Great Email Marketing Made Simple for Conference Organizers

I received a “press release” today from the Tide’s Inn, Virginia.

This email marketing piece was brilliant in its simplicity. It is simply, the top 10 reasons to choose the Tide’s Inn for your next meeting. Here is the beginning of the email:

Here are the top 10 reasons why you should hold your meeting or event at the Tides Inn, a Chesapeake Bay tradition in Irvington Virginia. Contact me for more details and images.

1. Easy Access
The 106-room resort is ideally located within 70 miles of four of Virginia’s major commercial airports in Richmond, Norfolk, Newport News and Williamsburg, as well as convenient driving distance of international airports in Washington, D.C. (2.5 hours) and Baltimore (3 hours), Richmond (1 hour) and Norfolk (1.5 hour). The property is also accessible by private aircraft and via waterways; the Tides Inn Marina is 9 statute miles from Windmill Point and the Inter Coastal Waterway.

2. Serene Retreat Location
The resort is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle, located in the charming waterfront town of Irvington, tucked away on a private, lush peninsula in Virginia’s Northern Neck, which is bound by the Chesapeake Bay to the east, the Potomac River to the north, and the Rappahannock River to the south. The Tides Inn sits on a bluff overlooking Carters Creek, surrounded by manicured grounds and spectacular scenery.

3. Rooms With A View
Meeting rooms feature large windows with expansive views of the water, marina, lush lawns and tree-shaded grounds. Distant views include leisure boats and yachts, stately shoreline homes, and abundant landscapes that showcase the vibrant colors of the season.

All 106 guest rooms, including 22 suites, boast British Colonial décor overlooking Carters Creek and the Rappahannock River in the distance, with many of the guestrooms featuring private balconies or patios to enjoy the beautiful surrounding scenery.

4. Exceptional Venues
Events can take place in various venues throughout the Tides Inn’s expansive 30 acres. The waterfront pool and beach is ideal for clambakes, oyster roasts and waterside barbecues. The Tides Inn’s onsite executive golf course and the sprawling, water view Croquet Lawn are perfect for outdoor and tented events. The Tides Inn can also arrange private events aboard appointed boats and vintage yachts, as well as nearby vineyards and offsite dining venues.

5. Custom Team Building Events
Tides Inn offers a wide variety of unique activities to build camaraderie, improve communications and create cohesion within your organization. Set sail with Premier Sailing, the Tides Inn’s onsite sailing school, with varied team building activities; sail boat racing will build confidence and cooperation among your attendees, or try “talk sailing” – a unique program that uses sailing tasks to enhance communications skills. Groups always enjoy the highly interactive GPS Geocache around the property; this live game of lost and found requires attention to detail and careful team interaction. Other highlights include Tides Olympics, Glow in the Dark Golf Challenge, Chili Cook-Off, Carters Creek Treasure Hunt, Build a Boat, Culinary Creations and more.

If you would like to see the other 5 reasons, pop over to PlannerWire, we have posted this in the press release section.

The reason that this email piece is remarkable is for everything it is not. It is not flashy, it is not WOW and it is not obnoxious. They have created it as a press release and it is simply the top 10 reasons they feel that their property is great for your next event. Just the facts…

They have done nothing that will make me unsubscribe, they have done nothing that makes me go “ugg” and they (through their PR Company) do not bombard me with a ton of stuff. I think that the last piece I received about the Tide’s was maybe a month ago.

Because this is a top 10 list, that almost guarantees that I am going to open and read it, we all love top 10 lists.  What makes their top 10 list better than yours is that they have not put in bombastic claims, these are all good selling points that I can approach my client with. Not the “WE ARE THE BEST”, “WE ROCK” type of hype that is so common. They have simply laid out the facts as they see them and the points are well taken because they appear to be delivered honestly, without hype. It helps that it is delivered as a press release as well because that gives the information credibility (yes, that is subconscious credibility, but hey, it works).

The other thing that they have done correctly is not mentioning rates. You do not see the “If you book by midnight Thursday you will get 1000 rooms for $14.00″… they don’t need too, they feel that their destination is above all of that. That is a strategy that works.

When you try and sell me a meetings destination based on rate, you are going to fail, I do not understand why properties continue to market and sell rates.

Most corporate and association clients have a window of pain that they are willing to deal with and so we look at the destination and property first, rate second. Don’t open your marketing pitch with rate; That makes me think that you are begging for business, that you are distressed and if you need to discount up front, where else are you cutting corners (no recent renovations, cutting back on staff, etc). This is a serious point where even some of the most respected properties in the world fail. I will say it again, if you lead with rate, you are most likely out of the game.

The Tide’s has made an effective pitch, they have reached me and I have read and absorbed what they have to say, that is what you are looking for, that is what we should all aspire to achieve.

An indirect sell based on facts, not on hype and not on exaggerations. I would bet (and I have not tested this theory) that you could call the Tide’s sales office and ask them to supply references, I would bet that they could produce them in a minute and that would seal the deal for my clients, at least to get a site visit.That is the impression that their release gives, an impression of “Yep, we are all that and a bag of chips”..

So, no matter what you are in the meetings industry, think about this the next time you are putting together your email marketing piece. Could it be a press release, does it contain only facts (as you see them) and are you leading with price? Unless you are selling a widget, you should leave the cost out and even that thought can be adjusted because I will buy a widget for a few cents more if the vendor offers some amazing service that others don’t.

Tell me about you, why you are better and why I should look at you first above all others. Make it a top 5 or top 10 list. That is going to get my attention, that is going to make me fire up a web browser and have a look at you.

In this day and age of crappy, over-hyped, over-blown marketing, sometimes simple rules the roost. Sometimes simple gets attention and sometimes simple sells.


Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

Yep. We use cookies. Just like everybody else. Cool? Click OK.