Does growing your email list feel like a slow, painful process? It can be especially difficult as a shop owner without a website to call your own. How do you attract those leads? And how do you create a landing page to get them without setting up your own website?
Danielle Arran of the Etsy Shop NarraNest will teach you how to do it with a unique strategy that's increased her email list by 10X in just 2.5 months. Her results are astounding! But they're results that a real Mamapreneur just starting out in business – a woman just like you – was able to attain.
On the Podcast
01:28 – Nesting for Baby, Nesting for Business
03:30 – Danielle's Unique Opt-In Offer
06:05 – How to Use Facebook Ads to Grow your List
10:42 – Facebook Ad Quick Tips
15:52 – Gleam for Giveaways
18:44 – What to do with a Closed Giveaway
21:52 – How to Advertise without Wasting your Money
27:25 – Danielle's Exponential List Growth
30:50 – Danielle Ignores the Gurus – Maybe you Should Too!
53:39 – Danielle's Awesome iPhone Trick
43:10 – A Unique Way to do Market Research
48:17 – How to Help your Customer Try on your Product
54:55 – Juniper the Comedian!
Press Play on the Podcast Player below to hear from Danielle
Nesting for Baby, Nesting for Business
When Danielle was in the nesting phase of her pregnancy, she looked everywhere for the perfect items to complete baby Juniper's room. She couldn't find just what she wanted, so she decided to make items instead. She found fabric she really loved and got to work making bedding, blankets, and other items for her baby-to-be.
Danielle knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur someday, and finally her time and talents aligned to make it happen. NarraNest began in January of 2015, and the shop is filled with beautiful, organic bedding, blankets, bibs, and baby-wearing accessories. NarraNest believes in kindness to mama, kindness to the Earth, and supporting the sacred bond between Mama and baby with safe, natural products.
Danielle's Unique Opt-in Offer
The gurus always tell us that we need to give away something really great in order to get people on our email list. Well, Danielle took that advice to the extreme! Instead of giving away a checklist, printable, or guide, Danielle gives away something much better to her subscribers – one of the products from her shop!
Danielle decided that her opt-in incentive would be a giveaway of her own product each month. As long as someone stays subscribed to her list, they'll hear about the new giveaway for the month and have a chance to enter. Her reasoning was that someone who is interested in winning her products may also be interested in buying her products. (Makes sense! I don't have a baby right now so I'm not excited to win Danielle's items, but a new parent absolutely would be, and that's Danielle's target customer.)
Danielle's other reasoning for paying for email subscribers in the form of free products: If you pay to get someone on your email list, that's someone you can build a relationship with over the long term. When you have just the right product to share, they will be there waiting to hear about it and buy. That email subscriber may purchase from you multiple times over the course of your relationship.
How to Use Facebook Ads to Grow your List
When Danielle decided on her giveaway strategy to attract new subscribers, she started by announcing them on her Facebook page and Instagram. Each time, she'd gain about 100 new subscribers. That was nice, but she wanted more.
For her October 2015 Giveaway, Danielle decided to try Facebook ads to make a bigger impact. She was excited to try Facebook ads in particular because you can pinpoint who sees your ads. Danielle knows exactly who her ideal customer is, so she wanted to see if she could reach them with an ad.
How She Got Started:
Danielle created a regular post on her Facebook page with an image and a description telling someone how they could enter the giveaway. Danielle gave away a baby carrier cover from her shop. You can see Danielle's original Facebook post here.
From there, Danielle went into the Facebook Ads Platform and chose that post as the content that she wanted to promote. She chose to target women in the US and Canada between 24-35 years old, and who have an interest in one of the baby carrier brands (for example, Ergo) and were expectant or new parents. For the October giveaway, this was just one great big combined audience of 110,000 people.
In subsequent months, Danielle has broken down this large audience into multiple, smaller audiences to compare how they each stack up to each other in terms of cost and engagement. You can run just one campaign, with the same “ad” (the post that describes the giveaway) but create multiple audiences to target. Then you can directly compare them to each other and home in on the groups that give you the biggest bang for your buck.
Note: Danielle did not just boost her post. She turned that post into an ad. You have to go into the ads platform to have all of the specific targeting options available to you.
Facebook Ad Quick Tips
- Use a native post as your ad. You can take any old post from your Facebook page, then go into the ads manager and choose that content to be an ad. This can be very effective because that ad looks like a natural post that would show up in someone's Facebook feed. Facebook users may be more likely to engage with that ad content.
- To help your post spread, you can optimize for engagement. If your goal is to get lots of likes, comments, and shares on your post, you may want to optimize for engagement rather than bid for clicks. Of course Danielle wanted people to click through her post and enter the giveaway, but she also didn't want to pay for every single click. She wanted people to share her post organically and let friends in on the great giveaway. She also wanted to content to show up in others' newsfeeds organically because it was getting a lot of engagement from their friends on Facebook. People did interact with Danielle's post as though it was a native post. She has 495 likes on the post, 144 comments, and 64 shares! And Danielle paid just $65 for this level of engagement.
- Engage with every comment you get on your ad. Women were commenting on Danielle's post telling her what a neat product she had, asking her if they were eligible to enter, or asking about other colors and product availability. Danielle responded to every single comment. She even responded to the more general comments like “great giveaway!” Why? Because by simply writing back something nice like “thanks! Hope you win!” there's a chance that person may see the post in their feed again, or that because Danielle tagged them, some of their top friends on Facebook would see that activity too. Again, all of those comments and interactions give Danielle even more unpaid reach for her post.
- Get Razor-Sharp with your Targeting. Danielle didn't just target all new parents with her giveaway. She got really specific and targeted new parents who already expressed an interest in baby carrier brands. She's targeting not just new parents, but parents who are baby carrier users because those are the individuals who will just love her baby carrier cover and would use it in their daily lives. Whatever your business sells, get specific with your targeting to reach customers who have already expressed interest in a very similar product or a tightly related product.
- Audience Size can be Big or Small. This probably seems like it's not a helpful tip, but hear me out! You do want to get razor-sharp with your targeting, but if you've whittled your ad down to an audience of just 50,000 people or so, you may find that you're paying quite a lot to reach that small number of people. If this is the case, expand your reach a bit and try an audience size of about a million people. Compare your results. Which size and targeting options are getting you the most bang for your buck? There's not one right answer here, but testing and realizing that if you're paying a lot for not-so-great results, audience size may be partly to blame.
Gleam for Giveaways
Danielle knew she wanted several features for the giveaway app she chose. She ultimately went with Gleam for several reasons:
- Gleam integrates directly with Mailchimp
- Gleam provides a stand-alone landing page for the giveaway. This is a must for Danielle because she's an Etsy shop owner without her own website. She didn't have a place to embed a landing page.
- Gleam lets you ask a question of your audience as a bonus-entry option for them. Danielle says this market research is gold!
- Gleam lets entrants refer their friends to earn extra giveaway entries – this makes the giveaway more likely to spread organically.
Danielle pays $39/month for Gleam.
What to do with a Closed Giveaway
Once a giveaway starts to spread, it's a shame to see people visit the page and simply walk away because the giveaway is now closed. Since Danielle does a new giveaway each month, she can simply point these prospective entrants to the new giveaway entry page and close the loop.
Once a certain giveaway ends, Danielle turns that link into a MailChimp opt-in page. She can customize the opt-in form with a photo of her business, and include information at the top to let people know that even though this giveaway is now closed, they can click on the link and head to the new giveaway. Danielle doesn't lose any referral traffic this way.
How to Advertise without Wasting your Money
Many small business owners are afraid to advertise because they have a limited budget for their business. It's so discouraging to invest in advertising only to feel like you just dumped your money down the drain. But it is possible to advertise wisely and make a profit from your efforts. Danielle recommends starting small, running tests, and only increasing your advertising budget when you start to see results.
Danielle started her October giveaway with just a few dollars of ad spend, but once she saw great results in the form of entries, shares, and engagement on her post, she knew it made sense to invest more. Danielle also saw several sales come in rather quickly after she started her ad, so she took the profits from those sales and reinvested that into more advertising for the giveaway.
In total, Danielle spent $55 on Facebook ads for her October Giveaway. She gained 788 email subscribers as a result. That's insane!! Danielle got email subscribers at just 7 cents per lead. In the internet marketing world a good price per lead is $1-$2. So pennies per lead is quite incredible.
Danielle is making advertising work in her handmade business with small profit margins. It could work for you too, but you'll have to be creative, test constantly, and not get discouraged if your first attempt isn't a smashing success.
Danielle's Exponential List Growth
Danielle's monthly giveaway strategy has paid off in big ways for her business. On October 1, she had 224 email subscribers. Her goal for the year was to hit 500 subscribers. After Danielle blew that goal out of the water with her first paid giveaway, she set a new goal to hit 2,500 subscribers in 2015. At the time of the podcast interview in mid-December, Danielle has already surpassed that goal with 2750 subscribers. She has more than 10X'ed her email list in 2.5 months!
Lets subscribers know that as long as they're subscribed, they're automatically entered in that month's giveaways – or automatically find out – so chance they will keep opening to find out about the next month's giveaway and how to enter.
Danielle has also added more followers on other forms of social media as well – growing Facebook from 234 to 1533 fans, Instagram to 2,000 followers, and another 1,000 new followers on Pinterest.
We were curious about whether these new subscribers stick around or simply unsubscribe when they find out they didn't win. Danielle says they tend to stick around because they know there's a new giveaway coming next month. She hopes that encourages them to open emails from her so they won't miss out.
Danielle's list growth is resulting in sales too. Her last quarter of sales for 2015 is more than her total sales for the 9 months before that. Although this is Danielle's first year and she knows it's the holiday season, it's pretty easy to see that a good portion of her traffic and sales are coming through her email list too.
Danielle Ignores the Gurus – Maybe you Should Too!
Danielle has found that much of the advice that the gurus give on email marketing doesn't work so well for her and her handmade business. Instead, she's developed a system that works for her and keeps her subscribers happy. Below are all the ways Danielle ignores the gurus.
- Danielle sends just one welcome email. Most gurus suggest sending a long auto-responder series to new subscribers to introduce them to you and your business, give them great advice and content, and build a relationship. But Danielle found that she had a higher unsubscribe rate when she had a 3-part welcome series versus her current system of just one welcome email. It was too much for her subscribers, because she wanted to send them updates every few weeks as well. One email to introduce herself and make a great impression is just right for Danielle.
- Danielle doesn't teach in her emails. Since Danielle is always creating new products to keep her customers coming back, she doesn't feel the need to educate and inform in her emails. That might work well if a business owner has just one big product to sell, but Danielle's customers don't need to learn how a baby blanket works! They just want to know what's new in the shop or how they can enter the latest giveaway. If they're on her list, they're already sold on the concept that handmade items for baby are great.
- Danielle doesn't have a consistent email schedule. She sends a new email when… there's something new! Typically Danielle sends a “what's happening in the shop” email about once a month, and her subscribers also get an email about the latest giveaway at the beginning of each month. But she does suggest that if you're struggling to send consistent emails to your list, make a schedule for yourself and stick with it.
A Unique Way to do Market Research
The Gleam Giveaway App has allowed Danielle to do market research in a unique way. Giveaway entrants can earn an extra entry by answering questions! Danielle says that the answers have been so valuable that they're worth the cost of the giveaway alone even if she didn't gain new subscribers from it.
Danielle has asked entrants, “What's the most important thing you're looking for when you're shopping for baby stuff?” Then she takes those answers to go back and refine her Etsy listings so she's using the terms her ideal customers use to find great products. She found that many people use “safety” when it comes to baby items, but because that word is so obvious, Danielle hadn't used that in her listings. Now she does, and the listings where safety is listed now convert into sales more often!
Danielle also asked what other baby brands the entrants like. She can use those answers to go create new custom audiences to target on Facebook.
“What other blogs or websites do you like?” is another question Danielle has asked. Her awesome Mom is currently compiling that list so that Danielle knows exactly where to advertise her products in 2016 or which bloggers to partner with to do giveaways and reviews. So perfect!
Danielle is using her current audience to find more people like them! Danielle highly recommends that you get ultra-specific when it comes to your ideal customer. Create a persona for her: What does she like? Where does she live? What does she read? Create that imaginary person and talk right to them. Market where they hang out online.
Gleam has given Danielle so much more information to fill in her ideal customer profile and narrow down her marketing.
How to Help your Customer Try on your Product
We absolutely love the ad Danielle used for her Baby Carrier Cover Giveaway. She made a four-part photo illustrating how to use the cover so customers could visualize how it would fit into their lives. Essentially, the carrier cover allows you to take your baby carrier, roll it up and snap it into a storage sack that sits around your waist. You can contain your baby carrier better so you don't have straps dangling all over the place.
Once people see the product in action, they absolutely love it and can see how it solves a problem! But without the step-by-step photos, it just looks like a random piece of material.
Step-by-step photos can be a great strategy for many kinds of businesses. If it's not super obvious how your product works or if you can catch someone's attention and help them to visualize your product in their lives, that's perfect. Danielle knows that on Facebook people scroll quickly. If your post doesn't catch their eye right away they're gone. Make it clear quickly why something is helpful to someone
We decided that step-by-step photos can be a fun interactive way to present all sorts of products. Even something as simple as a t-shirt can seem more fun when you divide it into steps: Step 1 pull T-shirt out of drawer, Step 2 put T-shirt on, Step 3, be awesome. Isn't that more fun?
Danielle says that this process helps your customer to try on the product in their mind. They start mentally taking ownership of that product and putting it into their life. So they're one step closer to owning it.
Danielle's Awesome iPhone Trick
If you find yourself often typing out long phrases or words like your shop website or email address on your phone, you can create shortcuts with text replacement. Just go into your phone's settings, keyboard, and text replacement.
Danielle has set up her phone so that when she types nnetsy her entire shop URL populates. If she types d@g her entire email address populates. What a great trick for busy moms who are always trying to run their businesses on the go!
Juniper the Comedian!
Danielle's little girl is too funny in this story! Tune in to see how she called out her Dad without saying a word!