Jan
21
2014

4 Marketing Benefits You Can’t Afford to Ignore

If you invested $1 in some marketing, and that marketing repaid you with $2, would you invest? What if it repaid you $7 for each $1 invested?

I sometimes hear folks ask, “How can email help me market my vacation home better?” Perhaps you are wondering the same thing.

To shed some light on this, here are four of the many benefits of email marketing, with the most powerful one — return on investment (ROI) — discussed near the end:

 

1) Stay Top-of-Mind

Using a road/traffic analogy, Social media is ‘cars on a road’, PPC is ‘a billboard’, Email is ‘a fork in the road’. Let’s break each one down.

Social media doesn’t force a decision. Since it’s a nonstop flow of information, it’s like traffic on a road. Look over at the right time, and you might see a particular car, and if you don’t, you’ll never notice it.

Pay per click (PPC) advertising (those paid ads you see in search engine results) is a distraction off to the side. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t get noticed occasionally. But it does not force an action. You can drive by a billboard without even noticing it.

Email, on the other hand (continuing with the road/traffic analogy), is like a fork in the road. It forces a decision. Even if people simply delete an email without opening it, they still took an action. While they were physically taking the action, your subject line was seen and it had an opportunity to encourage an open.

If we’re doing it right, most will indeed open your email, and consume the content you are sharing with them. With Email Marketing, you stay top-of-mind with the community most likely to book with you.

By the way, most social media platforms use email as an part of their platform. Have you noticed that when certain actions happen on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, you receive an email letting you know that it happened so you don’t miss it?

Using Email Marketing, you can create what amounts to your own social network just for your vacation rental. Imagine you write a blog article, and then the email marketing system automatically detects it, and the system generates a beautifully crafted mobile-optimized email and automatically sends it to each member of  your guest community. Guests receive and open your email, they click links in the email which bring them to your website, they are engaged by your helpful articles, they mentally “stay in touch” with you and your vacation rental… and then…

They come back and book with you.

 

2) Nurture relationships over time (automatically)

The last paragraph in the above section was hinting about the concept of nurturing.

If you set up a drip/nurturing campaign, or you have a blog and a nifty RSS to Email tool, you can set up some marketing automation capable of taking potential guests from just having a limited or superficial interest in your property, to fully embracing your rental’s unique value.

You’ve probably received inquiries where you just knew you were one of several rentals the guest sent inquiries to. Some refer to these inquiries as tire kickers.

Email marketing allows you to nurture these tire kickers until they become warm leads — and then nurture them a little more until those warm leads become fully booked guests. And it can all be done automatically.

Why stop at a one-off inquiry reply when you can engage in a dialog?

 

3) Learn about your guest community

One very cool thing you can do with email marketing is A/B testing.

As the name implies, two versions of an email (A and B) are compared, which are identical except for one variation that might impact a guest’s behavior. Version A might be the currently used version, while Version B is modified in some respect (different subject line, or content layout, etc) to see if it gets a better response from your guest community (opens, click-through, etc).

Did you know that bconducting A/B testing of email messages, the Obama re-election campaign learned what really resonated with its audience and as a result generated more than $500 million in digital donations.

Once you start doing things like auto responders and drip campaigns, you too can do A/B testing.

There is no reason you shouldn’t be doing A/B testing. Once you start doing it, you’ll discover what your guests appreciate, what they want to know, what they don’t care about, etc. This enables you to tune your communications so it’s more on point, more relevant.

Staying top-of-mind with timely and relevant email communications results in closing more bookings.

 

4) ROI

Are you bottom-line focused? Most vacation rental business owners are. For this reason, ROI trumps the first three benefits combined.

According to the MarketingSherpa 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, the average ROI from email marketing programs was 119%

roi 4 Marketing Benefits You Cant Afford to Ignore

 

A 119% ROI is significant. Remember the opening line of this article — “Would you invest $1 to get $2 back?” — well, an ROI of 119% is essentially that.

But as great as that 119% number is, you can easily exceed it in the vacation rental marketplace. To illustrate, let me give some concrete examples:

For this discussion, let’s assume ROI is calculated as [(Payback - Investment)/Investment)]*100

Example 1:

  • a one-night stay in your rental costs $200
  • you spend $25 in a given month on email marketing
  • efforts result in acquiring a two night booking

Given these variables, you enjoy a 1,500% ROI.  [((200*2) - 25)/25)]*100 = 1500%.  Said another way, a $25 investment returned $375 in profit.

Let’s assume you began practicing email marketing, but it took an entire year before you landed the above booking. It would then break down as follows:

Even if it took 12 months before providing a return, you’d still enjoy a 33% ROI.  [((200*2) - (25*12))/(25*12))]*100 = 33%.  The $300 annual investment returned $400 in profit.

 

Example 2:

  • your average nightly rate for dates in a month involved with a marketing campaign is $500
  • you spend $25 on email marketing
  • efforts result in acquiring 5 nights of bookings

Given these variables, you enjoy a 9,900% ROI.  [((500*5) - 25)/25)]*100 = 9900%.  Said another way, a $25 investment returned $2,475 in profit.

Let’s assume you began practicing email marketing, but it took an entire year before you landed the above booking. It would then break down as follows:

Even if it took 12 months before providing a return, you’d still enjoy a 733% ROI.  [((500*5) - (25*12))/(25*12))]*100 = 733%.  The $300 annual investment returned $2,475 in profit.

 

There are plenty of variables in these examples (ADR, number of nights booked, amount spent on email marketing, time before acquiring a booking directly attributable to email marketing, etc). But as you can see, the ROI is difficult to ignore.

Plug in some of your own variables into the above formula… what ROI do you think you can realistically achieve?

I see you smiling icon smile 4 Marketing Benefits You Cant Afford to Ignore

 

Next Steps

Are you excited about all the benefits email marketing can provide you, but you’re just not sure how to begin? No worries, just contact us, and we’ll lend a hand.

Oh, one last thing…

Very soon, we’ll be announcing details surrounding Rentallect’s email marketing consulting services, and how you can take advantage of them. What’s more is we are planning to give away FREE email marketing consulting services several times this year.

Stay tuned to this blog, and watch for details about the giveaway.

 

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Posted in: Email Marketing

About the Author: by

Curt Tudor is the founder of Rentallect, Inc. which produces software for Vacation Rental Marketing, Analytics, Inquiry Management and CRM. He is also an owner of a Vacation Rental Condo in Beaver Creek Colorado, as well as another overlooking Grand Father Mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina

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  • […] recently posted an article about several benefits email marketing provides to your vacation rental business and how you cannot afford to ignore them. In that article we mentioned our intent to give away […]

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