Ideas Take Flight at E-Mail Design Seminar

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New York - Several groups tried their hand at designing travel e-mails at the DMA's e-mail marketing strategies seminar this week.

The e-mails were designed for a fictitious travel firm specializing in exotic vacations to Africa. The firm now was looking to move into the domestic market by targeting U.S. families for adventure travel. The first group called themselves Adventure Travel and designed an e-mail that offered 15 percent off on domestic travel.

"You can have an adventure in your own backyard, so we are sending an e-mail with suggestions for local travel," said Erika McDaniel, marketing associate at REI. "We decided to use less copy and more images like Crate & Barrel."

"It's a jungle out there" was the tag line.

If you scroll over the image of a place, a text-based suggested location would pop up. Through links, users would be directed to the Web site to click to see video content on the destinations and then register for newsletters.

The second group called the firm Safari Adventures.

"We used 37 (text) characters. We followed a best practice, and we didn't put caps because we didn't want to go to the spam box," said Sheena Banton, senior marketing analyst at American Express Company.

The e-mail included three U.S. adventure travel options like urban jungle, tropical jungle and a custom option for a customer to design his or her own trip.

The third group called its e-mail "Safari in New Jersey?" to drive recipients to open the e-mail. The copy included the fictional corporate partner, television station Animal Planet, and included rural locales in New Jersey.

"We wanted to attract family vacationers, and we did this through a sweepstakes offer," said Anabel Monson, marketing manager at Universal Weather and Aviation.

Yet another group that targeted families called its e-mail, "Travel Anywhere in the U.S. and your kids stay for free" and used the call to action "Book Now."

Another group opted for a more text oriented letter style and used it to offer packages for a family of four.

Finally, the last group focused its e-mail on color and images. The "Fun Family Vacations close to Home" e-mail included a world map and images of locales like the San Diego Zoo.

"This draws you back to the domestic family vacations that we are trying to target here," said Lorrie Sole, e-business marketing manager at staffing agency Kelly Services.

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