It might be hard to imagine, but email marketing is still one of the most effective forms of advertising around. How can that be when everyone you know hates junk mail? No one reads it, it goes straight in the trash. Well, proper email marketing isn’t going to look like junk to your target audience.
Today, we’re going to talk about some basic email strategies & etiquette. Once you’ve got a good grasp on email marketing, you’ll have a very powerful tool for drumming up more bookings.
Automating Follow-Up Emails
You may have read about using follow-up emails on this blog before as a way to solicit reviews. This time we’re going for bookings. As you may have guessed, the act is a fairly simple one: a guest stays in your vacation rental, you send an email 2 months after check-out to offer a return deal.
The best way to do this is to use your handy automation features in Tokeet / Automata. You can see how to set automation triggers up here for Tokeet and here for Automata. Time-based triggers will allow you to implement a strategy that incorporates both review solicitations (shortly after check-out date) and return offers (1 month+ after check-out date). With enough of a gap, you can avoid agitating your customers and ensure they see you as a destination rather than an advertiser.
A subject we haven’t discussed yet on this blog is re-marketing. It’s similar to the follow-up emails, except you’re targeting people who’ve shown interest in your VR but haven’t booked. Inquiries are your prime source for contacts here. You can collect email addresses of past inquiries and messages in the Inquiries menu in Tokeet.
It’s not possible to extract email addresses from all channels, but the ones that are there are quite valuable. Store them and tailor content specifically to try to hook potential guests who are busy or apprehensive. An email subject that tries to capitalize on those who can’t pull the trigger might look like this: “Waiting for the right time? It’s now!”. The content could include a time-sensitive discount to initiate the FOMO fervor.
Not all of this has to be done through Tokeet though. Airbnb, for instance, has a great way to connect with unbooked inquiries. Check out their Special Offer feature, and then use that in combination with their coupon code discounts to mop up any indecisive potential guests.
Now let’s get back to emails!
Building an Email List
If you’ve ever seen the film Glengarry Glen Ross, you’re probably familiar with the concept of ‘leads’ and how valuable they are. Levene knows, that’s for sure. Well, in digital marketing, email lists are your leads.
Not any old email list though – the method by which they’re collected as well as accompanying details are what really allow you to create effective email marketing campaigns.
Having different sources of email address collection and various details about each user’s preferences and interests means more factors for group organizing. This is called segmenting. Creating sub-groups from your email address allows you to hone in your email campaign to have maximum appeal to the recipients. This is called targeting.
Now you’ve got some lingo, let’s look at an example email list:
That’s a lot of information! That means a lot of work right? Yes and no – on the one hand, there’s plenty of info that has to be collected manually. On the other, there’s a lot of tools you can use to streamline the process.
From the example list, you can see there’s plenty of differences between customers. Look at that as different angles to work. For instance, all of the inquiries and past bookings for the Beach House during the Summer months can be one email campaign that focuses on sunshine and Summer discounts. All the guests who stayed in the Log Cabin during Autumn and Winter can be a second campaign that focuses on ski rentals and enticing Winter activities.
Now you probably have a pretty good grasp on how to create your segments and target your email campaigns to attract more business! Your data collection will be a major factor in your effectiveness, along with your ability to draft enticing emails.
Exporting Your Guests’ Addresses
The best way to get a head start on your email list creation is to export your past booking data. In Tokeet, you can do this by navigating to the Guests page. From there, you can click the uppermost checkbox to select all entries, then click the Download button.
The CSV file you receive can be the start of your master list – make sure to create new columns to add more pertinent data. Update this list regularly and make sure you don’t have duplicate entries.
Click to enlarge
Integrating 3rd Party Email Apps
Tokeet also allows you to integrate 3rd party email applications / services. Mailchimp, ConvertKit, and similar apps are essential when it comes to running multiple targeted campaigns. Mailchimp is particularly nice since it has some very attractive email templates to work from.
Targeting & Tact
A final note on the matter: do not abuse your email recipients. Just because you can send an email every day, it doesn’t mean you should. There’s a very short tipping point for past customers and potential guests to completely flip their opinion of your business.
Targeting is stressed because it allows you to narrow your segments down to a group of people that you can speak to more directly. Time and time again, you’ll see collected statistics for open rates and clicks that point to heavily targeted and personalized emails being most effective.
Your tact in email marketing, as with most things in life, should be quality over quantity. Do not overuse your emails unless you’re trying to turn people away from your business entirely.