3 Steps to a Recovery-Ready Email List | TravelResearchOnline


3 Steps to a Recovery-Ready Email List

Was one of your goals for 2021 to grow your email list? If you wrote down that goal, you’re one step closer to reaching out to people when the tsunami of travel rolls at us with the full force of pent-up demand.

But what will a stronger, longer email list mean as the tides change in travel. The benefits are endless, so let’s start with these:

  1. Up-to-date contact info will get your future marketing pieces in front of interested people rather than having your emails fall into the ‘dead letter’ file.
  2. New contact info will provide you access to people who are genuinely interested in YOU and in travel.
  3. Your e-mail marketing budget will be well-spent.
  4. Since you can create social ad audiences from your email list, your ad targeting will be more effective.
  5. By having new addresses your email open rates will be higher.

Let’s run thru the steps (and a few hacks) that bring this home!

Step #1: Brainstorm/Ideation

The ultimate way to gather new contacts and potential new clients is to Give Something Away! That’s right, design a downloadable freebie that readers will just HAVE to have!

Let’s brainstorm for a second about what makes an irresistible freebie. It needs to be:

  1. Relevant for your perfect client
  2. Easy to download
  3. Exciting!
  4. Showcase your business, destinations you serve, and expertise you possess
  5. Branded!

Here’s a list of 26 lead magnet content ideas that are working for travel and tourism pros. (Yes, we can do better than a packing list!)

Step #2: Tools to Build your Lead Magnet

Whether your lead magnet takes the form of an infographic, e-book or coupon, you’ll need to create something that’s eye-catching and stands out socially. Here’s some tips and tools to create the lead magnet that works for you.

Step #3: Marketing your Lead Magnet

Once you’ve created an outstanding guide that people will just have to have, the next step is to share it with the world. Savvy marketers find that they need to spend far more time marketing than creating to be successful. For example, if it takes 2 hours to create your downloadable freebie, the rule of thumb is that it will take 4-6 hours of marketing to be successful.

This is the roadmap that I’ve fine-tuned over the years based on what works in our industry as well as what I’ve gleaned from research.



Pitfalls to Avoid

Your words matter! When looking to share your freebie with people who will find it relevant to hand over their contact information, the key is finding the right tone and style. Adjusting the wording, voice and style, so that social platform algorithms approve, is sometimes the hardest part. Due to recent changes, here’s some words to avoid in your social posts and ads. These banned words can ruin your marketing efforts.

Another common blunder marketers make is creating one version of an ad and putting it out there. When it doesn’t perform as well as they intended, they give up. Here’s the fix: Testing your posts and ads is crucial to your success. Tap into the testing options on Facebook… Dynamic ads and Split testing. Here’s what you’ll want to test:

  • Post text/copy
  • Emoji use
  • Headline formula
  • Call to action buttons
  • Text/copy length
  • # use
  • Ad timing
  • Visuals: Graphics vs Video
  • Audience selection
  • Ad placement
  • Size and style of visual assets


A danger point in marketing is lack of audience targeting! The other day I found an ad in my social feed about hair loss. What a waste of an advertisers money! My hair is so thick that I get it thinned out at the hairdresser! The fix is to target your ad audiences to make them as finely tuned as possible. Get beyond simple demographics! Consider these questions when creating target ad audiences.

Presentation matters! Clinching a bit of contact info is tough when the landing page doesn’t appeal. What would inspire people to download your freebie, if the landing page didn’t look good—they’d just assume that the freebie didn’t look good either. Spending the time creating a branded landing page will clinch the deal! Here’s some tools to create landing pages and funnels that work.

Follow-up Frenzy! Don’t waste the time of your new connections by sending too many or too few follow-up emails. The nurturing sequence you build can make or break your new relationships.

Like many of us in tourism we wait anxiously for the world to wrap it’s arms around travel again. While we’re waiting, staying in touch with our existing clients and growing our reach will give us the traction to steam ahead when the time comes.


Catherine Heeg, International speaker & trainer, focuses on social media marketing strategies for the tourism and hospitality industry. Connect with her at www.cmsspeaking.com and socially.

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