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Use email to keep anglers coming back

Using email marketing to turn new visitors into regular anglers, will help keep your fishery busy all year round – and because so few fisheries keep in touch with their anglers, you’ll stand out from the crowd.

Creating a loyal customer base

Whatever type of fishing business you run, having loyal customers who come back time and time again is so valuable and it takes the pressure off finding new customers.

As the old marketing adage says: “It is easier to retain an existing customer than it is to find a new one”

But how do you turn a one off visitor into an angler who comes back every month?

Loyalty is all about experience so as a fishing venue, making sure your anglers have a good day will be the main reason they return. But loyalty is also about convenience and familiarity and often just keeping in touch with anglers will be enough to keep you in their mind and choose your venue for their next fishing trip. With so few fisheries actually using email to stay in touch, you will stand out if you do and more anglers will come back.

Why use email marketing?

Email is bigger than social media. With Facebook having one billion users and Twitter having only 255 million, it’s tempting to believe that social media has more reach than email, but you’d be wrong. The total number of email accounts is nearly five billion, way bigger than any social media platform.

These days nearly everyone has an email address  and email marketing is effective at reaching your audience. About 54% of emails are actually read on mobile devices – so email is a great tool to reach people whether they are at work, in a coffee shop or at home. It’s also multi generational. My 12 year old has an email address and my 85 year old dad has one as well. There are very few people that don’t have an email address these days.

Messages get through – a recent report disclosed that 90% of emails get through to their intended recipients, but on social media only about five per cent of your followers or fans actually see your news in their feed. With email your message gets through far better than on social platforms.

What email marketing isn’t

If you’re new to using email marketing, then let me tell you what it’s NOT about. Email marketing is not about buying a list and sending a message out to everyone, hoping that someone somewhere will like the look of what you are offering. That, my friend, is SPAM.

Email marketing is about sending tailored messages to your chosen audience who have agreed to receive communications from you. They have opted in and are open to hearing about your venue and your fishery.

How to get started with email marketing?

The first thing you need to do is start collecting email addresses and permission from your customers. The easiest way to do this is communicating with them at the point when they pay. If this is done online, then a simple opt in box asking them if you can keep them updated works well.

If you collect your fees by cash or card on the bank, then as you go round, simply ask them if they’d like to receive updates on the venue, catch reports or even offer them a discount on their next visit. Often anglers will be more than happy for you to keep in touch with them. Make a note of their name and email address in a book or create a list on your phone. If you collect a few each day, you’ll soon have a sizeable list that you can start communicating with. Collecting just five emails a day will give you a list of 1,825 in a year!

 

An opt-in box makes it easy to build a mailing list

An opt-in box makes it easy to build a mailing list

Using an email marketing tool to start sending

The best way to send out emails is by using an email marketing tool. There are dozens of these available, some are cheaper than others, some offer free plans too. Using a proper email marketing tool is the best route, as it will ensure that your emails actually get through, plus they handle the legal bit for you, managing people who opt out. Don’t be tempted to send out via outlook or Gmail and just CC or BCC everyone into an email as this just doesn’t work and your email provider will block it.

The best tools I’ve used in the past – and I’ve tried many of them – are Campaign Monitor and Mailchimp. Mailchimp is very popular and has a free version providing your mailing list is less than 500 recipients. Both of the above offer free templates you can quickly customise by adding your fishery logo and branding.

Mailchimp has a free version of its software

Mailchimp has a free version of its software, providing your list is less than 500 recipients.

What to talk about

So you’ve got a list of people to send to, you’ve signed up to using a tool and you’ve got your template ready to go. The next challenge is what should you talk about? The purpose of email marketing is to keep your customer thinking about your venue, bringing you front of mind and ultimately making your fishery the place they come to on a regular basis. Here are some ideas that may work well.

Email topics for fisheries

  1. Catch reports – latest reports of catches – these could be big fish or special catches where the angler was particularly pleased. Showing anglers with their prized catch is something we all like to see.
  2. Fish spotting – Reports of fish feeding, pegs that are catching well and photos of those feeding bubbles or that crust of bread being taken by a margin. Get your camera out and start taking pictures as you walk around your venue. Your customers will love this.
  3. Top techniques – What’s working well, who’s catching on the pole and on the feeder or waggler, what baits are working well and what did the last big carp succumb to?
  4. Angler stories – Talk to your anglers and find out how their session is going, why they like coming and what sort of fishing they enjoy – mini interviews with anglers can be interesting to read and often they have unique stories to tell.
  5. Comforts and temptations – If your venue has a cafe or sells food – sending an email out on in the week with a picture of a sausage sandwich and a hot cup of coffee saying “Are you ready for breakfast on the bank on Saturday morning?” is sure to get them to your venue at the weekend.
  6. Seasonal updates – your venue will change as the seasons do, so sending updates at regular intervals as the weather changes always works well. Winter updates showing catches with snow on the ground show that your fishery is the place to visit even when it’s freezing cold!
  7. Discounts and promotions – These can help reward your customers and encourage them to return, perhaps offering a discount on a longer session, a promotion on bringing a friend or the offer of ‘kids fish for free’ are all encouraging people to return to you venue.

Frequency and length

Email marketing does take a little time and effort, but your emails don’t have to be literary masterpieces. Aim to send out monthly emails, with the occasional promotion in between, but don’t send too many. Filling anglers’ email boxes with too much information can often be off putting and can cause people to unsubscribe. One or two times a month is normally about right.

Keep emails short. If you want to write something longer, put it on your website and then send a short summary with a link to your site. Generally speaking, emails should be read in less than two minutes, give just enough information, add some great photos and then add a call to action at the bottom… something like ‘Book your peg now’. Keep it simple, keep it regular.

Keep emails short, to the point, with good photos and a call to action.

Keep emails short, to the point, with good photos and a call to action.

Start today

So, start using email marketing today – it’s much easier to convince an angler to return for another session than to find a new angler to visit your venue. Keep in touch with your subscribers and they’ll reward you by visiting again and again.

Or use us to promote your venue

At the time of writing we have around 200 anglers a month registering with our website and opt-ing in to receive information about fisheries and fishing venues. We have over 10,000 anglers on our mailing list and it just keeps on growing. If you’d like to use email marketing to promote your venue, then drop us a line.

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Written by Steve
Steve's been an angler since the age of 12, when he caught his first perch on his local canal in Warwickshire. An avid float angler for over 30 years, Steve's just as passionate about angling now, whether stick float fishing on the Avon or at his local gravel pit fishing for spring time Tench.

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