Go to any tourism conference, marketing seminar or ‘lunch and learn’ and they’re still all a buzz about social media. And I get it. With 955 million accounts, who wouldn’t want to be on Facebook!?But what if I told you those were ‘small potatoes’!? The real promised land has 3.4 billion accounts. That’s billions with a ‘B’ Facebook! And it’s expected to grow to 3.8 billion by 2014. What is it? E-mail.
While we’re trying to discover the secret of Facebook – post in the morning, post in the afternoon, ask a question, just state something, use a picture, always link to the website… good old email just sits there saying “Put a couple things in me and hit send.”
It’s a little trickier than that and we’ll try to uncover some tips as we rediscover E-mail.
Build your database…
It only makes sense. Before you start marketing through e-mail, you need to build your database. How? The simplest is to ask for it. Someone call for information? Ask “Would you like to regularly receive information on X? What’s your email address?” Get real bold and ask if they have a friend or family member that might be interested in your e-mails. Have something on your webpage so they can sign-up for your e-mails. Give them incentives to sign-up. All it may take is the chance to “get the inside scoop on what’s new!”There’s countless other ways. Just type ‘how to build email database’ in a search engine or click here.
Use a Service…
If you compile any size of a database, you won’t be able to manage it through Outlook. You’ve got to use an Email Marketing Service. Boomerang, GoDaddy, MailChimp, Benchmark… I use Constant Contact. Their subscriptions are based on he number of e-mails in the database not on the number of e-mails sent. If you’d like to see a recent review to help you decide which service is best for you, click here.
Segment… So if it costs the same to send one email or 30 emails a month, send more and send them to specific groups. Have a group that only wants to know about art exhibits? And another wants all the new shops. Golf, outdoors, family fun, history, concerts, wine… you get the picture!
As you’re signing up people, ask them what their interests are. “We don’t want to waste your valuable time! We only want to send you the information you want.” Then set up groups in your marketing service for the spa specials or sports events.
Less is more… General rule of thumb is three pieces of information. The big thing. A secondary thing and the other secondary thing. Keep it short. You can always use “for more information, go here” with here being your website or blog.
Picture is worth a… Break up the text with a picture. Give the eye something to be attracted to! It doesn’t have to be Ansel Adams. Just capture the spirit of what you’re trying to promote.
There’s so much more to e-mail marketing! We’re constantly learning in our office and I’m reading articles and blogs trying to get better at it. As I read and put it into practice, I’ll share more with you.
Talk to you next month.