By Susanne Rieker

Have you ever walked into a travel agency and immediately felt totally overwhelmed? There’s so much to look at. Should you book a long weekend in NYC? A cruise in South England? A 2-week tour through Iceland? Even if come in with a plan, it’s easy to get lost in the expanse of vacations on offer.

How to use emails to sell your retreats

Now think about your website visitors. They’re all over the Internet. They’re reading blogs, scanning the news, ordering a yoga mat online, watching Facebook videos – and then they land on your little website and see that great upcoming retreat you’re offering. Everything looks amazing, but it’s simply too much for their over-Interneted minds to handle. And instead of reading all the details and filling out your contact form to inquire about availability or even click on that book now button, they close the tab and move on.

Even if someone comes to your website and loves your retreat, the chances of them ever coming back to your site are slim. This has nothing to do with you or your offering, it’s just how people behave online.

Truth is, without any direction or sales assistance, they feel that same overwhelm as you did at the travel agency.

So how can you fix this? How can you make booking a place at your retreat less intimidating?

What you have to realize is that people have to get to know you before they’ll ever sign up to one of your retreats. In order for your website visitors to get to know you, you have to consistently connect with them and build trust.

The best way to do this is your mailing list and ConvertKit. Here’s what you can do:

Offer a free flyer of your retreat

Why do you think travel agencies have been offering flyers and catalogues describing their trips since, well, forever? Because it works. It gives people a chance to think about the trip, to share it with their better half, to dream about it.

Create a flyer with all the details of your retreat, lots of images and your contact details. You can do this for example in and print it as a PDF document (use the standard PDF setting if you want to send it over the internet).

ConvertKit allows you to add a simple sign-up form for your flyer on your website and can send out your PDF document automatically. You can do this for every retreat you’re offering by simply duplicating your form and then integrating it onto your website.

This is the perfect offer for people who are not ready to commit yet but would like to think about booking your retreat a little bit more. This way you’ll get much more people onto your mailing list and now you can start connecting with them and building trust.

Send out an automated email sequence

After you’ve sent out your flyer to your new potential customer, you want to build up a connection. To do this set up an automated email sequence that is sent to everyone who requested the flyer.

Your sequence could look like this:

In the first email, you introduce yourself and tell them a little bit about your background, what you do and share your mission. It’s important to make this email not only about you, but about how you can help them. Don’t forget to add a link to your retreat page with an option to sign up.

A few days later you send another email with more details about the retreat and reviews from former retreat guests. Word-of-mouth is one of the strongest marketing techniques and if you have testimonials, use them.

In your third email you give them a special offer, for example they get a free massage when they sign up in the next 48 hours. This is to help you close the deal.

Inject your personality into every email and be real and engaging. Make signing up to your retreat simple and exciting.

These emails are automated. ConvertKit will send them to each new subscriber who signed up for the flyer within the time frame you set up, for example with 3 days between each email.

Tag your subscribers

ConvertKit allows you to tag each subscriber and then to set up newsletters that only go to subscribers with certain tags or not to people with other tags.

This is great, because now you can target your new potential customers differently from people who’ve already been on one of your retreats.

Tagging allows you for example to:

>> Send out an email with a last-minute discount but exclude people who already signed up to your retreat (you don’t want them to feel bad that they paid more, right?)

>> Contact only your former retreat guests and offer them a BFF discount if they sign up early for their next retreat.

>> Target only people who visited your retreat page but didn’t sign up yet and offer them a special treat for signing up.

The best tool to help you manage your subscribers is ConvertKit.

If you don’t know ConvertKit, it’s an email service provider just like Mailchimp. But it offers some amazing features, like tagging, that Mailchimp doesn’t have. ConvertKit doesn’t offer a free version, but you can get a free trial for 14 days! After that you pay $29 per month (or $24 if you pay for the year in advance) for up to 1,000 subscribers.

Click here to sign up for your free trial

This is an affiliate link, which means I get a small commission if you sign up that helps me run this website.

Everything in ConvertKit is intuitive. I don’t know any other software technology related product I can say that about. From creating forms, integrating them with your site, and segmenting. It’s all easy, I promise.

Click here for my step-by-step guide how to set up ConvertKit.

Once you start using it, you’ll be ready to send your first email in a matter of minutes. You don’t need to be code or design savvy to get started.

If you’re worried that pitching and selling your retreats like this will give you a sleezy-salesmen vibe, have no fear. First, if you’re offering yoga retreats, you have to make sales. There’s no way around it. And to make those sales happen, sometimes you have to ask for them. You don’t generally wake up thinking, “Who can I give money to today?” do you? You website visitors aren’t either. So just ask.

Also, if you manage to make the whole process of signing up for your retreat simple and exciting, your customers won’t mind the emails. Honestly, they’ll love you for it. Just give it a try and let me know how it goes.