Leisure Pass sends out 800,000 emails in a month, covering around 200 different automated email campaigns from pre-purchase, browse abandon through to pre-arrival and post visit, including localised language campaigns, real-time and dynamic content.
The challenge of determining which city a customer may visit next is a complex one and as Oliver Bedford, Online Marketing Manager, points out, “Repeat purchases and cross selling our other city passes is a major marketing challenge, just because someone has enjoyed a city break in London doesn’t mean they will visit another European city in the next year or even 5 years”.
“We have to look at each market and determine the likelihood that they may travel again and to what city, ensuring that we are top of mind when they do travel. With email we are able to continually stay in touch and serve relevant content to them as we believe that even if they aren’t travelling they will have friends and family who are.”
Understanding customer’s psychology One of the key considerations that drives email engagement is understanding the decision and buying cycle customers follow, as Oliver explains.
“For most people deciding what to do when they arrive in the city is a considered decision, and most travellers will spend days, even weeks, researching the places they want to visit and attractions they want to see. For that reason we have created a number of useful content downloads, including an interactive guidebook, tourist map and blog. In return for an email address people get downloadable content which helps them plan their trip, from which attractions are must-sees, to what’s going on in the city when they are visiting.”
“This engaging content results in high download, open, click and conversion rates as the person is more open to receiving emails, knows what to expect and can learn about the product in bite size chunks,” he continues. “Of course, once we have started a dialogue with them we are able to gather a wealth of data about them and can tailor the content even further, from which attraction pages they have visited to when they will arrive in the city.”
As we mentioned before, one downside they face is being unable to guarantee the effectiveness of cross-selling to previously happy customers. However, despite this, Oliver still sees value in using email to keep customers informed of new destinations or attractions that they might find interesting in other cities.
“We can’t easily identify where someone will visit next, but we can be top of mind when they are next travelling to one of our cities. To do this we run campaigns that promote our other cities on a quarterly basis after they have travelled. Based on activity on these emails we can then build segments of people we believe may be travelling to a destination in the next 12 months and target based on this.”
Oliver is a great believer in the value of automation to drive email smoothly across multiple channels.
“On the surface you wouldn’t think what we are doing is complex, but in fact we are probably dotmailer’s most automated customer with up to 800,000 emails being sent out in a month covering all cities, including localised language campaigns, real-time and dynamic content. The variations of templates and content is pretty far reaching and continually growing. Ensuring each person gets tailored content can be challenging and that is why automation and programs built on rules are fundamental for us.”
“To achieve a task like that without massive automation would be impossible without an army of people in the department,” he continues, “But by using automation we have been able to streamline the process to an unprecedented degree.”
One example of automation is the use of abandoned basket triggers. If a visitor to the site adds passes to their basket but then does not complete the purchase, the system waits for a period before sending out a prompt. As Oliver points out, “Ensuring we are only sending these emails to people we believe are yet to buy the pass is essential, but it can be difficult to be 100% certain of this as some people will purchase through a partner/travel agent or simply use a different email address.”
However, we can be pretty accurate with this as our sales system, operating system and dotdidigtal are all integrated, which Oliver comments is not at all surprising. “Having the systems integrated and talking to each other means we can segment in dotdigital Engagement Cloud correctly, ensuring those that do convert are then removed from certain programs and added to others.”
Overall Oliver is pleased with the ability to quickly and easily track the ROI of email and the impact it has, another reason it sits at the core of their
customer engagement strategy. “dotdigital as an ESP allows us to complement our other digital marketing channels, supplying us with an easy-to-use, automated system that makes our ability to convert and engage people much easier.”
“Tracking and testing are two important elements that we are always using, and the system allows us to do this easily, from testing subject lines and content to complex email programs.” he continues. “The ability to segment, target and automate are key elements in our strategy and we only expect this to continue going forward with dotdigital.”