Guest Post: Email tips that will catch you more bookings

By Travolution
By Travolution
August 27, 2014 03:07 PM GMT

By Sara Mason-Parker, senior digital consultant travel at Ve Interactive and co-founder of Travel Gossip

On average, companies in travel outspend almost all other sectors when it comes to purchasing website traffic.

Spending your budget on SEO, PPC and social media marketing will no doubt have holiday makers flocking to your site, but in a space where comparison shopping is the accepted norm, how valuable is that first touch?

According to the latest Ve Interactive statistics, a substantial 85% of online transactions in travel are abandoned by the user before conversion.

So it’s clear that while it’s important to attract customers in the first place, this strategy in isolation is not enough.

Abandoned bookings represent an enormous opportunity to re-engage with already-interested leads. This is where email re-engagement can be your best friend, returning you right back to the forefront of the user’s mind and boosting your conversion chances.

Here are some tips to create the perfect re-engagement email campaign.

Don’t fluff your lines

Inboxes today are busier than ever before, with each email jostling for attention, often sandwiched between hordes of junk mail. This is where your subject line really needs to step up.

That being said, shouty caps, dramatic language and the overuse of exclamation marks is the quickest way to the spam folder - not to mention the quickest way to annoy your customer and destroy your credibility.

When writing subject lines, think sense over sensational. A few carefully crafted words clearly highlighting the user benefit the email is certain to win more opens.

Research at Ve Interactive has shown that a softer message is not only best practice, but also much more welcoming. Eg:

- A message from us
- Can we help?

Similarly, the offer of an incentive can really boost your clickthrough rates. The key is to always avoid being too salesy. Eg:

- Can we offer you an upgrade?

First impressions are vital. The success of any email campaign can be undone by overlooking the subject line, so continuously test and benchmark performance.

Make it personal

Who doesn’t enjoy the feeling of familiarity of walking into your local coffee shop and being recognised?

The value of that personal touch extends to email re-engagement. Targeted, personal emails are proven to boost conversions in almost every case.

Sure, it can start by referring to the reader by name, but it certainly doesn’t have to end there. Include relevant offers, customised by their individual journey to make a better impression.

If your customer was looking at flights around a certain date range or event, suggesting other alternatives around the same time/location will demonstrate great personalisation as well as helpful customer service. Eg:

- Mrs Smith, can we offer you an upgrade?
- Jane, don’t forget your flights to France

The ‘Call to Action’

The reader should know within a couple of seconds what the desired effect of your email is - in the case of a re-engagement email, to come back and complete their transaction.

The fastest way to get this point across is with clear ‘call to action’ buttons. You’ve landed on the green, now all you need to do is sink that putt.

To do this your CTA first needs to be noticed. It should be prominently placed, taking the user directly back to the desired page. Keeping it clutter free, brightly coloured and clashing with brand style will deliver maximum impact.

If at first you don’t succeed…

By sending an abandonment email, you’re asking the customer to make a decision - whether or not to follow up on their initial interest and complete the transaction.

But as each customer will have their own decision making process, based on personal preference, stage in the buying cycle, and the complexity of offering, relying on just one email to cut through all of these potential barriers is quite the ask - no matter how well designed it is.

That’s why we advise our clients to use cascade campaigns. This involves sending multiple messages over a period of time, each customised with different content to match the user’s engagement and place on the purchasing path.

Given the amount of research that normally goes into making a booking, cascade campaigns give the best chances of being seen at the right time to convert.

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