Abandoned cart recovery emails have been the secret weapon of successful ecommerce companies for years.
Everyone from Amazon to small-time entrepreneurs have found success with abandonment emails. Recently, a number of clever marketers in the tour and activity industry have begun to adopt the practice too.
An abandoned booking email (also called an “abandoned cart email”) is an email sent to an online shopper who started to book on your website, but never completed their purchase.
The email is often in plain text and speaks in a customer service voice. The email provides a reminder to the abandoner and gives them a subtle ‘nudge’ to complete their purchase.
Despite the fact that these emails have been successful in the ecommerce industry for so many years, they are often misunderstood in the tour and activity industry.
To better understand this marketing tactic we have gathered the most common abandoned booking email fables, along with detailed notes explaining why they are false. These myths dissuade companies from taking full advantage of their marketing resources and leave a lot of money on the table.
3 Abandoned Booking Email Myths, Debunked
Myth #1: “Email Is Ineffective”
Email may feel “old fashioned,” but it works.
Research by Custora found that email marketing drives nearly 1/5th of all purchases in the ecommerce industry.
According to a Mckinsey study:
“E-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined.”
If you invest in social media, pay-per-click ads, or other types of email marketing, you should be running an abandoned booking email campaign. If you aren’t, you might be investing in less effective channels, leaving a lot of money on the table.
Myth #2: “Abandoned Booking Emails Are Spam”
Any email can be sent to the spam folder if it’s poorly constructed. On the other hand, a well-crafted email campaign can offer a lot of value and create memorable customer moments.
There are 4 factors that move an email from the spam folder to the primary inbox:
1. The Right Audience
In standard email blasts, it is very difficult to distinguish recipients with purchase intent from recipients who are just browsing.
However, abandoned booking emails are only sent to people who have initiated checkout, but left without completing their purchase. The fact that they initiated the booking process is a strong indicator of purchase intent. Often the abandoner is just steps away from completing their booking.
Abandoned booking emails are highly likely to reach the right audience, and avoid shoppers who aren’t ready to buy.
2. The Right Time
Timing is everything. Nobody likes to receive promotional emails about things they aren’t interested in buying. At the same time, people often do like to hear about things they’re already thinking about buying.
An abandoned cart is a strong indicator of purchase intent. Sending an email within 24 hours of abandonment is a surefire way to reach buyers at the right time, and motivate them to complete their booking.
At Xola, we automatically send abandoned booking emails for our customers 8 hours after the abandonment. This gives shoppers enough time to return on their own. If they still don’t return they will receive an abandoned booking recovery email well within the 24 hour window.
3. The Right Message
People don’t want emails in their inbox that shout “10% OFF EVERYTHING! BUY NOW!” Flashy images, loud text, and clever marketing quips are a quick way to get your emails deleted (or worse, flagged as spam).
On the other hand, a simple plain-text email written in a customer service voice provides a breath of fresh air from the usual email fluff, and creates great customer moments.
This simple plain-text email alone has helped Xola customers recover between 8% and 12% of lost revenue.
4. Provide Value
Great abandoned booking emails are all about the shopper:
“How can we help you?”
Bad emails, on the other hand, are all about your business:
“Hey! Buy from us!”
Taking a customer service approach is a great way to focus on the customer and offer value, but still give gentle ‘nudges’ to finish their booking.
Offer to help your future customers through the booking process. Offer to answer their questions. Give your contact info so they can reach out to you. You can always throw in a discount code if you’re feeling extra generous!
In short, bad emails create a bad experience. But great emails enhance the overall customer experience.
Myth #3: Abandoned Booking Emails Aren’t Worth The Investment
Abandoned booking recovery campaigns provide one of the highest returns on investment (ROI) and are much easier to manage than most other marketing channels.
AdWords campaigns (for example) average a measly conversion rate of 0.89% for Display and 2.79% for Search. But our customers have found that our abandoned booking emails are nearly 10X as effective.
Even better, abandoned booking programs are much more cost-effective. Unlike pay-per-click campaigns, the cost is fixed and does not increase as you grow your business.
It is understandable that some in the tour and activity industry are skeptical about abandoned booking emails. To be fair, poorly crafted emails can feel intrusive and spammy.
On the other hand, a well crafted abandoned booking email will instantly add a few percent in revenue to your business. It will also provide you with feedback that helps you reduce abandonment and create great customer service moments.
An easy way to ensure that your abandoned booking emails are top-notch is to partner with a company that has experience with them. At Xola, we have been testing and refining effective abandoned booking emails for years.
Our team will work with you to craft the best email for your customers to bring in additional revenue and create a great customer experience.