But while eCRM may be a fairly efficient and low-cost method to get your offers out, its effectiveness will vary greatly based on execution. Here are a few thoughts on how to increase the likelihood of success in your eCRM efforts this fall and in the long term.
1. Focus your offers. I'm seeing a lot of "kitchen sink" offers out there right now -- lots of little, disconnected, rather low value pieces being thrown together to make a package. The theory is that, individually, those components don't hold much value but, together, they create something meaningful.
However, disparate parts are disparate parts -- if they don't mesh together like a puzzle, they are likely not going to create any actionable desire from the customer. So look to either focus your offers on a single, high-value proposition, or ensure that the individual parts you are trying to connect actually do amplify the total package value when connected.
2. More personalized targeting. Look, we all do it. In hopes of increasing the odds of conversion, we mass e-mail out every offer in hopes that something will stick. But this scattershot approach exhausts our databases. Consumers tune us out, delete us without opening, or even opt-out of future communications -- all because we've not added any value to their inbox.
I know that the level of data marketers has on their email lists varies greatly -- from simply an email address to a full dossier. For those of you who have this detail, use it, don't be afraid of it. The truth is, the same base offer (i.e., resort credit, percentage discount, earn rewards) can often be used for multiple audiences, just with language tweaks to make it feel specified, whether for a family, friends traveling together, couples, etc.
For those of you that don't have a lot of detail on your registrants, maybe now is the time to incent them to give you a little more information so you can better communicate in the future. And perhaps that incentive can be one delivered against a travel booking made now (an upgrade, a free night or service, etc.). It would provide value for the consumer now and for you both, now and in the future.
3. Connect the dots. Getting a meaningful offer into someone's in-box is the first step. Getting them to act is the second. Not losing them when they hit your site is the third. I am often amazed at the lack of connection between an email and the landing page it drives me to.
Consumers responding to offer emails are pretty far down-funnel. To have them land on a page that, a., doesn't feel connected in tone and feel to the email they just read and/or, b., doesn't deliver them to exactly the next step in the process to take advantage of the offer creates a broken experience and one likely to encourage bounce, not bookings.
At this point, the consumer is thisclose to converting for you -- know that they are looking for full details to make their final decision, and an easy way to close the deal once they have. Best-case scenario: A dedicated landing page that has your booking mechanism on it and highly prioritized.
The good news is that consumers are still open to receiving offers from us via email and to responding to them. And the better news is that increasing ROI on eCRM efforts isn't just about increasing the dollar amount of your discount, but about being smarter marketers and using the tools we have to refine our efforts.