I received a call from a prospective client today and, as usual, the conversation was crammed with questions. One of the last questions, which followed about nine different queries based on a combination of search and social media, was about e-mail. “Are tourism organizations still effectively using e-mail marketing for promotions?” My answer, blurted out quite quickly was “Yes they are!”
We’ve seen some new studies and plenty of recent blog posts that validate the use of e-mail. The statistics and the ROI are positive – when done right. But the key words are “when done right”. It needs to be consistent, informative and have value for the consumer. And, e-mail is a perfect fit for the travel industry in terms of informing consumers about your product on a timely basis and building relationships. It is also very cost effective.
The recent challenge with e-mail marketing for the travel industry has been resources, as organizations are becoming bogged-down in the glut of social media marketing. The focus has shifted to the development of content like podcasts, blog posts, and fresh web copy. During this period, some organizations have been so focused on the creation of content, they have overlooked the distribution tactics.
The main outlet for social media content distribution within the travel industry has been through RSS feeds. However, we are still seeing consumers struggle with the technology. Once they know how to operate and populate their RSS reader, they still need to remember to read it.
When looking at e-mail use, we know it is a conditioned behavior for consumers. The messages comes to the inbox, they open it and take action – simple enough. One of the big obstacles organizations struggle with is the content of the e-mail message. So, here are a few suggestions:
- Include a warm introduction. Always greet the recipient with some sort of personalization, like their first name.
- Only include three to five items within the e-mail. Our research shows that is all the consumer can digest in one single message.
- Think about what inspires or drives travel to your location. Include a few short sentences as a tease. Maybe something about golf, an attraction, or a family beach vacation. Be sure to link back to an appropriate landing page with more of the same content.
- Inspire them with details about a package or an e-Special that has a significant value. Again, the landing page is important in this case and it should be a page where a reservation can be made.
- Detail the last three or four blog posts from your site and add some information about your latest podcasts. You may even consider linking to a few consumer posted videos on YouTube or picture posts from Flickr. If the content is good and it sells – use it.
Distribution is, or maybe more important than content creation. And, e-mail marketing is still the most affordable and reliable tool to deliver that content to consumers.