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How to sell more tours using emails: Finding your audience

How to sell more tours using emails: Finding your audience

  Written By Alex Hopson

  May 4, 2017

Have you ever sent out an email campaign and heard nothing back?

Sometimes, no matter how carefully you put your email campaign together, you can get a disappointing response and it's easy to feel like you have wasted your time.

Why isn't your phone ringing after you send out an email?

Many factors will determine your success. Everything from how you build your email list, how you write and structure your emails to how you analyse past successes and failures all make a difference.

Throughout this series I'll talk through each aspect of creating a successful campaign, from start to finish, by the end of it you'll have everything you need to start pulling in more sales. The first step is to build your audience.

Step 1: Finding your audience

The aim of this section is to show you how to build up an email list with interested recipients, how to really engage your audience and how to continually improve your emails.

Email marketing, when done properly, is an incredibly powerful tool for reaching potential customers. And with a well curated list of recipients you will be reaching an audience that you know will be interested in what you have to say.

To start you'll want to make sure you have a good email list of people who are interested in your tours. You hopefully already have enough emails to start an email campaign, and with the tips below you should be able to build.

Reach the right people

Successful email marketing is all about reaching the right people, if you're using a commercial service (and I'll explain why you should be later) then each email will have a cost, you don't want to waste money on people who are unlikely to be interested.

Don't waste money buying a random email list, if you buy an email list do so from a trustworthy source that is directly related to the tour industry, for example a list of readers of a travel magazine.

Not only does emailing uninterested people cost you money, the more people that mark your message as spam the more likely email services and filters are to flag up your future messages as spam. This means that your future emails are much more likely to end up unread in a junk mail folder, you could even get blacklisted.

How do you build up your email list?

The first step is to collate all the email addresses you have of past tour clients. These are probably scattered all over the place, but some email clients will let you export a list of emails you've sent emails to in the past.

If not it may be a case of manually entering emails into a spreadsheet – time consuming but it's worth it.

Past clients have already bought one tour from you, and as long as they enjoyed it (and I'm sure they have!) then they are more likely to buy from you than someone who has never used you.

Is that all the emails you already have?

Unlikely, you can also add emails from people who have made enquiries about tours in the past. Again these people were interested enough to get in touch so they're more likely to buy a tour from you than someone who hasn't heard of you.

Where can I find new email addresses?

If you can provide a compelling reason for people to sign up to your email list or give you their email address then many people will do so.

By telling people you will release any special offers early on your email list you may be able to encourage people to sign up.

A good way to quickly build your list is by holding a competition; you can offer a free tour, a discount on your tours or even just a bottle of wine or an Amazon voucher and watch the emails roll in.

If you write unique and useful content for your emails providing insights into a tour destination, or an area people will want to hear about then people may also sign up just to hear what you have to say.

Why not write a useful downloadable guide for people to download, it's easy to ask for someone's email address when they download the guide. Some ideas for a downloadable guide could be:

  • A map

  • A destination factsheet

  • A short list of useful words and phrases

Are all your clients the same?

It's pretty unlikely isn't it? Some tours I've been on have had everyone from teenagers to pensioners. Many people are also focussed on a specific activity, cycling for example, or part of the world.

Yes, it's great to have a list of people who are interested in your tours. But wouldn't it be better if you could email everyone who loves cycling an email focussed on your cycling trips?

A good email system will make it easy to add emails to a group, this could be age, activity or region related – whatever works best for you. You'll still be able to send them all one email (and you should do to show the breadth of your tours) but when you can you can, it pays to target a group with precision.

This will take a bit of extra work, as you add emails you should tag or group them by interest. For example if someone has been on one of your walking trips add them to a walking trip group. If you collecting emails from a competition why not ask them what their top destinations to visit are?

As is always the case with marketing, the more accurately you can target your marketing the more tours you'll sell.

What next?

This is the first in a series of articles on how you can write emails that will pull in customers. The next step will explain how to write content that will entice your customers to visit your website and book tours with you.

Short of time? Looking for some more help?

We've been helping tour operators run successful email campaigns since we started. We can help create email lists, as well as writing articles and curating content that will appeal to your audience and encourage them to take one of your tours.

Whether you just want a bit of advice or you'd like us to run the whole email campaign for you, please get in touch to see how we can help.

The Travel Web Design Agency was set up to provide tour operators with a one stop shop for all their online and digital needs – everything from creating websites to promoting and marketing them.

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Article written by:

Alex Hopson

Alex's goal is to help the clients of The Travel Web Design Agency turn more browsers into buyers. This article is just a small portion of the knowledge and experience that helps our clients grow.

He's been creating websites since the nineties – before most people were even online! As a perpetual traveller he has first hand experience of what people are thinking when they're booking a tour. And as someone who has worked with the travel industry from his very first professional website he understands what tour operators need to suceed in today’s competitive market.

Are you looking to fill up your tours? If so, you need to call the experts.

If you are interested in a new website for your travel business, contact The Travel Web Design Agency.