Email marketing is one of the most effective forms of online marketing, and can be a great idea for your vacation rental business. You can use email marketing as a way to stay connected with previous guests and encourage them to book with you again, as well as a way to connect with new potential guests.
This guide will help you learn how to get started with vacation rental email marketing, and a few practical ideas for what kinds of emails to send out to your list.
Use Email Marketing Software
Before you can start doing email marketing, you’ll need to choose an email marketing software. We recommend Mailchimp if you’re just getting started, since you can get started for free up to 2,000 subscribers. You can’t do any automated emails on the free plan though, beyond sending a welcome email.
If you’re serious about email marketing, or you already have a list, we recommend Constant Contact.
Other options to look at include Drip, Sendinblue, Flodesk, ActiveCampaign, and more. There are many, many more, but keep in mind that you can always switch providers in the future if you find one that better meets your needs.
Grow Your Email List
Once you’ve picked the email marketing software you’re going to use, you can start to collect email addresses.
Collect Guest Emails
The easiest way to grow your email marketing list is to keep the emails of your previous guests. We recommend checking out StayFi, which provides an easy and ethical way to collect guest emails through your WiFi. Once they’re on your email list, send your previous guests an email thanking them for staying with you, and let them know you’ll be sending occasional email updates.
Capture Emails from Website Visitors
You can also start to collect emails from your website visitors and social media followers. For example, offer some kind of free content download in exchange for signing up for your email newsletter. Something like ‘Local Guide to the Best Restaurants in St. Pete’ or ‘Our Secret Beach Spots in San Diego.’
This is known as a lead magnet, and it can be a very effective way to grow a list of emails that could become future guests. Plus it means you’re capitalizing on otherwise lost website traffic.
Once you have a growing email list, now comes the question of what to send them.
It’s a good idea to be consistent, but less can often be more.
You definitely shouldn’t be sending an email every day or maybe even every week (unless you are creating some really good content), but if you go too long without sending an email, your subscribers may forget about you altogether.
A monthly newsletter can be a good cadence for most businesses.
Try to put yourself in the shoes of your email subscribers, and write something you yourself would want to read.
Interesting, meaningful, and purposeful content will make your email subscribers happy to open and read your emails, and means they’ll stick around for your next email.
You might think about what the purpose or theme of your newsletter is, and try to stick with it. This will help your subscribers know what to expect from your emails, making them more engaged and more likely to open your emails.
Are your subscribers mostly interested in information about the area? Are they interested in and following your journey as hosts?
If you’re using your blog regularly, you can also send your email list updates and new blog posts.
Sending out a relevant and friendly email regularly can keep you on the radar of your subscribers, making them more likely to book with you the next time they plan a trip to your area.
For more ideas about what kind of content to send your email audience, check out these vacation rental content marketing ideas.
Another great way to get ideas for how to run your email newsletter is to sign up for the email newsletter of your competitors. You can find out exactly what kinds of emails they’re sending, and how often.
Getting Started with Vacation Rental Email Marketing
Even if you aren’t ready to start sending emails, we recommend you start collecting emails as soon as possible.
Choose an email marketing software and add a subscribe form to your website, so your website visitors have the option to subscribe. You can start a free trial with Constant Contact.
We also recommend checking out StayFi, which is a service that provides WiFi and an easy way to ask your guests for their email.
When you’re ready to start sending emails, it can feel overwhelming to send an email out to hundreds or thousands of subscribers.
But it’s helpful to remember that they subscribed to your email for a reason. The more you can identify that reason and create and send content based on it, the more effective your email marketing will be.
Once you’re sending emails, you’ll be able to analyze which emails get the most opens, clicks, and unsubscribes, which can further inform your vacation rental email marketing strategy.