As much as I love spending time on social media, (oh how easily I can lovingly waste hours just scrolling, liking, commenting on random topics, especially when I don’t have the time!) I know the hard truth and it isn’t all good for creative businesses.
For a start Social Media is lowering our, already short, attention spans.
As soon as we see something new, bright and shiny appear, we react.
ooo I could do with a drink…. that is a good idea….
….. sorry I was distracted for a moment there!
We respond in the same way a dog does when they see a cat or squirrel; OK, maybe our ears don’t quite perk up in the same way but everything else gets forgotten instantly and we get dragged into a black hole of searching for posts/tweets/information that we didn’t actually need to know at that moment in time.
Sometimes you are the distraction, other times your audience is distracted away from you. Either way this isn’t great for your small creative businesses as you want to be engaging with people and you want to be remembered. No-one wants to be forgotten quickly, or dropped for a cute cat video!
But this is the nature of the beast, so we have to work with it, not against it, and email really helps us do that! It helps us make the most of all the time and effort we put into the fickle, wonderful world of Social Media.
There is another big and potentially very scary issue with every social media platform you use.
Social Media can kill your business quicker than you can blink, especially if you have all your eggs in one basket.
Each platform has its own rules and T&Cs which they can change whenever they feel like it. These rules govern what you can and can’t do, while using their platform, which is fair, after all they own it and pay for it!
However it does mean that if you get caught breaking a rule then your social media account can be closed without warning. You can lose everything. Your posts, your images and the connections you have made with your audience. Gone. Just like that. It is rare for an appeal to work, because often once it has gone, it has gone.
It doesn’t matter if you have 100 fans or 1,000,000, you have lost them. You don’t own your page or your fans/followers..
I know it is a scary fact, it doesn’t mean you don’t use the platforms, but you do need to be aware. And yes, the same can apply to any third party platform including marketplace sites like Etsy, Folksy, and Not On The High Street. This article is focusing on Social Media but this is a much bigger issue. It is why you see so many grumbling posts about changes and tweaks to how a platform works. You are at the mercy of the platform owner/s.
Oh, and lets not get started on the topic of algorithms and that less than 2% of your audience will see most organic posts on Facebook! I don’t want to go down that rambling rabbit hole! As I know you are already itching to flick back to check out your latest notification.
Interesting aside, did you know the reason you are addicted to those little red notifications that pop up on social media, the anticipation of what wondrous urge to click is because they give us a dopamine kick? The Dopamine release then gives us a feeling of euphoria, a natural high, which we learn (without realising it!) to associate with responding to the notifications. So every time we see a notification, we want to respond quickly to get that Dopamine rush!
Back to topic. The good news is that Social Media (and marketplace) platforms exist and they can do wonders for your business, especially if you are savvy and keep as much control as you can!
Here is how you can take control…
Connect with people away from social media. Complement all your hard work, time and effort on Social Media with a platform where you make the rules, where you have control.
One solution is to have your own website, but, the rub, after dealing with the tech concerns is you still need to get people to visit your page. Which, with all the distractions happening on social media, can be really difficult. Now that is a vicious circle we don’t need!
So what about Email Marketing? It isn’t an instant solution. It isn’t a magic wand.
However it is an important piece of the marketing jigsaw. It is the security net for your social media marketing. You have control. You can use it to stay in touch with real fans, your loyal customers and it can have a big impact on sales!
It isn’t fashionable I know. The ‘in thing’ is to use automated ‘chat bots’ on Social Media. Yes it is clever, and if you love new tech give it a go. But think about it. Facebook (or any other Social Media platform) retain control of your fans/customers. They can take away the facility with a simple click of a button. I don’t know about you but that scares the living daylights out of me!
So email marketing isn’t super sexy but it does give you control. And you may have guessed I like being in control! I think all small business owners should have as much control over their business as possible, which is why I want you to explore the possibilities of email marketing.
Basically email marketing works like this:
1. You meet people on Social Media, they love what you do and you like them. Great start!
2. You tell them all about the wonderful extras they can get from you if they sign up to your mailing list – a freebie, offers, or news, or special discounts, and how it means they will never miss info from you again. You can’t just mention this once, and then say it doesn’t work for me! This is a process you have to repeat! For example, if you sign up to the AHB mailing list, you get a weekly email giving you the latest bite sized updates that have happened in the online/tech/eCommerce/social media world straight to your inbox every week as well as my fab freebie eBook, ‘The Art Of Marketing’).
3. Some of your social media fans will subscribe. These are your real fans! Perfect!! Others will be happy to stay as they are. That’s OK as you will tell them again about your fantastic emails soon enough.
4. You send a weekly email. (If you can post on Social Media three times a day , you can send one email a week!)
5. Your weekly email lands in your subscribers inbox and they see it. There is no clever algorithm to hide it away!! How brilliant is that!
6. Your subscriber chooses whether to read it or not. That is good! Maybe they are busy today and don’t have time. Maybe the subject isn’t right for them today. It is all good. They have seen your name and remembered you, even without opening the email! And when they read your email, you are telling them wonderful, exciting things which encourage them to buy from you, and making it easy by including the links back to your own website.
7. Sometimes a subscriber will unsubscribe. Brilliant! It means they have decided that what you offer isn’t for them. It isn’t personal. It does mean you know that the people who stay on your list really want to hear from you! Unlike on Social Media where the platform controls who sees what and when!
8. Your subscribers will look forward to your emails and click links, and buy. Oh and if you do a really good job, they will tell their friends too!
Social Media and email marketing work perfectly together. They go together like peanut butter and jelly – if you like that sort of thing!
The really good news is you can get started with email marketing for your creative business for free! Mailchimp are a great platform, you can send weekly emails, create automated emails and so much more, and it won’t cost you a penny to get started! (Note: A Handcrafted BusinessMembers Club members, there is a class on Mailchimp!)
The elephant in the room! Mailchimp is another third party platform!! This means you do have their (and data protection) rules to abide by, but the big difference is, you collected your subscribers information. You control who you email and when. You can download and move the data to different email service suppliers if you wish. You can’t do that on Facebook!
Go on, give it a try! Don’t just send one email and give up. Commit to using email for the next six months, and then come back and tell me how you have got on!
Still not convinced? Read this article: 5 Reasons Why Email Marketing Is More Important Than Social Media For Selling Your Handmade Products
And, of course, sign up for my emails so I can keep you up to date with all the latest handcrafted business news!
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