Email marketing is one of the most popular methods of reaching consumers and convincing them to convert. With more than 105 billion emails sent every single day, brands risk easily becoming lost in a sea of subject lines.
Your email is landing in a potential guests’ inboxes in between Bath and Body Works’ latest lemonade fizz hand soap and a reminder of an upcoming credit card bill on auto-pay. The challenge of standing out begins long before it reaches a consumer’s inbox. You need to craft a strategic message that speaks to what consumers care about most.
What does the consumer care about? Value. For a hotel, showing value is not as simple as just sending out blanket emails marketing special rates and discounts.
The people receiving your emails are already interested in your hotel. They have likely stayed there in the past, or signed up for email updates from your website. They are engaged guests, and email marketing is a key way to get the consumer to recognize your value.
It all starts with using the right guest messaging solution that tailors timely marketing campaigns to your guests. From there, you’ll need to test, test, test. Here are five ways to improve your email marketing strategy.
Two words: Subject line. This small collection of words plays a pivotal role in the success of your email.
- Create a succinct, attention-grabbing subject line that sparks the consumer’s interest.
- Keep it short – most email providers cut off lengthy subject lines, so aim to keep your subject lines under 60 characters.
- Personalize it. Personalized emails, such as having a guest’s name in the subject line, improve click-through rates by 14%, and conversion rates by 10%. (Aberdeen Group).
This is an easy way to make the message feel special, like you wrote it just for them. To do so, your email marketing platform must be able to read this information directly from your property management system to create personalized subject lines.
- Take a risk! Don’t be afraid to experiment with rhymes, phrases and even emoticons. You don’t want your subject line to be eye catching in their inbox!
Mix it up. Add variety to the value of your messages to keep the consumer engaged. As a hotel, you have the unique opportunity to tap into people’s desire to getaway. Email people with a more enticing message than just “discounted rates.” Send emails that engage the imagination to get people planning.
- Give someone an excuse to take a sick day or start a new tradition.
- If you have weather on your side, remind past guests in colder climates about the sunny stay they could be having.
- Tie in local events, whether they’re famous or under the radar events guests could enjoy
- Promote an exclusive special or giveaway with distinct calls to action.
Minimize un-subscribes and maximize click-through rate.
- Do your research: most unsubscribe requests come on Tuesdays (0.52% unsub rate)
- Think about timing: are you primarily targeting guests in a specific time zone? Weekday mornings between 9 and 11AM are when most people are signing on and checking their inboxes.
- Consider Fridays: while most marketers avoid Friday because people are more likely to be checked out and dreaming of the weekend, you can use this to your advantage. People are still more likely to check their email during the work week, and you can make the most of their weekend-ready mentality with a well-timed email.
- Test it out. Email marketing stretches across all industries and consumer types. Determine exactly what your consumers want by trying out different techniques. Send the same message to different groups of your database at two different times in the week to find a time and day that your particular audience engages most.
Don’t forget to evaluate. Your email marketing platform should make it easy to track performance.
- Take full advantage of everything your email-sending platform has to offer. Make sure to schedule time after a campaign to analyze its success. Review deliverability, open rates, click activity and revenue generated.
- Change future email designs based on how consumers interact with your past sends. When you find a subject line that resonates with your audience, create similar versions and compare performance.
- When you find an email format that generates a lot of clicks, use that formatting style in future sends to determine if success was based on format or content. Test what kinds of layout and image perform best.
Don’t over-communicate. Proper segmentation means sending the right message at the right time.
- Often, marketers send messages because they feel the need to keep contact with their consumers. Be sure to only send if your message benefits the consumer.
- Segmentation is just the practice of splitting up your customer data based on specific criteria, such as guests who stayed in the last year, guests who spent above a designated amount, or guests who live in a specific region.
- Connect your email marketing platform to your PMS so you can create accurate guest profiles and avoid over-communicating with guests.
Email marketing shouldn’t be an afterthought. Getting it right requires time, effort, and a bit of patience.
Done well, this inexpensive, customizable and easily measured marketing method can increase revenue and create customer loyalty. Hoteliers should take full advantage of minimal effort for maximum return with increased email marketing efforts.