How Smart Airlines Use E-Mail Marketing To Bring Shoppers Back

Airline Industry

One strategy for progress in the e-mail marketing space is as simple as a friendly reminder.

American Airlines discovered this when it began to implement its Abandoned Cart Program in 2013. Similar to the outcome of using effective attribution models to reach travelers in responsive ways, triggered e-mail strategies such as Abandoned Cart work further personalize the subscriber’s experience. In this case, American used consumer intention as its basis.

That is, any cart on the airline’s ticketing site that was left for more than 24 hours with an un-purchased trip inside prompted the airline to send an e-mail to the shopper. The new e-mail offered the lowest and most flexible flight based on what the recipient seemed to want in the abandoned cart.

The results? A 300% higher open rate than other types of e-mail outreach for American, a 200% higher click-through rate, and conversion rates 400% above other efforts by the airline.

“Not only did the Abandoned Cart Program deliver phenomenal results, but the learning it provided on big-data analysis is helping us to improve the relevance of all our e-mail programs,” Kay Kerman, senior manager of Digital Marketing at American, told Digital Parc in a recent case study.

It’s not just pricing that puts American in that position. According to a recent analysis by Brafton, the analysis firm, it’s the brand’s two-prong approach and decisions about content: “American Airlines sends two forms of e-mail content to web users who failed to convert online. Some e-mail content showcases a single price point, while others feature two options.”

“The first e-mail sends flight information to searchers who looked up certain trips,” the report continued, “but abandoned the transaction before checking out. The second e-mail gives two — one for the exact date being searched and another for a cheaper option. The latter e-mail can resonate with prospective travelers who don’t have travel dates set in stone.”

Also important to note, every e-mail American sent to a site visitor featured rich visual content. American Airlines found that sending people pictures of their ideal destinations edged them closer to conversion.

Other brands are working with specificity, intention, and content to good effect as well… read more

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