Create an email list on your Etsy Shop

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If you are selling on an Etsy shop and keep hearing that you should “build an email list”, except you have no idea how to get started and what you are actually allowed to do on Etsy when it comes to email marketing, this video (and FREE email marketing planner for makers) is for you!

You can watch the video or read the written version below.

Many Etsy sellers feel challenged when it comes to building an email list for their business because it is not a feature that Etsy offers. You can’t just set up a nice little signup form to get new subscribers to join your mailing list, so how do you build an email list if Etsy doesn’t really help you do it, and also because Etsy has a set of policies regarding email marketing that you need to follow? Can you email your Etsy customers and invite them to sign up? What about using Etsy conversations? Let’s jump right in!

To build an email list from your Etsy shop, you have to first create a new account with an Email Service Provider like MailChimp or Mailerlite, or other company that will provide you with tools to bulk send emails to your email list. You should never use a Hotmail or Gmail account, or anything like that. You really need a separate account with an email service provider. MailChimp (or another ESP) will allow you to create a website page with a signup form. You can send people to this website so they can sign up and and opt in to your mailing list. Once you have that website/page, the question is how can you share this link on Etsy.

So let’s take a look at what Etsy allows you VS forbids you to do. But before we dive any deeper, I want to give a little disclaimer here that I am not a part of the legal team at Etsy and that you should always do some research to make sure that you have up to date information. Etsy can update their policies at any moment so please check out their legal resources as well.

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What you can do to build your email list on an Etsy shop

Let’s start with the “can do” – and here is exactly what Etsy says about it:

“You may receive a buyer’s email address or other information as a result of entering into a transaction with that buyer. This information may only be used for Etsy-related communications or for Etsy-facilitated transactions. You may not use this information for unsolicited commercial messages or unauthorized transactions. Without the buyer’s consent, and subject to other applicable Etsy policies and laws, you may not add any Etsy member to your email or physical mailing list, use that buyer’s identity for marketing, or obtain or retain any payment information”

It’s a lot of legal talk, but the key is “consent” and “Etsy-related communications”. What does that mean for you as an Etsy seller? “Consent” means that you need to invite Etsy customers to sign up for your mailing list. You can’t ask them straight away cause that’s spammy and you definitely can’t just add them to your email list without asking. You need to invite customers to sign up (e.g. for updates or a coupon code) and they get to decide whether they want to become new subscribers, or not. So how can you actually invite those Etsy shop visitors to sign up for your mailing list? There are a few things you can do. You can use that link, that website I was mentioning at the beginning of this video (that your email service provider is going to give you) and put it:

  • on your Etsy shop’s about page;
  • in your Etsy shop announcements;
  • on your profile page;
  • in your “thank you” message to Etsy customers;
  • in your product listings – both on pictures and in the descriptions.

What I mean by “on the picture” is that you can design a little coupon graphic that you include as if it was a product picture so that when people browse your listing and they look at all the pictures of your product, they will see a graphic saying for example “hey, to get 10% off / to get updates (or whatever it is that you want to write on it) join our newsletter”. That works really well for a seller because Etsy customers look at the pictures before they even read the product description. As a seller, you have a lot of options, but remember that you need to invite subscribers, not ask.

Want to come back to this article later? Love to pin pretty graphics to pinterest?

We’ve got you covered! You should totally pin those:

What you can’t do to create your email list on Etsy

Let’s look at what you can’t do when it comes to email marketing on Etsy. These are the things that you really shouldn’t be doing if you don’t want to get kicked out of the platform. The first thing is to not automatically add Etsy customers to your email list without their permission. That’s really, really important. You definitely don’t want to just grab their email address and add that to your mailing list. Instead you want to have either an explicit request from them saying, “Hey, please use my email and add me to your email list” (preferably in written form) or (and that’s the best way) you want to send them to that link that we mentioned a few times already, where your sign up form is so that they volunteer this information to you themselves.

You also don’t want to be using Etsy conversations to ask your customers to join your list because that is spammy.

The last thing is to not email old customers to get them to join your mailing list. I see a lot of sellers doing this and it’s really bad. I know that if you’re just getting started with your email list you may be thinking “I have 200 customers that I’ve worked with and shipped products to in the past. I’m just going to send them all an email to tell them about my list”. Don’t do that – those transactions with past Etsy customers are over and this is not respecting the terms of use that we’ve read before. This is not an Etsy related communication so it will be considered as spam. That’s why it’s important to start that email list right now so that you don’t feel like you could have begun your email marketing 200 customers ago.

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