The UK’s leading holiday price comparison website, icelolly.com helps would-be holidaymakers to secure the best deals by allowing them to compare offerings from a range of top travel companies.
Return Path is a global data solutions provider that analyses the world’s largest collection of email data to show businesses how to stay connected with their audiences, strengthen their customer engagement, and protect their brands from fraud.
Email marketing remains a valuable method for marketers to communicate with customers (53% believe that the practice delivers significant or some ROI, says Salesforce, compared with only 29% who would say the same of social media), and consumers appear to agree: an Adobe survey from last year recorded 58% of people as saying that the email is their preferred way to be contacted by a brand.
There is little reason to believe that this should be any different for the travel retail industry, particularly given the considerable percentage of holiday bookings from the UK that are made online.
Indeed, icelolly.com runs a considerable programme for its email marketing efforts. This consists of a range of deals (delivered weekly) as well as up-to-date price alerts that are sent out to the multiple millions of subscribers who have opted in to the service.
With a comprehensive email programme already in place, the team at icelolly.com was well versed in the importance of key engagement metrics such as open rates, click rates and send ratios – and these were all being monitored and responded to accordingly.
The missing piece of the puzzle, however, was inbox placement – or deliverability. The fact that the rate of successful delivery (and avoidance of spam traps) was not being measured offered a big opportunity to build on the existing successes of the icelolly.com email marketing programme.
Without having a clear idea of inbox placement percentages, it can be difficult to offer a truly accurate report into success or failure in other areas. A low click-rate might just as much be a knock-on effect of low deliverability as it is of content that lacks enticement.
Darren Kunar, CRM and Email Marketing Manager at icelolly.com, remarked: “We’re always striving to develop our email programme – integral as it is to our wider marketing mix – and adopting a service that can help us measure the success of our inbox placement was a vital next step for us.”
Return Path was selected by Darren and his team as the ideal provider to deliver these insights into icelolly.com’s inbox placement performance. “We needed to be able to take a really close, detailed look at how we were doing with inbox placement, and Return Path, a best-in-class provider, were able to offer us just that,” said Kunar.
With the dedicated Inbox Monitor tool, the team at Return Path were able to identify key areas in which deliverability with major mailbox providers could be in improved. The initial Inbox Monitor findings alerted the team to instances in which mailbox providers were sending individual campaigns to recipients’ spam folders – or even on occasion not delivering them at all.
On Return Path’s recommendation, icelolly.com applied for the Return Path Certification programme. This industry leading whitelist indicates to mailbox providers that members are reputable and, perhaps most importantly, safe senders. A place on this whitelist can have a significant effect in reducing the extent to which email marketing campaigns are filtered out before hitting the inbox.
With the data produced by the Inbox Monitor tool, Darren and the wider icelolly.com team were able to assess how well they were doing when it came to reaching inboxes successfully. Insights from this also allowed them to see which types of content were generating the best response from subscribers, resulting in campaigns that were tailored and optimised to these customer preferences.
“Thanks to Return Path’s expertise we’ve been able to maximise the potential of our email channel, said Kunar. “Customer engagement and loyalty have both risen, and our ROI – as you might expect – has seen a boost as a result too.”
After being accepted into Return Path’s Certification programme, icelolly.com witnessed immediate improvements to both its email deliverability and subscriber engagement. As deliverability increased over the first two months of testing open rates also slid up by 5%.
With the help of Inbox Monitor, the icelolly.com team were able to see that their mailouts were arriving successfully in inboxes across the full spectrum of mailbox providers, which included even those that previously had presented a challenge for them.
In response to this improved deliverability and insight, icelolly.com has also been able to make tweaks to its email templates – including aspects such as an enlarged call-to-action and more prevalent clickable links – which have contributed to a further 6% increase in click-through rates.