Woman rock climbing

Once upon a time, email was one-size-fits-all. You had your adventure brand’s email list, and you emailed them… a “cast and blast” kind of situation. No matter where they were in their customer journey with you, they got the same message.

But these days, we have technology on our side and the ability to tune our messages to the right audiences. And with how noisy the online world is getting, and how everyone is vying for attention, the ability to speak directly to their needs, wants and desires is invaluable because you don’t want to assume they know something about your trips, products, or services that they don’t, or worse—ask for the sale too early.

That’s where email marketing personalization comes in.

No, no. I don’t mean just throwing in a name at the beginning of an email and calling it a day. I’m talking about tailoring the experience your customer has in a way that supports the exact place they are in within their customer journey—whether that’s being totally new to your adventure brand, a person considering your services, or someone who has followed you for years.

When MailChimp measured stats across all segmented campaigns, for example, they outperformed their non-segmented counterparts with an open rate that was 14.31% higher, and a click-through rate that was 100.95% higher. Those are the kind of numbers you want on your side.

So how do you do this?

Personalize the Who, What, and When of your Emails

Who: sending specific emails to the right subscribers
What: sending specific content to the right subscribers
When: sending specific emails to subscribers at the right time

Let’s dig into each of these and how they are key approaches to your adventure brand’s personalized email marketing.

Who: Sending Specific Emails to the Right Subscribers

“Who” is receiving your email is one of the top things to consider when personalizing. You wouldn’t want to send an introductory email to someone who has jumped on every expedition you’ve run over the last few years… just like you wouldn’t want to send a request for referrals from someone who’s never been out with you before.

Here are a couple of segments you can work off of.

Inactive Subscribers

People routinely sign up for lists they aren’t right for, and you’re left spending money on these subscribers without getting anything in return. You can develop a reactivation campaign that drips out a few emails over the course of a set time frame, and (hopefully) move them back into the active subscribers’ segment. A very successful method of doing this is sending an email that asks them to identify what they’re most interested in, and moving them into a focused segment that speaks to that interest. This campaign can also simply ask them to confirm they still want to receive your emails!

Purchasers and Non-purchasers

Personalizing your email content based on your subscribers’ buying behavior is a great way to uplevel the experience they have with your adventure brand.

Consider surprising and delighting people who haven’t joined a tour, or bought anything, in the last season or two. Maybe it’s a free gift, for example. You can do something similar for people who have recently signed up for an upcoming trip: send them an offer on a related product or service that will make their upcoming tour with you even better.

You can also segment and personalize emails to people on your list who have no purchase history with your adventure brand. This works great when you want to send targeted information on your current specials, or information that may support their decision to buy like your 100% satisfaction guarantee, or your cancellation policy.

What: Sending Specific Content to the Right Subscribers

Although we briefly touched on what you’re sending to specific subscribers, the personalization of content goes deeper. By getting smart about what your subscribers are interested in, what they’ve already interacted with, and what they may be interested in down the line, you can personalize content to be practically intuitive with their needs.

Here are sources to pull from in identifying what your segments could be based on:

Finished automation and the next step

Automation series are great, but you don’t want to have subscribers finish the series and get lost in oblivion. Determine what the post-automation action—will be—your strong call-to-action—then customize the content sent to them based on that. A great example is an educational email series that drips out information about the various treks an adventure brand offers, with the last call-to-action asking them to sign up to the personal group Facebook page that gives them the opportunity to ask questions and get more information from people who have already done the treks, or are planning to.

Subscriber data

If you’ve set up your e-commerce system or website to feed into your email platform, you can easily identify key data to use as a powerful segmenting option. For example, identifying locals (and excluding tourists) allows you to fully customize your emails to speak to last-minute openings on tours at a local’s rate, appreciation events, and more. Likewise, identifying tourists gives you the opportunity to pre-book next year’s expeditions.

Page source

By creating a single hidden merge field or a unique ID on your signup form(s) and populating it with a unique ID to identify what page it was filled out on, you can easily segment campaigns based on that information. So if a subscriber signs up from a tour page, you can use that information to send them an educational series on the tour, or future relevant emails on that tour type.

When: Sending Specific Content to the Right Subscribers

Finally, when you send specific content to the right subscribers is the key piece that ties it all together. The opportunity to engage at the right time is limited only by your imagination–and how your e-commerce and website data integrates with your email platform. Lucky for you, you know a really great team of professionals who can help!

When they subscribe

They’re new, and the welcome message you send will typically see the highest open rates… so make it good!

When they purchase

Time to send them a thank you message, maybe a pre-trip email series to help them prepare, etc.

When they abandon cart

Why not send them a fun message (keep it on-brand, of course) that lets them know their items are waiting for them, or offer to answer any additional questions they might have, or send them a reminder along with your 100% happiness guarantee for trips with you.

When they’ve gone inactive

As we mentioned above, a reactivation campaign could do wonders at getting them into the right camp!

When they haven’t purchased in a while

A well-timed offer can spur them into action; go ahead and incentivize them a little bit… just be sure to use discounts and sales judiciously as a last resort.

When you start to identify who, what, and when for your emails, your list goes from “everyone gets everything” to “certain people get relevant things when they need them.” Your customers feel like they’re getting a tailored experience with your adventure brand, and that’s when the magic starts to happen: you see higher engagement, better open rates, and stronger conversion rates.