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How To Choose The Right Email Marketing Platform for Your Tour Business

Last updated on May 22, 2021
13 minute read
Key Takeaways

  • Learn how to evaluate your email goals to know what features to look for in an email platform.
  • Determine your budget for an email marketing platform.
  • A brief overview of features & pricing for 4 popular email marketing platforms.
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Skill Level

Beginner, Intermediate
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If you’ve browsed our digital marketing guides, you might have noticed that many of our resources focus on email marketing. That is in part because email is one of the most cost-effective ways to market your tours and activities and keep your business at the front of your customers’ minds. Email marketing is easy to manage, giving you full control over your content and direct contact with your customers, and it also pays off (Constant Contact) —

Email marketing has a return on investment (ROI) of $42 for every $1 dollar spent.

Engaging in email marketing is a key step to successfully marketing your tours and activities — and the right email marketing platform will enable you to easily create highly engaging email newsletters and other campaigns. According to Emarsys): 

81% of small businesses rely on email as their primary customer acquisition channel. 

80% of small businesses rely on email as their primary avenue for customer retention. 

This guide will cover important things to consider before choosing an email marketing platform and some popular platform options. Let’s get started!

Hone In on Your Strategy

If you’ve never used an email marketing platform, or you’re considering switching to a new one, your first step should be to consider your strategy and goals for the type of email marketing you plan to utilize. There are plenty of campaign types or goals you might have in mind, and these will inform which email marketing platform you choose. 

  • E-commerce/transactional
  • Newsletter
  • Lead generation
    • Landing pages
    • Embedded subscribe option to add to your website
  • Promotional

If you’re not sure what types of email campaigns you should include in your strategy we’ve got you covered – check out our breakdown of the best email marketing campaigns for tour and activity operators

Decide What You Want to Track

Once you have an idea of what types of emails you think you’ll be sending the most, familiarize yourself with some important email marketing benchmarks and metrics for tracking the success of your campaigns.

You’ll want to choose an email marketing platform that makes it easy to access the necessary data. Some examples of metrics you might want to pay attention to include the following.

  • Total number of sales
  • Campaign sign-ups
  • Clicks
  • Opens
  • Bounce rate
  • Conversion rate

Having a solid understanding of what these metrics indicate will help you refine your email marketing efforts and refresh your content to resonate with your readers.

Decide Which Features Are Important for Your Marketing Strategy

With so many email marketing platforms to choose from (more on these later), it should come as no surprise that each service provider offers different email features. It’s a good idea to do some research on the features you will likely need to use for your specific campaigns to ensure that your chosen provider can accommodate your needs. Here are a few features to look out for.

shapeTemplates

Look for a range of mobile-friendly designs, since many of your readers will open your emails on their phones. You also want to keep in mind what kind of campaigns you use most often. For example, if you’ve found an email marketing platform that has beautiful newsletter templates, and newsletters are your preferred email style, you may have found your perfect match.

Love the idea of sending  newsletter? Check out our guide to writing the ultimate email newsletter.

shapeTracking

Consider the tracking capabilities of each email marketing platform to ensure that you’ll have access to all the statistics you need. A good email marketing platform should offer an easy-to-use dashboard with all the data right at your fingertips.

shapeAutomation

One of the many benefits of using an email marketing platform is that it takes away some of the burden of creating and sending thousands of emails. Make sure to choose a service with good automation that includes workflows for sending and scheduling emails.

shapeMobile-Friendly

Find an email marketing platform that prioritizes mobility and optimization across all devices, since 40% of all emails are opened on mobile devices (IBM). Your emails should look great on both desktop and mobile, with little effort on your part.

shapeA/B Testing

You might want to test out two different versions of an email to determine which will better serve your goal, so make sure you choose an email marketing platform that offers A/B testing.

Need a refresher on the fundamentals of A/B testing – check out this guide!

shapeImage Library

If professional photography isn’t exactly within your budget, you might opt for an email marketing platform that offers a free image library with stock photos to spruce up your newsletters and other email content.

shapeLanding Pages

Send people who read your email to a page on your website that prompts them to book a tour or take some other action. This feature allows you to funnel users to a page with more information about whatever topic you’re promoting while generating traffic to your website.

Learn more about how to create effective landing pages.

Define Your Budget

Finally, as with any successful digital marketing strategy, you’ll need to determine your budget to ensure that your resources are being well spent. Remember that an investment in email marketing is an investment in building customer relationships and creating engagement with customers.

Look for an email service provider that offers the correct payment option for your needs. Typically, email platforms are priced based on the number of emails sent per month or the number of subscribers in your contact list. Some email marketing platforms offer flat rates, or free services, up to a certain number of subscribers, so there are plenty of affordable ways to make email marketing an integral part of your digital marketing strategy.

4 Popular Email Platforms – Features & Pricing 

Now that you know what to look for in your ideal email marketing platform, take a look at these popular platforms to determine if any of them are right for your business.

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is a cloud-based email marketing solution that helps businesses of all sizes design, automate, and manage marketing campaigns across various email platforms, ad channels, and more via a unified dashboard, making it easy for you to access everything right at your fingertips.

Pricing

Starts at $0/month for up to 2,000 contacts.

Features

  • A/B testing
  • Landing pages/web forms
  • Mobile-optimized emails
  • Drag n’ drop email editor
  • Reporting/analytics
  • Customer surveys
  • Training
    • Live online
    • Online documentation

Constant Contact

Constant Contact helps small businesses reach new audiences and drive more business in less time with easy-to-use email marketing automation tools, event management tools, surveys, and social campaigns.

Pricing

Starts at $20/mo for less than 500 subscribers.

Features

  • A/B testing
  • Landing pages/web forms
  • Mobile-optimized emails
  • Drag n’ drop email editor
  • Reporting/analytics
  • Customer surveys
  • Training
    • Live online
    • Webinars
    • Online documentation

Send-in-blue

Send-in-blue offers cloud-based email marketing and marketing automation tools in an all-in-one platform that helps you grow your business by building stronger relationships with your contacts.

Pricing

Starts at $0 for 300 emails per day.

Features

  • A/B testing
  • Landing pages/web forms
  • Mobile-optimized emails
  • Drag n’ drop email editor
  • Reporting/analytics
  • Training
    • Online documentation

Robly

Robly is a self-serve email marketing platform that provides an easy-to-use website to send email newsletters.

Pricing

Starts at $15/mo for less than 500 subscribers.

Features

  • A/B testing
  • Drag n’ drop email editor
  • Reporting/analytics
  • Training
    • Online documentation
    • Webinars

Every email marketing platform is different, and it’s important you find the right fit for your business. Take the time to explore the platforms by visiting their websites or checking out Capterra or other software review websites to compare features and read user reviews.

Once you’ve found your perfect email marketing platform and want to start your first email campaign, check out our email marketing guides for inspiration.

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