A Tourism Marketer’s Guide to Getting Started with Email Marketing

September 14, 2020 9:54 pm

It might not be shiny, new or buzz-worthy, but email marketing is still the most effective marketing channel to reach your target audience for tourism operators. 

In 2019, the DMA reported for every $1 spent on email marketing you can expect an average return of $42.

For the tourism industry, email marketing should be an integral part of your marketing strategy.

Email is an owned medium, giving you, the business owner control, allowing you to establish a direct communication line to your consumers. 

While it might seem like a massive undertaking, follow the below steps to get started developing your email marketing strategy for your tourism business.

Create a strategy 

It is essential to tailor your marketing materials to your audience, so begin with creating a buyer persona. A buyer persona helps you understand your customers from their interests, needs, behaviours and concerns. In tourism marketing, there is likely to be many personas, but start small and expand over time.

Use the industry benchmarks to establish your own goals. Below are Mailchimp’s October 2019 statistics on the travel and transport industry in regards to email marketing for tourism:

  • Average open rate: 20.44%
  • Average click rate: 2.25%
  • Hard bounce: 0.31%
  • Soft bounce: 0.51%
  • Unsubscribe rate: 0.24%

Decide on an email service provider

There are a plethora of email marketing service providers on the market, from Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign,  ConvertKit, Drip and Klaviyo.  

You will be looking for a service that is easy to manage contact lists, has drag and drop capabilities, offers email automation, segments users into groups, tracks the performance of campaigns and allows for A/B testing. 

Many providers have a subscriber count and send limits, so spend some time researching to find the best for your business. There are even a few entry-level plans that can be free of charge. 

Build your list

An email marketing list is a collection of email addresses that will be sent marketing and promotional material. 

Create a page on your website where people can sign up to your emails. Consider creating a website pop-up so when consumers land on your homepage, they can opt-in for your emails.

The easier it is to sign up, the higher chance of email addresses you will attract.

While building an email list takes lots of time and patience, it is crucial to have permission to be in someone’s inbox. As available as purchasing email lists are, Australia has strict privacy laws for email marketing

In tourism marketing, it is likely you would want to communicate different messages to  different audiences; media, to investors, current customers and old customers. You can then segment these addresses and target them specifically.

Create your email

Did you know the average adult’s attention span is eight seconds? 

You need to structure your emails with this in mind and forgo text-heavy emails. 

Whether you stick to a template your email service provider has available, or you are getting a customised template made, design your emails in line with the inverted pyramid method. This method makes it clear to that audience what you want them to do (click on the call to action) and eliminates distractions.

If you need inspiration, Milled is an email newsletter search engine where you can browse through hundreds of thousands of email campaigns. 

Draft different subject lines that are actionable, enticing and would make your audience want to find out more.

Send a test email to people for feedback, and test across different devices as most emails are opened on mobile phones.

tourism marketing email

Make a schedule

Let your audience know how often they’re going to hear from you! 

Sending one email every day is a surefire way to get people to hit that unsubscribe button. 

If the EDM is information or an update, once or twice a month is perfectly fine. However, this frequency can change if there is a promotion or a limited time offer running.

Email content should be delivered a week before scheduled send date to be approved and tested.

Analyse your results

In digital marketing, no project is worth undertaking unless you can measure the success. Many email service providers provide analytics within their platform or are linked with Google Analytics.

Look at the benchmarks mentioned in step 1 (especially open rate and click-through rate) as a guide to see if your emails are resonating with your audience.

If they’re not, don’t stress. 

This is where you can experiment with A/B testing subject lines, CTA copy and prominence, email send time and messaging inside the email.

Just remember if you’re providing valuable content to your audience, they’ll look forward to opening your email every time it’s in their inbox. 

If you need some help with your email marketing, we’d love to give you a hand. Get in touch and we can discuss a program.