This is an addendum to my Holiday Prep Post in which I suggested that you send promotional discounts to your past customers via email. One of my readers brought up the fact that Etsy's policies state that you cannot communicate with your customers in this fashion without their permission. And she brought up a point that I had already noticed and was wanting to correct so here goes!
It is 100% true that you should always gain permission from your customers to communicate with them, not because Etsy says so, but because that is the right thing to do. I think because I communicate with so many of my past customers on FB/twitter/blogs so often I forget that not everyone keeps in touch with all of their customers in that way and an email could seem intrusive in those situations. Although I stand by my suggestion to offer promotional discounts to past customers, you should ask them first if they would like to receive them. I think a great time to do this is at the point of sale. Just include at the end of your last convo "would you like to be on my mailing list for future discounts and sale info?" Also let them know that they will only recieve these emails a few times a year and can change their mind and opt out at any time. Another way to do this is to offer your email address on your blog and state "join my mailing list for future discounts and sale info!"
As an experiment, I've added a poll on the sidebar of my blog (to the right) that asks would you (as a buyer) be OK with recieving emails from people you have bought from if they included a discount of 25% or more AND you only recieved 2-4 emails per year? I personally would welcome those emails since I love a good discount and they would be coming from a shop that I already know I like. What are your thoughts?