Whether you’re a tattoo shop owner looking to grow your clientele or an artist that wants to build their brand, email marketing can be a valuable means to build relationships with current and potential customers.
Emails allow you to build relationships with your clients before they’ve visited you and after they leave, with the intent to keep them coming back or referring you as an expert in the art. With them, you can generate new leads with photos, drive sales with promotions, and increase brand awareness by providing customer testimonials to showcase your business.
Unlike social media marketing which relies on algorithm-maneuvering for visibility, email marketing requires permissions which means the user has to opt-in to receive your content. Otherwise, it’s flagged as spam and sent to that special folder where emails go unread. This is why it isn’t suggested to buy pre-generated email lists but to grow them organically with a specific customer base that is tailored to your brand and local business.
Think of it this way, you get to send like-minded clients a personal invitation to see you and get your art put on their body. People like to be thought of and ‘in the know’ about things they find interesting…and if they made it to your email list, they probably find something interesting about what you’re doing already.
By the end of this article, you will know how to build an in-house email marketing strategy that:
- Identifies who you’re sending what emails to
- Determines how and when to send emails
- Outlines what types of information to include in the emails
- Grows and changes alongside your business and brand
Step 1: Define Your Audience
Defining your audience is pivotal because it maximizes the likelihood that you will reach a targeted clientele that matches your business— these are the people most likely to convert into your customers and future referrals. Just like any kind of relationship-building, to create interest and and maintain engagement with current and potential customers, you have to know who they are and what they want to hear from you.
It could be more current sketches, flash sales, holiday hours, loyalty programs, newsletters, anything at all. The point is that you offer clients what is informative and useful to them. When you give them something that they find value in, they attribute that value to your brand and business, which builds trust. The bigger your trust level becomes with your local customers, the bigger community of people like you and your ideal clients will flock.
You may find that you have multiple audiences with different needs and concerns— the main idea is to determine your ideal clients. Are they more interested in tattooing or piercing services? Do they respond well to promotions or how-to’s? Would they refer more friends if there were an incentive to do so? Your client history and online following can help you answer these questions, so do the research, ask the questions, and listen to what your people have to say about what they want.
You can have as many or as few different types of audiences to cater to as you want or your business can handle. People enjoy getting content that is curated to suit them, so it’s just a matter of how much you can manage for your business. As we move into building your email strategy, your audience(s) and email list(s) will be important tools in catering to different people to gather as many followers under your brand as you can.
Step 2: Build Your Email List
Once you have determined what your catered audience(s) value, set up free content relating to that and offer it everywhere that you can. By providing a sample of content, you are able to show the benefits of your emails right away and ask for client information in return, like their email address. These email addresses, or leads, are what make up your email list(s).
For example, if your clients want to know when you have deals ongoing, offer them a special promotional code which they can receive through…ta-da! Email, “just type it in the box and save!” Now, you’ve got a list of customers with exclusive updates to all future sales promotions as well.
In order to gather the greatest number of organic leads in the shortest time, talk about your content in person, mention it on social media, and publish it on your website with a call to action. Then wait and watch little by little as your email list (or lists) come to fruition.
To go one step further into personalizing your customer experience, you can create multiple email lists based on specifications like how people signed up, what content they found engaging, or what stage they are at with your business.
Now if this already seems impossible at the second step, breathe deep and have no fear. Free email automation is here! We are lucky to live in a time when, along with the internet, come free resources like MailChimp, Zoho Campaigns, and SendInBlue Email to help you with the processes of gathering, organizing, and using your email lists to their fullest capacity.
Each resource has its benefits but most solid email marketing assistants should include at least the capabilities for contact list management, email campaign creation, and reporting tools.
Step 3: Create Your Email Strategy
Perhaps you’ve done the first two steps and you have a list of email addresses but no clue what to do with them. Don’t let your precious leads go to waste!
Your email list is the beginning of a beautiful friendship with your clients because it allows you to update them consistently to A. remind them that your business exists, and B. that your services are worth getting or referring because you are their personal expert in the field.
With that said, creating an email strategy is important because it requires you to focus on what call to action you want to have and when to send it. This relates directly to what goals you want to achieve with your email list(s). If what you want is to drive sales, you may email 2-3 times per month with short, direct promotions. If you wanted to raise brand awareness and loyalty, you may post longer, more specific newsletters once per month or two.
A well rounded business might utilize a combination of both, with two different email lists that may overlap depending on client interest, and that is how an email marketing strategy is born.
The point is to have a goal, measure your results toward said goal, and adjust details as you go for optimal results. An example of a starting email strategy would be to send a newsletter monthly and a sales promotion every other month, a total of 18 just emails per year. However, if the promotional emails get high open rates and more appointments booked during those times, it might be fruitful to send sales promotion emails on a monthly basis as well.
So an email marketing strategy doesn’t mean that every email for the year is pre-planned to a tee, in fact planning too soon ahead isn’t suggested to maintain current information and accommodate any business changes. What it does mean is that there is a goal and a basic plan in mind of how to reach the goal, knowing that there will be changes because thriving businesses don’t stay stagnant.
Here are some personalized types of emails you can plan to send your clientele:
- Transactional: these basic function emails are convenient for sending client receipts for them to keep records and have easy access to your website and social media links for future reference
- Welcome: these emails would be sent to clients who have gotten a tattoo or piercing by you and might contain salutations, words of appreciation, and/or informative care and upkeep guides for their new body art
- Promotional: these emails are typically straight forward with what the deal is, what is included or not included in the promotion, and the duration of the promotion
- Seasonal: these emails can feel like a personal touch, wishing your clients well and reminding them that you are available should they have time off
- Newsletters: these emails tend to include the most content, such as business updates, current events, new offerings/skills, tutorials, and the like, which can link to your website, blog, or social media accounts
- Loyalty: these can celebrate milestones with customers such as number of hours spent being tattooed, customers referred, or years of being a customer
Step 4: Design Your Emails
When it comes to layout and creation, there is no true right or wrong. Again, these are your messages to your customers. It’s great to keep them personal, treating your customers like human beings and not just email addresses on a screen.
There are, however, general rules to follow for the sake of clarity. Some of the best general practices of email creation are:
- Keep It Stupid Simple (KISS): emails should have only one call of action at a time
- Use High Resolution Images: if you’re going to use pictures, make sure they are worth it
- Clarity Is Key: make sure that the text size, font, and color combinations allow your emails to be easily read on any size screen or chances are it won’t be read
- Same Template, New Content: your emails should have roughly the same layout each time but with updated information
Email automation sites like MailChimp, Zoho Campaigns, and SendInBlue Email provide pre-made templates for you to input your photos and write out text easily. You can typically create templates and save them for re-use, allowing for a consistent look with current information. Your standard email consists of a subject line and the body. The subject line should be catchy and clear. Your email body will contain your images, message, and call to action with any social media links at the bottom.
Step 5: Study The Results, Tweak, Repeat
Once you’ve designed and sent out your first batch, you’ve accomplished a huge step in marketing yourself with email. You’ve begun! You’re set up for success with an app or program that helps you to create, schedule, and send emails to your customers and fans on your schedule. It just so happens, ever so conveniently, you have a schedule of emails to create as you go, too.
Like with any new-found art, the next steps come more easily with experience. Once your emails have been sent out, you can use your email marketing automation reporting tools to observe the results of your home-grown email campaign.
Because your audience is specific to your business, there is no completely tried and true way to just inherently know how to engage them. There are, however, signs we can read to help guide us in the right direction. Some major reports to look for would include open rate, click rates, unsubscribe rates, and forwarding rates for engagement. Use your email marketing tools to observe the results of your emails. See what emails are getting more attention and try to continue in that direction.
At this point, you’ve done all of the footwork to creating and establishing your email strategy. Now you have to uphold it, being sure to email your customers regularly as per your schedule and track the results. A major tip for your strategy is to remember that your strategy is living and can change—in fact it *should* change over time to better match your clientele’s wants and needs. Email marketing can help your brand be known but ultimately, it’s your customers who will make your business thrive. In order to keep marketing to people in a human way, remember that your clients are more than just email addresses and phone numbers, they’re real people who have come across and are interested in your art. Your responsibility as their local expert in the art of tattooing is to inform and educate them and email is a great means to do it.