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How an agency scored a 53% click rate for their client

Element74 is a marketing agency out of Cape Girardeau, MO. Though the team focuses primarily on website and software development, they’ve also started dipping their toes into the world of email marketing (welcome, water feels great).

Currently, the bulk of their email efforts have been focused on one client in particular: Christopher Columbus Condos, a gorgeous beachfront property in the Cayman Islands. “With Christopher Columbus, we're the ones handling every aspect of their email marketing,” explained Toni Eftink, an Element74 project manager. "So we’re really focused on doing it right.”

Here’s a look at three of their email campaigns that have been getting big results, along with the smart strategies Element74 used to craft each one.

The three-part welcome series

When they first started managing Christopher Columbus’s email marketing, Toni decided to implement a three-week long nurturing series for new guests who book a stay at the property.

“We send the series to everyone who schedules a trip with us: It includes three automated emails that fire off 3 weeks, 2 weeks, and 1 week before that person's vacation. We include things like tips for using your phone in the Cayman Islands, whether or not you should rent a car, profiles on the staff, and so on."

"The goal is to get people really excited about their trip with a helpful introduction to the Cayman Islands, and it's really helped us build brand advocates for Christopher Columbus.”

And the series is really working: We’re talking about an average 77.9% open rate and 53.2% click rate. Yep, really. Here’s a look at the response dashboard for the series:


Another dead giveaway they’re doing things right? The third email is the best-peforming one, meaning subscribers are excited to open and click after getting valuable content in the first two mailings.

The customer feedback campaign

Another email strategy that’s getting big results for their client? A customer feedback campaign.

The goal with this send was to increase the ranking for Christopher Columbus on TripAdvisor, so Toni crafted an email campaign that asked everyone who had visited the property in the past year to submit a review on the site. She randomly split that audience into two audiences to test the from name (Christopher Columbus Condos vs. Lisa Hernandez | Property Manager). The latter, more personal option performed better, so she set up the email to send from Lisa.

“We included photos of the staff in the email because Christopher Columbus is the kind of place where people love the staff. It helped bring back all the warm-and-cozy memories from people’s trips, and that helped elicit great reviews without us ever having to actually ask for them.” The smart strategy paid off with a 75.9% open rate and 29.5% click rate.

Before they launched the campaign, the property ranked #14 of 37 on Trip Advisor. Now – directly as a result of the email – it’s risen to #4!

“We've automated the email to send once a week to guests that stayed the previous week, and it’s helped us get consistent positive reviews. TripAdvisor is incredibly important to our client because it generates great traffic to their website – highly qualified leads that often convert. So this was a huge win for them that could be directly attributed to email marketing.”

The win-back campaign

Most recently, Toni started experimenting with a campaign directly focused on conversions.

“Up until now, our focus has been on building an audience and nurturing them with content. But I wanted to try something that would work to drive sales in a way that still wouldn’t annoy our subscribers. I thought the best thing to do would be to send a very targeted email; that way, it would make sense why the person was receiving it and would feel very personal."

About 2 months out from any particular month, Toni creates a segment of the guests who stayed at that time last year. Then, she sends them an email like this:

The team encourages subscribers to directly respond to the email so they know there’s an actual human being on the other side, ready and happy to respond to their questions or feedback.

And even though it’s a brand new campaign, the team already had someone book a 7-night stay (that resulted in $3,640 extra revenue!) after responding directly to the win-back email. And the overall stats for the campaign are incredible: 77.9% opens, 53.2% clicks!

“Even if we only get one conversion on each of these super-targeted emails, it’s absolutely worth it. That’s a huge ROI for something that takes absolutely no time to put together.”

A smart solution for busy agencies

Moving forward, Toni is excited to start segmenting based on other customer data, like location information.

“There are places in the U.S. that have direct flights to Cayman, so I want to do some sort of campaign for people in Texas, for instance, who can fly directly to the resort. And I'm thinking of using dynamic content to tailor our copy to past guests versus people who haven’t stayed with us yet. Really, we’re just excited to get smarter and smarter about our email marketing."

Overall, she’s been very pleased with her experience using Emma in the agency setting.

"I work at a small agency, but the coolest thing about Emma is that is that it allows me to create emails for our clients that keep up with the things larger agencies are putting out there. Emma's tools help even out the playing field."