A common trap that many businesses fall into is not make the most of relationships they build with their current customers; this leads to a loss of business and slowed growth. Email marketing is a simple way for businesses to demonstrate the value of their products and services to both current customers and prospects. It provides an opportunity to talk about the problems and needs together with potential solutions – solutions that your business has already provided to other delighted customers. Of course, none of this is possible if you’re not actually building a subscriber list in the first place.
The Old House is a boutique bed and breakfast in Higham Ferrers that needed to build a quality subscriber list. They already had a facility on their website where people could make an enquiry, and this form would optionally subscribe them to their marketing list. However, those that did not use the form on the website were never added. This issue was highlighted when the owners decided to start a new venture, namely, the construction of a holiday cottage. During the 18-month build phase, they wanted to generate interest ahead of the opening and take bookings. They already had a loyal customer base, but there was no easy way to tell them about the great new property they were developing.
We recommended that their current paper guest registration form be replaced with an easy to use electronic form that guests could complete when checking in. This would avoid the need to manually enter guests details every day, and overcome the difficulty of interpreting illegible handwriting. There were other, less obvious benefits to using an electronic form over paper such as the ability to automatically look up the address based on postcode, send a reminder email to the owners of wake-up times and breakfast orders, greater accuracy of email addresses, ability to look up details of enquiries made via the website and auto-populate the form, and the ability to look up details of previous visits like which room they stayed in and dietary requirements. In short, they would be able to provide a better service.
The final form was built in a private area on their website, accessible and designed to work on an iPad. The owners could look up details of the guest’s enquiry or previous stay, and pre-populate their registration form before handing the device to the guest to complete. After signing the form, they would hand it back for the owners to complete details of their room and rate. The guest would be automatically opted in to the businesses emailing marketing list depending on their preference.
Since the launch of the new form, they have managed to build a clean mailing list of over 1,000 subscribers. The first mailing that we constructed for them achieve an incredible 50% open rate and a 10% click-through, 3 times the industry average. Together, we have constructed a plan to send out regular newsletters drip-feeding information about the new property. We’re quite confident that they will have a great deal of interest ahead of opening and a full order book for several months.
Nick Amis is CEO and founder of Entapris, and provides support for businesses and entrepreneurs in developing and implementing their digital strategy. He graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in computer science.