If you make jewelry with the intention of building a business, you have to think differently than someone who is making jewelry as a hobby. One of the keys is building a client list, and one of the best ways to reach out to these potential buyers is through email marketing. You don’t have to be an expert and you don’t have to have a huge list of customers to get started. In fact, the process is as simple as the one described right there on your shampoo bottle: LATHER, RINSE, REPEAT. Who knows how we would ever have gotten our hair clean if we hadn’t had those clear and concise instructions to guide us!
1. LATHER: Building your list means building your business.
Lathering is all about generating a lot of soap bubbles. It takes a lot of lather to get your hair clean, and it takes a lot of leads to build a successful business selling your jewelry.
If you are crossing over from jewelry making as a hobby to jewelry making as a business, prepare yourself for disappointment. Sorry to start off with what sounds like a downer, but this is not an easy business to launch. (Not to be gross, but the first time you put shampoo on your dirty hair it may not make much lather). Your jewelry designs may be awesome, but it is not a mass appeal product, and you have to build up your clientele gradually — the type of people who will purchase the type of jewelry you make. If you sell in booths at craft shows, start collecting emails from everyone who shows an interest in your jewelry. Give them an incentive by asking for their email and birthday and let them know they’ll be getting a special gift by mail. Judge your success at an event as much by how many emails you collect as how many sales you make.
Not everyone has success selling their jewelry on marketplace websites like Etsy or Artfire. eBay may or may not work for you. Here’s the thing … if you are not growing your client list you are not growing your business. It’s fine to use marketplaces like this IF you are providing a place for visitors to opt-in to your email list, and giving them incentives to do so. Generating relevant leads is the first step in marketing your jewelry; selling comes later. Consider launching your own website if you don’t have one, and think of it first and foremost as a lead-generation tool.
Look at it this way, most people are browsers and not buyers. You have to cast the net wide, grow your list of people who like custom beaded jewelry, and only then find out who your buyers and (more importantly) who your REPEAT buyers are. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
2. RINSE: Now do the opposite and find out where the real engagement is.
As soon as you finish lathering up, you immediately stick your head under the shower head and start rinsing the soap off, right? What’s up with that? Well, when it comes to shampooing your hair, clean hair is the goal, and the soap is a means to an end.
Similar to social media, email marketing is about finding the people who are interested in engaging with you. The goal is not how big your email contact list is. The goal is to create interaction.
In a nutshell, you have to measure how people are responding to you at every step in the process. Do they open your emails or just ignore them? Consider the subject lines you are using and make use of tools that allow you to test what is more effective in getting your emails noticed and opened. Are they not clicking through to see your products? Try customizing the message based on what you know about different customers tastes and preferences. Don’t fail to use sharp, professional-looking images and banners in your emails. Make sure the fonts and design display properly on all types of devices and email clients. Consider having a professional designer make a template for you; it’s usually worth it. But whatever you do, give the most of your attention to the people who show the most interest and engagement with you. And engagement can mean many types of interactions, not just the final sale. People who review your products, for example, are helping you to build trustworthy, robust information about your products that will convert other buyers.
Make sure you play by the rules and provide an obvious way for subscribers to opt-out of your email campaigns. These “unsubscribes” are not necessarily a bad thing. It’s actually a good “rinsing” process that keeps your list clean and allows you to focus on your best potential clients.
3. REPEAT: Find the next way to build your list and start the process again!
A good business is all about REPEAT business. There may be a few businesses that can succeed without repeat business. Funeral homes come to mind. But even a mortuary hopes to expand their client base to other family members related to the dear departed. For you, your jewelry business will flat out go nowhere unless you are able to find customers that want to buy from you over and over. Email gives you the opportunity to reach out to them at just the right time, with just the right offer. Customize your emails with great images of new jewelry pieces you’ve made that are similar to what someone has bought in the past. Don’t overdo it and wear out your welcome. But don’t let people forget you, either. Determine the email sending schedule that works for you and keep the energy and interest in your products flowing.
Now, here’s the funny thing about those instructions for shampooing your hair. The bottle says lather, rinse, repeat, but it doesn’t say how many times to repeat. Programmers call this an “infinite loop.” If a computer were given these instructions it would just keep on repeating the process from here to eternity. Well, that’s not really far off from what we’re saying about email marketing for your jewelry design business. It’s an iterative process of building, cleansing, and repeating. When your business begins to get stale (oily? itchy? lacking bounce?), go back to square one and get some more email leads! Lather up!
We hope this has been a clarifying experience that puts some bounce, body, and shine back into your jewelry design business. If there are any loose ends we haven’t covered, let us know by leaving your comments.