In our last post, we gave destination marketing organizations (DMOs) tips and tricks for putting together an engaging welcome campaign for consumer subscribers. We also discussed the importance of providing them with the tools they need to learn more about a destination, make their experience personal, and establish a level of trust. 

Creating a prospecting campaign should follow those same principles.

With your prospecting campaign, you are contacting planners who haven’t met in your destination; these contacts are considered “cold” as they haven’t engaged with your destination before.

This type of campaign is a tool to assist your sales team with the hefty job of prospecting — taking a list of cold contacts and attempting to engage with them. Think of this as an extension of your sales team so that when a prospect shows interest, they can reach out and begin the conversation.

Here are some steps to get you started.

 

1. Where to start

Take the time to research what type of meeting or event is the best fit for your destination. You can use tools like MINT+ to enter your criteria (like the size of the meeting or the type of organization) or search for meetings or events based on your past bookings.

Separate your prospect list by the salesperson in order to have the emails come from a person rather than a general marketing or sales email. We suggest putting the salesperson’s name with your DMO’s name in the “From” field — for example, mine would look like this: Veronica Williams, Simpleview

Think about whether it makes sense to separate third-party meeting planners from the rest into a different program. To decide, ask yourself if they have different characteristics that would affect the content of the program or if you want to keep separate reporting to see which one has the biggest ROI. 
 

2. Why you are contacting them

Arguably, the toughest part of email marketing is the subject line; your email is just one of many others in their inbox. Think about the emails you’ve received that have made you cringe. Put yourself in the shoes of your prospects and write a subject line that would have you click to open and not delete.

What’s the easiest part? Using data from Simpleview CRM for personalization, adding the name of their meeting or event, and offering to assist them in selecting a destination when they’re ready is a good place to start. On the other hand, there is such a thing as too much personalization that can be off-putting, so do your best to keep a balance.

 

3. Show off your destination

Take this opportunity to highlight any new or upcoming improvements that could interest a planner. Consider including hotel additions, unique meeting spaces, restaurant openings, and activities for the attendees if they opt to plan bleisure travel around the meeting. 

Highlight the services you offer that will make the planner look like a rock star and ensure meeting at your destination is seamless — anything from site visit planning and signage to attendee discounts and spousal programs. Let them know what sets you apart and why bringing their meeting or event to your destination would be the best decision for all parties involved. 

If there is something extra special you offer, like incentives, make sure to highlight them as well. We traditionally see a positive increase in clicks for emails that mention incentives and link to their websites.
 

4. Make it easy to get in touch 

There are two important calls to action (CTA) you need in every email to gauge the planner’s interest in bringing their meeting or event to your destination: 

  • Submit a request for proposal (RFP)
  • Download a meeting planners guide (MPG)

Another great addition is adding a way to sign up for your sales newsletter. This will help keep your destination at the top of your mind as well as introduce planners to unique attributes of your destination they otherwise wouldn’t have known. Along the same lines, you might want to consider a CTA that allows the planner to opt out of your prospecting campaign. This is a good option for them vs. opting out of all your communications

5. Make it easy on yourself ​

It’s important to audit your emails every year to confirm the content is fresh and relevant. Testing your emails is also highly encouraged during this time since clients regularly make changes that may cause your emails to render incorrectly. 

To help with showing return on investment, work with your search optimization engine (SEO) team to put special tracking on your CTAs to see your conversions.

 

Here's a summary
  • Remember that these are cold prospects and that this campaign is a way to inform, entice, and show off your destination 
  • Offer to help planners when they’re ready to begin their search for a destination and add in relevant information about your partners and stakeholders from Simpleview CRM
  • Adding links to your emails for planners to submit their RFPs or download your MPG will make it that much easier to identify which prospects have turned into marketing qualified leads for your sales team to follow up directly
  • Schedule an annual audit of your emails to test and confirm they still look the way you want them to

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