We get it… email marketing isn’t sexy.
But it also happens to be the most profitable marketing method available.
Almost every tour and activity company has a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram account. Far fewer use email marketing to drive sales. But it’s a costly mistake if you know how much revenue email marketing can generate.
According to a recent study by VentureBeat,
Email marketing gives a return on investment of 3800% and $38 for every $1 spent.
Why is email so profitable?
Because it’s personal. It gives you a direct line from your business to the customer’s inbox. It’s a vehicle for conversation and a way to keep customers engaged.
Try sending a series of emails to your customers after they visit your business. Here are 7 simple ideas to get started…
1. Collect reviews
The majority of your customers won’t come back for a few weeks, months, or even years. (Sure, they had fun… but they have other weekend plans, too!) If you bombard them with follow-up emails asking to buy again too soon, you’re likely to get more spam complaints than repeat customers.
Ask yourself, “what do I want from past customers besides for them to buy again?”
Instead of pushing for a sale, send an automated email inviting past customers to write a review.
For TripAdvisor reviews, consider exporting your customer list to their Review Express feature, or switch to booking software that automates review requests.
2. Boost your brand image
Send a feel-good “Thank You” letter to your customers soon after they visit. Keep it short and sweet. Don’t try to sell anything. Just focus on making a good impression, so that when their friends ask them about their weekend, they think of you 🙂
J. Crew sent this simple and sweet thank you letter to their customers over the holidays. They aren’t looking for anything in return. Just a little “feel good” branding.
3. Focus on engagement
Email marketing isn’t just about sales announcements or review requests (although they do help). It’s about engagement. Offer a bit of “insider knowledge” and invite customers to share theirs.
Wishpond understands that marketing isn’t a one way street. Instead of using Facebook to share with customers, they ask customers to share with them.
4. Don’t ask them, involve them
The inbox isn’t a place for beggars. Instead of simply asking them to follow you on Twitter, show them how awesome your content is, and invite them to join. A simple ‘pretty please, like us on Facebook!’ won’t cut it.
Downtown Pet Supply created a “social feed” in their email instead of simply asking for likes. Who wouldn’t want to follow them, with adorable content like this?
5. Anticipate the next purchase
Different tours will have different repeat buying cycles. Whether that’s after a few weeks, months, or once a season, invite your past customers to book again!
VRBO recognizes that some of their customers begin planning their spring vacation in the winter. By anticipating their customer’s buying cycle, they can put their offering in the customer’s mind early and often.
6. Set a deadline
If you offer a discount, consider setting a deadline. Setting an expiration date will encourage more purchases. Urgency prevents readers from saying “I’ll get to it tomorrow,” and forgetting.
Pro Tip: If you set a 2 day expiration date, follow up with a “24 Hour Reminder” email and win over your more… forgetful customers.
7. Win them back
Once enough time has passed and a customer hasn’t come back, it’s time to get shameless. Try sending a “We Miss You” email, and offer a juicy discount.
Duolingo is shameless in bringing back customers. It’s hard to turn down a crying mascot!
These are just some of our favorite emails. Feel free to copy these ideas and reinvent them for your tour or activity business. If you liked these tips and want more, sign up for our newsletter below!