In Which We Tackle Email Marketing Challenges And Ecommerce Conundrums

In Which We Tackle Email Marketing Challenges And Ecommerce Conundrums

Show Notes

Freduary continues with another episode dedicated to all things SuperFred. Today we tackle a tough question about email marketing and have an interesting conversation about marketing your Etsy shop.

With special thanks to SuperFred Tammie Rampley for joining us and inspiring a great topic!

What’s Freduary?

It’s an entire month dedicated to all things SuperFred. And if you don’t know what a SuperFred is – or I should say who a SuperFred is, then you’ll have to listen in and join the army.

Enjoy Freduary with us! Send your messages and tweets tagged with #superfred and we’ll be sure to connect!

In This Episode We Talk About

  • The latest Taylor Swift/Etsy scandal
  • The pros and cons of hosting your own eCommerce store vs using a platform like Etsy
  • The metrics conundrum – whether you’re looking at traffic reports, open rates or other metrics
  • Plus we explore a question about whether or not we’re training our email subscribers to ignore us. If you’re on our email list we want to know what you think.

Links & Resources

SuperFreds

If you message or tweet them, add the hashtag #superfred so they know you’re part of the army!

Your Marketing Action Item

From Ralph: Compile a power group of people you trust – online or offline – and ask them to look at the product or service pages on your website and to give you honest feedback about whether or not your pages are clear and compelling. Use their input to improve your pages.

From Carol Lynn: Pick a product or service that you sell and tell a story about it. Put it into context so people can relate to a situation in which they may use your product or service so they can understand when or why they need it.

Your Homework

Tell us how we can make our email list better – for YOU. What do you want to see more or less of? What would make your subscription more valuable?

Take a look at Tammie’s Etsy shop and let her know what you think of her product pages and how she can improve them.

Where To Listen

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Carol Lynn Rivera

Carol Lynn Rivera

I'm a business owner, content creator, podcaster and marketer. In 1999 I founded Rahvalor Interactive, a web and creative services production studio, with my husband and business partner Ralph. In 2011 we created Web.Search.Social, a consulting and marketing service line for small businesses. We also cohost the Web.Search.Social Podcast where we challenge the status quo of marketing and the Carbon Based Business Units podcast where we talk about the human side of being an entrepreneur. On any given day I wear the hat of project manager, consultant, social media manager and content marketer. My true passion is writing and in my spare time I'm busy planning my early retirement to Barcelona as a famous and wealthy novelist.
Carol Lynn Rivera
Carol Lynn Rivera
  • “Tramp Lee Designs and Sketchy Etsy Finds”

    TrampLee’s now on staff
    Calls for a big celebration!
    C.E.D.C.R.R. on WSS
    Is Tammie’s designation

    WTF, Web.Search.Social?!
    Unsubscribes are inevitable
    SuperFreds are teetering
    Give them something edible

    If open rates take a nose dive
    Send an Oreo or twenty-two
    A fine cigar or Arroz con Pollo
    For mama, a new pair of shoes

    Experiment with how to reach out
    And how to engage with your list
    Let them tell you what they want
    Before they’re miffed and pissed

    If you’re not closing any business
    With the stuff you’re emailing out
    Let’s put the final nail in this coffin
    So your email marketing works out

    Taylor Swift’s mug on a coffee mug
    eCommerce is a tricky conversation
    Market outside your selling platform
    Outreach sparks conversion vibration

    Ask colleagues if your copy is clear
    Tell a story about what you’re selling
    If you write about clear-cut problems
    Your message will be more compelling

    But first, now that her salary’s been doubled …
    A round of applause and virtual kudos and cupcakes for Tammie Rampley!

    • “Conversion vibration” – that’s a phrase I could get behind! I can’t wait to have you on our podcast because I have a feeling you will be very quotable. Also, that’s a whole lot of letters in Tammie’s title. I’m not even sure I could repeat it, lol. Any poem that ends with cupcakes is a win in my book!

      • Purely from a female perspective, I’m tickled pink WSS now has a purse maker on staff. Any chance you’d be willing to add a diamond cutter or perhaps a fashion designer? A hairdresser? You know, to round things out. LOL

        Yeah – “conversion vibration”. Who wouldn’t want some of that?! Oh, and “cupcakes”. 😉

    • Cupcakes.. I get Cupcakes… Yay.. I love it Melanie… Thanks so much.

      • I never used to care much for cupcakes, Tammie. Then one afternoon while I was still living in Southern California, I stopped at a cupcake shop in Pasadena called “Dots”. OH. MY. GOD. I have no idea what secret ingredients they’re putting in that batter but their cupcakes are out of this world! Better than homemade and the BEST cupcakes I’ve ever had. 🙂

  • Mandy Stephens

    Wow the Etsy discussion is incredibly timely for me! I set up an Etsy shop (Brick Tree Accessories) about three weeks ago, and am also in the process of setting up a website to run alongside it. I have been dithering about whether to keep the products on Etsy or aim to do Woocommerce plug-in or something on my own site.
    This has crystallised a few thoughts for me:

    1. What Tammy said about Etsy being useless for finding customers FOR you is true – there’s too much competition I guess. Everything I have read about Etsy says that you need to find your own customers and drive them to Etsy in order to get sales.

    2. What Etsy IS good for is being easy to set up, having a low start up cost (in time and money), and having fees that are directly proportional to what you list and sell. There’s also lots of advice, forums etc surrounding it.

    3. Your business model (as Ralph and Carol-Lynn said) has to be the decider – since Etsy is effectively just a sales engine, the thing to *compare* it against is other sales engines such as Shopify or Woocommerce plug-ins. Shopify isn’t particularly cheap – there are set monthly fees alongside all the other ‘sales fees’ (Shopify’s commission on your sales, credit card and Paypal fees, bank and provider charges etc). It also has a learning curve despite being a supposed out-of-the-box solution – I set up a Shopify site for a client a couple of months ago and there was a LOT to set up compared to Etsy. I believe Woocommerce plug-in is free, but there will still be a learning curve and the sales fees. So your best solution will depend on how much time and expertise you have, and what’s cheaper (in the long run) will depend on your volume of sales.

    I think what Tammy was maybe wondering about is whether her brand would be more credible if she had her own online shop rather than an Etsy shop? (Sorry if I’ve misunderstood!) I think you may have a point there Tammy, I recently visited an artist’s site and was surprised to be directed to Etsy after clicking on one of her product pictures, it didn’t seem right somehow. If you’re doing all the work of building the brand and directing traffic anyway, then if you can find a workable and cost-effective shop solution that makes it more your own, then that might be the ultimate thing to aim for.

    I’m going to stick with Etsy for now as I’m only just starting out. I’m building up Pinterest boards, but haven’t been brave enough to set up a FB shop yet – I’m going to build up a bit more stock and a proper brand before diving in.

    Thanks for all the great insights guys!

    PS – I never used to listen to the podcasts as it was quicker to read them – but since I have started doing more crafting I have been able to multi-task listening to podcasts and rolling beads – result!

    • Hi Mandy,

      You actually brought up a great point which is the credibility. That’s definitely part of it. There are a bunch of factors – cost, expertise, ability to maintain. And of course the branding. It will be different for everyone so it’s really something each person has to balance out. Shopify can be easy if you want the super basic “out of the box” template but like anything, even with WordPress, the more customization and visual identity you want to personalize, the more complex it gets. Ultimately if you could control the full experience that would be ideal. But finding the right steps and the easiest way to transition is really important. Best not to tackle too much at once!

      • Mandy Stephens

        Thanks Carol Lynn (and sorry for the stray hyphen in your name earlier!). I’m definitely going to stick with step by step for now and build up a) the products and b) the social marketing. And I guess I’m going to have to do some face-to-face selling at some point with craft sales or local stockists – urk. Good practice all round though. I’m going to work my way through your podcasts as I’m beading, so thanks for the chat and inspiration!

        • I don’t know a lot of people who love the idea of selling face to face! It makes a lot of people uncomfortable but it’s one of those “necessary evils”. It’s definitely a holistic approach that goes beyond just “having” a store.

    • Hi Mandy,

      Thank you so much. You are right on with the credibility issue. There are still a very large number of people that do not see even know what Etsy is. They see people every day selling things on Etsy that look as though anyone’s child could have made them. Because anyone can sell something “anything” on there, it makes it easy for 5000 people to sell the same exact thing. My product does not show any distinction on that venue. The more I look and see my items showcased on Etsy, (the items that I poured my heart and soul into, hours, sometimes days fretting over getting perfect) featured next to something that looks like it has been on the floor of someones room for a year, it makes my heart sink.

      I know that there are some of the most gorgeous items I have ever seen on Etsy. I also know that most of those sellers are also selling elsewhere and a good majority of them are not branding. I specifically want to grow my brand, not just sell my items.

      I appreciate you comments and your support. Good luck to you with your shop and your business. If there is anything at all that I can do, please feel free to contact me. I would love to help.

      • Mandy Stephens

        Thanks Tammie – I was worried when I read my post back later on that it sounded like I was saying your shop lacked credibility, which I definitely wasn’t because I hadn’t even looked at it at that point. I have had a look now and it looks pretty awesome! Even with the short experience I’ve had on Etsy I know that it takes a huge amount of work and tenacity to both stock a shop and make sales successfully so big respect for that. Lovely products, and you have some lovely reviews too!

        Totally see what you’re saying about building your brand conflicting with being listed alongside horrible products. Etsy can be dispiriting sometimes. I’m on one of those Pinterest boards where you can pin your own Etsy stuff, but one of the big downsides to that is that a general Etsy tide of crocheted toilet-roll covers makes its way into your otherwise lovely and tasteful Pinterest feed!

        Have you had any press features, and are your bags stocked in any physical shops? The right press and stockists would be a great thing for building your brand (though I’m sure you already know that, and it’s easier said than done!).

        Thanks so much for the offer of help and advice, it’s much appreciated. If you have a moment, I was interested in knowing which social media platform you have found most useful for driving customers to Etsy? Also, if you have any thoughts on craft fairs or getting local shops to stock your product, vs selling online?

        Great to meet you, and good luck to you too with going on to even greater things!

  • There are a couple of things that I probably should have said on air, that I thought about. I am going to be Kevin here. I am openly candid about the fact that I completely suck at email. I don’t open them properly, I don’t keep up with them. My goal for this year is to at least get into my email every day. Which, because it terrified me, I was not doing last year. I have, so far, done this. I am checking all my WebSearchSocial Emal..btw.. I am really wanting to create and grow an Email list. This, of course, means, I have to get better at email. As you know, I cleaned it all out a couple of weeks ago.

    When you guys started talking about your email list. Being someone that is just trying to start a list. You kind of turned into Charlie Brown’s teacher for me. I cannot be the only one. When you started talking about open rates and unsubscribes. I understand the concept. But, for someone just wanting to start one, that was way above my head. I just want to have a discussion about the basic get a list set up, get people on it, get people to it, get them to want to be on my list. And being someone that is never going to have a “Free Marketing Game Changer Kit” . How do I get people on my list. I think there are probably a whole lot of other Small Business Owners like me out there that want to start a list, or have a small list that just want to know how to get it going, how to make it grow and get people interested. How to make it enticing. Because, those of us that aren’t Techies, don’t have the nuts and bolts of the analytics to check every five minutes and see who read it and who didn’t and who signed up. While all of that is super important and will be things for me to learn down the pipe. Right now, I just want to build an email worth sending out.

    • Good question! Sometimes you have to start at the beginning, right? Sounds like a topic we can take on. I’ll add it to the ever growing list of awesome topics!

  • And now you know you can get even better results with vertical pins 🙂

  • Mandy Stephens

    Thanks Tammie, lots of great tips. I’m glad you find Pinterest useful as that’s the only thing I’m on at the moment – really love it though, it’s far too addictive! Good luck with expanding the new shop. I will contact you on Etsy. (If anyone else is interested it’s Brick Tree Accessories, my account is Brick Tree on Pinterest). Thanks again!