Forget what you may have heard.
Good, old-fashioned email can still be your most cost-effective online marketing and sales initiative for your fractional property. A well-organized, well-executed email program is a powerful tool for generating leads, prospects and ultimately fractional sales.
Here are some top tips and tricks to maximize the effectiveness—and return on investment—of your email marketing program.
1. Assemble huge lists of qualified prospects. People on your list should have at least one of these characteristics:
A. Financially qualified—suggested from having patronized at your resort—or elsewhere—the top accommodations, restaurants, shops, galleries and boutiques.
B. A connection to your resort perhaps from their own prior visits or referral from a friend, family member or a current owner
C. An affinity for the resort as shown by having requested information or subscribing to the property’s monthly newsletter
D. A connection to or an affinity for the franchised brand of your hotel, management company, real estate brokerage or spa
E. A strong affinity for the sports activities and attractions of your resort or resorts similar to yours
F. Experienced property owners at your resort and perhaps have already done business with your development team.
The more your list members fit this profile, the greater your chances of striking email gold.
But what if your project is an independent or a start-up that wants to email now rather than wait months for the long, slow buildup over time of your database from response to your brand-new website, on-line and off-line ads and the names and email addresses of people signing the guest book at your sales office or model? (You do maintain a guest book, don’t you?)
Whatever your circumstances, if you need more email names and addresses than are currently accessible to you, there’s something you can do to flatten the growth process so you can start now to make fractional sales.
2. “Borrow” the email list of an email partner. Here’s how this works:
Form a strategic alliance with one or more friendly and non-competitive businesses—such as a well-established local hotel, art gallery or luxury boutique. Your partner sends out a one-time-only email to his/her contacts, at your expense. S/he introduces you as a friend saying that s/he has arranged for a special offer from you that s/he believes the addressees will find appealing.
As you can see, in addition to borrowing the list of names, you are also piggy-backing on the goodwill and trust that the list owner, (whose name appears on the “From:” line of the email) has cultivated over time with his/her clientele.
Immediately afterward comes the message from your marketing representative who introduces the property and its benefits and makes an enticing offer. Response is handled by your sales team so that agents can form a relationship with prospects over time.
After sales closings, the referring email partner receives a flat referral fee–or whatever else has been agreed upon. If the email is well-written, well-executed and well-timed, it will serve as a highly effective lead generator and cost-effective
generator of sales.
3. Set the sales goals you want your email/s to achieve.
Set target numbers for percentage of conversion of email responses to stays at the resort and conversion of appointments to closed fractional sales. Budget funds for this effort.
4. Craft an email message to achieve the goal/s set. Include these time-tested components of successful email marketing:
A. Subject line. An intriguing, attention-snatching headline is a must-have to tempt people to open your email, rather than junk it. Start your headline with the name of the addressee. For example:
“David, your next getaway can be on us.” (Maximum characters: 60)
Avoid the temptation to use an exclamation point (or the word “FREE,”) or your message might wind up in Spam.
B. Message. A personalized greeting, such as, “Hello David,” or “Hello, David Disick,” or whatever is appropriate, raises the number of people who read the message.
The email might start by mentioning the current season and how great it would be to take a brief escape from…(typical problem/s at that time of year) and enjoy…(whatever are the most desirable activities taking place then at your resort)…with your loved ones.
In other words, put yourself in the place of the recipients and see the world through their eyes. Imagine what problems they may have or what their desires might be. Show that you understand their situation and empathize with them. Suggest that a getaway at the resort offers just what they need.
Be sure to provide a link to your property’s website for added credibility and so that people can learn more.
C. Offer. The offer is a value-priced, multi-night “Try and Buy Getaway Package.” This unique opportunity allows a selected number of invited guests to sample the numerous benefits of the resort as they consider moving forward to membership. Those choosing to become owner-members will have their getaway expenses, up to a stated amount, credited to them at closing.
The offer amount must be very attractive in terms of number of days and nights, size of accommodations and what is included in the price (i.e. accommodations, meals, activities, etc.). You may choose to mention the value of this limited-time-offer and cite the savings over regular rates. Savings may be expressed either as a percentage discount off regular rates or as a monetary amount.
Accommodations are at the property, or at participating local lodging facilities—who may be email marketing partners. (There’s lots of potential synergy here and good chance to generate “buzz” in the community.)
Participants in the package agree to attend a “low-key, no-pressure presentation by their membership representative. (It is important to include these words of assurance).
D. Call to action and response mechanism. The email needs to make it easy for recipients to respond by prominently displaying a toll-free number and providing a response form where recipients can provide their name and email address and check one of the following choices:
- __Yes, Have a reservationist call during preferred times (list choices).
- __Yes, Have reservation details be sent via email, then please call.
- __Yes, Have reservation details be sent via email. Please do not call.
- __Thank you. I’m not interested at the moment, but please send me your monthly email newsletter.”
E. Urgency. Recipients are encouraged to respond today while this opportunity is fresh in their mind. The reason for urgency can be that only a limited number of packages is available. Readers are advised not to miss out on this unique and exclusive opportunity.
It’s a good idea to say that reservations will be accepted first-come-first-served and only until a deadline date or until all available packages are reserved, whichever comes first.
I’ve presented above some email basics. Next month, I’ll treat some more advanced email issues. So, please come back to catch the new post.
Have you had success with email marketing? What are some of your top tips and tricks? Thank you for sharing.
David Disick helps developers secure financing. He is an attorney and fractional developer who consults in the US and abroad. He is author of Fractional Vacation Homes: Marketing and Sales in Challenging Times from which this article is drawn. His website is www.TheFractionalConsultant.com. Have a question? Get in touch with him.