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The idea of attracting both new guests to book and past guests to rebook is attractive, and there is no better way to leave an impression than to be able to reach out to them.

To do this you need to establish a connection with people and build an email list.

You can do this and I’m going to explain how.

Welcome to another edition of Hospitality Property School.

I am your instructor, Gerry MacPherson.

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How to Build an Email List Introduction

I have heard independent hotel, resort, inn and bed & breakfast owners say

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“I’m just a small property owner, not an international internet marketer, why would I need an email list?” 

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The usage of the internet, tablets and smartphones is the norm for most people and for you to be successful as or more successful than your competitors, you have to be online, in front of your customers.

You may be active in the world of online marketing, and email and guest list building is an aspect that you should be utilized to increase business and your online presence.

I have mentioned many times before, it is imperative to build trust and establish a relationship with your customers. People typically choose businesses and in your case, return to properties they feel they can trust.

Email and guest list building is a great way to build your customer base and establish a sense of kinship around your brand and your property.

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Why Build an Email List

Email lists can increase your property’s business for several reasons.

  • When people opt-in and give you their email, it is a huge sign of trust

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  • People are on their email 24/7, and giving you their personal email address shows that they are interested in what you have to say

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  • Email marketing will increase the chances that people see your content

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Think about it, how often do you normally visit any company’s website? Daily? Weekly? Probably not as often as you check your email.

Email marketing is an excellent way to notify your customers about property updates, news, or even specials and deals you may be offering.

Ultimately, email marketing is a cheap, fast way to reach your customers while building traffic to your website and increase your customer base.

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I want you to imagine that you’re potential customers come to your site, they enjoy what you have to offer, your information, your videos, your articles, and so forth, but then they have to leave, and eventually, forget about you.

Later, some of them will think “What was that site I visited last week?” and just don’t remember how to get back to you.

What you did marketing-wise, to get them there is all lost. You have no way to communicate with them.

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Now imagine this:

Your visitor comes to your site, and they see that you’re offering something of value, in exchange for their email address.

They like what they see, they like your site, they like your information, and they like your videos, so they end up signing onto your email list.

Now you have a way to communicate with them, you can put them onto your autoresponder system, you can begin to send them daily or weekly tips and updates, and you have a way to warm them up so eventually when they are ready to book, you’re at the forefront of their mind.

That is why you need to have an email list so that you can communicate with your visitors who actually see value in the information you are providing.

Now let me talk about the types of lists, and ways to build them.

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There are Two Types of Lists

The first list of people who have found your site and signed up for the free incentive. I will be going into more detail soon.

The second is guests who have already booked with you – a customer-based list.

To save yourself a ton of time and stress you have to have an autoresponder service.

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Why You Need an Autoresponder

The first thing you need to do is get an autoresponder. You can get one online free that will do the basics.

Once you have that, you need to set up your autoresponder to send out emails automatically.

The next thing to do is design an email template for your articles. You will find one readymade for you in the internet, but it will have to be modified.

You need to make sure that it looks good on the screen and that it is relevant to your topics.

For an autoresponder to work, you need to set it up so that your recipients get emails from you each time you send one.

The last thing to do is write an ad or create a form to build your email list.

This way, you can keep sending them emails when you have something you would like to share.­­­­­­

There are a number of marketing software companies around but the one we use is GetResponse.com, and if you don’t know where to start, they’re very easy to use and have an excellent tutorial program.

Full disclosure, we are members of their affiliate program but even so, it would be worth checking them out and the price will be the same.

You can find them at

http://KeystoneHPD.com/GetResponse

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Let’s Talk About the Email

Once your autoresponder is set up, then the next thing to do is write articles that look good and are relevant to your property and region and the recipients to whom you are marketing. You need to put time and effort into them if you want them to look good.

The article or email itself needs to contain the following,

A catchy subject line, something that is going to entice the reader to want to read further. It is kind of like the front door to your email.

Once they click, they’re going to see the email body. Basically, the content where you say, “Hi” or “Dear so-and-so…..” and enter your content.

  • you can enter downloadable files

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  • you can put your content directly in there

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  • you can put links to your videos and so forth

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It is always a good idea to set them up for the next email with something like,

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“Okay, in my next email I have another valuable tip or advice, or video that I’m going to give you in two days!”

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Make sure that you include what you want them to do, make sure that the call to action actually has something to do with the email body.

If you follow these rules and connect all your emails together as one big chain link, then your conversions are going to be a lot higher.

 

Does this make sense so far? Let me know by leaving a short comment

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Creating Raving Fans That Book

First things first, you need to position yourself. Your subscribers will be attracted to you depending on how you position yourself or introduce yourself.

So when they subscribe to your list, you need to position yourself right then and there.

And what I mean by that is this. Are you there to help them? Or are you there just to sell to them?

And even though helping people sounds really good, you can still help them through what you sell them.

Now what I’ve found is, being on the extreme end of giving away free stuff all the time, or selling all the time, should be avoided. If you give people free stuff all the time, you’ve conditioned them to receive free stuff from you. And you’ve positioned yourself as somebody who gives away free stuff!

Now if you sell to them all the time, then they’re going to think, “How are you helping me?” you know, but as long as the products that you are selling relate to possibly helping them, that might be good as well. But in terms of creating raving fans, you need a balance. So that’s why I call it The Balance Formula.

What I’ve found over the years is this, there needs to be a balance between the two, a balance between education versus promotion. So in other words, you need to educate them, but you also need to sell.

Share with them the highlights of your region, local attractions, talking about the natural surroundings and the history.

Other times send them package offers or information about special events.

And another thing to do is be consistent as well about the time that you email them.

If you’re used to emailing them at 9:30 am Eastern Time, then you want to make sure that you email them consistently from that point on, at 9:30 am Eastern Time.

I’ve found that there are people who are waiting to receive an email at that time, so make sure that you’re consistent, and that’s it!

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Integration Marketing List

If you are a hospitality property owner or manager, you should know what is available in your area for your guests. You should also develop relationships with them to cross-promote. I will be talking about this in more detail in a later edition.

If you do have these types of relationships in place then you can discuss the idea of promoting an offer you have to their mailing list and you promote an offer they have to yours.

This is a win-win situation is it enhancing your brand by either offering you subscribers more of a variety or by growing your list.

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The last thing I want to mention today is exit popups

First of all, I know you’re probably thinking, “What in the world are exit popups?” and you might be thinking, “Well, why would I want to use popups because popups are annoying.”

Yes and no. if you do it wrong, they’re going to be annoying. But if you do it right, it can actually yield really good results.

Exit popups are very different because if done right, people will actually sign up on your list, and it can multiply your list or future income.

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Let me explain.

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When people leave your site without joining your email list, you need to give them another opportunity to do so. Otherwise, when they leave, they leave. They might come back or they might never come back.

You can structure exit popups to show when someone is leaving your site.

They are very powerful.

If somebody’s reluctant to sign up, your popup could be designed to give them that little extra nudge they need to fill in your form.

If you get past, current and potential guests on your list, you can stay in touch by emailing them over and over and over again, ensuring you are foremost in their mind when they are ready to book.

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In Conclusion

Inviting guests to your website, hoping they will book and then return should be the goal of every hospitality property owner or manager. Making it easy for you to remain in the forefront of the mind when they are ready to book should be your strategy. If you are able to collect their information build an email list that you utilize, you have taken a huge step into developing a sustainable business for years to come.

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Do you currently collect emails from your guests?

Let me know in the comments.

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You will have access to this episode for the next six weeks and then it will get locked in the vault for Hospitality Property School Group members only.

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To see all the other valuable material you’d have access to as a member of the Hospitality Property School Group, check out the short video in the episode post-show notes.

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.A Step by Step Guide to Build an Email List | Ep. #238

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In the next episode, I will talk about your website design.

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That’s it for today’s episode,

Until next time, have a fun day.

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