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The power of e-mail – New all time high for hurtigruten.no

18 March, 2010

Yesterday we sent out 34 000 e-mails in the nordic market. The primary goal of the e-mail was to drive people to the landing page and into the booking engine. The secondary goal was to get people to watch the video on the landing page.

Results:
Here are the results:

  • All time high for hurtigruten.no with (previous high Jan 6, 2009)
  • All time high for visits to the booking engine
  • The number of “video views” grew from 285 to 1500 views.
  • No immediate booking increase (people may need some time to think before they book)

Conclusion:
Yesterday was a record day for hurtigruten.no. The traffic numbers have never been higher.
The open rate was lower than expected. The overall clickrate was 11%. This is much higher than industry averages. Almost 40% of the people that opened the e-mail clicked a link. This means that people found the content interesting.  I consider this high. Thoughts?
My biggest concern is the booking numbers. I did not see any significant increase in booking numbers. The main reason is probably that people need time to plan their travel. Another reason may be that the first step of the booking engine (11-day voyage Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen) is not user friendly enough.
Recommendation:

  1. We should require Silverpop to investigate why the open rate was so low
  2. We should investigate if we can change the first step in the booking engine from pull-down approach (A) to calendar approach (B). The calendar approach is preferable from a usability perspective
  3. We should initiate a full usability test of web and booking engine to ensure that customers are not having problems in the booking engine.

Analysis:
Open rate(is this e-mail interesting?):
The open rate is high if the recipients trusts the “sender” and if the subject line is appealing. In addition the open rate is affected by the deliverability quality of the e-mail system(Silverpop)
The open rate of the e-mail was is 28% (so far). Since this was our first major e-mailing I was expecting over 40%.

The low open rate can be explained by:
Subject line: We might have seen higher open rates if we had included the offer in the subject line. I also suspect that open rates would be higher if we had fine-tuned the set up of our e-mail system.

Click rate (are the texts and pictures interesting?):
The click rate is high if the the recipient finds the content of the e-mail appealing. The overall click rate was 11% (percentage of total e-mail sent). Of the people that opened the e-mail almost 40% clicked. The most popular link in the e-mail was the “Special offer 25% discount”.

Before we sent out the e-mail, the Youtube video had 285 views. Today the number of views is 1500. This means that many of the people have actually watched the video.

Traffic to the booking engine(Is the booking engine easy to use?)
The ultimate goal of all marketing is to increase sales(short term & long term). Visits to the booking engine is the first step. If customers find it easy and convenient to book, we will see sales increases. Almost 2700 people visited the booking engine yesterday. On a normal day about 1200 people visit the engine. If we see no increase in number of bookings, we must investigate the reasons. My first feeling is that we must improve the first step of the booking process. There are two alternatives: Voyage North (A) or Voyage North (B).

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