Whether you’re a designer just starting out, already have a going business, or you have more clients than you know what to do with, “You always need to be marketing yourself,” says Chairish’s Head of Partnerships, Mugs Buckley. “That could be having a good website, having a strong social media presence, and also using email as a way of reminding your clients and prospective clients that you’re out there.” For our latest Webinar: Email Marketing for Interior Designers, Mugs and Chairish’s Director of Email Marketing, Tina Butler, share the secrets of starting and maintaining a successful email marketing strategy, from why (and how) to collect emails, what content to put in your emails, and best practices marketing pros follow. Get a sneak peek at some of the tips below, and watch the full webinar HERE!
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Why Collection Emails?
Emails are a great way to stay connected with clients and prospects because it gives you a chance to speak directly to them, in their inbox, at a time that is convenient for them. In this way, email can be used as a tool to build loyalty, and is also a great way to announce news. “News can be in the form of a lot of things,” says Mugs. “It can be that you were just covered in print, online, or on a broadcast. It could be that you added a new team member or moved offices. It could be that you’re speaking at an event, that you have won an award, or that you are coming out with a book.” Not only can the content used for email extend across multiple platforms, such as your social channels or a company blog, overall email is relatively inexpensive when compared to hiring a PR firm or buying up Google ad words. All good reasons to start building your email list today. But how?
Most sites, including designer’s websites, use subscription pop-up modals or static sign-up modules to capture email addresses. Rather than choose between the two, Chairish’s Director of Email Marketing, Tina Butler, recommends using both. “It never hurts to give site visitors ample opportunities to sign-up and stay connected with you via email,” says Tina. The reason almost every website you visit these days has some sort of pop-up modal? “It is the most effective way to capture email,” says Tina. But using it right is key. Carefully consider the language you include in your module to entice people to subscribe. “One key way to do this is to provide some context around the value proposition of sharing their information. We all get a lot of email, so you really want to be clear about the value people will get out of it,” says Tina. Also, timing it right is important. Tina recommends setting the pop-up to appear either after 6-8 clicks, or after 45-60 seconds of the visitor being on the site. All modals should be closable, which is where the static sign-up module comes in. Placed at the top or bottom or your site, it gives visitors another chance to receive your emails once they’ve had more time to view your lovely work.
All these efforts will result in a growing email list, but now what? Here’s the step-by-step guide to diving into email marketing and best practices you need to know.
Step 1: Send a Welcome Email
“This is a way to acknowledge and welcome new folks to your list,” says Tina. “It’s also an immediate confirmation of the action they took by sharing their email in the first place. You will see higher unsubscribe rates and less engagement if you just take that email and then a few months later when you’re ready to send your email, an email comes out of the blue and that person may have forgotten who you are because you haven’t been in touch.” The best part is you can set it up so this email will automatically trigger whenever anyone new is added to your list. As for what should be in your welcome email, “include a little about yourself and what you do for your clients. A great way to frame this is to use a client testimonial,” suggests Tina.
Step 2: Plan Your Content
A few ideas of what content to include in your emails could be showing a recent project or going back in your portfolio to highlight an older project. You can also offer design tips or share any exciting news or press you’ve received. “Don’t be shy about tooting your own horn and sharing accomplishments along the way,” says Mugs. “People really do like rooting for people and it’s okay to humbly share great news about yourself.” Other ideas include asking for a referral, encouraging people to follow you on social, or sharing some of our inspiration (particularly if you’re just starting out) so people can get a sense of your unique point-of-view.
Email Best Practices
“Quarterly is a great place to start,” advises Tina. One thing she cautions against is overcommitting up front. Give yourself enough time to plan each email and build it. That being said, you can send emails off-schedule if you have something really exciting to share, but remember that social media can also be used for more timely sharing.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of crafting a great subject line for that beautiful email you worked so hard on since, as Tina says, “It’s a loss if you don’t get them to open your email in the first place.” Some good rules of thumb for writing a strong subject line include keeping it short, ideally 30 characters or less including spaces, using numbers and emojis when relevant, and utilize the preheader space to say more about what’s inside your email.
“Obviously design is a really visual business,” says Tina, emphasizing the importance of investing in beautiful photography of all your finished projects to use in your emails. While you want to show off the overall look of a room, don’t forget the rising importance of mobile in terms of how people are consuming email. “We definitely recommend some tight, close-up vignette shots,” says Tina. “If you think about the visual medium of email, you’re limited by the size of the screen. Think about images that work well in the palm of your hand.” Also, be sure to give credit to photographers or collaborators to share the love.
“Similar to subject lines, we really recommend keeping things short,” says Tina. This could be a brief personal note or teasing the story to get them to click back to your site. Also, be sure to make your calls to action really clear by putting links in color and use button treatments to drive clicks.
For even more email marketing insights, including the best email providers out there, and how to manage and keep your email list nice and clean, watch the full webinar HERE!
Lead photo by Alina Hvostikova / Stocksy