How To Plan Your Email Marketing Campaign

Before you get started actually creating your email campaign and designing the layout of your email, you first need to think about the purpose of the campaign and what you are trying to achieve.

The types of things you need to think about include:

What Am I Trying To Achieve?

This is where you think about the purpose and goals of your email marketing campaign. You may have a long term goal, whereby you want to communicate with your customers on a regular basis to keep them informed of the latest offers, new services you have added to the hotel, and so on. Alternatively you may have a short term goal where your occupancy level is low in the last 2 weeks in October and you want to increase bookings by offering a last minute deal.

Who Do I Want To Target?

Identify who you want to send the email to. Your existing customers, such as, families or couples who have stayed with you before. You may even want to split up all your e-mail subscribers to groups and tailor communication based on the group.

How Will I Get People To Subscribe To My Mailing List?

By law you have to get specific permission from people to send them a marketing email. This is sometimes referred to as an “opt-in” and there are many ways you can get people to subscribe (or opt-in) to your mailing list. For example, you could have a sign-up form on your home page so that people can subscribe to your newsletter.

Alternatively, you can build it in as part of the purchase process where you suggest to your customer to give their consent to receive further communication from you while they are making a booking on your website.

How Frequently Will I Send These Emails?

How frequently you send out your emails will depend on their type and purpose. For example, you may send out special offer and promotional emails as and when they are available, whereas you may send out a newsletter once a month. But try and keep the number of promotional communications to a minimum (1-2 a month) as too many emails could potentially annoy and alienate your subscribers causing them to unsubscribe.

Calls To Action

This is what you want to get the reader to do once they have read your email. When designing your email you need to lay out exactly what you want the recipients of your email to do, and design it to make that path clear and easy to follow. For example, don't distract with too many links or offers, and make not only the call to action clear but also what recipients can expect when they click through. This can be as simple as "Click here for a 20% discount on your next weekend trip".

Landing Pages Once you have gotten your readers to click on your call to action or one of the other links in your email, you want to make sure that the page you direct them to on your website provides the reader with information relating to the link. This will help increase your chances of converting the click into a purchase.

Tips And Tricks

Mobile Web Trends and Best Practices - The Real Opportunity for Re-invention

Now is the time to strengthen your branding or re-invent it to capture a bustling and entirely open market that began in 2006 advent of the .mobi top level domain. Yes, a whole new territory opened for quick commercial ties and a vital real-time connection to a very personal client base. The move was well-backed by such entities as Google, Microsoft, Nokia and Samsung. Both hardware and software sectors embraced the future. There is a gold rush taking place as this article is being written. Companies are snapping up their names and placing themselves in plain view and access to their customers.

SVG, otherwise known as Scalable Vector Graphics brought back the organic element to the visual presentation and gave you the opportunity to re-brand your corporation in a whole new light. The idea of the internet is a mode of communication. Given the opportunity to travel through cyberspace from an object in your hand, we naturally pick the method of least resistance and choose simplicity. Mobile web connections present a new internet attached to the mobile world. Now that world is changing with the amazing leap in how your handheld device will be able to communicate with you. Augmented Reality, or AR, brings a whole new dimension to your image and branding.

How are you going to steer your presentation? Will you attempt to drag over an image that may need a little re-dressing, but is cheaper than investing in your corporate future? You have given great amounts of your learned time in going over company logistics, culture and customer relationship in order to produce a vibrant and flexible commercial machine. Yes, AR still has the same appeal as the old 'cutting-edge' development of Web 2.0 and the concept of 'social media'. It hasn't had its opportunity in the sun as yet, but it, or something similar to it will give you a real potential of creatively re-inventing your marketing strategies, increasing growth and diversifying your revenue stream.

As you are well aware, not every trend comes to fruition, so specific thought on this matter at this time may prove to be a larger draw on your mobile web development efforts then revenue potential, but as you are also well aware, the technical world plods forward like a giant striding across the land, progress, at least at this point, is pretty well guaranteed. Here are some items that might provide food for thought and let you begin the important journey of realizing revenue potential in a whole new commercial world.

- Should your mobile web development efforts look to seek a new audience and attempt to include the latest 'widget' web apps and personal connectivity to your customers? You may want your web development team to consider the traffic load. New technologies make a more ergonomic experience for the user but by implementing live interactivity, you may be just cluttering the airwaves and wasting advertising dollars and development time.

- Will redrawing your image in order to suit the latest and greatest provide an unnecessarily uncertain environment in marketing direction and corporate mandate? You may want your executives that may be heading up these initiatives to analyze your current relationship. Perhaps by examining the paradigm that brought about your present state will allow your team to look ahead with knowing eyes and a keen direction that will allow your company to embrace the future of mobile media.

- By embracing mobile web interaction and narrowing your focus on an more involved clientele, you are introducing yourself and your company to an uncontrolled audience, after all, a hand-held device can be left just about anywhere and often is. Never mind leaving your cell phone at a party, but what about lending it to your friend who needs to make a call because they left their handheld device at the restaurant. This happily random state of affairs means that an accidental connection could occur with a user other than the client that is registered to that particular device and your invite or push media may make a bring in another customer. This issue raises many questions ranging from what is 'acceptable' content to what are the possible marketing benefits and real viability.

These are serious questions and will prove to shape the mobile web industry to a very large degree, in fact deeply affecting its direction. If you heed the potential cons, both future and present, and capitalize on the pros with a thoughtful mind, based in tried and true business practice while striving to enter the mobile web commercial world successfully with strength of consumer connection and real growth of revenue, you will realize your dream and maximize your market share on a global scale.

7 Email Strategies

Whether you are new to email marketing or have been refining your email strategies for years, there are seven initiatives that are essential for your continued email marketing success.

Increase Your Segmentation Efforts

Email marketing data offers incredible segmentation power and the ability to take advantage of small audience segments that might otherwise be financially or technically difficult to reach. If you haven’t started segmenting your list and sending more targeted messages based on recipient data or behaviours, start today.Most of the research in the email industry indicates that segmentation yields significant gains in email conversions.

Some typical strategies for segmentation include:

Geography. This is an easy, fairly obvious segmentation strategy. For example, your customer in Florida is unlikely to be interested in a snowmobile. And your customer in Minnesota probably isn’t interested in a jet ski—in the winter, anyway. Geography can also be a powerful indicator of buying patterns and other influences on the purchase cycle. Take the high tech industry, for example. In high tech pockets like Silicon Valley early adopters are far more common.

Demographics. This is another easy one, and can make a lot of sense. For example, we know men and women can interpret information quite differently. Younger vs. older audiences take in information in different ways as well.
Job title and function. Are you emailing potential users with no—or all the—buying power?

An owner or CFO may want to know about ROI. A middle manager may just want to make his or her job easier. And an engineer or programmer wants to find better ways to work. And so on.

Purchasing frequency. Less frequent purchasers may require a time sensitive offer to encourage them to act. Or maybe you want to reward frequent buyers with exclusive privileges via email. Monetary spending. Adjust resources so you’re dedicating your efforts toward customers who spend the most money with your company.

If you have been segmenting your email audiences, don’t stop. Try to find new ways to segment and look at segmentation based on historical email activity, perhaps treating people who are frequent “clickers” or “openers” differently.

Rethink and Refine Your Opt-in Campaigns

Perform a check-up on your opt-in processes. Review everything from the data fields you’re collecting to the confirmation email you are sending afterwards. Small changes can mean big gains in new audiences, as well as setting the proper expectations for subscribers.

The language you use, the support graphics, and the staging techniques you employ can make a huge difference—between being totally ignored and creating an evolving, dynamic relationship that can enhance database precision, enrich dialogue, and help you showcase a larger scope of services.

Furthermore, if you’re not using strict opt-in policies, start now. As recipients continue to tire of unwanted email, you’ll continue to see declining response rates if you are not using an opt-in-only process.

Clean Your Lists and Try to Maintain Them

Perform a thorough cleaning of your email lists. This does not necessarily mean blindly deleting a bunch of names, but rather using segmentation strategies to treat historically inactive recipients differently than people who are actively opening and clicking on your email messages. Here are some suggestions for periodically cleaning house:

Design for Disabled Images and Preview Panes

Audiences are increasingly looking at your messages without images turned on. (It may not be their choice, but rather the default of their email client.) Make sure your messages are still readable and compelling without images. This may mean designing messages using fewer images, or including a short list of articles at the top of your newsletter.

This technique works well for people who are viewing your message through a preview pane as well. Making sure enough content is placed in the upper right hand of the message to give recipients something to act upon will be important to success rates.

Institute Authentication Standards

Email authentication has reached critical mass, and will continue to grow in importance for email delivery. If you haven’t already, make sure you set up SPF records, Sender ID records, and mail using Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) authentication whenever possible. Proper use of these authentication methods will help your deliverability and will contribute to building a positive reputation for your domain.

Your IT department and/or email service provider should be able to provide specific steps on how to set up these authentication methods. They can also verify which authentication methods are set up already if you’re not sure. The chart below shows a very simplistic and conceptual view of email with and without authentication.

Expand Your Email Testing Efforts

One of the best ways to refine your email strategy is through testing. If you’re a beginner at this, the simplest form of testing is splitting your email list into A and B segments, and sending each segment a message where one element, and only one element, is varied: subject line, copy, image, layout, offer, call to action, etc.

Then analyse the results to determine which variation was more successful in increasing response, and optimize future messages accordingly.

Whenever you’re testing, remember the six steps for email testing success:

1. Ask a question

2. Form a theory

3. Create the test

4. Segment the list

5. Measure and analyse results

6. Make changes

If you’re already a testing pro, or have performed some tests in previous years, keep refining what you have learned to continually improve your campaign performance. As with many of the other initiatives we’ve outlined, small and continual gains can provide major dividends.

Rethink Tired Campaigns

Marketers are increasingly seeing the power that email marketing can have when used properly as part of the marketing mix. We encourage you to go beyond the status quo with your over-arching email efforts and aggressively build your campaigns to deliver better results and new opportunities.

Rethink campaigns that have run for a while, and look at analytics to uncover new avenues of content or functionality that your audiences may respond to. Email offers a unique platform to quickly and cost-effectively change campaigns for the better. Take advantage of these unique abilities to maximize your efforts.