Best Practices in Email Marketing

By Steve Morse General Manager, Travel & Hospitality, ClickSquared | January 27, 2012

One of the things that hospitality marketers got "right" before many other industries is the practice of maintaining wonderfully detailed customer records and databases. The problem, however, is many hospitality marketers still haven't learned to use email marketing to its full capacity and they continue to rely primarily on ad hoc email campaigns and direct mail to reach their audiences. By doing so, they completely fail to use the great data they have while it's still fresh, leading to disappointing results. To succeed in today's environment, hospitality companies must do a better job of putting their data to work in real-time, delivering messages that are timely and personally relevant to the recipient. The good news is these programs are far easier to achieve than most people think due to advances in technology and online communicability.

With the growth of the online channel, email has become the central nervous system for driving interactive customer relationship marketing. It enables a current and relevant flow of information between a company and its customers, with an ability to react quickly to changes in customer data and behavior, and spur parties to action when appropriate. Effective email marketing relies on a constant data feed for successful communication and outcome. But how can marketers best leverage this channel? And more importantly, how can they do it in a way that is efficient and cost-effective?

Driving Costs Down and Customer Engagement Up

Fortunately, communicating effectively with customers doesn't mean breaking the bank. As most marketers have come to realize, email marketing is a great way to keep costs down, while still allowing you to communicate with your customers on a regular basis. While the cost of traditional direct mail continues to increase, email provides a low-cost alternative with near infinite scaling capabilities.

In addition to the cost savings, email serves as the timeliest way to reach the majority of consumers and allows for instant results. Instead of marketers waiting for a response from a mailer, email provides immediate feedback on the effectiveness of your messages. This makes it easy for hospitality marketers to send compelling, personalized messages that engage guests and prospects and allows them to immediately access and act upon the email before the window of opportunity has closed.

Email marketing also provides hospitality marketers a way to easily segment and test communications in real-time based on inbound response rates. Marketers can easily analyze how people respond and quickly create small test programs that develop into larger campaigns based on the success of those initial trial communications. Minor tweaks and/or adjustments to the existing campaigns allow you to continually narrow your focus and help you communicate to the right people, at the right time.

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