What if I told you that there was a type of marketing that existed that cost next to nothing, nearly all your potential customers use it, it had been proven to deliver real results, that by using it you could know without a shadow of a doubt if it is working or not, and that studies showed it could deliver over $40 for every dollar that you send doing it… So, I am assuming that I have your attention!

Yep. All of that is true and all of it is about email. In my interactions with motorcoach operators I am always surprised in the lack of enthusiasm or even understanding when it comes to email marketing.

First lets dispel some of the myths associated with email marketing. If you use Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo Mail or any other mail client or online webmail system to send emails you are not using an “email marketing system”. Nope, I know that some of you may hate to hear that but email marketing systems are vastly different from these email clients. Email marketing system deliver a completely different set of tools, features, and benefits which we will get into a bit later.

The second myth that we will address is that because of the advances of social media, search engine marketing, Pay Per Click, and other digital avenues that somehow email marketing has gone the way of the dinosaur. This is simply not true. Email continues to be a valuable asset to all businesses but especially for those who are doing marketing on a shoestring budget and who have very little time to dedicate to their marketing efforts.

Email marketing has come a long way in the four-and-a-half decades since the first email was delivered. While most technologies that hit their 40’s have long since seen the scrap heap, email has continued to develop into a modern marketers dream. In fact, as recently as 2014, more than half of marketers surveyed by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) planned to increase spending on their email channel citing their impressive return on investment as the driving factor.

So, what is all the hype about? Here are few features that make email marketing one of my personal favorites.

Does it work? Now you know.

Unlike your Gmail or Outlook, when you use a email marketing service you get insights into your effort that make every marketing professional drool. Things like open rate (the number of people that opened your email vs. those who did not), click through rate (the number of people who clicked on the links on your email), as well as incredible details about what they did and how they did it. Have you ever put the time and effort into creating a brochure only to wonder if your clients really care? Have you ever built a new ad for the phonebook but wondered if your call to action was actually causing action? With email the information is there and available in near real time. You cannot only tell who opened your email, you can also know what they clicked on, how much time they spent on it and with some systems you can even use this data to take more action. Imagine if you could send a follow up email about your business services only to the people that had clicked on that link on your last email that highlighted 4 of your top services. What if your sales people could call on people who you knew had clicked on specific links in your emails? The power this could bring a charter company is staggering.
Powerful List Builder

Many coach companies that we work with have not ever fully gathered their email marketing lists. Often this can feel like a major road block when it comes to fully implementing a email marking system. But I will tell you what I tell anyone who brings this up… in the words of my mother-in-law… get over it!! Getting started is simple, start adding people to the list today. Anyone who calls, or emails a quote request…get their email address and put them in your system. So often people want to go back and gather 25 years of email addresses when the best place to start is today. There are plenty of easy ways to have your team put them in your system from simple web forms to exporting client lists form Quickbooks.

The value of your email marketing will be tied to quality of your list. Many 10 year old email addresses are not even good any longer and simply clutter up what could be a powerful list. There is no time like the present to draw a line in the sand and say that everyone you do business with, or quote, from now on will be added to your list.

Fast. Easy… did I mention fast.

All marketing takes time… This is true, and unfortunately, the reason why so many marketing tasks get put off until tomorrow. As we have worked with hundreds of companies around North America, we have seen that far more then financial resources, the most scarce commodity in the motorcoach industry is time. Email is probably the fastest way to market. From start to finish an email, in most modern email marketing systems, can take as little as 10 minutes. With professional templates and even content ideas, these tools are designed to be used quickly by busy professionals… just like you!

Big bang for the buck.

Email is also, as I mentioned above, known as one of the highest returning marketing avenues of any available to most businesses. The Digital Marketing Association (DMA) estimates that for every dollar companies invest in email marketing, the return is $44.25. Now, before you run out and start buying list of names to send emails out to, that statistic must be filtered to reflect the fact that most email marketing is delivered to people who already know you or who have been qualified as potential buyers. These tools are best used to reengage previous customers, up-sell consistent users, and cross sell your database.

Here are 4 tips to help you get your Email Marketing off the ground successfully!

Just like the web, more and more, mobile users are becoming a huge percentage of total viewers of email. In Q3 of 2014 more then half of all emails were opened on either mobile or tablet devices. Choosing a responsive template for your emails will dramatically impact the engagement you get from these users.

2: Segment your Segments.
The power of your database will be directly tied to your ability to segment it. This means that as you add new names you should also be adding them to separate segments. In some email systems this is called segments, others call them tags, folders, or even boxes. In any case, the time to do it is when they are added. You could include the type of business they are doing (corporate, church, ski, wine, etc.), who their point of contact was, what type of coach they were interested in, if they were budget conscience, safety oriented, or perhaps simply price shopping.

While on the surface this work may seem a bit strange, the long term ramifications are amazing. Imagine if you could send an email to every wedding planner, venue, and local restaurant you have worked with about that new piece of equipment that you want them to all know you have. Imagine being able to say that you want to send an email to everyone that did food and wine trips with you about a new vineyard that you are partnering with. The possibilities are endless and exciting.

3: Test. Test. Then test again.
One of the biggest questions when it comes to marketing is “does it work”. With email you can finally put that question to rest. When you’re planning your email and you come up with a catchy subject line, but are afraid it might be to “salesy” email offers something called split testing where you can send multiple iterations to your database and test the engagement. No more wondering, just test it and see what works.

4: Personalize
One of the great features about email is the ability to personalize it. Using simple tools built into the systems themselves that allow you to put in little pieces of text that are replaced with data from the customer record. This can be “first name” for example. Experian showed in a recent report that this was proven to boost open rates and click throughs as much as 40%. A subject line like “look at our new coach” will not have the engagement that “Mike, we bought a coach we thought you would love” will have.

If your not using email as a cornerstone of your marketing effort, start. If you or your team are not adding names and emails to your marketing list daily, start. You will find that this effort will pay dividends far into the future and will help you keep those coaches rolling!