Successful Email Marketing in the Travel Industry in 2023 – Part Two
Grow your Home Based Travel Agency by Engaging your Clients with Emails that will provide results!
Here are some reasons why and how to use it in your business!
Written By: Tom Ogg, Founder and Co-Owner – FindaHostTravelAgency.com
Subject Line Concepts that Get Opened
Email subject lines are one of the most important elements of your email campaigns. Subject lines are generally the number one reason an email either gets opened, or not. Depending on the content that is being sent, the subject line should conform to the objective of the email’s function. As an example, if you are sending a river cruise offer to your river cruisers in your list, then a direct subject line that shares enough information for the river cruiser to make a decision to open the email, or not. Conversely, if you are sending exploratory emails to potential new clients, then you may want to use a dangling subject line that leaves the reader staring at the “Read More” link to access the rest of the information.
One of the most fundamental subject line concepts is to never bait and switch or over promise what the person clicking will experience. Once you do this, you will lose credibility and your open rate will plummet. Always remember that the function of email marketing is to conclude sales. It is not to get the highest open rate possible. Craft each and every subject line message to be focused on that objective. Following are some subject line concepts that work.
Dangling Subject Lines
Also known as a “cliffhanger subject line,” these work really well in getting people to click on your email. If you belong to the app NextDoor then you already know what a dangling subject line is. Nextdoor is expert as using them, but is also abusing them to the point where their users are no longer clicking on them. Here are some examples of dangling subject lines from recent NextDoor emails.
“We walk the lakes in the Ventana Lakes area between Beardsley and 111th and—-“
“I went to Taco Bell / Long John Silver’s last night I had to go inside to order Long John Silver’s-”
“I wish my neighbors would understand that I’m not trying to be that weirdo”
“ Last night my front screen door was open. I heard walking on my driveway”
These work because the reader is compelled to find out the rest of the information being discussed…but it is extremely important that the reader’s experience once they have clicked, is satisfying. As an example, the post about Long John Silvers was some Karen complaining because she was late for a special offer they were making and had to pay an additional $2 for her meal.
Direct Subject Lines
Direct subject lines work when you have a segmented list and are sending email to a segment that is niche oriented. The idea is to give the reader enough information to make a decision to either open it, or not. Here are some examples of direct subject lines used by Vacationstogo.com.
“Book by Sep 30 for Huge Savings on River Cruises + New 2023 Itineraries & More“
“America’s Great Waterways, Terrific River Cruise Deals & More”
“Celebrity Cruises — Save up to 87%!” “Save up to 80% on Oceania Cruises”
These work because even if the reader may not be considering the offer being made the curiosity factor may get them to click. But, the reader knows exactly what he or she will find on the landing page and appreciates the opportunity as defined in the subject line to be given the option.
FOL Subject Lines
FOL, or “Fear of Loss” also known as “FOMO, Fear of Missing Out” subject lines are very powerful in the travel industry. Nothing is more perishable than a cruise cabin, airline seat, resort room, seat in a motor coach or a day at a theme park. This is what makes FOL subject lines so powerful. Following are some examples of powerful FOL subject lines.
“Last Chance to Book XX Cruise Line at 80% Off”
“XX Resort’s Huge Discount Ends Tomorrow Night. Don’t Miss Out!”
“San Diego to Hawaii Airfare Sell Ends Today. Don’t Miss Out”
“Last Chance XX River Cruise. Only 2 Cabins Left, Book Now or Forever Hold Your Peace”
These subject lines work because they introduce a fear of loss and compel the reader to take action if they are interested in what’s being offered.
Subject Line Genres
Using these three concepts along with effective genres of email subject lines is a sure fire way to get excellent open rates. Following are some of the more important genres to use.
Humor: Humor can be a very effective way of capturing clicks. And, travel is full of humor. When used with a dangling subject line where the reader must click to get to the punch line is very effective. “A blond and a brunet boarded their flight to Hawaii when ….” “The Top 5 Most Hilarious Cruise Jokes of All Time”.
How To: “How to Visit XX Like a Local” is an example of a How To subject line. “How to Find Discount Cruises” is another. How To subject lines can be used in innumerable ways effectively. The trick to making your “How To” subject lines effective is to actually make the content of the email so it explains the “How To” subject.
Questions: Questions promote curiosity and the desire to know the answer. A well crafted question can motivate readers to seek the answer. The question(s) in your subject line should compel the reader to take further action by opening the email to find the answer to the question. Depending on your objective they may have to click on another link to arrive at the final answer. Using questions to engage a person’s curiosity is an excellent way to build subject lines.
Expertise: “The Latest Update on River Cruise COVID Protocols” This type of subject line compels readers to get the latest information possible from an expert on the topic. This not only drives open rates, but also reconfirms that you are an expert on river cruises (or whatever you use in the subject line).
Exclusiveness: Everyone loves to feel special and being invited to exclusive events like a “President’s Cruise” or other exclusive travel events can be a very serious motivator to gain high engagement rates for your email open rates.
Scarcity: Nothing is more distressful to a traveler than missing out on that “Once-in-a-Lifetime” travel bargain. The airlines really understand how to use scarcity in marketing their flights. Every time one checks availability for a city pair, the airline warns you that there are only a few seats left, so you had better book now. “Just Had 2 Cabins cancel on the July 4th sailing to Alaska. Book NOW!”
Newsjacking: Newsjacking Subject Lines will work wonders depending on your timing. Newsjacking is when you intercept breaking news and make it yours by beating the normal media by distributing it faster than they do. Breaking news always gets clicks, especially if it regarding a natural disaster or other calamity.
Free Offers: Free offers sent to your list can be especially helpful to your open rate. This is true if the free offers that you send are actually totally free offers and not a sales pitch disguised as a free offer. Transmitting offers from your symbiotic partners is an excellent way to not only give your clients something of value for free, but it also solidifies your relationship with your partner.
Emojis, Numbers and Video: Don’t think that your subject line needs to be text only. Custom emojis can help influence the reader to click. Apps like Bitmoji, Aviation, Giphy and many more allow you to create an emoji in your likeness and then use it in thousands of settings. Bitmoji, as an example, starts with a selfie and then allows you to add or change a good number of elements to create your likeness.
It has also been proven that subject lines with numbers in them gain an advantage in open rates. Many email subject lines are very vague which is why numbers work so well. If you offer a number in your subject line, it portrays specific date may be contained which gives the email more value.
Getting your video email opened is fairly straight forward. First of all, you should make it crystal clear that the email contains a video message and also invite them to enjoy the content.
2023 Landing Pages that Convert
Once you have your email opened, you will need to have them go to a specific landing page for the sole purpose of converting the click into a sale. One of the most important landing page feature is that it is consistent in every way with the email which created the click. This means exact same design, color scheme, fonts and images.
Above the Fold: When the potential client lands on your landing page everything he or she might need to convert the click into a sale should be within his or her view. The CTA (Call to Action) should have a priority position and full contact information, the specific value proposition being made and everything else should be readily available above the fold. If additional information on any element of the value proposition is made, it should be displayed in a pop-up window when clicked on. When the visitor is done reading the information and closes the window, he or she should still be looking at the space above the fold on the landing page.
Responsiveness: So many people are using smart devices for the purpose of reading email that you must be sure that all aspects of email work great in smart phones, tablets or any other smart device. In today’s digital environment, having your email and web content responsive is imperative for success. If you do not understand CSS your best bet is to purchase responsive email and web templates for your campaign. There are litterly millions of predesigned email campaign templates that are responsive and professionally designed.
Clarity: The specific value proposition of your email campaign should be as clear and concise as possible. Depending on what action you want the people that have landed on your landing page to take, should be crystal clear. Your campaign CTA should start this process by explaining (in as few words posssible) what the clicker will receive by clicking on the link.
Consistency: Being consistent in your landing page design with your email campaign is also mandatory. When people click on a call to action (CTA) they are expecting to arrive at a page where they can submit their email, create a purchase or gain further information. Arriving at a landing page that is completely consistent with the email they click on develops trust and confidence in the clicker.
While engaging clients using email marketing is surely one of the best ways to build your business, making your email campaigns satisfy the post-COVID pandemic standards is essential.