails. They must explicitly and actively consent to receive the types of emails you wish to send.

2. Talk about your list

  • People can’t sign up for your list if they don’t know you have one, and won’t sign up for your list if they don’t know what kinds of email you send! So be sure to talk about your list on social media.
  • A great time to do this is in the leadup to a pattern release, especially if you give your subscribers an exclusive discount.
  • Again, with respect to the GDPR, your signup forms must explicitly state the types of emails you will be sending (and if you will be sending more than one type, subscribers must be able to select only the ones they want to receive). You cannot ask people to sign up to receive knitting tutorials and then send them marketing emails, for example.

3. Make your list easy to find

  • Anyone who finds you anywhere should be able to join your list quickly and easily!
  • Add it to your social media profiles, add a signup form to your website, and even include the link directly in your pattern PDFs.

I hope this was helpful and that the information will assist you in building your list and attracting more potential customers who will love your patterns.

And if you haven’t started an email list yet, I hope you will be motivated to create one! Try not to be intimidated – remember that the people who sign up for your list are the people who *want* to hear from you! Plus, both MailerLite and MailChimp have “forever free” plans for small lists, so you can try out a couple of different platforms before committing to a paid option. These providers also both have tools and tutorials in place to help you ensure you are GDPR-compliant (I use MailerLite and highly recommend it).

Disclaimer: I am neither a lawyer nor a GDPR expert. Whether or not you administer an email list, I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with the GDPR and how it affects small businesses. The ramifications extend well beyond email list administration, and well beyond the scope of the simplified examples I’ve included above. Here are a few resources that may help:

GDPR and How Compliance Can Improve Your Email Marketing
Peace of Mind about the GDPR
GDPR: Simple 6 Step Checklist

– Allison

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.