Email Marketing: How to Get Started

Email MarketingEmail marketing can be an extremely cost effective way to communicate with your regular customers and drive traffic to your website and social media pages.  Despite this I’ve noticed this is an underused marketing tool for tourism businesses, for some this is because they don’t have a strong repeat business base – but for those that do then email marketing should be a key part of your marketing communications strategy.

What are the key steps to Get Started?

  • Develop a database. You may have a lot of email addresses of regular customers in your email software so add these into an excel spreadsheet for starters (so you can import them into email marketing software).  It’s OK legally to send marketing emails to customers who you already have a relationship, but it might be a good idea to email them first to invite them to subscribe.
  • Have an email subscription option on your website.  Make it easy for your regular customers to opt in to receiving your emails.  Ideally this function is linked to your email marketing software so they are automatically added to your database.  “Opt in” email marketing is the most effective in terms of open rates and successful campaigns.
  • Use professional email marketing software.  You do not need to purchase or download this software, there are plenty of options that are internet based.  Pricing will depend on how big your database is and how often you send out emails, generally it’s quite cost effective and you will find an option to suit your budget.  There are also free systems like Mailchimp for smaller databases.  Email marketing software provide design templates that you can customise with your own colours and logo, it’s also worth considering have a professionally designed email template that matches your website as a one off cost.  The software will also track the open rate and click throughs from your campaign so you can measure it’s success.  It will also manage unsubscribes and bounced emails.
  • Establish a regular email marketing schedule. Too often can be annoying so don’t overdo it, once every 1 or 2 months is a good start or just when you have something newsworthy.
  • Keep the content relevant and interesting. Special offers, events, new products and competitions are popular reasons to send out an email, be careful not to make the email too long.  Ideally you will provide links to your website for further details and to make a booking.

Email Marketing Tip: The best time to send out an marketing email is Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon

Got any other tips you want to share or email marketing software you prefer? Let us know.

2 Comments

  1. Julia - email marketing software April 8, 2010 at 10:27 pm #

    Thank you for the post. It gives great tips about how to create and send email marketing campaigns. A successful email marketing campaign consists of 3 elements: opt-in list of subscribers, good email newsletter including an opt-out link and a good program to manage bounces and unsubscribe requests.

    I agree that in email marketing it’s important to have a permission-based mailing list. The easiest way to build a list is to place a signup form somewhere on the website or blog and let people subscribe to a newsletter. And email marketing software is a must-have tool for everyone who is serious about online business.

    A good email marketing software must allow easily and quickly send email newsletters and manage contact lists. Plus, some programs have built-in unsubscribe features and allow tracking email campaigns that is very helpful for email marketers.

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