Ken Countess

Ken Countess

Editor’s Note: Ken Countess is the managing director of KENisEMAIL.com and is an award-winning marketer and a certified expert in email marketing. 

In the world of outdoor hospitality, it’s important to stay “top of mind” with clients and prospects as there are many companies competing for business in what has become a fairly lucrative industry.

Drilling down into the campground and RV park segment, marketing is critical — not only to the parks themselves but to the industries that serve them as well: camping equipment manufacturers, finance and funding, technology companies and many others.

For many businesses though, marketing often takes a second seat to running the business.

Why? Often it’s because the business gets “stuck” trying to figure out what to say and how to say it. But if you look around, there is a lot to say to your audience, including land acquisition, site upgrades, new laws and regulations, industry trends and much more.

That covers the “what to say” part. The “how to say it” part is easy.

Do you know what the No. 1 marketing tool is in terms of return on investment (ROI)? Far and away, it’s email marketing — and it has been that way for at least a decade. With a 42:1 ROI as measured by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), email marketing simply can’t be beaten. Nothing else comes close.

Just think about it. Without even realizing it, most people check their email at least 20 times a day. They’re checking it when they wake up, during the work day and before they go to bed. Made even easier by having access to their email 24/7 because of their smartphones, some estimates indicate we’re checking our email 50-100 times a day — or more!

The fact is that you’re almost always checking to see who sent you an email. And, guess what? That’s what your customers are doing, too. In fact, 99% of people are checking their email every day — and a study by Salesforce found that 77% of consumers prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through email.

With personalization tools, email helps you build relationships with your audience that other media simply cannot do.

Because people are in their inbox daily, when you’re doing it right, you can multiply your brand awareness, almost exponentially, when compared to other ways you try to market your business. Email keeps you “top-of-mind” with your customers and prospects, and can dramatically reduce the length of the buying cycle.

It’s important to recognize that there’s a difference between simply sending emails and using email marketing to promote your business. With regular email, you can only send emails to a limited number of people at a given time. Another limitation is that you can’t control the formatting. Additionally, regular emails are more susceptible to being filtered, they open you up to potential spam complaints.

Plus, you do not have an accurate way to know how many were delivered, how many were opened and who engaged with your message by clicking on links.

But with email marketing campaigns, you can send to an unlimited number of people at the same time, as often as you wish. By looking at the real-time data, you will know how many were sent, delivered, opened and clicked on. Not only that, you know exactly who opened your email and exactly who clicked on what content in your email.

That’s really important information for your business because you will know exactly who is interested in what you have to say or what you are offering based on this data, and you’ll be able to compare how well each campaign performed — what worked well and what messaging might need a tune-up based on the data.

In short, the tracking and reporting features are invaluable.

There are many other benefits, too.

An email marketing service will allow you to expertly reinforce your brand identity by providing a consistent “look and feel” to your marketing.

It will also manage subscriptions for you automatically. That means people who visit your website, see you at an event, snap a QR code on your print or digital literature…etc., will get added to your list when they opt in and subscribe. They’ll get automatically removed from your list when they unsubscribe or opt-out, helping you stay compliant with anti-spam laws — which are actually getting tougher and tougher.

With open and click data at your fingertips, you will learn what’s most important to your readers and be able to segment your lists so that you can deepen your relationships with those who are most engaged with your emails and retarget those who have not been as connected to you as you would like.

There are many more aspects of email marketing that can help you successfully grow your business, including how to get more opens, how to stay out of the spam folder and how to create content that really engages your reader.

I’ll cover all of these topics — and more— in future columns.