How to sell more tours with emails
If you’re planning to use email marketing, and you should be it’s incredibly effective, then this article explains the different types of emails you can send. Reading this guide will help you choose what emails you should be sending.
What type of email should you be sending?
Step 3: Choosing the type of email campaign
There are three main types of bulk email that businesses send: selling, informational and transactional. While obviously your long term goal is to sell more tours that doesn't mean that sales emails are the ones you should concentrate on. Here's a quick break down on what makes up each type and how to use them effectively.
When you are thinking of an email campaign this is probably the sort of email you were thinking of. You can showcase your popular tours, or any special offers you may have.
Many companies only send sales emails, this is an enormous mistake.
If your audience is interested in your tours then each email has the chance of nudging someone into making a purchase. People will quickly tire of relentless sales emails, you should aim for a mix of sales and informative emails - there's plenty of room for overlap between the two types.
People now are much more aware of being sold to. Pushy sales tactics can reflect badly on you and people will unsubscribe if you relentlessly sell to them.
Creating an effective sales email comes down to getting people to click from the email to your site.
If you're promoting a tour you need to provide a concise explanation of what makes this tour special. Does it go somewhere off the beaten track? Is it is being led by an award winning guide? If so mention it, it's unlikely you're the only tour operator visiting a destination so make it clear why your tour is the best.
Even without a unique hook, a clear summary of the trip should be enough to pique someone's interest. And of course if the tour is on offer mention that!
Imagery is really important when it comes to selling a tour, so make sure you include some really impressive photography of each destination.
Most users will only see text content by default. If your email starts with a large image most users will just see a large empty screen and are less likely to read the email.
[pic of bad emails here]
Don't try to sell too much at once. If you go into a restaurant and are faced with a ten page menu you'll be overwhelmed by choice and struggle to decide what to choose. To avoid decision fatigue (yes, that is a real thing) you should focus each email on a handful of tours. Perhaps one headline tour and a small sample of 3-5 tours that are representative of the variety you offer.
You should look at using informative emails in conjunction with sales emails. By writing useful, unique, content that your customers will enjoy is the key to a successful email campaign.
This will be much easier for niche tour operators. For example if you specialise in climbing tours and a new route has opened somewhere then you want to be the one to break the news to interested climbers.
This shows that you're passionate about what you do and rewards them with useful information, even if they don't buy a related tour with you, your brand will be strengthened as a result. And of course if you happen to offer a tour on that route, or somewhere similar be sure to link to it.
An informative email can still include elements of sales, but these are incidental to the main content.
Another example of taking advantage of the changing travel climate would be to keep people up to date with any issues or new opportunities that arise. For example the recent issues in the Middle East have stopped people from travelling near Syria, so send out a newsletter listing the top five alternatives to classic Syrian attractions like Palmyra or Krak de Chevaliers.
Conversely when the FCO lifted their advice to avoid travelling to Iran it was the perfect opportunity to push Iran as a destination. It was the perfect time to email customers, explaining how now is the best time to visit, you can beat the rush and provide some useful information for example getting a visa which is still a convoluted process!
By being the first to break news and by providing useful information you set yourself up as an authority in the eyes of you customers, thus increasing their trust in you.
Informational emails will tend to be a bit heavier on text, so it's important that you have good content, a well designed template with good, easy to read typography and that content is easy to scan.
If the article is very long you may want to include the first few paragraphs so people get the gist of the information and they can find out more by visiting your website if they want. By encouraging people onto your site they're more likely to browse around and see what you offer.
If the majority of your emails are informative and a worthwhile read you are less likely to lose email subscribers, and they are more likely to engage with your emails. Naturally most of the subjects you write about will be related to your tours in some way, so take advantage of that and have links to relevant tours.
Transactional emails are emails that you send to a specific user as the result of them interacting with you. These emails are a bit different to the other emails in that you don't send them out in bulk.
The reason they are so important is that often these automated emails will be the first correspondence they receive from you. Whether it's an acknowledgement of them buying a tour or they've just signed up to your email list you want to take the opportunity to impress them.
These emails should be well designed and look professional. The information they contain should be accurate and useful. If someone has purchased a tour you want to tell them what you will do next – are you going to contact them? When will you send information/tickets through? You want to reassure them they have made the right decision and to show them how important they are to you.
While the primary purpose of this type of email is to respond to an action the user has taken, you should also take the opportunity to highlight the strengths of your company, or highlight your tours/offers.
The next article goes into how you can analyse your email campaigns to better understand what is successful for you and what could be improved. By understanding your audience you can improve conversion rates dramatically.
Short of time? Looking for some more help?
Sending emails should be part of your standard marketing process, many tour operators are happy to run email campaigns by themselves. But if you're short of time and would like it completely handled for you we can help.
We're also happy to look over your email marketing strategy and help you improve your click through and conversion rates.
If you would like help creating or improving email campaigns then be sure to give us a call on 01722 346400.
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