Email Marketing

Acquisition email gives hospitality brands another way to stand out

During the pandemic, Olive Garden wanted their regular customers to try dine-in dining. So Data Axle worked with Olive Garden to produce an award winning campaign that resulted in a unique open rate of 21.3%, and a click to open rate that exceeded KPI goals by nearly 70%. Their email campaign was a success.

You may be using email like Olive Garden: as part of an omnichannel approach to connect with current customers. Email works! In 2022, more than 333 billion emails are sent every single day, many of them tasked with keeping the relationship between brands and their customers strong.

But now, your regular diners and guests have come back. Your operations teams are back on their feet. Maybe you’ve reached a point of saturation in other acquisition channels, like social media. Direct mail is becoming increasingly expensive due to raising costs in materials and postage. You’re ready to grow your customer base and business again. How can email help you break through the digital noise and offset rising costs?

The basics are far from basic

Acquisition email is the process of reaching out to prospective customers. Yet many marketers aren’t taking advantage of this channel as a key outlet to reach new prospects. The primary reasons are typically because they consider it “spam”, they are afraid of their own domain reputation being put at risk, they do not have access to compliant emails, they are concerned with data permissions. When done well, acquisition email is focused and purposeful, not a spray and pray approach. 32% of marketers we surveyed said their acquisition email attempts weren’t going so well, and roughly 50% of marketers not using acquisition email lately said it was because they either didn’t know they could, or they didn’t know that it was compliant.

When executed with the right partner, acquisition email can be 100% compliant with privacy regulations. It’s important that you work with a vendor who has secured permission-based emails from contacts to receive third-party solicitations. When you do, your acquisition email efforts will be not only compliant with relevant regulations but also more likely to be successful because you’re reaching consumers who have indicated a willingness to hear from brands in their inboxes.

No matter which partner you use, make sure that they are well versed in existing compliance needs, like GDPR, DMA, CCPA, HIPAA, ISO and SISA.

Reach the right prospects

Let’s say that you’re a travel agent, looking to expand your customer base.

First, we’d start off by finding out all we can about your current customers. We can use information you have about what kinds of trips they take, what their budget is, and what they rely on you for. We pair that data with data we have. Where do they live and work? What’s their income bracket? What stage of life are they in? We focus our search by using fully cleansed and emailable B2B and B2C records based on both demographic and firmographic attributes. We can tell you their hobbies, their household makeup, and their browsing habits online to help you understand what drives your customer’s decisions.

From there we create a persona, or an ideal customer who you want to target. Let’s say you have been successful booking trips for groups of women in their forties and fifties. These groups prefer warmer locations, cruises and resorts. They are interested in nightlife and shopping, and they like a little adventure and culture thrown in.

We then use ‘look-alike profiling’ to tailor our search for prospective customers who are similar in key ways to your current customer. We look within that group for people who have signed up to receive information on travel, hotels and excursions that fit what your ideal customer likes. This is what we call a “custom audience.” You can target a particular age range of people or a specific business size for instance, or use specialty data sources, like consumer transactional data, to refine your targets.

With look-alike profiling and custom audiences, we create an audience who really want to hear from you because they’re planning another “girls trip” next year, and they’re ready to get started.

Get creative

Even though your emails are going to a hand-picked prospective customer base, they still need to stand out. Your creative team gets to use all this information about your custom audiences to send them relevant and engaging content. This kind of data-driven creative gives your team opportunities to deep dive into what makes each custom audience tick.

To achieve the greatest results with acquisition email, we recommend a campaign that includes at least three unique emails and switches up the subject line to see what truly captures the attention of your audience. Space them out over several weeks and allow for time for resends. As email is unique to each recipient, we also recommend two to three resends for each creative to make sure you’re hitting inboxes at the recipient’s most ideal time.

Data Axle worked with the Ritz Carlton to complete an omnichannel campaign that focused on the idea of the New Year, and showed audiences some of their new locations and services. How could you take a broad concept like they did and contextualize it for your custom audiences? Or how can you focus your email campaign on a single service you want to promote to medium sized businesses and highlight a different dimension in each email?

Like we said, data-driven creative means you have firm shoulders to stand on. When you know who you’re talking to you can make riskier, more exciting, and ultimately more profitable decisions.

Measure your progress

You’re used to using delivery, open, click-through and engagement rates to measure your campaign’s success.

Data Axle also uses matchback analysis. Matchback analysis is where we look at your brand’s conversion file and determine whether the people who converted actually received and engaged with your acquisition emails along their journey. This way, you can see how effective your campaign was and how acquisition emails bolstered interactions elsewhere– on your site, your social media, etc. We want you to understand and see the overall revenue of the acquisition email campaign, yes, but also average order value, net new customers, reactivation, and retention. These insights allow customization based on your KPI’s, which can dramatically lift your overall revenue.

When you create a campaign based on hard data and a solid understanding of your prospective customer, you can take more risks. When you understand what worked, how it worked, and when it worked, you can expand on those successes for your next campaign.

Step into your next email campaign with confidence

Whether you’re trying to expand your customer base one person at a time, or connect with larger accounts, acquisition email works. By creating custom audiences with clean, permission-based, privacy-compliant data, your business can reach people who want to hear from you right when they want to hear it, and your messages will stand out from the crowd. When used together with other marketing channels, you can maximize your campaign’s ROI with proven results.

We’d love to talk with you more about your goals for your next campaign. Contact us.