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How a popular travel site solved every marketer’s dilemma

It’s a problem marketers face time again and again: Best practices tell you to go light on copy in your emails… but you have A LOT to say.

We see it all the time in industries that tend to send out more blog posts and news briefs than discounts and product promos – think universities, nonprofits, publishers, government offices, etc. How can they send subscribers all of their best content without every campaign becoming a tome that, let’s face it, no one has the time (or patience) to actually read?


A smart solution from a savvy brand

Reconciling heavy content distribution and gorgeous email design may seem like an impossible task, but the smart folks at Visit Philadelphia found the perfect solution.

The official travel site for the City of Brotherly Love, visitphilly.com serves up articles to prospective visitors about all the latest things to do, see, taste, and experience in Philly. And since their blog posts tend to include a lot of information (who doesn’t want full disclosure about the things they choose to do on vacation?), they have to find a way to communicate it all that doesn’t feel too overwhelming in the inbox.

Their smart strategy? Let images speak for them.

People have much stronger responses to visual stimuli than they do to text, so instead of describing all the cool things going on in Philadelphia, they show them off in an image-heavy, scrollable tile format. Here’s a look at one of their recent sends:




Each colorful, engaging image is supplemented by a short headline, occasionally a quick description, and a bright, tappable CTA button. It looks amazing on mobile and helps their audience quickly identify the topics and events that interest them most, so they can click through and learn more on the Visit Philadelphia website.


The results

And it really works: This send scored an impressive 32% click rate! Plus, the brand’s click map shows that despite the length of the email, it’s not just the first story that’s getting all the action. In fact, lots of subscribers are clicking on content at very the bottom of the message – a true testament to marketers “embracing the scroll."

Their success is proof that sharpening your email strategy to align with best practices (like including more images, designing for the mobile inbox, and using tappable CTAs) leads to boosted engagement. And in industries like tourism, it’s an incredibly effective way to distinguish yourself from competitors that have yet to adapt.

The takeaway? The email best practices we preach aren’t just for retail brands. Use them in your own marketing, and you’ll see the kind of impressive results Visit Philadelphia achieved with their own audience.