Travel & Tourism : How To Make An Email Welcome Series

I’ve been researching the tourism and travel industry’s use of email marketing for the 2 years, and have observed that apart from a few stand outs, the bulk of the industry isn’t doing email marketing well.

A statistic that stands out to me when I look at my research is that the average delay between signup and first contact is 9 days – and that’s if there’s even an email sent. Of those brands who I have monitored 38% haven’t even sent me an initial email after subscription.

That’s why I provide advice and assistance for marketers who might be looking to improve their email efforts, and get a smooth and effective marketing rhythm.

With limited resources and people stretched thin trying to do everything demanded, many CMOs feel like they are hard pressed just to complete the basics, let alone get a head start on the work that requires some level of thinking! And with 38% of businesses not even sending a FIRST email – it’s clear that there’s a lot more to be done.

What follows is a simple and easy to follow outline on how to do a welcome series of emails. I’ve been working in email marketing for the last 12 years, and I have a particular focus on understanding and thinking about what subscribers want to hear about. I believe subscribers want to hear from you quickly, often, and with a load of value attached.

Why you should make contact quickly

When it comes to our attention span online, we are notoriously impatient. We’re so impatient in fact that the measure of a website’s loading speed is directly related to revenue generated.

When Shopzilla dropped latency from seven seconds to two, revenue went up seven-12 percent and page views jumped 25 percent (source).

Don’t load your website fast enough? Potential revenue will be lost.

Get out of the bin

The same is true for the speed at which you speak a subscriber after they have given you their details. Attention is so precious that if they have bothered to provide you their email address – then you have something of great value. Make sure you get the most out of it.

The speed at which you respond, and reinforce your brand matters. The risk is that people will move on. And they will.

Not only will people forget about your brand, but if you take too long to send an email to them you’re going to get binned or reported for spam, as the link between subscription and first email is easily forgotten if it’s not within the realm of a single day.

Make useful contact immediately

Making the most of a new subscriber is more than just saying ‘thank you’ and then leaving them hang while you get a few ideas together for the next newsletter.

The person subscribing clearly sees value in your business – and they’re interested in what you have to offer. So the next steps you need to make are steps that reinforce that value.

Here’s where an automated welcome series is going to be so super useful.

By reinforcing value through communication of further value you’ll be building a case for this person to book with you instead of your competition. You’ll deepen both the knowledge and tie to your business that your subscriber has – and place you front of mind.

A basic but effective method for marketing automation

I want to outlay a really simple way of getting started with marketing automation. It’s not tricky, and people have been doing it for a lot longer than the phrase ‘marketing automation’ has been around. We used to call them autoresponders.

The three step ‘welcome and delight’ series

It’s a very simple method, and it gives you a really great basis for sending further content to your new subscriber.

Here’s what you’re going to send:

  1. Something quickly.
  2. Something of value.
  3. Something to do.

1. Something quickly

The first welcome email is an opportunity to quickly and easily make first contact and set expectations. Sending your email quickly is the best way to reinforce sign up recognition – so that the subscriber even remembers giving you their details.

Send this email within 24hrs of a subscriber joining your program.

In your content, include a welcome (not a thank you) and remind them where they signed up. You’ll also want to set the expectation of what type of content you’ll be sending to subscribers (discounts, tips, news), and if you’re going to be making the emails personal then introduce the person who is sending your emails.

It’s very simple.

2. Something of value

This is where a lot of businesses get tripped up. What’s next? How do I communicate anything other than just “Here’s a discount?”

There is so much more to offer than discounts or prices. Use this second welcome email to reinforce the value of your brand, and what your business has to offer.

Brands often use this email to share with subscribers a tip, or something useful that they may not easily know about.
It could be a ‘getting started’ email where you lay out useful or valuable information on how to do business with your brand.

Some other ideas include:

  • How to contact a person the business
  • Services that you have to offer other than your core product
  • A preference center for how to control your emails
  • What other customers find helpful or useful from the business
  • Hotels you could even offer ways for subscribers to customise their experience when staying

There are so many ways you can help a customer do business with you, and give them true value. Make this the focus of your second email.

Send this email the day after the first email. Two days, two emails.

3. Something to do

Really what you’re looking at here is the call to act and get a subscriber over the line. The first two emails bring additional value to the subscriber by way of introduction and additional useful information.

The third is going to ask the subscriber to take action.

Put a great value offer to the subscriber, give them additional reasons to purchase and make sure there’s a clear way of taking that action.

This is another simple email.

  • Make a clear and concise subject & headline with what you’re offering
  • Show the offer & lay out the benefits of purchase
  • Make sure there’s a visible, clickable button with active wording – ‘buy now’, ‘book now’, ‘get tickets’.
  • Reinforce social proof with a testimony, or increase urgency with a time limit

Send this email on day three after your subscriber has joined your list.

Three emails – three days.

Just do something

The key with this approach is to start something, keep it simple and finish it quickly.

Once it’s set up, you can let it ride for a while, measure the results and then tweak and measure changes.

It can be easy to get caught up in the day to day – grinding out print ads, Facebook posts, Instagram pics, and just get caught in the ‘instant’ world. Getting an email marketing welcome series up like this will provide value, and greater engagement with subscribers who are far more likely to purchase with you.

So give it a go!