Don’t Ignore the Most Powerful Tool in Your Toolbox | TravelResearchOnline

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Don’t Ignore the Most Powerful Tool in Your Toolbox

With the dominance of social media marketing, you might think that sending an old-fashioned email might be akin to a letter, right? Wrong!

When it comes to keeping clients and prospects engaged with your agency — email marketing is king.

New tech comes and goes daily it seems. Google+…out. Tik Tok…in. Snapchat…who knows. But you know what is always “in?” Email.

Maintaining an email list is no longer something nice to have, but it is imperative if you want to grow your travel business, and here are four reasons why.

1. You own the list

Unlike any other social medium, your email list is yours, and nobody can take it from you. It is your sandbox. This is the first and most important reason an email list is better than any social media.

In the news, Facebook is now thinly threatening to move to a paid model now that Apple took their ability to wantonly track users away from the behemoth. All of a sudden, free Facebook is not so free any longer. And let’s be honest, what happens when you put all of your eggs in one basket and the basket disappears?

Your list is yours. The trick will be to make sure your message is reaching your prospects and clients. And another tidbit, the open rate for a social post now hovers in the 1,5% to 2.5% range; while emails start at about 10%.

2. You grow your credibility

We all like to do business with people we like. Why do we like certain people? Probably because they have a trait to which we can relate—honest, trustworthy, loyal, truthful, informative, funny, compassionate, etc. An email will allow you to be all of that.
Never fib or lie to your subscribers. I am a fan of laying it all out in front from day one of the relationship with my welcome email. I tell them:

  • How often to expect an email
  • What to expect in the email
  • Some info about my agency to assure them they signed up for the right one
  • And that they can always unsubscribe

On another non-travel project of mine, I have a weekly newsletter. I am considering a daily (automated) one. It would be easy enough to simply change the frequency of my current list, but that is not what they signed up for. So, I created a new list, and in my weekly newsletter, I provide a link to sign up for a daily one when it launches. I am keeping my initial word and being honest. And from a 9,000 strong weekly list, I gained 450 people that want to hear from me daily.

3. Emails keep you top of mind

Despite the rise of social media, email is still way more prevalent. Estimates suggest nearly 4 BILLION people use email every day worldwide. And 90% check it daily, if not more frequently. People will forego checking Twitter or Facebook before they will email. So, be there. The trick is to be relevant and provide value to your subscribers. And remember, value rarely equals promotion.

4. You can segment and personalize your list

Every email program allows for personalization segmentation. While you may not have all of the data needed, if you are creative in your writing, it can work. “Dear {firstname}” will not work. However, “Happy Monday {firstname}” certainly will. In terms of segmentation, you can segment a number of ways. One of my favorites is to segment to a region based on IP addresses—I may not know their specific address, but an IP address will allow me to segment to a general area. This is perfect if you are talking about a drive vacation and you need the drive to be reasonable. My other favorite is to re-target people that clicked on a specific link. If I mention the Amalfi Coast in an email with a link, I can then re-target the folks who clicked on the link at a later date—like when travel fully re-opens and a trip to the Amalfi Coast is just what the doctor ordered. The possibilities are endless.

Using an email list instead of relying on the ever-evolving algorithm of social media is by far the best choice. Many of us forget about this powerful tool at our disposal, and we need to stop. Email marketing needs to be recognized for what it is. The king!

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