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Is Growing Your Resort’s Email List More Important Than Your Fan Count?

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In a recent webinar about email marketing the often called “social media scientist”, Dan Zarella, stated that:

“I’d rather have a few email subscribers than tons of twitter followers.”

It’s an interesting thought. There is, of course, a lot of emphasis being placed on growing fan and follower counts. Social media messages are free to post, easy for your fans to share, and reach your guests in places they spend a lot of their day: social media.

However, natural fan growth is slowing and, as it does, the cost of gaining each new fan is going up. Between time and/or ads, snagging your next hundred fans could be a pricey endeavor. So, when I saw some recent stats about how consumers want to receive promotions, I decided to dig a little deeper.

Email vs Social Media
The survey claimed that 77% of retail consumers want to receive marketing messages through email while only 4% prefer Facebook. Traffic from these two sources, email and social, have been known to perform almost identically once on your website, but getting them there is trick.

The Data
Ski resort emails get an 18% open rate and 11% click rate on average. Combine the two and roughly 2.0% of all emails you send will get a link click.

Last week I gathered a random sample of 50 promotional tweets posted by a dozen different resorts for part of an email vs social media click analysis. From all those tweets and Facebook posts, the average click rate was 0.3%. In fact, the highest CTR of any social post I saw was just over 2.0%.

In other words, for every 100 fans or followers you have on social media, it would take just 14 email subscribers to get the same website traffic value and, potentially, revenue out of that campaign.

The Math
To illustrate one aspect of both – revenue generation – let’s say we start an initiative to sell 10 season passes using email marketing and 10 passes using social media marketing. The hitch is that the sales have to come from new social media fans and new email addresses you don’t currently have.

Further, we’ll assume that your e-store conversion rate is 5% for both email-referred traffic ans social media-referred traffic. Moving up the funnel, we’ll quickly see that each source will need to send 200 visitors from each source to meet our goal.

For this example, let’s assume it costs $1.00 to acquire a new Facebook fan. To get 200 clicks on your message, you’ll need 67,000 fans at a cost of $67,000.

It will take 10,000 email addresses to get that same number clicks/visitors. So, unless it costs more than $6.69 (after factoring in the cost to send those emails, about $100 or $0.01 a piece) to acquire a new email subscriber, social is going to lose this battle.

The good news is that, unlike a PPC ad, you get to reuse the fan/subscriber but I think you see my point: for direct revenue generation, one email subscriber, in most cases, will be much more valuable than a social follower.

Don’t Neglect List Building
Don’t let your email list / database size fall through the cracks. Treat it just like your fan count, work to increase subscribers and optimize the systems that will make that happen. Social is very good at a lot of other things besides traffic generation (although, so is email) but email is really good at generating revenues and that’s hard to ignore.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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