Craftmonkey connects Etsy sellers with MailChimp: creates simple newsletters

Craftmonkey connects Etsy sellers with MailChimp: creates simple newslettersWith the success of craft-based marketplaces like Etsy, and Artfire and the rapid growth of craft-friendly social sharing site Pinterest, an increasing number of creative entrepreneurs are turning their crafting into part- or even full-time businesses. These folks need simple tech tools that will help them run and grow their businesses without a steep learning curve or large cost.

Helping with the email marketing piece is a new app called Craftmonkey (craftmonkeyapp.com). Craftmonkey is a free, web-based application that allows Etsy sellers to send out simple newsletters to their MailChimp lists, aiding them in getting the word out about their products, stay connected with folks they meet at craft shows, and increase their online sales.

Craftmonkey uses Etsy and email marketing provider MailChimp’s APIs to connect a seller’s Etsy and MailChimp accounts in just a few clicks. Simply log in to your existing MailChimp account through Crafmonkey and add your Etsy shop name to connect them. Once the sites are connected, Craftmonkey allows you to drag and drop photos and text from your Etsy shop into your choice of simple templates. Product descriptions are automatically added with the photos and can be edited within the template. You can create a great-looking newsletter that’s ready to send out to your MailChimp list within just a few minutes, and Craftmonkey’s dashboard gives you a quick snapshot of how your campaigns are doing once they’ve been sent out.

Craftmonkey connects Etsy sellers with MailChimp: creates simple newsletters

Michelle Riggen-Ransom, founder of Social Glu

“As fans of all things handmade, we want to help crafters build their community and sell more of their products” says co-founder Michelle Riggen-Ransom. “Sending lovely, visual newsletters is a great way to let people know what you’ve been working on or promote a special sale or event.” Riggen-Ransom, a small business owner, mother of two and long-time crafter knows first-hand how limited time can be, especially for people who are working out of their homes. “We’ve made it easier for folks to do this piece of their marketing so that more of their time can be spent crafting.”

While there are many email marketing programs out there, not many offer the ease of use and low cost of MailChimp, especially for very small businesses or entrepreneurs. MailChimp’s basic plan allows up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 monthly mails to be sent out for free. “For most Etsy sellers, this is usually more than enough,” says Riggen-Ransom. “And MailChimp’s pricing is reasonable if and when you do need to upgrade. Plus, it’s fun to have a chimp cheering you along!”

Another MailChimp app that is an asset for crafters is Chimpadeedoo, which allows people to sign up for email lists via an iPad app. Many crafters attend multiple craft shows throughout the year and getting people’s email address can be tricky while managing sales and fielding questions at a show. Chimpadeedoo lets people sign themselves up for email lists right at the craft show table or booth, helping to grow a solid base of customers and potential customers. Because it also integrates with MailChimp, anyone added to a list through Chimpadeedoo will receive newsletters sent via Craftmonkey.

“Craftmonkey and Chimpadeedoo are two apps that work really well together for crafters,” says Amy Ellis, MailChimp’s head of integrations and partnerships “Since MailChimp is all about DIY, we’re excited about adding Craftmonkey as an integration and making it easy for crafters to send out newsletters as part of their marketing strategy.”

Handmade products have seen a steady growth in recent months even as big box stores sales remain flat. In a recent Etsy Labs video chat on starting a creative business, artist and product designer Lauren Venell attributes this to people’s desire to buy quality products even in the midst of a recession. “People are really excited to be spending their money in places where it counts,” says Venell. “People want to put their money into things that will last and to things that are good quality and that have meaning.” Etsy’s sales data backs this up: Etsy reports 1.4 billion page views in January of 2012, with a sales total of $54.9 million of goods for that same month.

Providing tools that serve this rapidly growing market segment makes sense from a business perspective. MailChimp is a frequent sponsor and Ellis a presenter at craft conferences such as Seattle’s Urban Craft Uprising, the Renegade Craft Fairs and the upcoming Craftcation in Ventura, CA. They also provide guides and other content specific for online sellers on their website, which includes a guide to starting and running a craft-based business written by Riggen-Ransom.

To further serve this market, Craftmonkey was built by Riggen-Ransom’s company Social Glu, a boutique communications consultancy located in Seattle that’s working with MailChimp’s Integration Fund. Seattle-based Social Glu, which was founded in 2011, connects people and technology by building simple, useful apps. The company is slated to launch several more applications in coming months through MailChimp’s Integration Fund partnership. You can find Craftmonkey on Facebook or follow on Twitter @hiCraftmonkey, and follow MailChimp @MailChimp on Twitter or at MailChimp.com.

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