Secret Escapes emails (part two)

This is part two to my case study of Secret Escapes emails and how they can be improved. Read part one here.

So when I left off from my last blog post I said that the next part would show the process of rewriting the Secret Escapes email ad for South Africa.

It’s now been over a week and it’s midnight so I’m ready to type out part two fast af because I don’t want this interrupting me tomorrow afternoon, when I want to watch Fresh Prince re-runs.

Anyway, here’s that email again:



My main criticism was how impersonal it was, which makes it less likely to be read. Readers want to relate to the copy and feel like it’s been written for them.

That is pretty difficult with such a large mailing list which isn’t directed a specific group.

The Secret Escapes email list is sent to millions of random people in the UK that happen to have signed up at some point because they were interested in their travel offers. This group of readers is diverse so it’s even more important to have a personal tone.

Readers want to be spoken to like individuals; it’s the easiest way to gain their interest. Like you. If you’re reading this, you got here because of a pretty different chain of events than people reading Secret Escapes emails.

Your chain most likely started with me saying “go read my blog” in a text message that btw I just copied and pasted. Given the huge amount of respect you already have for me, you thought “go on then”.

And you’ve made it this far. It’ll get better because soon you’ll see me pretending I’ve been to South Africa (which would be nice but as of feb 2017, I don’t have a sugar daddy.)

But anywayyyyy, let’s get back to the real message here.

How can we rewrite the email?

One of the easiest ways to make the email more personal would be to write it from one person to another. We’re pretty lucky because the video actually features a woman as a guide, so the email advert could have just been written from her.

Take a look at this email:




This is me, standing over Blyde River Canyon in South Africa.

Looking back, the memory is so surreal that I need the photo to convince myself I was really there.

So why are my holiday pictures in your inbox? Let me explain…

I was standing there at the break of dawn, filming the most beautiful sights in South Africa for you, as a Secret Escapes member.

Now, most guides to South Africa can tell you that this is the 3rd largest canyon in the world. But they can’t share the feeling of sitting in the clouds, waiting for the sun to rise. And slowly, for light to fill the canyon and reveal its natural beauty, like a curtain rising before the most spectacular show on earth.

My time in South Africa produced some stunning footage of the landscapes, wildlife and food (as well as 600 ducks running through a wine reserve!). But that is nowhere near as important as what I learnt from talking to local guides.

At Secret Escapes we have made this handy guide, packed with advice from local experts as well as full details on activities, food and history.

By watching this video guide, you will be ready to explore this untouched beauty. Use the advice I’ve gathered from local experts, to make the most of your trip, and experience all the country has to offer, from African safari for children, to the Cape Winelands for adults.

Don’t miss out on our free guide and our exclusive, limited offers of up to 70% off on luxury hotels and tours.

[Watch the video guide to South Africa]

Now as crappy as that looks, you’ll agree that it is much more interesting to read than the original email. By making it sound like it has come from a human, readers will actually want to read the copy, and can ultimately do what it asks.

Why would this work better?

There are a few strategies I’m using here:

  1. The email subject directly states what will be inside, to filter out people who won’t be interested at all. It’s still pretty broad because everyone seems to identify with being a ‘traveller’.
  1. The picture is nice, and the copy talks about the picture. Like I said in part one, the audience is much more likely to look at the picture. By using that big caption underneath we’re profiting from the attention they’ve already chosen to give to the picture.
  1. The copy sounds like the woman wrote it, directly to you. Even though it’s longer than the original email, this one may actually get your attention because it’s talking to you.

Of course, the advert could be positioned in a bunch of different ways, depending on their target. And it may help to test out different emails that focus more on specific groups, such as:

  • South Africa for wine-lovers,
  • South Africa as the perfect destination for families,
  • or South Africa for thrill-seekers, etc.

Since their huge email list doesn’t have much in common, these targeted emails may work better.

I mean, you could probably argue that their email list shares a common desire for luxury trips at amazing value, but literally everyone fits into that category. It’s understandable that the conversion rate is never going to be super high for their emails, but with some simple changes they would probably see more sales, or at least have a friendlier image.


So that’s the end of part two, which means the next blog post will be on a completely different advert.

You can stay tuned by following this blog, bookmarking the page or probably just waiting for me to tell you when I’ve done something new.






3 thoughts on “Secret Escapes emails (part two)

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