Email Redesign Increases Open Rates +262%

How we cut costs and dramatically increased email engagement

Gallery Case Study

SherpaFor the Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD), how did we reduce email marketing costs by 50% while increasing email open rates up to 262%?

After several years of collecting email opt-ins, IOTD had accumulated a large number of addresses on their marketing list. Their approach to email marketing was to blast one email to the entire list. They struggled to get opens and clicks. This is when they turned to Williams Randall for help. We proposed an initiative of asking recipients directly about their email preferences, and the result changed the way IOTD has handled email marketing ever since.

Case Study

The starting point

The previous IOTD email program consisted of a "blast" email sent to a large number of recipients per month. Every recipient got the same email, regardless of geographical location or travel interests. Average open rates (13.5%) and click through rates (4.8%) were lower than desired, and valuable budget dollars were being wasted on mailing to 77.5% of the list that never even opened the email.

Subscriber survey, followed by strategic email segmentation

An email subscriber survey allowed us to better understand what kind of content subscribers wanted to receive. Based on the survey feedback, we divided what used to be a giant email blast into two specific email segments based on categories of interest and requested that subscribers re-opt-in to the receive emails; we did this to ensure the mailing list included only those users who were loyal and engaged.

Lower costs and huge increase in engagement

The results? The new permission email program cost half as much to send as their prior program and generated almost four times the leads. Open rates of the targeted emails shot up to as high as 49%, a very good number by any standard.

Focused on continual improvement

Every year, the IOTD email list undergoes maintenance to focus on the most engaged subscribers and keep send costs down. We keep tabs on subscriber interests and satisfaction by surveying the audience every two years and make adjustments to email content, send frequency and design based on results. Recent improvements have resulted in strong increases in average open rates (23-38% higher) and click-to-open rates (12-27% higher).


Our Responsibilities: Email Design, Email Marketing Strategy, User Research

Client: Visit Indiana

Industry: Travel/Tourism/CVB