While striving for the latest and greatest online marketing technology, many travel and tourism marketers overlook one of the earliest forms of internet marketing. When executed properly, email marketing is still one of the most cost-efficient marketing channels. A lot of time and money is invested driving website traffic, fielding inquiries, and building prospect or client databases but valuable email addresses that have been collected in the process are often ignored.
One of the first steps in building a successful email marketing program is to get the permission of the email recipient and allow them to opt out of future messages. This is important not just for laws regarding Spam, but for establishing a good relationship with past, present and future customers. It does no good sending emails to people who aren’t interested and emails that are viewed as intrusive negatively impact a company’s brand.
One of the main reasons that email marketing is so effective is that it can be extremely targeted. The more data that is collected, the more targeted the marketing can be. There are many ways to collect and segment data, but a few questions to think about are: Where is the person in the sales cycle? What product or service are they interested in? When was their last interaction?
The Right Message
Armed with the right data, highly relevant messages or promotions should tailored to specific customer segments. Marketing emails sent to a person looking for a Chateau in France should not be the same as those sent to a student interested in cheap hostels in Europe. No matter who receives what message, the content should always be valuable and interesting to that person.
Building a system
Technology gives destination marketers the power to gather granular data, manage large email campaigns and measure important metrics. But there there is a direct correlation between cost and valuable data collection. Whether that cost makes sense or not usually depends on the potential size of the email list. Regardless of the sophistication or cost of a system, it is important to have at least a basic system and methodology in place that automates much of the process.
Go Easy on the Send Button
After an email marketing programs starts generating results, it is very tempting for destination marketers to want to increase the frequency of the emails sent. But sending too often will either dilute the impact on each message sent and cause a higher percentage of subscribers to opt out of future emails.
Measure the Response
Careful attention should be paid to the effectiveness of certain messages or campaigns. Tracking the number of emails opened, links clicked and conversions made are all good indicators of a campaign performance.
Building a successful email marketing campaign for travel companies is a long term proposition. But collecting email addresses, tailoring messages, and constantly improving the process will result in huge dividends.
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