I really liked this 11th edition of BTO Buy Tourism Online: excellent meetings, more focus, more opportunities to exchange ideas and projects. I held two workshops, both packed and each a novelty in their own way:
Of course, I spoke about email marketing during the second workshop. Here you can find the summary of my talk and, at the bottom, the slides.
Some time ago a consortium of hoteliers from the Romagna Riviera asked me to hold a series of training sessions on email marketing.
I analyzed their websites to prepare for the training. I was particularly interested in understanding whether and how they envisaged communication with the visitors through the email channel. I browsed through the pages of the websites of all the hotels participating in the training, I subscribed to their newsletters… and then unsubscribed!
The most common scenario is the one in which somewhere, often hidden at the bottom of the page, there is a ‘subscribe to the newsletter’ form plonked there, without a reason or purpose. Faced with a cold call to action, motivated by nothing, why would someone respond by giving away a piece of their privacy?
These situations are not exclusive to the tourism market. They occur in many and different websites, and usually when I start a consultancy for this type of customer they typically start by complaining that ‘nobody registers on the website’. To tell the truth, I would be surprised if someone did!
But here’s the problem: why should I give my email address to a hotel I haven’t been to yet, just like that? Even when checking in and asked for my email address I usually feel uncomfortable. Wouldn’t it be better to wait and ask at the end of the stay, when the client has more elements to decide whether they really want to stay in touch?
Here is the truly perfect form: it includes a motivational incentive (the eBook in preparation for the holiday), information on what kind of messages will be sent, an original copy, with a distinctive and pleasant tone of voice.
Faced with this form I registered willingly, happy to have found someone who puts into practice what I have been preaching for years.
And yet… I received no guide.
Neither on that day nor on any other, despite repeatedly checking the Spam folder.
Disappointment and bewilderment: what happened? A problem with the mail provider? Or maybe the hotel decided not to pay the mailer fee in the winter months when the hotel is closed? Did anyone ever really try to sign up for their newsletter? If the perception of the quality of a service is given by the relationship between expectations and the actual experience, errors like these just screw it all up.
Email is a peculiar channel: perceived as intimate, personal, one-to-one, it comes into play at various times during the customer journey: immediately after the discovery, in the stages of evaluation and decision, and, even more importantly, during and after the purchase (often accompanied by chats, but with the advantage of providing us with a rich and versatile medium).
Here are its different forms:
Following the above progression, the frequency at which we write a marketing email moves away from the point of view of the sender, to synchronize with that of the reader, so that the perceived relevance increases. Possibilities of personalization also increase, and messages can be shaped around the recipients’ specific features.
In a world of content overload, it is essential to understand where it really makes sense to put our efforts for an effective and useful email marketing strategy.
An essential part of the assessment is the analysis of the contact lists:
The last question, is the one we must ask ourselves every time we write. Because when one of our messages lands in an inbox, the person on the other side always has – more or less consciously – the same question: “What’s in it for me?”. And if they don’t get a motivating answer instantly, we’ll end up in the trash in a fraction of a second.
Email marketing can support you in keeping together the three key drivers for a growing business:
Email marketing is a powerful and versatile tool allowing us to:
Perhaps, it is also one of the few areas in which we can really measure the degree of interest of our interlocutors, and decide to let the relationship go when it’s time to.