April 27

Harness the Power of Email Marketing – Building Lists, Crafting Campaign & Increasing Open Rates

It is time for this month's webinar, and we are talking about harnessing the power of email marketing. And we're going to be covering lists, campaigns, and open rates. So let's jump right into this. 

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About Rest & Relax ROI

A little bit about us before we get on to the subject at hand. We have partner exclusively with RV, parks, resorts, and campground. We are an ARVC member, and we'll talk about the M5, not really today, but it is our park centric marketing system that talks about retargeting, reputation, resell, and reach. All these areas are parts of the system and how we help people market better.

And a little bit about myself. I am Mark Rowan. I grew up on a working sheep farm campground, and I studied some communications at the world's most exciting university. It's Liberty. It's where I've met my college sweetheart, Jenny. We've been married 22, almost 23 years coming up in October. We do have four awesome kids Elena Kay, Cassie, and Josiah, and Addie one dog, Holly. We all have a good time together. I've been helping companies with their online presence for more than 20 years. This agency thing has been going on since 2014.

What You'll Leave With

But enough about me. We're going to talk about what's going to happen with you today. There's going to be three areas we can harness our email and nurture relationships with guests, drive repeat bookings, and promote special offers. There's going to be some actionable information that we could take away from here. If you have any questions, we'd love to answer them. If you're watching this at a later date, drop those questions in the comments. Be glad to address those as well.

Benefits of a Successful Emails

What's the benefit of a successful email campaign? Number one, we're looking at increased bookings and revenue at the Benjamins, enhanced customer loyalty and retention. You can have the targeted promotions and segmentation, which is important. Improved online reputation and word of mouth and in its cost effective marketing channel. It does strengthen relationships with local business if done right. We could have measurable results and data driven decisions. We'll touch on these things throughout, but those are some of the benefits good email does.

Is It Broke? Fix It.

If it is broke, we want to fix it. We have our broken down RV. We don't want to have a broken down email. Are your guests or potential guests actually getting or reading your emails? Some common things we will encounter is low deliverability of your emails, high unsubscribe rates, limited growth on your subscriber list, low open and click through rates, ineffective campaign targeting, and insufficient analysis and optimization.

Email Marketing Stats 

We're going to back this up with some stats as usual when we're on these. So this is a pretty widely spread stat. I just heard someone else talk about it. For every dollar you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $40 so that's not bad. And 81% of small businesses still rely on email as their primary customer acquisition channel. And then the 80% also for retention of those customers. Average email open rate across all industries is right at 20%. However, talk about welcome emails, it's higher, much higher: 68%. People obviously have signed up for something. Maybe they've registered or for something you're doing. Maybe they've booked and you have a welcome email. You want to make sure you utilize that as well to capture their attention.

Reports have shown that adding videos to your email can increase click rates by 300%. Well, that's pretty good. You can't have native video running in an email, but you can click through to a YouTube video or your website with a video.

These are the three areas we're going to talk about building lists, rafting your campaigns, and then ultimately increasing open rates and the like.

building a subscriber list 

We're going to jump right into the first section, building a subscriber list. This is all about getting a good list put together and what does that look like? We're going to talk about these areas. It is important that it is a quality subscriber list. That would be the key word there, right? It does impact retention and repeat bookings. You have a good list when you personalize communication with guests. That is huge. You can promote special offers effectively through this. 

Benefits of High-Quality List

We're talking about this list. We've already talked about a little bit, increased open and click through rates. Obviously, if the right people are getting it, they're going to want to read it. You can have better customer segmentation. We'll talk about that more. If you're not familiar with that, of course your unsubscribe is going to go down and then anybody saying that you're sending spam is going to go down as well. If the list is good, of course you're going to get a better return on your investment. So that one dollar for $40 has a lot to do with how good your list is. 

Collecting Emails at Check-In

Here's one area that we can start getting good lists, collecting those at check in. During registration, obviously we highly recommend using a great online booking service and that should be able to integrate with what you're doing email wise. If that's done, that is half the battle, right? Allowing people to enter that when they book.

You can do that manually. As you're seeing this picture. I don't know if he'd be the white collar guy, maybe he's just getting off work and registering. But you want to explain the benefits of subscribing to your newsletter, whether it's in person or online, you're obviously going to explain to them why it matters to sign up for the list. Incentives for providing your email addresses can be very effective.

Maybe there's something that you're going to allow them to have or you give away or might be something small. But whatever way, that email address is super valuable and of course people understand that as well. You might have to throw a little something in there to get them to sign up and you want to make sure you're ensuring their privacy right and protection in this process.

Website Sign-Up Forms 

All right, sign up forms on your website. We've all seen them and the reason we see them a lot throughout the internet is because everyone knows they work on some level. You want to make it sure that it's prominent, easy to find on your site, whether it is a pop up like you see here on this particular example or just within the content of your homepage. For sure a lot of people might have it in their footer of their website. Whatever the case may be, don't hide it that you want this done.

You're going to offer valuable content and once again those incentives for subscribing make sure that you're communicating that in an effective way that it's not just another email. Of course, you can see in this one if you're looking closely at that example, exclusive offers, coupons, limit time discounts, those are all things great tactics, strategies to get people interested in what you have to offer. The exit intent pop ups to capture, abandoning visitors. So sometimes people are just checking out different options as far as RV parks on their travel experience. And when someone tries to click away from the site, you can pop up a window and say hey, before you go get 20% off or anything of that nature that try to once again capture that guest.

Limit form fields to reduce friction. I think we've all signed up for forms that maybe ask a little bit too much information up front. I just wanted a little bit of info. I didn't think you needed my grandmother's middle name. For something like this, this is your first interaction. Maybe with a potential guest, just an email address could be enough to start the process of getting them as a part of your park and having them come visit you. Down the road you can gather more information for them from them.

Social Media Strategies

Social media is a big part of marketing today. You want to also make sure that you're talking about that on your channel. So hey, sign up on our email newsletter for special offers and things of that nature. You can set up a lead ad on Facebook to get targeted people to sign up for that list as well. Use your bio links we talked about social media in previous webinars.

You can use that to drive subscriptions as well and then user generate content and sharing. Whenever you can have somebody beside yourself talk about just your park in general, or maybe they are somebody that's a frequent guest and you can team up with them to help get some of the word out. This also works for anything besides just email sign ups. But it's a great way to do it. You're not just talking about yourself, other people are talking about you.

Running Contests & Giveaways 

This is a fun way to get more people on board and it can be exclusive to subscribers. You can see this example here. "30% discount to loyal customers." You can leverage the partnerships with local businesses for prizes. We'll probably talk a little bit more about this later on, but just the idea. Maybe you could put a package together and maybe do something a little bit larger just to generate more buzz. You can promote those via social media, obviously. On your in park materials, someone shows up, whether it be a big once a year giveaway that you're doing, like I said, as a partnership, or maybe you're doing a smaller one quarterly.

There are different ways you can do that just to generate interest. Right here they will attract new subscribers and hopefully guests because it's just something unique. They have that opportunity to win, right?

Local Partnerships 

Partnering with local attractions and businesses can be very useful. You can have cross promotional opportunities. Whether that's other fun things to do near your park or a restaurant, you want to have mutual benefits for both your park, yourself and this other business that you might partner with. Then you can share those lists with proper consent. You don't want to steal anything. And then of course, that strengthens those relationships with the local community and that's always a plus.

Incentivize Referrals

You can incentivize the referrals and have a program with your guests. Maybe you'll give them a discount or something like that because someone signed up and those kind of things. And you can do rewards programs. We know these work because we all use them, right? I mean, I've got multiple apps on my phone for rewards, people like that kind of stuff.

Think about how that can work, whether that's for getting people to join your list or for other reasons. Encourage sharing by making it easy and accessible and then you can track that and adjust it as needed through time.

Segment Lists 

We briefly mentioned it before segment your subscriber list. What does that look like? You're going to break up your list based on the preferences or behavior of your guests and you can deliver tailored content to each segment.

For instance, if someone might be, maybe you have snowbird type people and summer people, or maybe there's a family oriented list and like I said, a retirement. It just depends on the different types of things that you have to offer at your park and the different folks that are showing up. You can have a list for those different people and then deliver different information. Improve the targeting, relevancy for better engagement because you're doing this, that's what happens.

Anything you're doing in marketing, you want to monitor and adjust. Whether it's an email segment list or anything else, you do, whatever you measure, you can improve upon. If you're not monitoring or measuring this stuff, you don't know if you got to change something.

Maintain A Clean Subscriber List 

The clean subscriber list is an important thing that we should all be paying attention to. You want to regularly audit your list. Now, how regular depends on how often that list is being updated, how many more things are coming in and how long have you had your list. You're going to want to remove invalid ones, people that have bounced unresponsive. Invalid is obviously wrong. Somebody gave you a bad email or not that they don't use it because that could be unresponsive. Someone that just uses an email that they don't ever check.

You can see whether or not something's through your stats of your email program, whether or not they're invalid, balanced, or just not being opened at all. The engagement metrics for list of fatigue. So once again, whether or not someone's have they opened an email in recent times or do they always just delete it? You may have gotten these for your own list that you've subscribed to where someone will email. It's like, hey, we're going to take you off the list if you're no longer interested because we can tell you're not reading the emails. That's why they do that if you've ever seen that, because we want a clean list. And then you can also reengage those inactive subscribers or just remove them. 

Craft Compelling Campaigns

We're going to talk about compelling campaigns and what that looks like when you're crafting those. A little bit of an intro here. It is once again important to have engaging email content. Don't do the bare minimum, please. You want to try to capture attention and we'll look more into that. This does impact the loyalty and bookings of your guests. We're going to look at some types of email campaigns for you guys and then how we want to balance promotional and informational content through your campaigns.

Set Campaign Goals & Objectives 

You're getting into this is just like any other part of marketing. We want to set some goals and objectives and determine the purchase, the purpose of each campaign. So what are you trying to do with the particular one? Are you just doing a general email newsletter or is it a promotional one or those type of things? Are you trying to increase the bookings, promote some events? Are you just sharing news, those type of things?

What's your overall goal as a business is what you're emailing and the campaigns you're putting together actually aligning with your overall goals. We're going to talk about tracking, measuring that. How are they doing and how do you need to adjust it accordingly.

Personalization & Segmentation 

Address subscribers by name for a personal touch and use dynamic content based on subscriber preferences. That goes into that segmentation as well. You're emailing the people about something that matters to them and that's going to help the success rate increase. You can tailor special offers to preferred RV site types, for instance. Here's pretty crazy stats. Segmented campaigns can increase revenue up to 760%. That's a huge number.

That's because it matters to that person. If you're emailing somebody something that doesn't have to do with why they visited you or why they inquired about you, obviously that drops the effectiveness of that campaign significantly.

Compelling Subject Lines

We want to create a compelling subject line. That is how we grab the attention initially of the guest. You want them to be concise and clear, use action words, create that sense of urgency. Here's an example book now and save 20% on your next RV getaway. It's got that action on them, it's got some incentive there to take action and then once again personalization, it can increase that open rate by 26%.

"John, book now and save 20% on your next getaway." You get potentially one out of every four. One would be you get another instead of having, let's say let's do the math right? Instead of only having two people out of ten, you would have four. That math may be wrong, but you get the idea.

Crafting engaging email content 

Much like you led them in with a great subject line, then you want to keep that up with clear, concise, relevant copy throughout, whether that's subheadings bullet points, short paragraphs or not. Writing a book with email, of course this is typically not what people are looking for. Get to the point and a CTA. We've talked about that a lot throughout our webinars. And that call to action is you want to make sure you are making it clear what action you want your guests or potential guests to take.

Don't hide that intent. High quality images and visuals are always going to be great. Whether it's beautiful photos of your property and the different things you have to offer there, or just engaging like personal pictures, people people like to see other people. When it's appropriate, you can use that.

responsive mobile friendly design

Another thing that we've talked about in reference to websites itself, 62% of email opens occur on mobile devices. I don't know if we're surprised by that or not. We're always carrying our phones around and it helps that we're creating emails that look good on those devices. Make sure they render on all devices. You have responsive email templates and mobile friendly fonts that you want to utilize. Make sure that you test on various devices and email clients. Whether it's Outlook or Gmail, all these things will show up differently. Make sure that you're doing the best you can, that your email is good on all those devices.

Promotional Campaigns

You want to share special offers and discounts with subscribers. Announce new amenities or parking improvements. So example could be new dog park now open, bring your furry friend. That's always good. And then you want to create urgency with limited time offers and exclusivity. That's always a great way to get people to take action.

Informational & educational campaigns

You might want to share tips for RV maintenance, travel and camping. These are all things that people are looking for. And if you're providing that information, it's good. Can highlight once again nearby attractions and events that will be useful to your guests. Example could be top five scenic drives near RRV Park. Something like that is going to catch people's attention when they're there to have a good time and have a great vacation. You want to establish your park as a trusted and valuable resource.

reengagement & Win-back campaigns 

Here's an example. Here what happened. We miss you. So you want to target those inactive subscribers or past guests and then can offer exclusive deals to encourage those return visits. Example might say, hey, we miss you. Enjoy a free night on us. You're just trying to get them back in the fold. So win back campaigns can recover 12% of lost subscribers.

increasing your open rates

What's that look like? We're going to optimize for deliverability and open rates. That's our goal here. The deliverability is crucial. First it's got to get there and then you can hopefully get them to open it. You want to make sure that emails are reaching the intended recipient. We're going to talk about the factors that affect these open rates and the strategies for improving email performance. 

Reputation & domain authentication

You want to maintain a strong sender reputation for better deliverability. And here's a little tech information. You can look more into this or ask question if you need clarification. But use domain identification like SPF DKIM DMark to verify your identity. You're going to monitor, address any spam complaints properly and then send a reputation that can impact open rates up to 77%.

Email list Hygiene 

We talked a little bit about this. We want to regularly move inactive and invalid email addresses. Use double opt out to ensure subscribers are engaged. Not everybody does this, but it's another level of making sure that your subscribers are the right. You really want to be on your list.

That'll be like sign up and then when they get an email, they verify they want to be on your list. That is double opt in. And then look at those bounce rates take action when necessary. Bounce rates would be that's a valid email but for whatever reason it's not going through.

You got to figure out why that might be happening in your case that clean email list will potentially improve your deliverability by up to 98%. That is very good to tend to.

optimal send times & frequencies

This is going to be about testing different times to find out what's best for you and what gets the best engagement. But typically a lot of people are going to be sending on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They show higher rates of opening.

You can kind of see Mondays people are just getting back into the flow of their work days potentially got a lot going on Fridays that's that kind of already checking out for the weekend or whatever. It's kind of that sweet spot of finding when most people are going to be able to open your email and don't overload them with too many emails. You just got to experiment and with that frequency find the right balance for what works for your park.

A/B testing for open rates

It can be very valuable so you can see in this example there's a couple of different subject lines discount 20% for you get 20%. Now you want to test these different things whether subject lines or pre- headers and the time that you send like we've mentioned before and you compare those results to them. Find what really performs the best amongst the variations you used so you just can keep continue to refine and iterate for better performance. The A/B testing can improve 49% increase in open rates all right, all right we just mentioned pre-header text we can grab the attention by having good so what's that a pre-header text is not the subject line but it's a little bit of information beyond that to show people what's going to be in the email. You want to be concise with that just like all the other content you're creating in an email and it complements the subject, just doesn't repeat it. You could have discover our latest special offers and events is an example potentially for pre header text an effective pre header text can increase open rates by 30%. Very cool.

Encourage social sharing & forwarding

Some things you can do here include those sharing buttons on your emails. Encourage subscribers to share content with their networks. You can use that old forward to a friend link to boost referral sign ups as well. Those things have been around for a long time still do that social sharing can increase and reach and open rates so see that that will be a good fit for you.

Monitoring & adapting to metrics

The whole measuring you're going to have to regularly analyze what's going on with your open rates, your click through rates and your conversions right adjust those campaigns based on performance and feedback in experience with different strategies and techniques, and then you continuously improve campaigns for better results and ROI. Like we said, if you measure it, you can improve it.


All right, we're going to wrap up our time here today. We've talked about building lists and crafting those campaigns, and of course, we just finished up on increasing open rates and of course, the deliverability as well. So if you have questions, obviously you can drop them in now. Those that are on the replay, let us know in the comments if we can help in any way. In regards to your email marketing.

Connect With Us

You can always connect with us on our socials. We got our Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. You can find us @restrelaxROI.

Next month we'll have a new subject we'll be covering, and we talked about this a little bit today, and we'll go into more depth about expanding your reach with partnerships and collaborations. You can align strategically with businesses and influencers and organizations to reach more people more effectively. So check that out.

As usual, we'd love to have it chat with you. You keep this conversation going by going to book.restrelaxroi.com. Like I said, love to chat with you. If any questions, whether it's email marketing or other areas of your marketing. So glad that you were able to join us today or in the replay. Until next time, happy trails.

About the author 

Mark Rowan

Mark grew up on a campground in West Virginia. Since that time he's been guiding companies across the United States to a better online experience.

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