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Simple Email Marketing for Makers

Lesson 9 of 25

Picking an Opt-In Incentive for Your Email List

Megan Auman

Simple Email Marketing for Makers

Megan Auman

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Lesson Info

9. Picking an Opt-In Incentive for Your Email List

Lesson Info

Picking an Opt-In Incentive for Your Email List

Let's talk about picking an opt-in incentive for your list. So let me just be clear here, opt-in incentive is a really fancy way of saying, why should someone join your list, right? This is like super marketer lingo here. And you're gonna hear me say it a lot, but really, at the end of the day, it's just giving people a reason, but picking giving people a reason for your list is a terrible title, so we're gonna call it picking an opt-in incentive for your list. So I want you guys to think about why does someone join an email list for a product-based company? So I want you to take a second, hopefully you guys also did the challenge where you started to find some role models, but I want you to think about a product-based brand that you love. It can be another maker, it can be a mid-sized company, it can be a big company, I don't care what it is. But what made you join the email list? Why did you sign up? Does anyone wanna share, can anyone think of an example? Like, I am on this company'...

s list because... I'm on Bando's email list, and it's because I love their products, and I wanna hear when they have new ones. Exactly, exactly. You love their products, and you wanna hear when they're new. Anyone else? Is anyone on anyone's list because they wanna know if stuff goes on sale? That's okay, too, there's no wrong answer to this, right? Annette, are you thinking of one? Yeah, well there's a spice company, Penzeys, that I'm on their email list because I love their products, and they always have good stories that go along with their stuff. Great. So at the end of the day, you're joining a company's list because you like what they're selling. And so, let's get this totally straight, if you have not gotten this from our last lesson. You do not need an information-based opt-in incentive to get someone to join your list. You do not need five reasons to blah-blah-blah, or eight ways to so-and-so. You don't need a PDF, you don't need a download, you don't need anything. Because it's not really who we want. We want people to join our list because they love your products and your brand, and they want to know when there are new things, when there are things that fit their life, maybe when there are sales, but they wanna know because they want to buy. So when we're thinking about our opt-in incentive, the first thing I want you to think about is what kinds of customers do you want to attract to your list? Now, you may have done some ideal customer research in the past. This is actually not what I'm talking about. We're gonna go a little bit broader, and a little bit bigger picture here. Think about the kinds of customers you want to attract to your list. So roughly we can divide people, all people, into pretty much two categories, right? There are shoppers, and there are non-shoppers. I am a shopper, I love to shop. So, so fun, right? My husband, not a shopper. He's like, "I'm going to the store "because all my pants have holes in them "and I have to, and I'm gonna be really miserable about it. "And then I'm gonna come home, "and I'm gonna complain about it some more." Right, that's my husband. This is not any kind of gender thing, here. I know plenty of, I have plenty of girlfriends who do not like to shop. My younger brother, totally a shopper. Loves shopping. He's like, when I go visit him, he's like, "Let's go buy shoes." Cool, let's go buy shoes, right? So roughly, we have shoppers and non-shoppers. Who would you rather have on your list? Shoppers, right. So the first thing is that that kind of information marketing, I'm not saying that it doesn't attract shoppers, but it also is really good for attracting non-shoppers. So we wanna focus on the shoppers, because again, list size does not matter, and at some point, if your list gets big enough, you have to pay for those people. MailChimp is free up to a certain amount, I don't remember what it is, maybe 500. After that, you start to pay. Do you really wanna pay for someone who is never going to buy your product? I don't. So then within thinking about the shoppers versus non-shoppers, we can actually divide people out even further. Way back a long time ago, I talked about this idea in one of my early CreativeLive classes, but I thought it was time to dust it back out, while we're talking about email marketing. So within the category of shoppers, I've identified four different kinds of profiles. Because not everyone is motivated to buy by the same things. Then we also have, and I'm gonna talk about these a little bit more in a minute. We also have our non-shoppers, and we also have bargain hunters, who I think none of us really want on our lists either. We're going to talk about that. Because the kind of opt-in incentives that you give will help determine who is ending up on your list, and there are definitely some of these categories that you're gonna want on your list more than others. So a couple of different people to think about: The first are collectors. Collectors use their purchases to establish their identity. Right, like I collect Nike Air Jordan, whateveries. That's a big thing, that's a big collector category. So they may collect a specific category, a broad category, or a brand. I collect vintage pie racks, or I collect, no one collects Beanie Babies anymore. But remember when everyone collected Beanie Babies? That was a thing, right? Collectors typically view themselves as experts or connoisseurs. They don't just buy the things, they know about the things, right? Oh, you're wearing the 1997 Air Jordans limited release whatever. I don't know anything about Air Jordans, so I'm just like making these things up. I could be totally off, just so we're clear. I know nothing about, I'm not a sneaker collector. But they tend to know more, right? They wanna dive a little bit deeper. But they also enjoy the thrill of the hunt, they wanna seek out the thing. Selectors take longer to make a purchase decision. And they're usually more outwardly motivated by a reason to purchase, right? I need new shoes, because I'm going to a wedding. This is not me. I need new shoes, because shoes are pretty, right? But selectors are usually motivated by a reason. They are also the people that are much more likely to research and contemplate. I actually saw the other day a commercial on TV, there was some insurance company that was saying, you know, "We know who you are. "You're the kind of person who likes to do their research "and take their time and make the decision right, "and we are the brand for you." And at first, I thought, that's kinda weird, because this is not my favorite category of customer, because they take so long to decide. But, then I started to think about, think about what most other insurance companies are doing. They're saying, we are the cheapest, come to us, right? So this is a way for that insurance company to position themselves outside of the bargain hunter brand, so it actually is a strategy that makes a lot of sense. Now, the thing about selectors and the reason that we can't ignore them is because they do prefer quality over quantity, which makes them, does make them in the long run good candidates for purchasing handmade products, right? They like craft, they like buying from makers. And they see their purchases as an investment. But they are definitely the people that take longer. They think about it for a long time. These people may respond to an info-based opt-in, but again, they're probably not really who you actually want. Because I gotta tell you, they feel like work, right? If someone is collecting, it's so easy, right? Some of our other categories, it feels so easy. These feel like a little bit more work, they needed more convincing. So yes, there are a lot of selectors, but quite frankly, I would prefer some of the other categories on my list. Like accumulators. So accumulators usually buy faster than selectors, but they're slower than impulsives. We all know what impulsive is, we're gonna get to that in a second, but it's like, I see it, I gotta have it, I'm done, right? Accumulators think a little bit longer, but then once they make a decision, they're really brand-loyal. I tend to be an accumulator in most of my purchases. A couple of years ago, someone turned me on to the running brand Hoka, and I buy like two different styles of shoes, and I swear I have like eight pairs now, because I'm like, well, I have to alternate shoes, right? And some days I might wanna wear the blue pair, and some days I might wanna wear the green pair, and what if I break them down, right? So accumulators will stock up when the opportunity presents itself, right? They find the thing, they love the thing, they never wanna be without the thing again. So they're gonna buy a lot of it. So there's a little bit of a hurdle to get them to buy the first time, but once they buy, they buy for a while. These are people you want on your email list, right? We want the collectors on our list, too, those are good people. Impulsives focus on the thrill of the purchase rather than ownership. And they typically buy based on emotion rather than need. These people really, really love to shop, right? Like, really, really, really love to shop. But I think the important thing to think about with impulsives is that there's a range of impulse purchase prices. They vary a lot. They vary by income level, but they also vary by priority. So when you hear impulsives, don't just think, oh this is the person that goes to Target, and like, stocks up on the dollar spot stuff, right? I've seen plenty of people impulse buy 300, 400 dollar necklaces at a craft show. It happens. So impulsives actually exist at every price point. Your customers may default towards one of these, or they may be a mix of several, because we actually tend to find that different brands, different product types, may bring out more or less of these traits. I'm generally an accumulator, but I also love to shop, so if the moment's right, I can be an impulsive, too, especially with certain types of products. But your product mix may also dictate who you attract, right? You might find that you're getting more collectors, or you might find that if you do the same thing, you're getting accumulators. I don't have a slide, which is kind of shocking, but in almost every class, I talk about Freshly Picked, she makes the baby moccasins. It's basically the same thing in lots of different colors. So cute, she's like an accumulator magnet, right? Like, I don't just need one pair of baby moccs, I need 12 pairs, in all the colors! Oh, and then guess what? Because my kid grows, now I need them all again in the next size. It's a really brilliant business model. There's a reason I talk about her so much. So depending on what type of product you sell, it could dictate who you attract. But your opt-in incentive can impact the types of customers you attract to your list, which is why it's really important to think about the calls to action, the reasons that we're giving people to go to your list. So do you want to use your list to attract early adopters? To maybe attract people who are going to be collectors, or accumulators, or even impulsives. Impulsives, early adopters, could totally be impulsives, right? I have to have the first icon right now, right? So do we want those people who want to do that first, or do we want the bargain hunters? So looking at what your call to action is can impact that. So the general call to action on my website is join the mailing list to be the first to shop new designs and exclusive sales. I want people who want to know first, who want to buy first. I want people that feel motivated to click on that button when they get the email. Now, this is a different example that's way more inclined to get a bargain hunter, right? I'm having this online sample sale, it's discontinued stuff, excess inventory, 30 to 50 percent off. Now, I'm not gonna lie to you. This drives a lot of people to my list. It works, there's a reason that I do this email sample sale. But, what I have also found, is that most of the people who purchase during the sample sale, only purchase during the sample sale. They're willing to wait until the next one comes around. Now, I try to mitigate this a little bit, you'll notice that I still have a call to action here to tell them that if they join the list, they're gonna shop the sale an hour early. So at least I'm still trying to pull out the early adopters out of the bargain hunters, but you can see how these two calls to action actually attract very different people to my list. The other thing that we have to think about is where is your customer along the buying journey? One of the pieces of advice that I see all the time is like, okay, well, if you're a maker, yeah, you don't have to have a PDF, but then, like, give people like a 10 percent off code. But here's the problem: A discount code doesn't work if your website visitor isn't in a buying frame of mind. It maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe is gonna work on an impulsive, but I gotta say, even then, it's probably gotta be a pretty big discount code, and you don't wanna give people like 40 percent off to join your list, that's insane. If someone lands on your list because, let's say, they did a Google search and they get to your product, and your product was the thing they were looking for, a discount code might work on that person, right, because they were already in a buying frame of mind. But what I have found is that, you know, join the list and get 10 percent off rarely works, because they're not ready for that yet. I don't need 10 percent off, I'll come back later and get it. So you wanna think about that, too. Where is your buyer in the purchase process? And you could actually use different opt-in incentives in different places on your website, to acknowledge this. So if they land on my main website or my blog, they get this, join the mailing list, to be the first to shop new designs and exclusive sales. But if I wanted to, I don't, but if I wanted to, say, like in the footer of my actual online shop, I could make this say something like, join the list and get 10 percent off. That's an example of thinking about where people are in the purchase process, right? Alright, so a couple of opt-in incentives that you can choose from: Be the first to know, first to shop, first to get whatever. You can do this generally, so I do this generally, obviously, you just saw some examples. But you can also do this specific to, like, events or launches, right? So I do the sample sale where I say, you get to shop an hour early. That's a big deal in that, because stuff sells out. But you can also do it, here you can see on my blog, I had done a blog post highlighting upcoming products, and then did a specific call to action, say be the first to shop these designs. So you can use general or product or event specific with that kind of call to action. You can use free shipping. People do like free shipping. Now, you have to think about if it makes sense. I actually have my website set up so that I automatically give free shipping to anyone who's spending over 125 dollars. What I have found that's interesting is that people will still use the free shipping code from my list, even though they were gonna get free shipping anyway. So I actually tend to think that free shipping is way more effective than a discount code. Because a discount code, yeah, you're saving them money, but free shipping, you're giving them something free, right? Free, that's fun! And here's the other thing: If you wanna be really smart about it, you can, like, up your prices a tiny little bit, and then give them a free shipping code, and it all comes out in the wash anyway, right? So these are really your best options. And you wanna start to think about, what makes the most sense for your products, your audience, and the kinds of people you want to attract to your list? So a couple of things to consider: How often are you releasing new products? If you don't release new products very often, that be the first to know, be the first to buy call to action doesn't actually work. It works really well for my list, because I really like to design stuff, and I'm releasing things all the time. It works fantastically if you make one-of-a-kinds. If you make one-of-a-kind products, then being the first to know is really important, because stuff sells out. So that's a great call to action. But if you are not the kind of person who releases new products a lot, A, you might wanna think about becoming that person, because it does make it much easier to email your list when you've got something new, but if you're not, then the first to know, first to buy is probably not the right incentive for you. Then you look at things like what is the cost of shipping relative to your product? So if you have a lower price point product, and you have to charge more for shipping because shipping is kind of a fixed cost, free shipping is a huge incentive, because no one wants to pay seven dollars in shipping to ship something that's like 30 dollars, right? So free shipping is a huge incentive for them to join your list. So you can think about that. And then, what kinds of customers do you want to attract? Do you want the bargain hunters? Probably not. Or do you want the collectors, the accumulators? Maybe you want the impulsives, they're pretty good, they like to spend money up front. They're not the best long-term customers, but they like to spend money up front. It could be a little good for your cash flow, right? What kinds of customers do you want to attract? And then, how are customers discovering you? So for me, a lot of people discover me because I spend a lot of time talking on a camera, right? So because of that, they're Googling my name, and they're landing on the front page of my website. So I'm just using a general call to action, because they're already familiar with my brand. But maybe you watched my how to build a business while learning your craft class, and implemented Tiffany Whipps' search strategies, and you have people coming in because you somehow managed to super optimize for search, but they're not doing a lot of buying, maybe a free shipping code or a discount code. That's a scenario where a discount code could work really well, or maybe you had a viral pin that they're coming to. So where is most of the traffic coming to from your site? How are people discovering you? Because that's gonna change what's gonna motivate them to join your list. The other thing with all of this, and again, I really, really wanna prioritize this, is action is the most important thing that you guys can do here. So pick one. Put it up, and see what happens. I change my opt-in incentives all the time, I'm constantly playing around with them to see what works. So just pick something, and try it. Do you guys have any questions? Nat. What about having giveaways occasionally? Is that a good thing, or not? I am not covering that later, because I hate giveaways. Because quite frankly, let's think about what kind of person that attracts to your list. Do you really want the person on your list who's just looking for the free thing? Right. The other thing that I have found, so because you asked, I'm gonna get on my giveaway soapbox for a minute, or my anti-giveaway soapbox, the other mistake that I see people make is that they try to run a giveaway right when they've launched a new product. Well, then people aren't gonna buy, because they're gonna hope that they win. So I do not like giveaways, and I particularly don't like giveaways for list building. That's a good question. Other questions, Michelle? How do you feel about timed pop-ups for, like, at the checkout? At the checkout? Yeah. So, sometimes they can work, and what I would say with that is if you're looking to put them specifically on the checkout, I would wait to see what your conversion rate is happening, because you may find you don't need them. If you're having a lot of people drop out in the checkout process, then maybe you want it, but I wouldn't start with that, I would see what's happening in the checkout process. We are gonna talk about using the dreaded pop-up as a strategy in just a little bit, because I do think that, like, people use pop-ups because pop-ups work, but I think that unless you're seeing a lot of people drop out in your checkout process, most people, you don't actually wanna interrupt the flow of checkout, you wanna keep them in the checkout zone, and just let them get through it, because quite frankly, if you could just get them there, you can get them to opt into your list when they made the purchase, and now you have their money and you have them on your list, which is better than having them on your list and then hoping that they go back to the email and come back into the checkout process later. Make sense? But yeah, check your stats, see if people are falling out, and the make the decision. Michelle? Say you have a huge mailing list, you know, it's quality over quantity. Would you ever start deleting some people from your list, if you're actually starting to pay for... Yes, so that's a great question, and we're not really gonna get super into that in this class, because I think most people are kinda still at the beginning, but yeah, absolutely, and so one of the other reasons that I love MailChimp is because MailChimp has lots of great tutorials, you can figure things out. And so one of the things that they suggest is that occasionally what you can do are run reactivation campaigns. So you can go into your MailChimp, and we're gonna look at this, how this works a little later with a different example, but you can go into your MailChimp, and you can create a segment of people that, say, haven't opened an email in the last six months. And you can send them some emails to try to reengage them on your list. Obviously, if you haven't sent an email in the last six months, that's everybody, right? But what we're looking for is if you're emailing regularly and you're starting to see your open rates go down. So what you'll do is you can create a segment, find those people, and usually, you wanna try to reengage them, right? An email or a series of emails to get them back on. But then, if you have people who really have not engaged, you can actually go through and clean them from your list. You can create a segment that's people who haven't opened an email in the last year, and remove them. So yeah, that's a great question, and that will help, A, keep your cost down, but B, also keeps your open rates higher, which keeps your deliverability better, so there are all kinds of magic algorithms that happen in the world that make sure that people actually see your emails, and keeping your deliverability high because more people open is one of those things. That was a great question. We have a question here from Anissa, and she wants to know, do you do different opt-in incentives for different sign up lists, meaning, do you categorize your lists and say, like, oh, this incentive would work really well for this segment of my list, and do you try to get strategic with the incentives? So, I think you can, but I think for most businesses, it's overkill. And for most of what we're doing, it's just, you don't need that many. So what I will do is I might have a call to action that's like, be the first to know, but somewhere else, somewhere on my site, I know I have a call to action that's also like, you get free shipping. So in the autoresponder email that goes out to the whole list, it's just, hey, welcome to my list, so excited you're here, and then at the bottom, PS, here's that free shipping code you were looking for. And they may not have been looking for it, but they're still excited to get it, right? So that's how I handle that, I don't try to segment too much, because it's just not worth it. That said, I will sometimes just build separate lists, so if you're like doing two things totally different, like I think you have a graphic design business and a jewelry business, two separate lists, so that you can keep them separate.

Class Description

Email can be one of the most powerful tools to market your business, connect with your customers and—most importantly—make sales!
You have your email list, but what do you do now?
Simple Email Marketing for Makers will give you the confidence to write, design and build an effective email that will drive people to your online store to purchase products.

Megan will take you step-by-step through her process of creating compelling and product-focused emails that will get more click-throughs and steer interested customers to your website.

In this class you will learn to do the following:

  • Get your email marketing set up the right way, using the right software
  • Turn social media followers into email subscribers
  • Develop the ideal email frequency for your specific business
  • Use email to cultivate customer loyalty

If you feel stressed about how to reach your customers via email, or it’s taking you too long to write and create an email, then Simple Email Marketing for Makers will solve all your email marketing woes.

Don’t Fear the Send!



What a great class. It's easy to watch thanks to the bite-size classes (in some of your other courses, segments are too long) and Megan's almost every sentence is packed with easily actionable, immediately implementable tips. She knows what she's talking about and delivers it with super likeable confidence. And I learnt SO MUCH invaluable stuff. Super recommend this class to all creative makers that desire to connect with their audience and sell sell sell


This class is amazing! Megan is fantastic! She really relates information in such a way to give you a real understanding of the subject and breaks down each step. I took pages of notes to implement right away. She really motivates and gets you excited about growing and building your business! Thanks so much Megan!

a Creativelive Student

I've been emailing my list weekly consistently for more than a year, and I still took away a ton of great information! I learned so much that will help me plan more quickly, get the emails written faster, and - best of all - make them more effective at converting into sales. Thanks so much, Megan!