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Email Marketing (All)
Ski Resort Marketing Meets the Email Launch Technique – Part 2

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Yesterday I outlined the elements of a super-duper email launch. Today, it’s time to combine those ingredients into a excitment-building, sales-generating system. The time frame for these emails can vary, but I’ve always felt like 2-3 weeks is about right. Any more than that and you’ll lose them before you ever get to the launch. An shorter and you’re sending emails too frequently. Try to send messages no more than every 2-3 days to your list.

A few quick notes:

  • I’ve found emails with the name of an actual person in the signature line are much more effective than saying “The Snow Mtn Marketing Team”. As the Marketing Experiments creed goes, people don’t but from businesses, people buy from people. Give you email list a face and personality.
  • Also, I’ll say “product” a lot as a generic term for whatever you are launching: a new season pass, lift ticket pack, vacation package, etc.
  • Don’t be afraid to send plain text emails. I know you like those clever little HTML email templates but they are way too formal for what you want (not to mention the issues with images and getting it to display right). I use plain text email for all my launches.

Start off with a teaser. Don’t give your list any more information than the fact that you’ve got a sweet new product that you and your crew are getting really excited about. The product will be available starting on October 20, 2011 at 11:00am ET. You’re only going to be able to sell a certain number because of how rock awesome it is. Hint at a few of the benefits but don’t say anything about price yet. Tell them to keep an eye on their inbox for updates.

Follow up by building some immediate excitement with the biggest, most exciting selling points of the product. Talk about how much work it’s taken to get it ready and how pumped you are about offering it. With this email, ask your email list subscribers to hit the reply button if they have any questions at all. Then repeat yourself. Prove that you are willing to connect personally and resolve any concerns. Plus, this will give you perfect content for the next email.

Take the questions you receive from subscribers and write an email titled, “Answers to the 3 Biggest Questions About -PRODUCT NAME-“. If you received some good emails, start by building a little bit of social proof talking about many people are emailing you and how pumped they are. Then, answer the 3 biggest questions simply and succinctly. Remind them about the date and time the sale will start. Let them know you realize they want to know the price but it’s not ready to be announced yet for whatever reason/excuse you come up with.

Now it’s time to talk about all those other little benefits and add-ons you’ve setup to add extra value to your product. Write an email starting with something like, “You may have heard rumors about some of the other benefits this product offers. Well, they’re all true.” And then launch into this list of benefits. Don’t forget to save one or two of these benefits for the next email. After the list, start to give them a few more details about the day of the sale. Tell them how long they’ll have access to the product before it goes live on the site and what ways they’ll be able to order. Let them know you’ll announce the price a few days later.

You are days away from the sale and it is now time to name the price. Do so and then add on that last benefit or two you saved from the previous email. Next, remind them about the day and time, how long they’ll have to order before the rest of the world has access and then give them some stats like, “So 200 passes are available but to make sure we are all on the same page, here are some stats about who will get the email the same time you do. There are 5,302 on this list. At 4pm, it will go live on the site (2,000 daily visitors), announced on Facebook (15,305 fans) and Twitter (3,543 followers).”

When you send the email to start the sale, keep it short, place a link right toward the top after the first sentence or two so those that are just waiting for the link can click that, explain one more time how the sale is going to work and then post the link again.

As the sale progresses, it’s a good idea to build a little bit of social proof with an update. I usually announce when the product is about 50% gone to let people know that were waiting till later to order that it may not last until later. The first 50% always go faster than the second 50% but it helps your subscribers gauge how long they have to order.

So, that’s about it, about an hour long seminar condensed into two blog posts :) Be honest in your emails, be open, be real, but be enthusiastic and let your excitement show. Hopefully this sparks some ideas. If I were the email marketing director your resort, I’d start working on a new pass right now, begin building a list for it today and push it all through the summer, then put together a big exciting launch in October that not only kicks off pass sales, but the ski season as well.

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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