Effective email marketing is a cash machine that can help you print money at the precise moment your company most needs it. However, for many companies, the email marketing machine is broken, in need of maintenance, or doesn’t even exist.
Investing time and resources into email marketing in an effective manner is something most successful businesses do. Why? On average, a company produces $38 for every dollar invested in email marketing.
If you are looking to reduce your dependency on third-party listing sites and paid ads, you owe it to yourself to start implementing these tips today!
1. Gather Emails
No matter how good your offer is, you must have a list of potential customers or the offer will fall flat. The first step of successful email marketing is developing a large database of targeted leads.
If you are new to email marketing, a good starting point is to create a spreadsheet with all of your past and potential guests (recent inquiries). The sheer number of people that you have already interacted with will likely surprise you!
Although you already have enough email addresses to get started, you need to employ proven strategies to grow your list. One great strategy is to use the combination punch of an impossible-to-miss opt-in form with an ethical and attractive bribe.
Does this sound too complicated? It’s not. All you have to do is create a simple pop-up ad on your website using a service like Sumo that encourages your website visitors to provide their email addresses in exchange for something of value. Once they provide an email address, you will automatically send them an insider guide to your destination, property discount, or something else of value.
Now that you have a list of emails, it’s time to turn that list into real reservations and cash.
2. Warm up Your Email List Using Facebook Ads
Most businesses don’t immediately nurture each email they collect. Instead, the list of email addresses sits in a spreadsheet gathering virtual dust. Then, out of the blue, a bored marketing manager decides to send a one-off email six months later.
See the problem with this approach? If you have not communicated consistently (see tip #5), your recipient may be confused as to why you are emailing them and mark this as spam. If too many people do this, you may get banned by your email provider and the majority of your emails will land in spam folders.
The good news is you can leverage a cheap Facebook ad and exponentially multiply the effectiveness of your email campaign. This is especially relevant with a “cold” list that you warm up.
First, create a custom audience by uploading your email list. Now, you have an ultra-relevant Facebook ad group that you can target with the accuracy of a sniper. Next, create an ad that takes the user to an incredible piece of noncommercial content that sells the idea of a vacation with you. Finally, after they have been exposed to your branding, ads, and content for several days, send your email.
A potential guest opted in over six months ago, but has not received a single email from a Kauai property management company. When this potential guest is on Facebook, she begins to see the brand’s logo and various pieces of content. A few days later, she clicks on an ad that takes her to a beautiful piece of content about several hidden beaches near Kauai’s north shore. Finally, she gets an email from the management company, which now seems familiar. Even though she was initially a cold lead, Facebook targeting warmed her up, and she now recognizes the brand.
3. Use Persona-Based Email Marketing to Increase Effectiveness
The majority of companies use terms like “email blast,” “hit the list,” or “spray and pray.” Instead of using the precision of a scalpel, this is the marketing equivalent of bringing a chainsaw into the operating room.
Each email address represents a person with individual characteristics and needs. If you choose to treat all of your email addresses identically, you choose to have lower conversion rates and profits.
The first baby-step toward persona-based marketing is segmenting your list by major attributes. Here are a few of the major attributes that you should consider segmenting by:
- Property Size
- Property Value
- Visit Season
- Pet Ownership
- Visit Purpose
Imagine Linda Triche is the lead-traveler for a 40-person family reunion at the beach every July. This is a high-value, large-property lead that has specific needs. Do you want to diminish the value of your emails and product by sending emails with winter specials? Probably not.
Now that you have segmented your list, your chances of converting Linda are exponentially higher than before. Through some basic list segmentation, you can present her with a guide to planning a family reunion at the beach that features several large properties that meet her needs.
This takes work to set up and automate, but when fine-tuned, it will produce conversion rates 50 percent higher than the industry standard!
Don’t operate with a chainsaw. Instead, use persona-based marketing for scalpel-like precision.
4. Help Your Customers
The purpose of email marketing is to sell. We all want to make money. Unfortunately, most marketers stick out their greedy hands begging for money without understanding how to effectively sell to someone.
According to Google’s research, there is a precise moment that a person is researching a product AND is simultaneously ready to purchase it. Oftentimes, the individual was not even planning on purchasing a product, but the brand effectively transitions the consumer from knowledge-seeker to purchasers by educating them.
To more effectively accomplish this, you must understand the consumer’s pain point and solve it. This can be achieved by combining your intimate knowledge of your destination and properties with your understanding of the traveler’s attributes (see point #3 above).
Although they may look very personal, we must create templates that solve the needs of our common personas. The templates should feature custom-crafted pieces of content that solve common problems for that demographic.
Imagine anticipating a customer’s needs before they do! If John mentions bringing his pet in an inquiry or email, we can be pretty certain he is much more likely to book a pet-friendly rental than one that prohibits pets. However, merely including pet-friendly rentals in our response is not enough.
Instead of in-your-face selling tactics, we need to help John by providing hyper-relevant content based on his needs. We can provide a list of dog-friendly restaurants, give him a recommendation for a doggie day care, or tell him about a local dog park. In this manner, we have solved his problems and established our company as an area expert.
To positively influence your customers’ buying decisions, you must provide selfless help. Remember, the brand that helps the consumer most effectively is likely to gain the customer.
5. Stay Consistent
When a brand sends emails sporadically and infrequently, the subscribers are less likely to
convert and often have a lower lifetime value. In addition, the subscribers are more likely to unsubscribe, complain, or identify it as spam. This combination both proves and accelerates a negative trend that can stall your email marketing efforts permanently.
How often should you send email? The ideal frequency varies based on the list demographics and needs, but two to three emails per month is a great starting point for most companies. However, remember that your emails should not be self-serving; instead, they must provide value to the end-user.
Consistency takes work; however, the cost of inconsistent and low-quality marketing with less-than-optimal results is something none of us can afford!
Per world-renowned marketing and business development expert Jay Abraham, there are only three ways that a business can experience growth:
- Increase the number of customers – turn prospects into profit
- Increase the value of each purchase – maximize the profits per transaction
- Increase the buying frequency – convince customers to purchase more often
By making small gains in each of these three areas, your business will experience impressive growth! The email marketing strategies outlined above are guaranteed to maximize the business growth methods and drive results.
About David Angotti
David Angotti is a serial entrepreneur who founded and exited an EdTech startup, consulted with Fortune 100 brands, wrote for Search Engine Journal, and recently sold one of the fastest growing property management brands in the country. He is laser-focused on developing SmokyMountains.com into the premier niche listing site in the country.
David’s primary strengths include business development, branding, high-level marketing, search engine optimization, and public relations. In addition to his business background, he was a commercial pilot and is certified to fly the fastest passenger jet in the world.