Email Development Email Marketing

Alaska Transactional Emails

Every year our Escapes team runs a massive campaign to qualify and send top sellers in the company to an all-inclusive, excursion-filled trip to exotic places around the world.

2018’s incentive trip will be held in Alaska and I was a contributor towards a few facets of the campaign. Everything from user experience updates in the registration site to Wordpress mentorship with the public site. In this case study I’ll focus on a smaller, but still necessary piece of the campaign.

My Role: Work alongside our Escapes team and development team to redesign and build a set of 5 transactional emails for our registration site.


Why do we do this?

The main goal of our Escapes team is to honor our top performers by providing them with an amazing and unforgettable experience for all of their hard work in the past year.

In order to participate in the trip, an Escapes team admin has to either invite them to register, or our CRM finds agents who have qualified, then adds them to a database as qualifiers. That action triggers a registration email to be sent.

Registration Email

But wait, there’s more

Once a registrant has access to the registration site, they still have to select which flights, hotel rooms, and excursions they want. Once they’ve made their selections, an email is sent for each booking choice to confirm their selection.

The goal here is to create a hassle-free experience where registrants know what stage of the booking they are in. This ultimately creates less support work for our travel agent partner, Destinations Inc., and reduces confusion for our registrants.

Mobile Excursions Email

Mobile Flights Email

Today’s Emails are not built with tech from 2001

It’s commonplace to think that emails are still built in legacy HTML . While email HTML still has its quirks, developers are using new techniques and practicing graceful degradation to support older email clients.

Also, email provider support for modern HTML is the best it has ever been. There are a wealth of new tools that make the task of coding for emails quicker and more reliable than ever before.

My workflow

I’m all about efficiency in my work and that translates to the tools I use. The big workhorse for me is Zurb’s Foundation for Emails boilerplate. Not only does Foundation for Emails provide a robust set of components and styles to help me create quick prototypes, it also provides more options to organize code and utilize the features of SASS.

Foundation has also provided a gulp workflow to help automate tasks. Redundancies like refreshing the browser, compiling assets, optimizing images, and code-checking are all done every time I save a file. As you can imagine, this saves me a great deal of time and adds focus towards actually coding an email.

Code View Chrome Inspector View

Quality Assurance is a must!

It should be no surprise that emails can be tricky to build. To make sure that my code is rendering the way it should, I use Litmus to test across many different email platforms.

For this project, I had implemented tracking into last year’s emails. Through the analytics, we found that most of our recipients were using mobile devices with an overwhelming number of those being iPhone Mail iOS and both iOS/Android mobile Gmail app. With that data, I was able able to tailor the emails’ design towards those clients.

Litmus Analytics Litmus Testing

We’re not done yet

At the time of this writing we have not sent the emails. That being said, our plan will be to monitor the analytics of the emails and see how many people register through them. Our KPIs will be based off CTOR (Click to Open Rate) and conversions (in our case, completed registrations) via the emails.