To the taste.-Marketing automation campaigns for lead conversions.


The restaurant booking website, TheFork, commissioned us to plan an onboarding and subscription process that would optimise the flow of communications throughout the customer journey, from the moment the lead is captured until they make a reservation. In parallel, we had to develop a recovery plan to revitalise the database of unproductive leads.

What is There, Behind Each Lead?

This is a question we don’t ask ourselves enough and yet it was precisely what we had to answer before planning our strategy.

For the data gathering process to work, we had to understand the true interests and motivations behind each user. We also had to ask ourselves why a large part of these leads were lost without progressing through the conversion funnel and turning into customers.

Capturing a lead requires a considerable investment of resources. Not making the most of them (or at least not trying to) is a luxury we could not (and cannot) afford.

What makes a person download an app, subscribe to a newsletter or sign up to a website? What do they expect to happen when they do?

Archetypes: Defining An Undetermined User.

The first step in our strategy was to research the motivations of the users. Unlike with customers, we hardly know anything about a lead: what makes them book a restaurant reservation? What do they expect to find there?

In many cases, all we know is their email address, which makes it difficult to design a welcoming and personalised process that adjusts the offer to their needs.

To understand the motivations of TheFork’s users, we had to take a step back and analyse the information of its customers, in other words, those who had already made a reservation and enjoyed it, to identify their typologies.

Thus, we profiled seven different archetypes: Bargain hunters, Socialisers, Diners, Foodies, Practical, Healthy and Busy.

Each of these profiles were associated with a set of motivations, such as: price, offer, convenience, socialising, health, discovery and quality. For each profile, a primary and secondary motivation was determined, and each motive carried different weight in explaining the user’s behaviour.

When each lead fell into a general category of behaviour, we were able to guide them through their corresponding business flows. Each flow was designed to appeal to their user typologies, and we reinforced them with creative pieces specifically geared to the motivations of each flow.

We enriched the onboarding process progressively thanks to our insights about the lead, until we reached the final goal of conversion.

A Campaign Planned Around The Motivations of Each Lead.

To get more information from each lead, we used an automated marketing campaign, based on the lead’s reaction to parameterised interactions sent by email. This allowed us to know intuitively their motivations, generate more interactions and drive each lead along a certain line.

The first phase of our automated campaign took two paths: welcoming after registration or app download in the case of onboarding, and greeting abandoned leads in the case of recovery.

In a second email, we subtly collected information about the user. This allowed us to place them in one of the three main reasons behind each booking:

  • Financial: interested in offers and discounts.
  • Healthy: following a healthy lifestyle and interested in restaurants offering specific meals: vegetarians, coeliacs, etc
  • Social: seekers of discovery and new experiences.

Increasing the effectiveness with marketing automation.

The marketing automation campaign was completed with three other phases:

  • Prioritisation: in which each lead was directed to its corresponding specific line within the campaign’s communication flow.
  • Impact: the user received push messages according to their interests. Messages varied in case of non-response and in the web version.
  • Conversion: follow-up with the user until the booking was made.

Refresh Your Palate: A Creative Concept to Revive Culinary Experiences.

Time passes quickly. By the time we realise it, it’s been months since we last visited our favourite Asian restaurant or simply discovered a new place. That’s why it’s good that someone reminds us and says: refresh your palate”.

This was the leitmotif of our creative campaign. We reminded people that it had been a while since they had booked at the cheapest, trendiest, healthiest or most convenient places, as the case may be. The creative had a humorous and light-hearted touch, picking out some nearby events and reminding them of how things had changed.

The visual aspect was particularly important, so we worked with Ivoro, a company specialising in innovation applied to the food industry, who used real food to compose the images included in the mails and advertising spaces on social networks.

Good Open and Click-Through Rates.

We executed the recovery campaign in September 2019. Three days after it started, we launched the onboarding campaign.

We continue to measure results until March 2020. Among the most striking data, we highlighted the good open rates in the onboarding campaign (above 30% in the welcome email), low unsubscribes (between 1% and 1.2% during the first three mailings), and inicial CTR and CTOR rates that significantly increased in the mailings segmented by archetype. In the case of recovery, the initial open rate remained around 10%, but the behaviour of unsubscribes, CTR and CTOR followed similar patterns.

Over the course of a month, TheFork’s leads received up to ten notifications by mail.

Conversions On The Rise.

The highest number of conversions took place at the welcome stage, ahead of promotional mailings.

We also saw a good number of conversions using the discount code provided in some mailings, but it is not always easy to trace their origin to occurring some time after the communication was sent, or through other channels.

Throughout all this time, our work made the most of the automation tools and processes, we opted for creativity, segmentation and personalisation in the campaigns and, above all, we never wasted a single one of the leads gained.