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The importance of an email list for surface pattern designers

Design and Shine Podcast episode title the importance of an email list for surface pattern designers. Girl's hand typing on a laptop

In this episode of the Design and Shine podcast, I am going to be talking about something that is important to think about doing as you’re growing your surface pattern design business and that is creating an email list.

You may have heard people talking about email lists and have wondered what one is, why you need one and whether it’s something you should do so we are going to be talking about that today.

What is an email list?

Your email list is exactly how it sounds and is a collection of emails from people who are interested in what you do or what you sell. Creating an email list will allow you to engage with, follow up with and create a relationship with the people who are signed up to your website, who like what you do and who could potentially be a buyer of your product. 

If you have a list of potential clients you have worked with before, by having their emails you have a way of contacting them. This can be great for when you have a brand new collection that you’d like to show, a new product or you’re having a sale. An email list will allow you to contact people with specials, promotions, events and anything new that you have got coming up as well. It’s a way of getting in front of your buyers and clients.

You don’t own your social media account

As you’re building and marketing your business, I’m sure you know that social media is an important part of that and it’s fantastic for connection with your audience but it has one major downside and that is you have no control over it. You’ve probably heard of people getting their social media accounts shut down for no apparent reason or the social media platforms could change their algorithm or force you to pay for things that were previously free. You don’t have control over them however you do have control over your email newsletters.You can choose when you send it and how often you send it so you know that all of your subscribers will get access to your most important updates and you’re not falling victim to an algorithm.

Your email list is also a really great way of engaging with people who like what you do which can help with conversions or sales of your products because people can get to know who you are, and develop a relationship with you. It gives you an opportunity to share and follow up with potential clients so it’s definitely something that’s worth building and the sooner you can start, the better it is for you in the long run.

So the question is, how do you go about starting an email list.

Opt-in Incentive

The simplest way is to have an opt-in incentive on your website. That is a way for people to sign up to your mailing list.  The best way to do that is to offer them something that they would like in exchange for their email. This will really depend on what product or services you are selling. If you are selling a product you could offer a discount on their first purchase, for example you could offer 20% off the first purchase they make from your website. Or another example is free downloadables so that could be a free calendar or something like that or you good give away some free information for example you may have a list of your favourite art supplies.

Once someone signs up for your opt-in incentive, you will then have a way of contacting them. 

Password protected portfolio

If you have a design portfolio on your website and you have a password-protected page, this can be a really great way of creating an email list of potential clients interested in licensing or buying your designs. Once they request access to your full portfolio you will be able to follow up with and see if they were interested in purchasing your designs. This is one of the benefits of having a password protected page. Rather than not knowing who is looking at or potentially interested in your work, the fact that a potential client has to contact you will give you the means to keep in touch with them.

Now It’s really important to also nurture the people that are on your email list. There’s no point in creating an email list if you don’t bother nurturing it. You can let people know what you’re doing- if you have any new designs or products, let them know of anything that you’ve got coming up any specials or promotions and also let them know a little bit more about you so they can connect with you further. It’s a really great way of being able to build engagement and build a connection with people who are interested in your work.

Email service providers

There are lots of different email marketing services out there and each has its own pros and cons. The way it works with email providers is that pay for the people you have on your list. The amount will vary across the different providers but an example of it will be something like for less than 1000 people it will be one price then when for 1000 to 5000 people the price will go up etc. So the more people you have, the more you pay.

A lot of people start with Mailchimp because it is free to get started for up to 2000 contacts but other great providers include Flodesk, Convertkit and ActiveCampaign. 

Once you sign up with an email service provider you can do all sorts of other things depending on the features of the provider you choose such as email automation. For example, you can automatically send a welcome email when someone signs up to your email optin.

All in all, creating an email list will allow you to put your products and service in front of the people who like what you do the most 



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