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Tips & Tricks to Build & Segment Your Email List

Last updated on May 11, 2021
16 minute read
Key Takeaways

  • Ways to use your existing resources to segment your audiences into the right lists.
  • How to tailor your email messaging to appeal to each audience segment.
  • Grow your email list with enticing offers & other engaging content.

Skill Level


Email marketing is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to engage with your customers and contacts and to develop your brand. This is a year-round tactic that you can use to encourage repeat customers and keep your business at the top of their minds — and inbox!

The key to successful email marketing is building a killer email list — a segmented list of names and email addresses of people who give your business permission to send them personalized updates and promotions for your company.

What do we mean by segmented? Imagine that everyone who visits your website opts in to receive emails from you. That’s sure to be a large list of people! They likely have varied interests, are traveling at different times of the year, and are at different places in their consumer journey. That’s why segmenting your email list — breaking it down into different groups of audiences — allows you to keep track of your customers and target them with unique, personalized information

Taking the time to build a detailed and specific email list has many benefits:

  • It helps build trust and connections with both new and repeat customers, as they’ll be receiving content that’s been personalized for them.
  • It increases conversions since it lets you target potential customers who are likely to book quickly with clear calls to action and personalized booking opportunities.
  • It’s free, and FareHarbor makes it easy to use reports to leverage your email marketing campaigns.

Did you know? Email lists by the numbers…

  • According to an Experian study, personalized emails deliver 6 times higher transaction rates.
  • Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened (Campaign Monitor).
  • Targeted and segmented email lists generate 58% of all revenue (DMA).
  • When using personalized web experiences, marketers see an average increase of 20% in sales (Monetate).
  • 66% of marketers personalize emails based on age data (Yes Life Cycle Marketing).

Looking for even more reasons to build and segment your email list? Consider this: If you do not segment your email list, you are more likely to send customers information they find irrelevant to them, and despite all of your hard work, your email lands in the dreaded spam or trash folders. Furthermore, without segmented email lists, you’ll never be able to learn what your customers want or need from your correspondence.

Ready to start building your email list? It all begins with your subscribers, the people who sign up to receive your emails. As more subscribers join your list, you’ll likely have a mix of current, new, and potential customers. This guide will show you how to create emails for these specific groups of people and how to build email lists that reflect this segmentation.

Check out some of our favorite tips and tricks for cultivating a strong email list.

Tip #1: Use Your Existing Resources

Building your email marketing list can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! Before you consider how to get more subscribers or where to find additional resources for email marketing, start by working with what you already have. Your current resources include your repeat customers, FareHarbor Reports, and any partners or potential partners.

shapeRepeat Customers

Do you have locals who participate in your tours or activities regularly? Is there a family that visits your area on vacation every year and always books a tour or two with you? This is a group of people you definitely don’t want to ignore! Target these repeat customers in their own email list. Beyond already having an appreciation for your business, these people are likely eager to hear from you with new booking opportunities, upcoming events, or promotions since they’ve already booked with you in the past. Sticking to your repeat customers has financial benefits too: It costs five times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one, so show your current customers some love and make them feel like a part of your Ohana!

shapeFareHarbor Reports

There’s no need to start flipping through your address book! FareHarbor Reporting can generate a list of contacts who have booked with you in the past so you can reach out to these people with various email marketing campaigns. Run a Contacts Report in your Dashboard to generate a list of customers in a specific date range. You can filter this report by a specific item, booking source, availability date, or creation date to further segment your email lists. This report includes the customer names, email addresses, and phone numbers of people who have opted-in for remarketing.

shapePartners or Potential Partners

Who better to advocate for you than your fellow tour operators? If you’ve partnered with any business owners in the area, consider utilizing their newsletters and other emails as a place to market your tours and activities (you could do the same for them in return). For more information about potential partnerships, read more about the FareHarbor Distribution Network or reach out to FareHarbor’s Channel Development team. 

Tip #2: Know Who You’re Talking To

You spend time interacting with your customers on a daily basis, so you have a good idea of who they are and what their interests are. They may be families on vacation, locals looking for unique date night ideas, or out-of-town guests. By identifying your customers, you can create a customer persona, a generalization or representation of your main customers and target audience. Think about how these people might find and book your tours or activities and how you might talk to them. Here are a few common examples to start with.

shapeThe Quick Booker

This is someone who is looking to book fast! Whether he’s just arrived in town and is looking for something fun to do tomorrow, or he’s trying to make some last-minute weekend plans, this person tends to scan quickly and likes the best options to be presented to him right away. This person is most likely to select popular activities or the tour that is most prominently displayed on your website without doing too much research or digging deeper into your website. Read more about why and how to feature your best-selling activities on your website. 

shapeFamilies with Children

No matter the age of the children, parents are always looking for something to occupy their little ones, especially when on vacation. They like to see labels or badges that read “family-friendly” or “kid-friendly” and are likely to scan until they find some indication that a tour or activity is appropriate for all ages or geared toward families. Remember that these customers tend to be more budget-conscious, so they’re probably receptive to family deals or discounts.

Couples or Honeymooners

Whether they’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, an anniversary, or a honeymoon, couples tend to go all out when it comes to choosing romantic activities when on vacation. They’re looking for more personal and intimate experiences, and they’re generally willing to spend more money to ensure that their event is as memorable and special as they’ve imagined. Private tours or personalized experiences with unique add-ons may be more appealing to couples.

shapeGroups of Friends

Friend groups love to find new things to do together, whether they’re competing in an escape room, learning to throw an axe at a target, or enjoying a private wine tasting experience. They’re generally willing to book an expensive activity since the overall cost is split between group members, and they gravitate toward special group packages or private experiences when looking for activities to book. 

No matter which customer persona you address in your emails, here are a few questions to keep in mind as you create content:

  • What demographic am I speaking to?
  • What is their day-to-day life like?
  • What might their primary pain points be when booking online?
  • How do they source their information?
  • What is the driving factor that will make them book my tour?

By identifying who you’re speaking to and understanding how to talk to them directly, your email marketing campaigns have a higher chance of success!

Tip #3: Establish Segmentation Groups

After you’ve pulled your email list from FareHarbor and given some thought as to who your specific audiences are, you can begin to think about how you’ll segment your email list. Here are a few examples that we like to start with.

  • New subscribers: people who are brand new to your email list
  • Interest groups: grouped based on which tours they took, which of your blogs they’ve read, etc.
  • Repeat customers: anybody who has participated in your tours and activities more than once
  • Subscriber activity: groups based on how they interact with your emails, for example, high open rate vs. inactive email recipients
  • Demographics: age, location, gender, etc.

These lists can be divided into any category, so choose what you think would be right for your business or a particular email campaign.

Tip #4: Give Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Think about your own experience browsing the web. After you’ve spent some time on a website that you’re interested in, you might see a pop-up option on the homepage to “opt-in” or “subscribe” to emails from that company. If you’re really into their products or services and want to stay up to date on deals and offers, you’re likely to subscribe!

Target your customers in a similar way by giving them an option to subscribe and pairing it with a deal or offering they can’t resist. Perhaps email subscribers can receive a free t-shirt when they book a tour or get 15% off a particular activity when they subscribe. These extra incentives are a great way to get people to opt-in.

Here are the key components of a strong opt-in form:

  • Enticing title: “Latest deals in your inbox”
  • Short but meaningful description: “Subscribers only: Get access to this season’s ticketed events before anyone else.”
  • Great visuals
  • Very simple form layout
  • Strong call to action: “Subscribe now!”

Get Set Up for Success

Ready to hit the ground running? If you haven’t already gotten set up with an email service provider (ESP), FareHarbor’s preferred ESP is MailChimp. No matter which provider you choose, almost all of them offer ways to segment your email lists, so you can focus on which audience groups to target for specific goals or email campaigns.

Once you’re set up and working on your list, it’s important to continue to track your success. See our guide to Google Analytics for more insights on your target audience and how they’re interacting with your campaigns.

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