Written By: Tom Ogg
One of the biggest mistakes travel professionals consistently make is not tailoring their digital marketing efforts to be consistent with their overall business objectives. Digital marketing channels can be defined as a website(s), social media platforms, digital publications such as White Papers and eBooks and email campaigns. A travel professional’s digital footprint should consistently deliver a strong and unique value proposition focused on sustaining the primary goal(s) of the campaign.
Over time TravelProfessionalNEWS.com will explore all of the digital marketing channels, but the first we shall explore is how to create, implement and carry out a successful email marketing campaign. But, it is imperative that one understand that accomplishing an effective email marketing campaign is simply a single part of a greater picture. The email marketing campaign needs to be consistent with all aspects of one’s digital marketing endeavor.
That said, planning an effective campaign is pretty much a straight forward process that needs to be intelligent and implemented. Here are the elements and considerations that make up a successful email campaign.
Your Email List
Your email list may well be the most important asset that you have in your business and it should be treated as such. You should absolutely invest in a professional email marketing company like ConstantContact.com, MailChimp.com, GetResponse.com, ConvertKit.com and others.
It is imperative that you comply with all of the CAN-SPAM Act that regulates how email marketing must legally be done. Using a commercially viable email marketing company sends a clear signal to your clients that you are competent and that their privacy is protected. Avoid sending “Undisclosed Recipient” emails as they shout unprofessionalism and potential scams.
Your Campaign’s Value Proposition
The first thing you have to ask yourself is “Why would anyone open my email”. I know this sounds obvious, but it your answer is something like “I want them to buy my cruise” “I want to get their email address” or “I want them to come to my website” you need to completely rethink your email strategy.
The reason people send business emails is get the reader to take some sort of action either directly or indirectly. So hoping that the reader will choose yours is kind of a long shot to say the least.
Your campaign should focus on the reader and their wants and needs, not yours. As you will hear over and over in this series of webinars on digital marketing your email campaign should answer your reader’s question “What’s in it for me?” Readers will respond favorably to offers of real value and reject anything less.
Your Campaign’s Strategy
Your Target Audience: One of the most important things to first consider is who exactly is your target audience? If you are selling European river cruises, you probably want to target the most likely market segment that buys them. Sending emails to your general email list is probably a waste of time. Think about who is the most likely candidate for what you are marketing and focus on them only. Targeted and focused emails are the most likely to get opened and acted upon. However sending them to the wrong audience is likely to result in more unsubscribes than clicks.
Focus Your Message on a Result: What is the specific objective of your email campaign? Once you are sending to the audience, what is the result you are looking for? Here are some examples.
* You want them to book a cruise, tour or other travel event
* You want them to visit your website
* You want them to subscribe to your newsletter
* You want to capture their name and email address
* You want to build a relationship with them
* You want them to take a survey
These are just some of the actions that you may wish your email campaign to accomplish. The critical issue is to have a very specific and measurable result that you are striving to achieve with your campaign.
Answer the “What’s in it for Me” Question: In order to entice your email readers to take the next step you should offer them a motivating and valuable reason to do so. This can be in the form of a white paper or an ebook that would be of great value to the readers. Breaking travel news, special discounts, local pricing incentives and other such topics may also motivate readers to take the next step.
Your Campaign’s Execution
Your Initial Email: Now that you have your campaign strategy well evolved you can now start designing your initial email to engage potential readers. Your overall campaign should have a consistent look and feel and this would include graphics, fonts, colors, layout and design. Of course special attention needs to be paid to its subject line, content and call to action, which we will explore in great detail in future articles.
Your Landing Page: The sole purpose of your landing page is to convert an email click into a lead. Once you have executed your initial email and engaged a potential client to click, you should deliver them to a single purpose landing page. The landing page should be 100% consistent with the overall message of your email campaign and offer further motivation for the reader to pursue your special offer that is the subject of your campaign. It should include a form that the reader completes to obtain the offer capturing their name and email list. Simple is the key to an effective landing page.
Landing pages also give you the opportunity to find out a lot more about your prospect. Visitors on your landing page will be registered on your server and accessible by your analytics so you can gain some valuable information about them. You can also place a cookie on their computer for future visits, or also place remarketing code depending on what you are offering.
Your Fulfillment and Follow Up
Once you have captured your prospect’s information and they have clicked to download whatever you are offering, the fulfillment should be immediate. Fulfillment is the first step in evolving a relationship and should be the most critical part of the process. This is the time to impress the individual receiving the download with your professionalism and unique value proposition. After the fulfillment has occurred it is time to start your follow up process and the first email should be to gain their permission to continue to send them communications in your digital marketing efforts.