Email is an old yet effective marketing channel that tour operators can use to build relationships and profit.
By sending a series of emails to customers or prospects you can generate engagement, stay top of mind and turn first-time buyers into recurring customers.
In this article, we will dive deeper into how tour operators can turn cold leads into paying customers using email marketing campaigns.
Why tour operators should use email marketing
Not everyone who visits your travel website is ready to place a booking.
Maybe they are not in the right stage of the buying funnel, or they are not convinced that you can offer the experience they are looking for.
Anyway, you can prepare those travelers to book with you by simply sending relevant valuable information via email.
To support this argument, here you go a few reasons why you should use email in your marketing strategy:
- There are 3.8 billion email users worldwide.
- On average, email generates $42 for every $1 spent. That’s a high ROI, isn’t it?
- More than 80% of consumers use their smartphones for regularly checking emails.
- Two-thirds of customers have made a purchase online as a direct result of an email marketing message, according to the Direct Marketing Association.
- Email is the most effective marketing channel.
Now that you are convinced, let’s move on and check how you can use email marketing to generate leads and turn them into guests.
5-step email marketing strategy for tour operators
Creating and implementing a simple email marketing strategy is a no-brainer. All it takes is a contact list, an email marketing tool, and quality content.
Below we give you an overview of how you can create this strategy in five main steps.
1. Defining the strategy
Before sending emails you need to set a goal for your campaign. Let’s say the main goal is converting website visitors into bookers.
Once you have it clear, you should think about the approach. Will it be done through a weekly newsletter or will it be a fixed email flow?
Also, consider sending a special promotion for your contacts if they meet certain criteria. For instance, it can be a 20% discount for those who have opened three emails in a row.
2. Choosing the right email marketing tool for your business
Your email marketing tool is your right hand when it comes to implementing your strategy. Make sure to choose one that will provide all the tools you need at an affordable price.
Mailchimp is one of the most popular platforms. Its free plan allows you to have up to 2,000 contacts, it comes with newsletter templates and it has basic automation options.
Another great tool is Mailer Lite. Even though its free version is limited to 1,000 subscribers, it comes with an email automation tool that will help you create automated email flows.
If you want more advanced features, such as A/B testing, you’ll need to upgrade your plan for both solutions.
3. Collecting emails
Once you have picked an email marketing platform, the next step is adding contact forms to your website in order to collect visitor’s emails.
It can be an embedded signup form or a pop-up subscribe form. The number and type of fields depend on the data you want to collect.
Keep in mind that the higher the quality of the content you are offering, the more data you can ask in return.
Examples of quality content are city guides, ebooks, checklists and infographics.
Try to segment your audience when creating your email list. Based on that you can send accurate content to your readers which will increase the engagement and also the chances of a booking.
4. Creating the right content
When creating your email marketing content, take into consideration the demographics and geographical characteristics of your subscribers.
If you are dealing with a heterogeneous audience, try to divide it into homogeneous groups and tailor the communication to best suit each group profile.
What you will send to your subscribers also depends on your strategy.
If you are a food tour operator, for example, you can send a weekly newsletter with your latest blog articles.
If you don’t have a blog, you can send curated news about your destination, local recipes, information regarding travel restrictions, or other relevant content for your audience.
Don’t forget to promote your special offers in your newsletters.
For a fixed email flow, the first email can be an infographic about the destination’s sights, the second a review of the best restaurants and for the third email, you can add testimonials of your guests.
For the last email, you can invite your readers to book your promotion through a book now button leading to your tour page.
5. Automating the process
The last step is automating your email marketing campaigns. That will save you a lot of time, given that you won’t need to send all the emails manually.
Use automation to send regular emails once someone submits a form. Also, create triggers based on specific conditions to send emails with the right content at the right time to the right person.
For instance, you can set a welcome email to be sent when someone subscribes to your newsletter.
If you are dealing with email flows, you can use your email marketing tool to define the periodicity that your emails will be sent, as well as their sending order.
Email is an affordable and very effective marketing channel. Tour operators can use it to warm up leads and increase the number of bookings.
Don’t forget to always ask permission before sending marketing emails, otherwise, you will be hurting your brand.
If you got excited about using email marketing to boost your sales, get inspired by those 5 newsletters tour operators should subscribe to.