One thing I'm often trying to do is to find ways to make my newsletter more dynamic and interesting. The other thing I'm always wanting to do is to find more/new/better ways to thank my loyal customers and supporters.
These two things invariably cross over, and after a few chats back and forth, Tom and I thought up a plan that might just work.
First things first though, I've a new pattern! It's the DS Slouch (DS = drop stitch).
The DS Slouch is knitted with Malabrigo Rios, and you could use any worsted weight yarn that comes in at gauge. I like it with the hand-dyed (of course) but you could also give it a go with solids, too.
This isn't any old new pattern, though - it's free to my newsletter subscribers (of which I'm sure most folk reading here are?). This is one way for me to show appreciation for your support. Existing subscribers will get an email with the download info, and new subscribers will get the file once they join up. Northend will remain free to subscribers too.
One of the problems with offering free patterns to subscribers is that folk join up, grab the pattern(s) and then unsubscribe. It happens, it's par for the course. Which is a shame, as I like to try and offer a fair bit through the list, and to my mind those folks are missing out. Some folk also grumble about having to sign up to get their hands on the free pattern - and I get that free with strings attached doesn't always much feel like free. But to me, they're a gift, not an incentive - they're not there to make you sign up, they're there to say thank you for signing up. (at the end of the day, it's my pattern to do as I choose with and if I want to gift it this way, then no-one has a right to complain, no?)
And this is what got us thinking about loyalty schemes. And having spent a fair bit of time researching and rummaging through the Mailchimp archives, we found a way to do it. (we = Tom and I - this is part of his new role; he's gradually helping out more and more with things!)
Each time we hit a new milestone, we'll send out a single use coupon code to each subscriber that allows you to pick one single pattern for free. Sound fair enough? That way then, sign up and everyone benefits. Rather than sharing emails or passing on coupon codes to friends, get them to sign up, too*. The more people sign up, the more everyone benefits. You'll all get the two free patterns and loyalty codes, as well as the exclusive promotions and discounts (if you weren't aware already, subscribers get a deeper discount on every promotion I run, and about 90% of my promotions are exclusive to subscribers anyways)
I mean, I'm not very good at marketing. I'm trying to be because I have to try and make my business more reliable and stable going forward, as we've some tricky life issues and financial hurdles to deal with. And this seemed like a really good way of managing things, a win-win. I am also considering a non-pop-up pop-up - mostly because I think I have to try somehow, but I don't want it to be intrusive, so please bear with me while I work that out (that's something I never thought I'd see myself type or say out loud, but I guess that's what needing to make income more reliable does?)
So - we're not that far away from the next milestone on the mailing list, and between here and 10,000 we'll call each 1,000 mark a milestone? Coupon codes get sent out every new 1,000 subscribers, and from 10,000 perhaps every 2,500?
Shall we give this a try and see how it works? I'm keen to hear your thoughts on this!
ps/ I did consider a Patreon but the thought of monthly deadlines worries me - I don't want to promise something I might not deliver on. It's something I'll keep in the back of my mind, though. Patreon is a great way to offer exclusive content for (paid) subscribers and supporters. I'm still not sure it's a path I want to take, even without monthly deadlines... at least with a newsletter it's free, and anyone can join regardless. I've always struggled with finding a happy place between earning enough and being accessible to the cash-strapped. It's hard. And so for these reasons, I'm not convinced Patreon is the way to go for me.
* yes, Mailchimp tells me. It tells me how many times an email to firstname.lastname@example.org has been opened and thus shared. It even provides a list of subscribers with the most 'opened and shared'....