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Webinar: Promoting America State by State: Email Expert Review of Fifty State Tourism Agencies
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Webinar: Promoting America State by State: Email Expert Review of Fifty State Tourism Agencies


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“One to One’s deep experience serving travel-related brands provide us with unique insight into critiquing and designing engaging promotional email,” said webinar presenter Dr. Philip Rhodes, Managing …

“One to One’s deep experience serving travel-related brands provide us with unique insight into critiquing and designing engaging promotional email,” said webinar presenter Dr. Philip Rhodes, Managing Director for OTOinsights. “In this webinar we’ll be visiting the State Tourism Agency websites for all fifty states and then signing up for email; then offering expert analysis of the emails we receive over the following ten-day period.”

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  • Four Attributes of Online Customer Experience:Customized by the End UserAggregated at the Point of UseRelevant to the MomentSocial as a RuleBrand PerceptionProbe for social media behavior when conducting ethnographic research. To developpersonas that help designers create CARS experiences, researchers should incorporateobservations of users engaged in social media activities like blogging and micro blogging.Multi-Channel PersonasDesigning next-generation online experiences willdemand the kind of insight that personas provide. Although many firms already havesingle-channel personas, they’ll need new personas that reflect the complexity of users’multichannel behavior. This means developing personas that provide a full picture of eachcustomer’s journey through physical and interactive touch points, their information andfunctionality needs at each stop along the way, and which devices they use to support theircurrent behaviors.Customer Experience ResearchMulti-touch-point evaluation and analytics will become must-haves. Measuring customerexperience across multiple channels is still a major challenge for most firms.13 But consumerswill increasingly use multiple apps, devices, and sites to complete a single goal — onlineand in conjunction with other channels. In response, customer experience professionals willcreate centralized groups to coordinate metrics and a common framework for measurement.And to make data integration manageable, they will focus on one channel pair at a time.14Experiment and test. To mitigate the risk associated with building increasingly sophisticatedinteractions, customer experience professionals should experiment before rolling out massivechanges to the marketplace. But having an incubation environment on the scale of FidelityLabs or Google Labs isn’t in the budgets of most companies. Instead, customer experienceprofessionals should plan to leverage low-cost usability testing techniques to try out theirexperiments with CARS online experiences. Testing paper prototypes early and often duringthe design process and leveraging remote testing tools to gather feedback can help evolveleading-edge designs at a price most companies can afford.Information DesignCreate atomized content and functionality. In response to rising expectations forcustomized, aggregated interactions, customer experience professionals should beginatomizing online content and functionality so that it’s available for re-use across sites anddevices.
  • Transcript

    • 1. August 26, 2010
      Promoting America State by State:
      Email Expert Review of Fifty State Tourism Agencies
    • 2. Dr. Philip Rhodes, Ph.D.
      Philip holds a Ph.D. in Information Design from the University of Portsmouth. He has extensive research and teaching experience in hypermedia design and information architecture. He speaks fluent Portuguese, having lived and worked in Brazil. Before joining OTOinsights, he worked with US solution providers Rare Medium and Sapient, as Director of Information Architecture. Specializing in offering user-centric online solutions within the banking, education, and telecommunications sectors. He also taught at several universities in Brazil and the UK, and has been widely published. Philip is both the Managing Director and the Director of Customer Experience Research & Design at OTOinsights, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
      Managing Director & Director of Research
    • 3. Agenda
    • 4. OTOinsights Overview
    • 5. Established in 1997, One to One Interactive is the first global enterprise to assemble a complete solution for brands, agencies, and publishers executing one-to-one marketing strategies. The company employs over 140 professionals in 7 offices located in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia.
      One of the 20 “Hottest Independent Digital Firms” Globally
      AdAge, 2007
      One of the Fastest Growing Private Companies
      Inc Magazine, 2008
    • 6. OTOinsights OverviewEstablished in 2002, OTOinsights has conducted over 400 research project in over 30 countries.Specialists in neuromarketing and customer experience strategy, research and design.Undertake discrete point-in-time projects and strategic engagements.Experience across all platforms including digital (e.g. web, intranets, mobile devices, PDA’s, i-TV, etc.), call centers, retail environments and physical products (e.g. laptops, printers, etc.)OTOinsights Offerings:Amplifying Engagement
    • 7. OTOinsights | Amplifying Engagement
      Brand Perception
      Information Design
      Customer Experience
      • Eye-Tracking
      • 8. Pre-Cognitive Neurological Engagement
      • 9. Cognitive Emotional Tagging
      • 10. Usability Testing
      • 11. Focus Groups
      • 12. In-Depth/Paired Interviews
      • 13. Online Surveys
      • 14. Expert Evaluations
      • 15. Accessibility Audits
      • 16. Ethnographics
      • 17. Research/Tracking
      • 18. Socially Informed/ Multi-Channel Personas
      • 19. Engagement Mapping
      • 20. Cultural Anthropology
      • 21. Trend Spotting
      • 22. User Needs Analysis
      • 23. Information Architecture
      • 24. User Scenarios
      • 25. Behavioral Use Cases
      • 26. Feature Matrix
      • 27. Wireframes
      • 28. Site Maps
      • 29. Prototype Development
    • OTOinsights Clients: Travel
    • 30. PART 1 | Context: The US travel landscape
    • 31. Context: The US travel landscape
      US travel landscape is significant revenue generator, both in terms of domestic travellers and international visitors
      Although 2009 saw reductions in number of travellers (domestic and international), and hence an overall reduction in revenues, 2010 and the next 4-5 years is expected to see continued growth
      The internet has an increasingly important role to play in the travel landscape, yet how are official state organisations capitalising on that potential growth
      Travel in the US:
      • Travellers spent a total of $704.4 billion in 2009
      • 32. Predicted that travellers with spend $748.3 billion in 2010
    • Context: The US travel landscape
      • How many people are travelling to US states?
      • 33. US study (July 2010)
      • 34. 1,469 million domestic leisure travelers in 2009
      • 35. 54.9 million international visitors in 2009
      • 36. $610 billion spent by domestic travelers
      • 37. $94 billion spent by international visitors
      How will travel numbers change?
      • Domestic travel predicted to increase 1.8% - 3.6% year on year for the next 4 years
      • 38. International travel to the US predicted to increase 3.1% - 5.1% year on year for the next 4 years
    • Context: The US travel landscape
      • The Internet and travel?
      • 39. 90 million US residents used the Internet to plan travel in the past year
      • 40. Sites visited include:
      • 41. Destination websites
      • 42. Travel Agency websites
      • 43. Travel company websites
      Increased use of the Internet has led to significant decrease in the number of calls to state and local tourism offices
    • 44. Context: The US travel landscape
      • Email and travel?
      • 45. The ‘open rate’ for travel related emails is relatively high (approximately 13%, with click-through date of 3%). More so than e-commerce, insurance, technology and government emails.
      • 46. 10 million travellers a year respond to travel emails leading to unplanned travel.
    • PART 2: Review of 53 States (sites/e-newsletters)
    • 47. Methodology
      • Expert Approach
      • 48. 2 experienced customer experienced consultants
      • 49. Independently reviewed US state travel sites and e-newsletters
      • 50. Focus
      • 51. Ease of finding link to sign-up
      • 52. Information required to sign-up
      • 53. Timeliness of email response
      • 54. Quality of e-newsletter
    • Results | Summary
      • The numbers
      • 55. 36/53 sites had a link to sign-up on the homepage
      • 56. 7/53 had links on deeper pages
      • 57. 10/53 had no e-newsletter
      • 58. 23 sent email confirmation
      • 59. Only 3 sent the current e-newsletter within 24 hours
      • 60. A further 6 made the archive of e-newsletters available
    • Sign-Up Process
    • 61. Results | Sign-up
      • Key criteria used in the analysis:
      • 62. Is the sign-up available from the homepage
      • 63. Is it possible to enter ‘sign-up’ details on the homepage
      • 64. No additional information required to sign-up e.g. postal address, annual income, etc.
      • 65. Can the user customise the newsletter to their areas of interest
      • 66. Is there is a clear confirmation page
      • 67. Is the user informed what will happen next
      • 68. Is the user given access to the latest newsletter or an archive of newsletters
    • Sign-up | The best and worst
      Very poor
      No email newsletters
    • 69. Sign-up | The best and worst
      • Best
      1. Arkansas
      3. Missouri
      3. Maryland
      3. Vermont
      • Worst
      41. Wisconsin
      38. New York
      38. North Dakota
      38. Georgia
      34. Virginia
      Note that 12 states did not offer an e-newsletters
    • 70. Sign-Up Process: The Best
    • 71. The best | Texas
      • Sign-up is clearly shown on the side of the homepage
      • 72. Only an e-mail address is required
      • 73. No unnecessary information is requested
      • 74. Users are able to create an account which will provide them with access to further features
      • 75. However it is clear that this is optional
    • The best | Texas
      • Clear confirmation is sent via email
      • 76. The user is provided with more information regarding the e-newsletters
      • 77. The look and feel of the confirmation email is consistent with the website, with a clear Texas logo
      • 78. Users are given a link back to the website
    • The best | Arkansas
      • Sign-up is clearly shown on theside of the homepage
      • 79. Only name and email addressare required
      • 80. It is clear that the Zip Codeis not mandatory
      • 81. Users are able to select their interests in order to customise the email newsletter
      • 82. Option to select a ‘general newsletter’ is also provided
    • The best | Arkansas
      • Confirmation page has a clear indication that their subscription was successful
      • 83. Users are informed that they will receive an email confirmation
      • 84. Confirmation email received immediately
      • 85. Website links provided
    • The best | Missouri
      • The sign-up is clearly shown at the top at the homepage
      • 86. Users are informed of the benefits of subscribing
      • 87. Ability to enter email address on the homepage
      • 88. The user is able to personalise the e-newsletter by checking the relevant boxes
      • 89. ‘?’ icons provided to assist users
    • The best | Missouri
      • Clear confirmation screen
      • 90. Users informed about thecontent of the e-newsletters
      • 91. The option to unsubscribe is provided
      • 92. Email confirmation sent
      • 93. List of interests selected during sign-up
      • 94. Link back to the website is provided
    • The best | Maryland
      • The sign up is clearly shown within the ‘What’s Happening’ section which is suitable
      • 95. Clear heading on the sign up page
      • 96. Clear indication of frequency of e-newsletters
      • 97. Ability to view archived newsletters before subscribing
      • 98. Only email address is requested
    • The best | Maryland
      • The user can choose which categories they wish to receive information on
      • 99. Clear indication that the user has subscribed and preferences have been saved
    • The best | Vermont
      • The sign up button is clearly displayed on the homepage and accompanied by an ‘envelope’ icon
      • 100. Clear heading on the sign up page
      • 101. Users are able to select specific interests
      • 102. However these are limited to ‘up to three’ and selection method not intuitive
      • 103. Only email address is mandatory
    • The best | Vermont
      • Clear confirmation page
      • 104. Users provided with a link to view the latest e-newsletter
      • 105. Immediate email confirmation sent
      • 106. However, users are required to confirm subscription by clicking on a link in the email
      • 107. No indication of this was given on the confirmation page
    • Sign-Up: The Worst
    • 108. The worst | Wisconsin
      • Link to the e-newsletter is on the homepage
      • 109. However it is hidden through use of poorly contrasting colours
      • 110. Users are asked a lot of unnecessary questions, including:
      • 111. Screen name, zip code and a password
    • The worst | Wisconsin
      • The confirmation page “welcomes back” the user
      • 112. The user is referred to by the screen name rather than their own name
      • 113. The ‘save changes' link has no purpose for users that have just subscribed
      • 114. Required to confirm via email link
      • 115. Users have been forced into creating an account
    • The worst | New York
      • Link to newsletter at the top of the homepage
      • 116. However link is hidden due to small font and not accompanied by an icon
      • 117. Account creation required
      • 118. ZIP code is mandatory
      • 119. User must go through many pages in order to sign up (three steps)
    • The worst | New York
      • Confirmation page states that an email had been sent in order to confirm subscription
      • 120. However no email was received
    • The worst | North Dakota
      • Link to sign-up on the homepage
      • 121. However, lots of mandatory information required in order to subscribe
      • 122. e.g. address, password required, ‘how did you hear about us?’
      • 123. Required to create an account in order to receive the e-newsletter
    • The worst | North Dakota
      • ‘Thank you’ message on the confirmation page gives the user the impression that they are now a member and have completed the subscription process
      • 124. However a delayed email was received 5 minutes later requesting confirmation by clicking on a link
      • 125. No indication of next steps
    • The worst | Georgia
      • No link to subscribe on the homepage, had to conduct a search to find it
      • 126. Once the user clicks on a search result, the sign up link is still very hidden at the bottom of a text heavy page
    • The worst | Georgia
      • Appears as though the user is taken to another site as the logo has changed
      • 127. Broken link in the centre of the page – it does not do anything
      • 128. Right column ‘email entry’ field works correctly
      • 129. However there is no confirmation page, just a message which appears in the right column
      • 130. No confirmation email
    • The worst | Virginia
      • Link on homepage
      • 131. However link is below the fold of the page
      • 132. Once the user clicks ‘subscribe’ they are returned to the top of the page without any indication that anything has changed
      • 133. Only if the user scrolls down will they realise that they have completed the subscription
      • 134. No confirmation email sent
    • E-mail Newsletters
    • 135. Results | e-mail newsletter
      • Key criteria used in the analysis:
      • 136. Are links to the site provided and are they clear
      • 137. Are links provided to social networking sites
      • 138. Is the e-mail personalised
      • 139. Is there a specific and catchy subject line
      • 140. Is there an option to unsubscribe
      • 141. Is a real address, phone number or other similar details about the sender provided
      • 142. Is there consistency with the e-newsletter and the website
    • E-mail newsletter | The best and worst
      17 email newsletters review
      Very poor
    • 143. E-mail newsletter | The best and worst
      • Best
      1. Tennessee
      4. Kentucky
      4. Minnesota
      • Worst
      17. Florida
      16. Vermont
      12. New Mexico
      12. North Carolina
      12. North Dakota
      Only 17 e-newsletters were reviewed
    • 144. E-mail Newsletters: The Best
    • 145. The best | Arizona
      • The e-newsletter has consistent look and feel and navigation with the site
      • 146. The logo is a link to the website
      • 147. The social media links are prominently displayed at the top of the page
      • 148. There is also a link to a photo competition, which adds a level of interest
    • The best | Arizona
      • Headings are clear and the links provided are unambiguous
      • 149. The images are large and excellent quality
      • 150. Contact information is clearly provided at the bottom of the page
      • 151. There is a clear link to ‘unsubscribe’
    • The best | Tennessee
      • The logo is obvious and takes the user to the main site
      • 152. The aesthetic is visually appealing and consistent with the main site
      • 153. The social media links are clearly displayed at the top of the page
      • 154. Contact information is clearly provided
      • 155. There is a clear link to unsubscribe at the foot of the page
    • The best | Oklahoma
      • Simple and clear presentation with key information provided
      • 156. The ‘play’ icon reaffirms that the link will take the user to a video
      • 157. Consistent look and feel to the website
      • 158. Logo provides a link to the site
      • 159. Includes multiple social media tools to share the page
    • The best | Oklahoma
      • Clear contact information is provided
      • 160. The unsubscribe option is located at the bottom as would be expected by users
      • 161. However it is slightly hidden within a paragraph of text
    • The best | Kentucky
      • The heading and logo are clear and provide a link back to the main site
      • 162. Branding is consistent with the site
      • 163. The sections are well divided and the colour contrast aids page scanability
      • 164. Each article also has a link to further information on the main site
    • The best | Kentucky
      • The separate ‘Upcoming Events’ section is useful and displays the dates and key information
      • 165. There are social media links both to share the newsletter and take the user to the Kentucky Tourism social networking pages
      • 166. Option to unsubscribe is ‘one-click’ and takes the user to a confirmation
    • The best | Minnesota
      • There is consistency with the website in terms of branding and look and feel
      • 167. The logo is a link to the website
      • 168. The layout and visual style of the newsletter is clean and it is simple to scan through
      • 169. Each of the headings is a link to the related article
      • 170. Short description of each article and an accompanying image
    • The best | Minnesota
      • There are links to their Facebook and Twitter as well as other useful links on the left
      • 171. There is a clear link to ‘unsubscribe’
    • E-mail Newsletters: The Worst
    • 172. The worst | Florida
      • Unable to see images on the email newsletter (even when images are enabled)
      • 173. The link to ‘see online version’ leads to an error page
      • 174. Lack of a visible link to the website
      • 175. No links to social networking sites
      • 176. Lack of consistency with the website – unable to see if there is any branding
    • The worst | Vermont
      • Poor contrast of grey text on a green background on the title of the ‘in this issue’ section
      • 177. There is no option to unsubscribe from the newsletters
      • 178. There are no contact details provided
      • 179. The August issue is not available and the sample is the ‘July’ issue (even though we are now almost in September)
    • The worst | Vermont
      • The newsletter was poorly formatted when viewed in Google Chrome
      • 180. The newsletter was not sent via email upon completing the subscription process
    • The worst | New Mexico
      • There is no option to unsubscribe from the e-newsletter from this page
      • 181. ‘In this issue’ links take the user to what appears to be the full version of the newsletter
      • 182. However, ‘hot deals’ leads to a different page
      • 183. There are no social network links on this cover page
    • The worst | New Mexico
      • The actual newsletter is very long and requires the user to scroll a lot
      • 184. The newsletter is very text heavy, especially on the second half of the page
      • 185. The newsletter was not sent via email upon completing the subscription process
    • The worst | North Carolina
      • The logo is not a link to the website
      • 186. There is a link to ‘subscribe’ at the top of the page
      • 187. No links to social networking sites are provided
      • 188. ‘Opt out’ is not visible and another link to ‘subscribe’ is positioned at the front of the footer
      • 189. No contact information is provided
    • The worst | North Dakota
      • Logo is not a link to the website
      • 190. The option provided to unsubscribe is labeled ‘instant removal’
      • 191. The text ‘instant removal’ does not look like a link
      • 192. Many broken links e.g. ‘read more news stories’ links to a 404 error page
    • The worst | North Dakota
      • It is stated that the newsletter is available both in text and HTML format, however the option to chose is not provided
    • PART 3: Insights & Conclusions
    • 193. Conclusions
      Best Practice Sign Up:
      • Include Sign-up on the homepage
      • 194. Sign up should be located towards the top of the page (at least above the fold)
      • 195. Should be accompanied by an image or icon e.g. an envelope to draw attention
      • 196. Ensure sign-up requires minimal data entry e.g. name and email address
      • 197. Include a short sentence stating the benefits of signing up e.g. promotions, stay up to date with news and events etc
    • Conclusions
      Best Practice Sign Up:
      • Do not require any unnecessary information to be entered (such as postal address or annual income)
      • 198. Do not require users to ‘create an account’ or ‘become a member’ of the site
    • Conclusions
      Best Practice Sign Up:
      • Consider including a short second step/page allowing users to customise the newsletter by selecting specific areas of interest
      • 199. Provide a ‘select all’ tick box or ‘general newsletter’ opt in
      • 200. Provide a link to the latest newsletter or an archive so that users know what to expect before subscribing
      • 201. Do not require users to re-enter information e.g. do not request name / email address a second time
    • Conclusions
      Best Practice Sign Up:
      • Include a clear indication on the website that the subscription process is complete and has been successful
      • 202. Ideally include a clear, separate confirmation page with different content
      • 203. Include a clear thank you message on this page
      • 204. Provide an indication of what the user can expect next i.e. email confirmation
    • Conclusions
      Best Practice Sign Up:
      • Send email confirmation immediately
      • 205. User should not need to ‘reconfirm’ the subscription
      • 206. Ensure consistency with site i.e. branding and logo, etc.
      • 207. Include information about newsletters e.g. frequency and type of content
      • 208. Include a link back to the website
      • 209. Include a link to unsubscribe
      • 210. Include contact details
    • Conclusions
      Best Practice E-Newsletter:
      • Include a clear and catchy subject line so that the user immediately recognises the email
      • 211. Ensure consistency with the site in terms of branding e.g. logo, layout, etc.
      • 212. Include links to the site and ensure that they are clear e.g. logo and url address
      • 213. Do not include hidden links e.g. decorative images or plain text
    • Conclusions
      Best Practice E-Newsletter:
      • Include links to social networking sites
      • 214. To share the e-newsletter
      • 215. Links to the states social network site for tourism e.g. Facebook page
      • 216. Ensure that the e-mail is personalised – use of first name, etc.
      • 217. There must be a clear option to ‘unsubscribe’
      • 218. This must not be hidden within text
      • 219. Do not use terms such as ‘remove’ or ‘opt out’
    • Conclusions
      Best Practice E-Newsletter: (Notes)
      • Provide a real address, phone number or other similar contact details about the sender
      • 220. Do not include excessive amount of text
      • 221. Limit the length of the e-newsletter, do not cause the user to vertically scroll excessively
    • Questions?
      Dr. Philip
      For copies of the presentation or further info on OTOinsights services please email:
      Follow OTOinsights on Twitter:
    • 222. Future Webinars from One To One Interactive
      Join us for our next Webinar
      on September 23rd at 11 AM Eastern Time:
      “Search Best Practices: How to Dominate Search in 2011”
      With Greg Slama, Search Marketing Specialist at OTOi
      Register at: