How Golf Resorts Can Effectively Use Email Marketing Automation
According to eMarketer’s Email Marketing Benchmarks report, B2C marketers who are using automation have seen conversion rates as high as 50%. As inboxes become more crowded with generic messages that are easy to ignore, businesses need to cut through the clutter with carefully crafted emails that speak to how people are feeling.
Newsletters and other email blasts are created one time and sent out to a list of addresses that you’ve collected. An automated email campaign, however, is set up once and then continually runs by sending out emails automatically when an individual completes a specific action.
For example, if you’d like to send out a thank-you email after someone visits your resort, you can set up a campaign that triggers a week after a guest’s trip is over. In this email, you might send them a discount code for their next stay or a satisfaction survey so they can give you some feedback.
Sending out all of these messages manually would take way too much time and you wouldn’t be able to properly track how well each of those emails performed. Automation saves you time and gives you insights into what resonates with recipients so that you can perfect your strategy over time.
Why should golf resorts use email automation?
One-off email blasts will remain a part of your campaign, but automated messages are so powerful because they speak to people based on the actions that they have taken. In fact, automated emails generate 320% more revenue than non-automated emails, mostly due to how timely and relevant they are to recipients.
Golf resort marketers also need to take the stages of the customer journey into account. The messages that you send need to reflect where people are at in their journey, whether it’s awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, or advocacy. The goal of these messages is to push or “nurture” people to continue to the next stage and get them one step closer to becoming a loyal customer. This nurturing process can only happen with the right systems and strategies in place. Email automation allows you to touch on what recipients are feeling based on their behavior, instead of wasting time and money getting your brand in front of people that aren’t ready to interact with you.
Building a relationship with customers is impossible without communication. As a golf resort, you’ll be catering to people from other areas of the world, so the best and cheapest way of targeting them is through online communication. Social media and other Internet-based channels can work wonders in your marketing strategy, but email is the best way to send specific information to specific individuals that will increase sales and improve attitudes towards your brand.
How should golf resorts use email marketing automation?
Automated email campaigns take careful planning, design, tracking and testing in order to be successful. This might sound like a lot of work, but if you choose the right software for the job you’ll be able to set up effective campaigns with ease.
Step 1: Planning
Start by thinking about the different touch points you want to have with customers on their journey. Then, match all of these different touch points to “triggers” or actions that people will take when they are at each one of these touch points. For example, you can automate:
- A confirmation and thank-you email once someone books a stay at your resort
- A re-capture email that lets people know what they’re missing out on if they abandoned a transaction
- A booking anniversary email to encourage repeat visits
- A pre-stay email with a guide on how people can get the most out of their trip
- An email with a promo code for an on-site restaurant or activity
All of the above examples touched on specific stages that people are at in the customer journey. Your own campaigns should be set up based on your resort and the kind of customers that you expect to receive. For example, promo codes don’t usually match up with luxury brands because the premium they charge is justified by a high-quality experience. A guide to the history of the golf course and what to do at the resort would be much more suited for up-scale operations.
Step 2: Design
Great email marketing tools come with design tools that allow you to drag and drop elements or use pre-made templates, making it super easy to create beautiful emails. Your messages should be designed with a specific goal in mind, whether it’s to drive traffic back to your website, get someone to make a purchase, or to build a relationship. Every aspect should be directed towards this goal, including your call-to-action (CTA), subject line, copy, and design.
Subject lines are the first thing that people will see, so you need to entice them to click. Use snappy and interesting wording, but make sure that they reflect what’s actually in the email.
Your CTA’s need to be well placed and properly designed. Buttons with clear labels can generate a lot of clicks because people will know what they are and what will happen when they click.
Your copy is the meat of your emails. Use short paragraphs with a lot of space between them. You don’t have a lot of room to get too wordy, so keep everything concise and to the point.
Design aspects can include the layout of your message and the images that it contains. A good amount of white space will make your emails more visually appealing and guide the reader’s eye from one element to the next. Images are a great way to show off the beauty of your resort and the experience that people can expect during their stay. If you need some help designing emails, you can always use templates, which will help you figure out placement and spacing.
Step 3: Track and Improve
This step never really ends because you need to continuously keep an eye on how your emails are performing to optimize them. By taking a look at key metrics, you can get an idea of which parts of your messages are really resonating with your audience and which parts are not speaking to them at all. Here are some quick examples of metrics you’ll be looking at and an example to improve them:
- Open rates: Try out a different subject line
- Click rates: Test out a different CTA
- Unsubscribes: Send out different messages, people might find them spammy
- Time spent viewing email: Try a new writing style for your copy
Keep in mind that every aspect of your email will influence these metrics, not just the ones that are typically assigned to them. For example, low click-through rates may be due to a poor CTA, but they can also be caused by a poor design that doesn’t lead the reader’s eye to it.
How can you collect email addresses?
Automated email campaigns only work if you have email addresses being enrolled into your database. These addresses can be collected through forms on your website and over the phone when people call in for information.
One of the most effective ways to collect large amounts of addresses is through asking people to create a customer account when they make a purchase on your website. You’ll be able to send them a confirmation email for their booking, but after that, there’s nothing stopping you from sending those same people deals, promotions, and other messages.
You can also have a pop-up banner on your website that asks people to subscribe to your emails. People are very unlikely to fill out these forms if it seems like all they’re going to get in return is spammy marketing messages, so you need to provide value. You can do this by having a blog or newsletter for people to subscribe to, or by letting them know that you’ll only send them emails when you have great deals to offer.
Despite a high number of businesses using email marketing, the channel is more alive than ever. The key to success lies in implementing automation effectively by tailoring your strategy to your audience. Golf resorts that take advantage of modern technology and marketing strategies will see real results, while the rest of the competition falls behind.
by Christopher Dagenais