016: The New, Shocking Way to Build Your Email List (It's Not)
A to Z on building your email list – how to get your website traffic onto your list, moving that list into Facebook Ads, and a hack for getting your contacts into FB if you don't have their email addresses.
VIDEO: How to Upload Data to Facebook Ads
Read the transcribe
Welcome to another edition of the Art Marketing Podcast. Today, we are covering the new, shocking way to build your email list. It's not shocking. But what we are gonna cover is the absolute best way to build an email list, which is shocking. Again, it's not shocking. There is no such thing as the best way, there's only one way. You build them one email at a time. What is the one thing that every email list builder has in common? They build those emails one email at a time. Want some encouragement? Everybody starts with one and starts building from there. If you don't have a list, don't worry. You're in good company. Go and get one email, and then focus in on email number two, and rinse and repeat.
In reality, today's episode is designed to cover, not just cover but I guess answer a number of questions centered around email, that I've been getting enough of, I figured it was probably high time to cobble together an episode to handle all of them at once. Everything from, "I don't have an email list, how do I get started building one? What do I do? I'm never gonna make it, et cetera, et cetera. Help," to, "My list only has 50 people on it," or, "My email list only has 150 people on it." "I've been doing art shows and fairs for 20 years but never gathered email addresses." I'm gonna cover a whole bunch of those hodgepodge questions, and it's a good time to do so, because the holidays are coming, and so we're rounding the corner on the fourth quarter, depending on when you're listening to this. It's a good time to be thinking about your email list and email marketing.
If you're just getting started building your list, absolutely this episode's for you, but if you already have a big list, and you're sending them emails all the time, don't worry, I also have on this episode what I consider to be an absolutely huge update that applies to you. We aims to please, and we do think we have something for everybody on this one. I'm gonna cover basically three different main points. Email list basics 101, although it's kind of, sort of hard to call them basics, as so, so many people still ignore them. I'm gonna break that up into the online and the offline version.
And then, I'm gonna cover this Facebook update I think everybody needs to be aware of. It's scary. It's either scary good or just plain scary, depending on how you look at it. We'll get into that in a second. And then, how to leverage that Facebook list to jumpstart your list building, so you can get some more emails on your list to send emails to.
Let's start right in with the email list building, the online version. What do you need? You need a website and a way to capture emails. There is a myriad of both paid and free options out there, so stick to whatever one's for you. I don't care what, wherever you host your website and whatever email service provider, ESP, you use. I don't want to get bogged down in that, it's more about the technique.
On this website, you need to have a popup of sorts that has an incentive to opt into your list. Versions of this might be 20% off for first time customers, free shipping on your order for joining the list. My personal favorite, enter your email to win a free print. Why is that my favorite? Because it applies to all levels of traffic, cold, warm, and hot. There's cold traffic, i.e. somebody that's just met you the first time on their website, want to get free shipping on their order for 30% off? Probably not, they're just getting to know you, they don't know whether or not they want to order yet. But, do they want to win something for free? Potentially give you their email address to win something for free? Absolutely. Most people like free stuff indeed.
"But Patrick, hold your horses. I sell art, I don't sell prints." Fair enough, it can be anything. Offer a calendar, a coaster, or a t-shirt. Which by the way, there's outfits out there now, no pun intended, that you print on demand t-shirts, minimum order of one, they will print it and ship it directly to whoever it is, for a doggone reasonable price. I think I was paying like $13, $12 or $13, and the shirt was good quality as well. There's a number of different ways you can approach it, figure one out that works for you and get it going.
It can be either a popup in a light box, just a tiny little box, or you can do the full screen popup, or you can do a slide-in, as soon as somebody hits your site, and it doesn't matter how you do it. If popups literally scare you, you're crazy. Yes, nobody likes them but they're just effective, and so it's a necessary evil. But if they scare you, you can even do an exit popup, right? Where if somebody comes to your site, they're getting ready to leave, the browser detects that, and then it does a popup, but that doesn't really work to well for mobile.
It doesn't matter, right? Use a popup, whatever one suits you best. I recommend the more prominent, either full screen or it pops as soon as somebody hits your page, but if you absolutely do detest popups, just put it somewhere else on your homepage, right? Just make it prominent, please. Make sure it's on your homepage, which by the way is gonna be your most traffic page, for 99% of people.
Don't bury the button on your footer or on an about me page or somewhere else, which way too many people do. It needs to be prominent. It is the number one thing that you are after from your traffic, orders aside, yes. Of course orders, but the majority of your traffic is not gonna be ready to order so you definitely want to take an email instead. You get that going, you have that popup in place, and you're set. You are going to put yourself in a position to capture email addresses from your traffic. Once that's in place, you can get back to the business of driving traffic to your website.
That's the online version. Now, let's talk about the offline version. What do you need? You need to be exhibiting, at art shows, craft fairs, or having gallery shows. Selling art in a physical space. You run the fishbowl technique. We have an in-depth podcast episode on this, gonna link to it in the show notes, artmarketingpodcast.com if you want to go there. For those in the know, not in the know, let me briefly describe it, you put out a fishbowl, or a clipboard, you offer some sort of incentive to leave their business card or email address on the clipboard. Hmm, offer some sort of incentive. Sounds like we're having deja vu, what does that remind me of? It sounds eerily similar to the online version, and by all means, use the same deal that works online too. This is the exact same concept.
It's not like we invented the fishbowl technique either, right? Sandwich shops and various other retail businesses have been running this operation for years. Many of you have probably dropped a business card over the years in one of those fishbowls, which by the way, as a quick aside, has anyone ever been contacted or ever been followed up on for putting the business card in a fishbowl? I certainly never have. I don't think I have. Anyway, we do have an in-depth podcast episode on this, where we really go into some nuance about how you have to email after the fact, and we have what we feel like is a unique spin on that, and it's crazy, crazy effective.
One more quick aside, and I want to put a finer point on this. We continue to get just an absolutely tremendous amount of feedback on how successful the fishbowl technique is when artists are selling offline, on a regular basis. In our storefronts we created, we thought it was a good idea to create this forum. The forum was gonna be just for customers, and the grand vision there was that it was gonna be this great place where everybody encouraged everybody, and we shared our best marketing insights, and it started out, and it was going kind of, sort of okay. We thought, "We're gonna do a self hosted version, and in this self hosted version, we're gonna have all the control, because we own it, no one else owns it. We can put all the plugins and this and that, the bells and whistles in there," and we thought it was a good idea.
It wasn't a good idea, it was a terrible idea, because it was too hard to get people to login and go check it out. We tried hard. Emails, and constant updates, and instant messaging, and all these other shenanigans. We moved it to Facebook and created a private Facebook group for it. Awesome move as it turns out, because what is everybody doing all day? They're in Facebook, they're checking Facebook. As a result of that, our engagement has gone way, way up. I'm talking more comments, more posts, more likes, more attention. That was a major, major learning for me, because you just can't ever get emotional about attention. You have to go to where the attention is. I say that all the time.
I tried to launch something that gave us more control and was on our terms, and we hosted and we owned, and you know what we had? A forum we controlled, that we have great control over, that had nobody in it. At least not in comparison to what we have now. Tried and true lesson about attention there, don't get emotional, go to where the attention is. Now, the group was really rocking, right, and people were posting all the time, and they're super engaged. Just night and day difference, I mean it's awesome.
I bring all of that up to reference the fact that I'm hearing it on a regular basis from our customers that they are running the fishbowl technique and I am hearing everything on the low end from, "It was a crappy mall show, here was my booth," and they're posting pictures of their booth, which is totally cool. "Here's my booth, here's what the fishbowl looks like, and I got 15 emails, so I'll take it, but it was a crappy show, low traffic," to, "I literally doubled the size of my email list in one event using the fishbowl," all the way to, "I added 100 emails to my list over the weekend." The takeaways are the fishbowl technique just works, it insanely works.
Everybody has one thing in common by the way, they're building an email list one email at a time. Be encouraged, do some shows, even if you have no emails on your list, which I hear this all the time, grow your list by doing this. It literally has the potential to create dividends for years to come. To sum that up, you get the online and the offline covered and it just becomes a game of pressure over time.
That's the fire, now let's go talk about the gasoline we're gonna pour on it. This is gonna be list matching in Facebook. Did you know, we've been over this, but did you know you could import an email list into Facebook and then show those folks ads? Yes, you can. You can then show the folks ads in perpetuity, which is absolutely amazing. If anybody's been a digital marketer for any length of time, as I have, you've been doing this for years. You grab your client's database, you throw it in Facebook, Facebook matches what it can, and then you show these folks ads. You rinse and repeat. I've had you do this for years, rinse and repeat. You set a reminder to do it quarterly or monthly or whatever, and you get a fresh export out of the database, and you send it back up to Facebook, and Facebook matches it, and that's just what you do going forward because you're always showing these people ads.
In the past, depending on the quality of your data and how much data you had, and there's these various different fields that Facebook takes. First name, last name, email address, all of that kind of stuff. They take that data and the match it to Facebook profiles. In the past, and I've done this for a range of different clients and in a range of different niches, and I've seen everything from terrible match rates where you upload 1,000 email addresses and only 10 people come back, and Facebook tells you the audience is too small. I've seen everything from 10% match rates all the way up to 90% match rates. It all sort of just depends on the data and the niche. What's very consistent though was that you had to have their email addresses to really get a good high match rate.
Quick story. I have a buddy, he's in commercial real estate, he sells buildings, right? He wanted to start running Facebook ads, good idea on his part, and so he asked for help. I showed him quickly how to import his database, and this particular database was not huge. It had I think 2,800 records in it. Here's the catch though. Out of that 2,800 records, none of them had email addresses, none. He had first name, last name, address, phone numbers, but no email whatsoever.
The 2,800 went up and what did Facebook come back with? They were able to match 1,500 people without email. That's likely hard, it's hard for most of you guys probably if you never advertised on Facebook and never put a list up for that to sound impressive without any context, because you just don't have any context, but what I can tell you is the fact that it matched 53% of that list to Facebook profiles that we can now show ads to, without an email address, is absolutely crazy. I tell you that story to tell you if I had run the same trick instead of last week, last year, Facebook probably would have been able to match 2% or 10% of that list, so somehow, through some sort of sorcery, Facebook has gone from being able to match a very, very small portion of that list without email addresses, to 53% of the list. The bottom line is their algorithm is growing by leaps and bounds in a scary, scary fashion. They're just getting so good.
By the way, as a rough aside, the estimates are that Facebook has around 150,000 data points per person. Think about that for a second. That's you, me, everyone else, Facebook knows 150,000 different things about you. It stands to reason that they're getting so good at that, that they don't need the email address, right?
Let me put all of that in artist's terms. What does this mean for you? I'm gonna give you three different scenarios. Let's talk about Mary. Mary doesn't have an email list, and Mary's just getting started. She doesn't know where to start. "What do I do?" Mary, scrape your emails from the last 10 years of your life. I want you to get all of your family, all of your friends, all of your acquaintances, anybody that generally likes you, regardless of what information you have on them. You get that together, you get that list into Facebook, you get lead capture on your site, and you start showing those folks ads. These people love you by the way, they will see the ads, share them, click them, and also join your email list, help get the word out. You start building emails, one email at a time.
Let's talk about John. John's been going to art fairs for the last 20 years but not gathering emails. Terrible. Terrible. Sorry, it's not your fault. You're gonna do the same thing Mary is gonna do, except I also want you to go into that shoebox of receipts that you keep in your closet, your keeper file if you will, and start getting all of those little receipts out, that you had over the years, for all of those sales you've made, and get that data into a spreadsheet. Get whatever info you have and get it to Facebook, and let's just see how much of it Facebook can match up. Then, start showing these folks some ads, and see what happens. Facebook might just be able to rescue you from 20 years of art shows with no fishbowl.
All right, let's talk about Leslie. Leslie's a seasoned pro. Her list is in Facebook, and she uploaded the entire list to Facebook let's just say last winter. The fourth quarter last year, just ahead of the holidays. You did the emails you had, and probably nothing else. That's all you gave Facebook. You said, "Here's my email list, I've got 50 emails. Go ahead and match and let's see." But you probably also have a stack of receipts that you can input by hand and do a spreadsheet, and see if Facebook can match it up.
My point for you, Leslie, is do it again. Get your entire database together, export it, get it in a spreadsheet, and get it up to Facebook, because what Facebook will likely do is match a whole bunch more people to it. These are people that know you, there's no better person to advertise to.
I know what you're saying out there, "I don't know how to do this. I'm unclear of what format Facebook wants. How do I upload the list? What data do they really need?" All great questions, and I would imagine for most people likely difficult to answer. For you though, no. You're listening to this podcast, so you're covered. I want to talk extremely briefly about what data Facebook actually accepts, so you can just start preparing this in your mind. Let me just go over it quickly. They'll take email, phone number, first name, last name, ZIP/Postal Code, city, state or province for the Canadians, county. Is it county? No. Country, date of birth, year of birth, gender, age, and some other stuff that you won't have, Facebook user ID and all that.
Here's the thing though, Facebook can be picky about how that data is supposed to look and be formatted. Not to worry. I'm hoping that some of you are like, "Okay, you're right Patrick, I do have these old receipts, I do have an old date book," or a Rolodex or whatever if you're old school. I don't want to repeat this, I want to to this right, right out of the gates. How does that data look? I am going to make a video that walks through what the spreadsheet should look like, what data Facebook should accept, and I'll also create a Google sheet that you guys can download that has all the columns in a sheet set up, that you're gonna use to import into Facebook.
Artmarketingpodcast.com, and this is episode 16 I believe. Whenever you're listening to this, you can go watch the video, download the spreadsheet, and do that before you start taking these steps. And summing this up, you get your data together in whatever state it might be. Get it formatted, get it up to Facebook, it starts showing the people you have interacted with over the years of your life. These people [inaudible 00:16:33], right? You can do this very inexpensively. These are the people that are gonna like, comment, share, join your email list, and yes, buy your art.
All this talk of email. "Hey Patrick, this is real funny and all, but I thought this podcast was about selling art online. I must be blind because I have yet to find an ATM machine that spits out email addresses for a bank account that I can use to buy a couple of cold beers on the weekend." I get it. Allow me to quote the inimitable Tom Waits, from New Coat of Paint. "Fishing for a good time starts with throwing in your line." I think that's a poignant reminder. Without the email addresses, you have no opportunity to tell your story, no opportunity for prospects to get to know you, for you to continue to market to them and keep them in the loop as you continue to create in the years to come, and without an email address, a way to contact them, they are gone and likely not coming back.
In the last episode, I made the case, it is the greatest time ever to be an artist. Why? Because you can build an email list that you own, storytell to that audience, romance that audience, show ads to that audience, and have the ability to sell art directly to that audience, for the rest of your artistic career. You've gotta be in this game for the long run. Patience, persistence, and a strategic plan is how we roll. The learning, it never stops.
I want to get into some fan love. I've got some fan love. I haven't done this in a couple episodes. We've got a review here in iTunes titled, "Smack Myself in the Forehead, Duh. A-ha Moment," by Sterling Silver. "I have spent thousands on Mastermind classes, and I have learned more listening to your podcast in a few short weeks than I have in years. It's not so much that the info is brand new, but you present it in such a no-nonsense, straightforward manner that just makes perfect sense. Keep 'em coming." Love it, Sterling Silver, thank you for that.
You guys, if you're enjoying the podcast, I would love it, love, love, love if you would leave us a review on iTunes. We just recently hit 30, which is a big milestone. You know how reviews on iTunes are built? One review at a time. We're resetting the goal to 50, so if you are enjoying it, please do leave us a review. Get your doggone list up onto Facebook. The holidays are coming. Thanks, have a great day.
Brought To You By Art Storefronts
We help artists & photographers open and run their own art gallery business online.
Ready to continue to learnings? Here are the related episodes we mentioned in Episode 15.
I have learned great tips about getting my art out there in the world.
Love this podcast. The episodes are to the point and give great value with none of the "fluff" that takes up unnecessary time.
Brought To You By Art Storefronts
We help artists & photographers open and run their own art gallery business online.