Anatomy of a good email promotion

(click to enlarge) An example of a Guestily template, showing all the elements of a good promotion.

You only get moments to make a good impression these days, whatever the channel of communication you use.

However, email is the most one-on-one and personal channel (besides live chat, perhaps). So any email promotion needs to be personal, clear in its offer and evocative of the benefits.

Guidelines to craft the perfect promotion

Mostly, they are common sense – it’s not difficult. We all intuitively know the offers we respond to best as a consumer, so write your promotion the same way. Just be you, use your voice, include the things you expect to see (conditions) and that would motivate you (benefits) and chances are that will work for your guests as well.

Use your ‘voice’:

Effective email is personal. Recipients read email like they are being spoken to. There is theatre in their mind as they read the words and verbalise them in their head. So writing your wording like you are speaking to someone, rather than like you were writing a report for work, is the way to go.

Be adaptive to mobile:

Studies show as much as 70% of email is now viewed on mobile devices. A good template should be mobile-responsive. That means it changes its shape and layout according to the size of screen it is being viewed on.

Have a focused message:

Only promote one offer at a time. Don’t add side stories.

Have a clear offer:

The offer you are making must be easily understood at a glance. That means enough words to explain the offer and no waffle.

Present in a clear layout:

A strong, short heading that positions the offer. Multiple call to actions from top to bottom (eg: ‘Book now’ buttons).

Anatomy of The Promotion Wording

Good promotions share certain key elements:

(1) Personalised - Ideally personalise to each guest with their first name

(2) The Offer – In one or two sentences state the offer being made.

This should be factual – save enticing language for ‘The Benefit’.

(3) The Benefit – In one or two sentences state the benefit to the guest of the offer.

This might be a saving, the value of a value-add, the value of an extra night, the virtue of an intangible like late checkout, etc.

The Offer and The Benefit are not the same – The Offer is a factual transaction (eg: pay for 3 nights, stay 4). The Benefit is the positive outcome for the guest (get an extra night free to relax more). Sometimes you might need to think harder about what the benefit of your offer is. For example, the offer might be a free bottle of wine for stays of 3 or more nights. The benefit needs to be more than quenching thirst or just getting a freebie – it’s about enjoying a local wine, enjoying a pleasant time with your partner, getting a benefit because you are a valued past guest, or similar.

(4) Validity of the Offer – Always give an expiry date.

Even if you have an offer you intend to run well into the future (eg: a bottle of wine for every stay of X or more nights) always give it an expiry date. You can always run the same offer again next time, but an expiry date creates a sense of limitedness of the offer as well as covering you should you wish to discontinue the offer.

(5) Conditions – No offer is unconditional. However, the most effective offers have the least conditions. Any conditions that do apply need to be very clear. Too many conditions start to look like they are catch-laden and the guest feels they are unlikely to qualify.

When writing conditions, imagine the ways your offer could be misunderstood and write the conditions to avoid that misunderstanding. For example, if an offer only applies mid-week, spell out what you mean by mid-week….does it include a Friday night? What about a Monday of a public holiday? So, instead of just saying ‘available mid-week’ say ‘available Mon-Thurs nights, excluding public holidays’.

For some inspiration for styles of promotions you can run for your accommodation, get access to our free Guestily Guide:

Do you need advice?

This article offers general advice to get you started. If you need to discuss your special needs, please ask us – we give great advice and are happy to be your ‘sounding board’ to help you decide the right promotional strategy for your property.