It’s wrong to assume email marketing has become obsolete. Most marketers don’t know how to run a successful email campaign. That’s because it’s perhaps one of the most difficult forms of digital marketing. In this blog, you’ll learn all there’s to know about expanding your travel agency’s reach via email marketing.
Email marketing should be integral to every travel agency’s marketing mix. Most marketers steer clear of email marketing because they don’t know how to make it work. Indeed, it’s hard to make people open emails, let alone buy your ongoing discounted travel package to the Bahamas — but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It takes creativity, experimentation, and patience to get things right. Once that’s done, results will roll in effortlessly, and you’ll feel rewarded. Here are the top things to remember when launching an email campaign to promote your travel agency.
Know your audience
Every business has a target audience, and so does your travel agency. Lay out all the past data of your customers on a spreadsheet, and try to categorize them into age, sex, budget, travel destinations, and more. That way, you’ll find all the subgroups that constitute your target audience, making your target crystal clear — you’ll be tailoring your emails to the interests and preferences of these groups of people.
This process is called market segmentation because it involves segmenting your target audience into small subgroups. Note that each subgroup will be slightly or markedly different from the other. As a result, you’ll have to craft a separate email for each segment to maximize your chances for sales. For instance, you could use a travel poster for couples looking to fly off to Turkey this Christmas season and a standard email for professionals going on work trips.
Outline the overall email structure
Next, we get on with the brass tacks. But before you jump into writing an email, it’s better to have an overall framework to work with — it’ll keep things organized and reduce clutter. Trust us; the last thing you want in your email is clutter. We suggest using an online graphic design tool like PosterMyWall and selecting an editable email template you like. This is beneficial for 2 reasons — you’ll have an already-structured template to work with and will save time by having a pre-built template.
Once you have an overview of how the email will look, you can start pouring content into the gaps. Since you’ll have limited real estate, make every word count! There shouldn’t be any redundant words or phrases that serve no purpose. Similarly, keep the fonts and colors consistent throughout the email so that your email looks professional and cohesive.
Great emails are dynamic and have visuals
No one has the time to wade through walls of paragraphs in an email — that’s a surefire way to get your email tossed into the trash folder without even being opened. You’d do the same if you received such an email. Humans are very visual, and there’s a lot of truth to the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Visuals catch your audience’s attention, so use travel-related pictures in your emails.
Besides images, you should also use catchy fonts. For example, if you’re promoting a tour package to the Bahamas, make it stand out in the center of the poster in a big and bold font. Remember, the colors you use should be consistent with your brand image. Normally, using your company’s logo colors should do the trick, but you can tweak around a little. Just make sure it looks professional and neat at first glance.
Pay close attention to subject lines
This is perhaps the most difficult and time-consuming part of crafting a successful email. A subject line is the first impression your email gives to a reader. If it’s not up to the mark, the email will likely end up in the trash folder. It can be very difficult to develop catchy and creative subject lines because you’ve got room for about 40 to 50 characters to play with. This is the real test of making every word count!
Remember to be creative when creating a subject line. Something like, “Book your Bahamas tour at 30% off” is just okay-ish but doesn’t stand out. Instead, consider something like, “Don’t need a thick wallet for a Bahamas tour anymore” — the latter conveys the essence of your message, and the last two words rhyme and sound better in your head than the first example.
Also, the above example identifies a consumer pain point: touring the Bahamas is expensive. This subject line would work wonders for students who are already thin on cash. Always target your audience segment’s pain points; that’s how you’ll gain their trust and attention. And lastly, never mislead someone into opening your email with a clickbait subject line — they’ll never trust you again.
Sprinkle in a few CTA buttons
For those who don’t know, CTA stands for call-to-action. Its purpose is to instruct potential customers on what to do if they want to book a tour with you or get a discount on their next trip. A well-crafted email without a CTA button would leave a potential customer confused as to what to do next. Sure, they could visit your website, scroll through your travel packages, and book a tour at discounted prices, but that’s just too much effort for most people.
Basically, a CTA button brings your travel agency to the audience’s doorstep. Someone is much more likely to book a tour with you if they see a CTA button in your email because it’s not much effort to head over to your website and book it manually. The easier you make the buying process for a potential customer, the likelier they’ll buy from you than a competitor.
Be mindful of the 80-20 rule
If you think flooding your email with pointless sales messages will increase bookings, you couldn’t be more wrong. According to the 80-20 rule, 80% of your email should be informative and educational in nature, while only 20% should be marketing. In other words, it should add genuine value for the reader — something they don’t know. For instance, if they’re planning a Euro tour, you could warn them about accommodations that charge exorbitant prices for little value. Or, you could address a few pain points to get the reader’s attention.
Only if you get on the customer’s side will they start trusting you. The foundation of every sale is trust. Therefore, you can’t expect your sales to skyrocket if you’re throwing marketing messages that are likely to annoy the customer more than gain their trust. Once you’ve identified these pain points, you can subtly state that you have a solution they’ll like.
Some final thoughts
Every travel agency has a unique business model and target audience. While the above-mentioned strategies have been proven to work like a charm, it’s important to tailor each to your specific case. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach that works for everyone. You’ll also need to experiment to see what works best for you.