E-mail marketing is one of the most effective ways to keep in touch with customers, and it is one of the online 'low hanging fruits' in marketing.
It is generally cost-effective, and when done properly, can help build brand awareness and loyalty. At a typical cost of only a few cents per message, it's a bargain compared to traditional direct mail at $1 or more per piece. In addition, response rates on e-mail marketing are strong, ranging from 5 to 65% within the small tourism product market. Response rates for traditional mail averages in the 1-3% range.
One of the benefits of e-mail marketing is the demographic information that customers provide when signing up for your e-mail newsletter or promotions emails. Discovering who your customers really are — age, gender, income, and special interests, for example — can help you target your products and services to their needs. Points to consider when creating your e-mail newsletter:
- HTML vs. Plain Text: Response rates for HTML newsletters are generally far higher than plain text, and graphics and colors tend to make the publications look far more professional. The downside is that HTML e-mail is slower to download, but this is becoming less and less an issue in the developed nations where the majority of tourism customers are for SME tourism businesses.
- Provide incentive to subscribe: Advertise the benefits of receiving your newsletter or promotions email to get customers to sign up, such as helpful tips, informative content, or early notification of special offers or campaigns.
- Don't just sell: Many studies suggest that e-mail newsletters are read far more carefully when they offer information that is useful to the customers' lives rather than merely selling products and services. Helpful tips, engaging content, and humor are often expected to accompany e-mail newsletters.
- Limit questions: As each demographic question you ask may reduce the number of customers signing up, it's best to limit the amount of information you solicit or give customers the option of skipping the questionnaire.