You’ve got an email list, filled with contacts that have come to your business over the years. They joined your list to stay connected with you and keep up-to-date on all your latest business happenings.
Now, here’s the hard part. How do you strike the balance between keeping your contacts engaged and chasing them away?
This is a challenge Sean Burpee, General Manager of the Reluctant Panther Inn and Restaurant in Manchester, Vermont, has faced since getting started with email marketing.
Since 2008, Sean has used email marketing to get the word out about upcoming events and promotions at his small luxury hotel. With over 10,000 email subscribers and above average open rates, Sean has learned how to strike the right balance and keep his audience engaged.
“In the past year, at least our open rates have been fairly strong,” says Sean. “When we use Constant Contact, we do see results with bookings for our hotel. We always notice an uptick in reservation activity within the one to three week period of an e-blast.”
Let’s take a look at his approach and how you can apply his ideas to your business:
1. Understand Your Specific Audience
To determine the right sending frequency, Sean needed to understand his specific audience and how they interact with his business.
While a café might see repeat customers on a weekly, or even daily, basis, Sean’s guests are likely to visit less frequently. Sean decided to focus on timely messages, especially around holidays when his audience is ready for a getaway.
“We look at marketing on a fairly regular basis, whether monthly or bimonthly, to promote any events that take place within the hotel or locally,” Sean explains.
Here’s an example of an email he sent to promote a Memorial Day weekend package:
2. Don’t Overburden Your Messages (or your readers)
When it comes time to sending out a new email, Sean focuses on clean design and fresh content.
Sean uses a mobile responsive, single column email template, so that his readers can see his message clearly, wherever they’re viewing from. His emails often start with a beautiful photo of the inn or restaurant, and then jump right into an enticing message with a clear call-to-action.
“We don’t overburden it,” he says. “We usually have a couple of components in each email – maybe three to four at the most – so we keep it as brief as possible and as eye-catching as possible.”
Below is an email Sean sent to promote a recent brewers dinner. After sending this email, Sean received over 200 clicks to his website and social channels.
3. Offer Something Valuable
The truth is, you’ll never overwhelm your audience as long as you’re sending something that’s valuable to them. Sean makes sure his emails are timely, while also giving subscribers enough notice to plan a trip ahead of time.
“We look at always marketing what is relevant now, as well as what is coming down the pipe,” says Sean.
After sending out an email, Sean checks back with his reports to see what’s getting clicked on and getting the most attention. This helps him decide what to include in the future.
How do you Keep Your Audience up-to-date?
By understanding his audience, keeping his email design clean and delivering valuable content, Sean knows his emails will always be positively received.
“If we’re booking rooms as a result, then it’s a success,” he says.
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Editor’s Note: This post originally appealed on the Constant Contact Blog.