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Building high quality email subcription lists

11 June, 2012

Building a subscribers list is something that takes a lot of time and focus. Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels and 77% of online consumers prefer email over any other channel for recieving promotional material. Instead of buying lists, you can build your list organically and get high quality leads interested in your product – This means better traffic and increased sales.

In March 2010, sent out a newsletter to 14 subscribers – To deliver on a promise for those who signed up for monthly promotional emails. Today, the list has grown to a lot more but by building the list and keeping it personal we have seen our email marketing open rates and click-through rates improve by as much as 400%.

Make it easy for visitors to sign up

Up until 2011, Hurtigruten was much more focused on local markets so in in 2010, launched a newsletter sign up page in a bid to build up its own subscriber list.

We kept the sign up process very simple and only requested information that would improve the email experience for our subscribers such as email address and interests (Norway, explorer, special offers).

Emphasize why users should sign up to your newsletter
Since launching the webform we have continually tested copy and email fields as we look to make it easy to subscribe. One of the most recent improvements we made to the page was to emphasize the benefits of signing up, which lead to a huge increase in sign ups and we now have a 30% conversion rate on the page. Here is what you can expect when signing up to receive monthly newsletters:

  • Promotions and discounts for early booking offers
  • No invoicing fee (when booking online)
  • Last minute deals for short distance departures
  • Be the first to know about brochure and catalogue launches
  • Invitations to Hurtigruten events and travel fairs

Highlighting the benefits for the user has been very successful at Hutigruten as we saw initiated orders increase by 193%. In addition to improving copy, we also moved the page placement of the sign up form further into the site, a move that goes against best practice for e-commerce – Yet, by doing this we found the number of visitors to the page increased by 75%:

Web traffic

Send personalized real time welcome emails to subscribers

After launching our sign up form, we quickly found users signing up to receive emails. Our „thank you“ page was not ideal so in an attempt to improve the experience, I sent a personal thank you email to each subscriber. Below is a copy of the email sent from my Hurtigruten email address:


The email thanks the user for subscribing a d informs them how often they will receive promotional emails from Hurtigruten. The email also includes links to our Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages.

We have improved the copy within the email as well as the signup page. The personalized newsletter now contains a link to the exclusive online excursion brochure, which is not available in print format. We’ll also be adding links to our Pinterest page and online booking system.

The results for Hurtigruten’s email marketing activity

According the MailChimp’s industry benchmark report, the average open rate in the travel industry is 14% and click-through rate is 2.7%. The results of building an organic list froms scratch have been staggering as continually see open rates of 45% and click-through rates of 18%. And over the course of two years, we have seen less than 15 people unsubscribe from our list!

One on one marketing is here to stay and as the web becomes more personal, building organic lists is a great opportunity to build relationships and increase sales.

Have you seen success from building your organic lists? Is there anything I have missed that is a key element in increase subscription rate? Comments and suggestions are welcome below.

12 Comments leave one →
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