Building an email list on Etsy

Building an email list on Etsy

If you’re selling on Etsy, but you keep hearing that you
should build an email list, except you have no idea how to get started
and what you’re actually allowed to do on Etsy – this video is for you. Hi, I’m Deb. I’m the founder of, a membership community for
makers and handmade shop owners. The reason I wanted to do this video
for you today is that many Etsy sellers feel quite challenged when it comes
to building an email list because it’s simply not a feature that
Etsy offers you as a seller. You can’t just set up a nice little
sign up form to get people to join your newsletter list. So how are you meant to actually build
an email list if Etsy doesn’t really help you do it and also because Etsy has a
set of policies that you need to follow? So to build an email list – let’s go
back to basics – you need to have what is called an email service provider. These are companies like MailChimp or
MailerLite that provide you with tools so that you can bulk email your email list. You should never use hotmail or Gmail
or anything like that to do that. You really need a separate account
with an email service provider. And what they do is that they allow you
to create a page on the Internet with a signup form and you can then send people
to this form and people can join your email list using that form. Once you set that up – and I do have
other resources to help you do that if you need more help, which I’ll link to
below this video – but once you do that, you will get a URL that you can then
share with people to encourage them to go and sign up for your list. The question then is how can
you share this URL on Etsy? Can you email your old customers
and invite them to sign up? What about using Etsy
conversations for it? So let’s really take a look at what Etsy
allows you versus forbids you to do. Before we dive any deeper, I want to do a little disclaimer here
that I am not a part of the legal team at Etsy and that you should always do some
research to make sure that you have up to date information. I’ll link to
the Etsy policies below this video, please take a look at them because Etsy
can update their policies at any moment. Let’s start with the “can do” – and
here is exactly what Etsy says about it. “You may receive a buyer’s email address
or other information as a result of entering into transaction with that buyer. This information may only be used for
Etsy related communications or for Etsy facilitated transactions. You may not use this information for
unsolicited commercial messages or unauthorized transactions. Without the buyer’s consent and subject
to other applicable Etsy policies and laws you may not add any Etsy member to
your email or physical mailing list, use that buyer’s identity for marketing
or obtain or retain any payment information.” So this
was a lot of legal talk. But really the most important part of
this extract of the policies is consent and Etsy related communication. So what
does that mean for you as a seller? It means that the most important thing
– that’s what “consent” means – is that you need to invite people
to sign up for your list. You can’t ask them straight away cause
that’s spammy and you definitely can’t just add them to your
email list without asking. So you need to invite them to sign
up for updates or a coupon code, and then they get to decide whether
they want to join your list or not. So how can you actually invite those
shop visitors to sign up for your list? Well there’s a few things you can
do here. You can use that link, that URL I was mentioning at the beginning
of this video that your email service provider is going to give you. That’s a link to your form to sign up
to your list and you can use that and share it on your shop’s about
page, in your shop’s announcements, on your profile page, in your message
to buyers – so that thank you message, in your product listings – both
in the picture and in the copy… And what I mean by “in the picture” is
that you can design a little graphic that you include as if it was a product
picture so that when people browse your listing and they look at all the pictures, they will look at the picture
of your product of course, but then they will see
a graphic saying, hey, to get 10% off or to get updates or sign
up for a newsletter or whatever it is that you want to write on it. And that works really well because people
look at the pictures before they even read the product description.
So you have options, but remember that you
need to invite, not ask. So what is it exactly that you can’t
do? Let’s have a look at that now. These are things that you really shouldn’t
be doing using the Etsy platform if you don’t want to get kicked out of it. So the first thing is to
not just automatically add
customers to your email list without their permission, without
their consent. That’s really, really important. So you definitely don’t want to just
grab their email address and add that to your list. Instead you want to have either
an explicit request from them saying, “hey, please use my email and add me to your
email list” (in written form) or you want to – and that’s the best way, honestly – you want to send them to that
URL that we mentioned a few times in this video now where your form for
signing up is so that they volunteer this information to you themselves. You also don’t want to be
using Etsy conversations to
ask them to join your list because that is spammy. And the last thing – and I see a lot
of people doing that and don’t do that, that’s really bad – don’t
email old customers. I know that if you are just getting
started with your email list you may thinking, “well I have 200 customers that I’ve
worked with and shipped products to in the past, I’m just going to email them
and tell them all about my list”. Don’t do that because that transaction
with those past customers is over and this is not respecting the term that
we’ve read before and this is not an Etsy related communication so it
will be considered as spam. So that’s why it’s important that you
start that email list right now so that you don’t feel like, “oh, I could
have done that 200 customers ago!”. I hope this video was helpful for you. I’ll put all the links I’ve
mentioned below this video. I also have a free email guide that
I really recommend you download. It’s all just for sellers and will
help you get started with your email marketing strategy. When
you unlock that guide, you actually also access to the rest of
my free resource library for makers and handmade shop owners so make sure that
you get that free link just below this video. If you would like more videos
like this in the future, and if you enjoyed this one, please make sure to subscribe to my
channel and I will see you next Tuesday.


  1. I still don’t know why I want or need an email list. Will it get me more sales? Repeat buyers? Do I need a website?

  2. Thank you so much for explaining this. While I don't ever want to appear spammy nor do I want to go against Etsy's policy, I can see where I've gone wrong and I appreciate the wakeup call. I do have a Mailchimp setup and they use great language at the bottom that says something like: You are receiving this communication because you either requested it or signed up on a list from Etsy. You can unsubscribe or modify the list here:" (something to that effect.), and then there's a link to change the info. I have to say that my email list has worked for me, although I don't have a lot of subscribers. I appreciate the tips on creating a special URL and placing it in my listing, photos, etc. Maybe that way, my subscribers will increase.

  3. As an Etsy seller I always send a personalized confirmation email via Etsy convo to every customer confirming their order (size, color, style, etc) with the estimated shipping date and shipping method. Can I include a blurb at the bottom of that message saying "join the mailing list and be the first to know about exclusive sales and new products and designs, click here" or something along those lines? Aside from putting the mailing list link at the bottom of each listing and in the shop Headlines and Policies, where else should that link go so people can actually see it?

  4. Wouldn't putting a signip URL from Mailchimp on your Etsy listing be effectively taking people away from Etsy to your own wesbite? Even the Mailchimp URLs are using Etsy then taking them away from Etsy. I'm sure the TOS don't mean for that.

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