Why email marketing is important for tour operators
Email is one of the most effective ways to reach people who are interested in your tours. Even though a lot of social media platforms have an impressive number of users, they can’t compete with the number of people that use email on a daily basis.
Don’t get us wrong, social media is a great way to build a relationship with your target group. However, it’s not the best channel to convert your target group into customers. Email marketing can be an extremely personal way to reach your audience. Benefits of using email as a marketing tool are that it:
- Is easy to personalise and customise
- Has highly measurable data
- Increases customer loyalty
- Enhances your content marketing strategy
- Is fairly inexpensive
Select an email marketing service
To get started, we advise you to select an email marketing service. In email marketing services you can build a mailing list, design emails in a suitable format and measure data. Well-known services, which all have a free plan, include:
At the Good Tourism Institute, we decided to use MailChimp, as it serves our needs best. It offers an extensive free plan that allows you to send emails up to 2.000 subscribers, create segmentations in your audience, and send an automatic email to new subscribers. Once these options aren’t sufficient anymore you can always decide to upgrade to a plan with more features.
Building a mailing list
If you have chosen an email marketing service, you can get started. The first step is to build a mailing list. Many websites request the visitor to simply register for their mailing list. However, this is often not enough. Tips to increase the number of subscribers on your mailing list are:
Place a sign-up form on display
Make sure your website visitors know you want them to subscribe to your mailing list. Place a sign-up form on every (relevant) page on your website. Besides in-page forms you can make use of pop-ups to grow your number of subscribers. Pop-ups put your sign-up form in the spotlight and increase their visibility which will lead to more subscribers.
Offer value to your visitors
Give something away for free that is of actual value to your target group. Think about what your buyer persona would want. For example: if you offer of the beaten track tours to Sri Lanka, you can offer a ‘Top 10 secret highlights that most tourist miss out on’ eBook. In return, travellers give away their name and email address, which you can use to promote your tours to them personally.
Build a landing page
An easy way to get more people to subscribe to your mailing list is by building a landing page. A landing page is a specific page on your website designed to convert website visitors to (in this case) subscribers. This is the page you use to convince your website visitors to subscribe your mailing list and receive your giveaway.
Landing pages works best when they are free from all other distractions. Consider removing everything on that page aside from the content that is designed to get people to subscribe to your mailing list.
Key aspects of a great mailing
Now that your mailing service and subscription options are in order, you can focus on the main part: content. Tips to create great mailings are:
Personalise content based on interests
The more your emails are personalised, the better they will perform. So, ask yourself how you can personalise your email content based on the interests of your subscribers. If you offer tours in a variety of countries or areas, consider sending separate content to subscribers with different interests.
Write great subject lines
Writing a great subject line is extremely important if you want your subscribers to actually open your emails. A simple way is to use verbs in a subject line. This allows readers to know what they can do with your email and motivates them to take action.
Also consider to personalise the subject line with a subscribers (first) name. This will help you increase the opening rate of your email.
Add a call-to-action
Make sure you add a call-to-action to every email. A call-to-action should reflect what you’d want your reader to do. For example: view your offer or read the content you wrote. Design buttons for your call-to-action as an easy way to draw attention. Use bright colours to make them stand out even more.
Start connecting to travellers
Email marketing can help you build a better relationship with your (potential) customers. With more subscribers you will reach a bigger audience, so start connecting to travellers by building your mailing list. Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut to get you thousands of interested subscribers, but you can be more successful by applying the above-mentioned tips.