Updated: Oct 16
Written by Tori McElwain
Grab Your Free eBook, Design Your Workshop, here.
The most valuable tool to get more students into your workshops is email. Specifically, using email to build connection and community.
In today's digital age, the power of email marketing cannot be overstated. This holds true for many services, including quilting and crafting workshop instructors. Your email list is not just a tool; it's your pathway to building a thriving community, earning trust, fostering relatability, establishing authority, and, most importantly, offering unrivaled convenience to your ideal customers.
The Power of Your Email List
In the small business world, the term "email list" goes by various names, such as "the list," CRM (Customer Relationship Management), or customer contact database. Your email list is your superpower. Regardless of your number of followers on social media, if you don't possess an email list, you're missing out on connecting with your audience where it matters most.
Why email and not social media?
Social media has many benefits, like finding new customers, keeping you top of mind, and helping you build community, however, if you do not have an email list, your people will lose you in the chaotic landscape that is social media. On average, only 10% or less of your followers on any given platform will see your content. So, if you make a beautiful post about your brand new course only 10% of the people that follow you may see your announcement.
Let us compare that to email: if you email one email to a list of email subscribers that percentage typically triples or quadruples. The average open rate for email in the creative industry is 21% (according to a study done by MailChimp), however, that rate is typically much higher for a creative space, because those who subscribe are very passionate about their craft. My typical open rate ranges between 40-45%. So, if I have 1600 followers on a social media platform and share an announcement about an upcoming workshop, on average about 160 people will see it. If I send an email to my list of 1600, 650 - 720 will see it.
Those numbers really speak volumes about where I'd prefer to spend my time creating content.
The Unanimous Advice: Start Your Email List Early
In the wisdom of successful entrepreneurs like Jeff Walker, Amy Porterfield, and Jenna Kutcher - or if you'd like some examples from the quilting industry we could talk about Shannon Brinkley, Elizabeth Chappell, and Bonnie Christine - there's one piece of advice they all agree on: start building your email list as soon as you conceive the idea of creating a workshop or course.
Here's a cautionary tale: Many creative entrepreneurs invest years in developing valuable resources and products, only to realize that they have no one to share them with because they neglected to start their email list. Don't let this be your story. Start inviting people to join now by simply asking. A phrase that has worked well for myself and students in the past is "I have been working on a new workshop, join my email list to be the first to hear about it!" or "I have been working on a [insert topic/specialty] workshop and I'll be inviting people to join soon! Join my email list to hear about it first!"
Now, how do we embark on this email marketing journey?
Getting Started: Choose Your Email Hosting Platform
The first step is selecting an email hosting platform. Many options are available, and at the beginning, they're quite similar. A few popular choices include MailChimp, Flowdesk, and MailerLite, all of which offer free resources for starters.
Here's a short list for what to look for:
Automation (sending emails automatically)
Ease of Use - use the free version to find out
Consider Aesthetics - does it match your brand?
Your price does change as your audience grows, but its inexpensive to start and you will have an audience to share with when you're ready!
Building Your Email List: Step by Step
Now, let's discuss how to attract your first subscribers:
Step 1: Choose an email hosting platform.
Step 2: Create a sign-up form. Each platform provides resources for this step; it's simple. Include fields for the customer's name and email.
Step 3: Promote your email list. Share the sign-up form's URL across all your social media platforms and in your email signature.
What comes next? Explore how to keep your audience engaged in my You Started Your Email List, Now What? Creating a Newsletter for Quilting and Crafting Teachers Blog Post.
If you're looking for more one-on-one help, check out my Digital Marketing Magic Community and Program where I walk you through step by step how to set up a digital marketing plan inside a support community of quilters and crafters.
Need help with your workshops? Grab Your Free eBook, Design Your Workshop, here.
More Marketing help in the Digital Marketing Magic Community!
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