You might have heard different, but let us tell you that email marketing is far from dead. In fact, rather than just tell you it is alive and kicking, let's show you why it is.
Businesses love it because it proves good value for money – we mean really good. According to the Direct Marketing Association, it yields an estimated 4,300% return on investment.
That might explain why 46% of small businesses use email marketing as a top marketing tactic, as per Inc.'s study.
Email is impossible to ignore; that's pretty reassuring for businesses in these content-heavy times. It also has a lower cost compared to other marketing channels – which might explain why the ROI is so extraordinary.
What else makes it a small-business favourite? It's easy to create (there's plenty of email templates out there), it's easy to track (the right software easily allows you to open, click-through and view conversion rates) and it plays up to consumers' instincts to impulse buy.
It's the last point which really makes email marketing essential for every travel firm. While we're not suggesting that people are prone to impulse buying a holiday or trip abroad, a well-timed email can certainly plant the seed.
However, if you're going to make email marketing work, you've really got to know what you're doing. It's not just a case of sending out a slew of emails to a list of semi-interested parties.
You want to be showing your worth to a list of highly-engaged travellers, who have signed up as a subscriber because they enjoy reading what you have to say and want to be kept abreast of any new deals or content that you have going.
That brings us on nicely to some tips on how to make email marketing work for your travel brand:
1. Fill your emails with great content
Even if the main purpose of an email is to flag up a new offer or product, that doesn't mean you should make it all about tempting recipients into a purchase.
As content marketing has shown us, if you want to gain the trust of your customers, you've got to earn it. That means providing value outside of the goods and service you offer. The only way you're going to do that is by creating content with tips and advice they find useful, then linking to it in your emails – doubling the chance that they click through to your website.
2. Make emails mobile-friendly
It probably won't surprise you to hear that almost half (48%) of all emails are now opened on mobile devices – a figure that's only going to keep on rising.
Pretty much every major email service has a mobile app, meaning users are able to see emails as soon as they enter their inbox. Therefore, it's unforgivable to send out any email that isn't mobile-friendly, i.e. images don't bleed out the side of the page and a subject line that doesn't cut out halfway through.
3. Include an emoji
Admittedly, this tip is slightly out of left field, but with competition for consumer attention as fierce as it is, there's nothing wrong with trying something a little different, is there? According to a recent study, Brits are 63% more likely to open an email with an emoji accompanying the subject line.
The study's author, Mailjet, saw open rates rocket by as much as 95% when it accompanied the subject line 'Do your emails looks this good?' with a crying emoji – suggesting emojis prove particularly effective when used to indicate sarcasm. It's worth a try.
4. Don't spam!
One of the reasons that people started declaring that email marketing was 'dead' was that it had built a reputation for being somewhat spammy. You don't really want to send your subscribers more than one email a week, save for the reminder emails (reminding them that they didn't go through with their purchase).
Send too many and you risk recipients hitting the 'unsubscribe' or 'spam' buttons. As we see it, the key is telling subscribers what to expect and then coming good on that promise. So, if you tell them they can expect an exclusive mix of travel deals and content, be sure to deliver it.
Timing is everything, too. It goes without saying that you want your emails to reach recipients when they are at their most engaged and receptive. That's where data comes into play, which allows us to understand users on a deeper level and craft more specific, personalised content.
How can I get access to all this data, you ask? We can help you with that. Contact us to find out how we can create a cost-effective, bespoke email marketing strategy for your travel company.