How This Travel Blogger Used Email Marketing to Grow — Even When the Tourism Industry Lost $2.7 Trillion in Revenue
By Kristin MacLaughlin May 28, 2020
Unfortunately, when the world stopped traveling, affiliate income and ad revenue for bloggers in the travel industry stopped too. But for Frolla, COVID-19 has been a blessing in disguise. “It has forced my hand to do something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” says Frolla.
Frolla always wanted to launch a language program to teach her audience new languages. To help her decide if this was the right direction to take her business, Frolla turned to her email marketing platform and email subscribers.
It turns out her audience is as interested in language as the destination where the language is spoken.
So she launched a new language program using email marketing for every step of the process.
Here’s how she did it.
Build your email list to protect yourself from the unknown
Frolla learned the hard way, as did many in the travel industry, that things can change overnight.
The World Travel and Tourism Council is projecting a global loss of 100 million jobs and $2.7 trillion in revenue due to COVID-19. And Statista forecasts that global revenue for the travel and tourism industry will be down 34.7% in 2020.
Explore new revenue opportunities
The COVID-19 experience led Frolla to take a good look at her business and consider how she could continue earning money that’s not dependent on travel, advertising revenue, or social media platforms.
As a travel and language blogger, Frolla’s previous revenue sources had included income from affiliate commissions, advertising revenue, and working with tourism boards to promote destinations. Unfortunately, when the world stopped traveling, Frolla’s affiliate income and ad revenue from the travel industry stopped too.
That’s why she decided to investigate the option of creating a language education program. With a program like this, she could continue to provide value and a service to her audience — even when they can’t travel.
“I can sell my language products. My audience can purchase the product and use it when they’re commuting, at home, or traveling. It’s something that I’m quite passionate about and makes sense with the way things have been for the tourism industry the past few months, “says Frolla.
To promote her new language program, Frolla knew she would need a larger email list.
Frolla used 2 tools to grow her email list and welcome new subscribers.
1. A landing page
When Frolla first created her travel blog, she knew that email marketing was important. She chose AWeber because she wanted to go with a platform that was going to grow with her. “I’m getting my head around the incredible power of the tool,” says Frolla.
Frolla has found that landing pages created with AWeber’s Landing Page Builder are an awesome way to grow a list by being able to share specific information. She drives traffic to her landing page from her social media, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
“The landing page was easy to set up. I decided to direct traffic to a certain landing page to get my language and travel tips, as opposed to having pop-ups all the time or having a sign up form that might not get seen,” says Frolla.
2. Automated email campaigns
After someone enters their contact information on your sign up form or landing page, you should immediately send an automated email to welcome them to your email list. This is exactly what Frolla does with AWeber’s email automation platform Campaigns.
Frolla welcomes subscribers to her list, includes links to some of her most popular content, and sets expectations on how often she will communicate with subscribers.
Your email list is an excellent way to gather product feedback.
Frolla uses email marketing to identify users and provide feedback before she launched her product.
Recruit your most loyal followers to test your product.
Frolla recruited some of her most loyal subscribers to be part of a testing team for her new product. Via email, she sent them a form to apply to be a part of her testing team. It allowed her to get real user experiences to improve her course.
Don’t forget to ask for testimonials.
She also was able to get testimonials from her testing team Frolla uses the testimonials in all of her promotional materials as social proof of its impact.
Promote your product to your list
Frolla announced to her entire email list and on social media that she had a new course coming to create some buzz around the launch.
Giveaways can get your audience’s attention.
Frolla gave away two free courses as part of the launch. In the email, she made it super easy to enter the giveaway by including a link to enter.
Explain why you’re passionate about your product
A lot of your audience may purchase the product because of the creator as much as the content. While it is essential to detail the features and benefits of your product, don’t forget to tell your audience why this product is important to you.
How to get other people to promote your product
The power of email is magnified when you can get others to promote your product using their own email list. You should never buy an email list. But you can extend your reach when influencers or affiliates promote your product to their own lists.
Extend your reach by creating an affiliate relationship with influencers.
An affiliate arrangement can be a win-win situation for everyone if done right.
It helps you quickly grow your audience by introducing you and your product to a whole new group of people. You can set up your affiliate program so that you and your affiliate both earn a percentage of revenue every time someone purchases your product. The affiliate, or influencer, will receive a commission for each product they sell.
How Frolla created her affiliate group
Frolla reached out to people in the language community — bloggers that she knows and trusts and bloggers who know and trust Frolla.
The communication Frolla sent was straightforward. She would send an email or message on social media and say: “Hey, I’ve got this course coming out. Would you help me promote it?”
If Frolla received confirmation that they were open to promote her product, she would send them a link to a Google form so they could provide details to set them up as an affiliate.
Expand your affiliate group beyond your network.
Frolla also expanded her outreach to people she did not personally know. With the Facebook community administrator’s permission, she posted in private Facebook groups and asked the group members if they would like to become an affiliate.
She also reached out to content creators of courses Frolla had previously signed up for or taken. Since she was familiar with their class, she could be sure they created quality content and had an audience with similar interests to Frolla’s own audience.
Make it easy for your affiliates to promote your product.
Frolla uses a course creation platform (Teachable) that makes it easy for customers to purchase her product and for affiliates to get their commission. There are several platforms available, so make sure the platform that you are considering integrates with the tools you are already using — like AWeber.
Frolla includes bonuses that are exclusive to her product and only available for a limited time, so there is an urgency to take action.
Frolla also sends her affiliates a product launch kit that includes:
- Social media banners for FaceBook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- A sequence of six emails for her affiliates to customize to their audience.
- Product information.
- A list of benefits of being an affiliate.
- The retail price.
- The commission percentages that affiliates earn.
- Launch dates.
Pro tip: Make the process as easy as possible for your affiliates. Do all the heavy lifting for your affiliates so they can focus on promoting your product.
Send email swipe copy to your affiliates.
To make it ridiculously easy for affiliates to promote your product or services, send them email swipe copy. They can quickly customize the email content and send it to their list.
Frolla sends her affiliates a document containing a 6-part email sequence. She includes email copy and images of the product. She recommends that each affiliate adapts the emails to their own voice.
Here’s what the email sequence covers:
Email 1: Introduction to course
Email 2: Benefits of learning italian
Email 3: Frequently asked questions about Intrepid Italian
Email 4: What people say about Intrepid Italian (testimonials)
Email 5: Creates urgency. (24 hours left to buy)
Email 6: Final warning. (2 hours left to buy)
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You’ll get everything Frolla uses to grow her own business online — including sign up forms, newsletters, and landing pages.