Building an email list from your Etsy customers is an advanced marketing technique. Some sellers think you shouldn’t do it, fearing you’ll violate Etsy’s seller policies. While others have been doing this for quite some time with no hassle from Etsy. Here’s how to build your own Etsy email list.
Email marketing is something we’ve all been subject to. Nowadays, every website seems to collect your email address so they can send you coupons, new product announcements, and so on.
And there’s a good reason for it.
According to Statista, in 2020, global email marketing revenue reached $7.5 billion U.S. dollars. And by 2027, email marketing revenue is projected to reach $17.9 billion.
These numbers are huge! And since your business is predominantly online, there’s no reason to sit idly by while other Etsy sellers build their own email empire.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is any email that comes to you in the form of a newsletter, or a “check out our new product line,” or even something like “thank you for your purchase.” All of these email campaigns are targeted at building long-term relationships with customers to keep them in the sales funnel.
Etsy does this with anyone who purchases something from their marketplace. They’re automatically added to an email list, so Etsy can keep them coming back for more products.
But you don’t want your customers to come back and shop from other Etsy shops. You want them to continue shopping with you. And that’s where building your own Etsy email list comes into play.
Can you build an email list on Etsy?
The short answer is yes.
The long answer is also yes, but with a few warnings.
We mean that Etsy has no policy against building your own email list, but they do limit what you can and can’t collect from your customers.
Furthermore, Etsy explicitly prohibits “unsolicited commercial messages” or “unauthorized transactions.” Meaning, if you build an email list from Etsy customer emails without the customer’s permission, you’re not only violating data protection laws, but also breaching Etsy’s seller policies.
Can you ask for your customer’s email on Etsy?
Etsy states in its guidelines that you cannot ask a shopper for their personal contact information, including email addresses, phone numbers, etc. Etsy doesn’t want you doing this because they don’t want you to bypass the checkout process on their marketplace.
If you try any of these techniques, you’re essentially using Etsy as somewhat free marketing to your own website. This isn’t cool, and Etsy will more than likely take swift action to stop it.
Etsy’s Policies Regarding Email Addresses & Data Collection
Etsy clearly states that all communication between you and your customer should be Etsy related. This means you should only communicate with your customers about current orders, personalization, fulfillment, etc.
It also states that you can’t use your Etsy conversations to ask people for their email (again, Etsy doesn’t want you circumventing their checkout process). This is a big no-no, and doing so could get your Etsy shop shut down.
All this to say, building your own email list isn’t out of the question. You just need to take a proactive approach to marketing your email list and getting people to sign up for it. All while playing by Etsy’s rules on their marketplace.
Why should I build an email list from my Etsy customers?
Your handmade business is likely larger than just an Etsy shop. So whether you started selling handmade products at local trade shows or run multiple websites alongside your Etsy shop… Etsy isn’t the end of the line for your business.
And with so many options available in eCommerce, a thriving handmade business will diversify its digital footprint to reach more customers than with just one standalone storefront.
This means creating multiple opportunities to interact with your shop wherever your customers spend their time online. Utilizing multiple channels to market your business is known as omnichannel marketing.
This marketing buzzword took off after the pandemic but remains a tried-and-true marketing strategy today.
When you diversify your marketing potential by using multiple channels for your business, you’re creating a wider sales funnel to reach more customers. And an email list is your bridge between each channel.
It’s as simple as that.
How to Build an Etsy Email List
To create an email list from your Etsy customers, you’ll need to collect email addresses. As we mentioned before, you can’t just ask your Etsy customers for their email addresses outright. Etsy doesn’t really allow this.
You can, however, make your email list available to your Etsy customers so they can opt in whenever. To do this, you’ll first need an email service provider. Each one will likely have its own list-building tool.
Once you have the software to build your email list, you’ll need to get your customers to opt-in. We cover both of these topics in more detail below.
Picking a Service Provider for Your Etsy Email List
You’ll need to sign up for an email marketing platform to build your Etsy email list.
Not all are created equal.
Here are a few email service providers perfect for your Etsy business:
- Constant Contact
All of these give you the ability to create, market, and manage your Etsy email list.
These allow you to create a unique URL for your customers to opt in and subscribe to your email list. This will also allow them to accept all data privacy laws while keeping you compliant.
From there, you’ll be able to create landing pages, product announcements, and actually build and send your email campaigns to your Etsy customers.
Now that you know how to create an email list and the software used to do it, you’ll need to get your customers to opt in.
Build an Etsy Email List by Offering an Incentive
It’s unlikely that people will sign up for your email list for no apparent reason.
That’s why you’ll likely need to offer some kind of incentive before they hand their email address over to you.
Try any or all of these incentives to build your own email list:
#1. Offer a Free Add-on With Purchase
Everyone loves a freebie. But understandably, you may not be able to go around offering freebies to everyone that signs up for your list. Therefore, treat new subscribers to a code they can use in your Etsy shop that will inform you to add a free gift or upgrade to their next purchase.
Not ready to offer something completely free? You can always give new subscribers a discount on their next purchase.
#2. Create a Waitlist
If you’re an established brand, there’s a good chance you’ve got some brand advocates. Treat these diehard fans with early access to new products and announcements when they go on sale.
From there, you can incentivize your loyal followers to advertise your brand on their social media pages for an opportunity to earn affiliate income or free/discounted merchandise.
#3. Advertise an Email Course
Knowing your customer and the problems they face is a powerful piece of information to wield.
If you sell kid’s decor, create an eBook on decorating a kid’s room. For past and potential customers, a little help in correctly using your products is a great way to get them to sign up to your Etsy email list.
#4. Create product guides
Some products are a little more complex than others. Cosplay outfits, electronics, and even some types of clothing need to be worn or assembled in a certain way.
Obviously, the necessary instructions to use their new product should be included with their purchase. But you can offer extended use guides and how-tos to customers that sign up for your email list.
#5. Use a coupon wheel
Can’t figure out which of the above to offer? Create a coupon wheel where users get a free spin to win an incentive.
Some email service providers offer this with a subscription to their service. If this is important to you, make sure you know which ones have this tool available.
How to Collect Emails to Build Your List
Now you’ve established creating your list and the incentive to sign up, it’s time to promote it to your Etsy customers.
It’s worth noting that building your list is usually a combination of both passive and active efforts – manually sharing your subscribe link regularly but also putting that link in places where people can automatically sign up.
Try these different methods to share your email signup link:
#1. On your Etsy shop banner
Your Etsy shop banner is an image at the top of your page.
While you can’t add a clickable link to your image, you can add text to your email signup page. In the corner of the image (or somewhere that’s visible on both mobile and desktop versions), add text that’s easy to read so users can manually type it into their address bar and opt-in to your email list.
Try making the URL easy to type to avoid frustration for the end user.
#2. Include it with your packaging
You should always strive to create an unboxing experience for your customers. It makes customers feel like they’re holding something valuable — because they are.
But while they’re unboxing their purchase, include a card with a link to your email list opt-in form. If you’re using custom-printed packaging, you can print this link on the inside of your box.
#3. Add it to your thank you message
Similar to your packaging, you should include an email signup link when you thank your customer for their purchase. If you send handwritten thank you cards, add the link to your card.
If you message your buyers with a thank you note, share the link at the end of your message.
#4. Utilize social media
If you regularly use social media to market your Etsy shop, then a good portion of your customers probably come from the social channels you already use.
Share your email signup link on your social pages to turn your followers into future customers. You can do this through a pinned tweet or Instagram post or include it with your Linktree that you use on all your social pages.
Over to you
While Etsy doesn’t encourage you to build an email list, it can certainly be done. And the truth is email marketing is a potent way of communicating with past, present, and potential customers.
Spend some time creating your list and experimenting with the right emails to send to your subscribers. You’ll find that when you get it down, you’ll drive more traffic to your Etsy shop and turn that traffic into sales much quicker!