When I first started selling my pottery I had many mentors advise me to get as many names and addresses as I could. I was to start a file of potential customers so I could invite them to my next exhibit. This horrified me, not only was I going to have to sell my own work, but I was going to have to ask people to be on my mailing list. It all turned out for the best. I got comfortable asking for business cards, I had my own draws and many of my customers told me they were happy to be invited to my next show. After a while, a few of my favorite customers even became close friends.
Now once again I hear that many potters are afraid to add an email list to their website. I think it is the same principle as before, just with the internet there are so many more advantages. Firstly, it is a tool that I use to help people find me easily. Since my newsletter was just sent to their inbox a week or so ago, it helps put me in the minds of my customer. Oh, Mother’s Day is coming up. I think my Mother-in-law would love a new teapot. Secondly, gone are the days of handwriting envelopes and sending the brochure of my studio sale. Now I am able to send short emails a few times a month reminding my customers that I am available for them. No stamps, no printing, easy! And just in case your client loses your information, she’s one click away from finding you. I can’t tell you how many times my newsletter was forwarded to that friend of a friend is who is looking for… Another big advantage is that I now have customers from all over the world. My market is a lot bigger, and I am not only relying on my surrounding area. But I think the most important reason for starting an email list is the fact that your customers truly do want to know what you are doing. You can let them know more information about the goings on in your studio and you will probably feel better because you are not only in contact because you want to sell your wares. Your customers do become your friends, and I would hate it to only hear from my friends a couple times a year.
Take action. Research different email list managers. Notice the emails you get from the companies you subscribe to. Do you feel like they are bothering you or do you welcome the information they are sending you. Is there a certain style you like better? Please feel free to comment below.