Trainline B2C Email Marketing Tactics Unfolded

This article presents the effectiveness of Trainline’s email marketing with the use of Vriens et al (1998) model which displays the email marketing response process.

Characteristics of the email

Subject Line: 60 sleeps to go! Book Now

Sender of the email: Trainline

Opened email:  Bag a Christmas bargain, book in advance


The first half of the subject line used is uncommon and quite catchy yet not confusing as to lose interest before opening the email. The 60 sleeps to go is very appropriate because although the recipient may not have been completely aware that there is indeed 60 days until Christmas; they are likely to link it to that celebration. The 60 days countdown also portrays real time interaction. The second half shows the call to action which is fairly effective.

The sender of the email is previewed following the subject line. Tickets have been bought from Trainline before and I have subscribed to their e-newsletter, discounts, offers and alert. I do receive frequent emails from Trainline and they are a brand that I trust. Repeated exposure potentially enhances brand attitudes by allowing the costumer to process more information (Berger & Mitchell, 1989). Trainline overcame the first hurdle as I opened the email.

The first thing once the email is opened is a large font size saying to bag a Christmas bargain, book in advance. Immediately the benefit is outlined. An event trigger also takes place again with the coming of Christmas. It’s fair to say the Trainline have maximised the atmospherics through the banner. As the Christmas theme is consistent through the use of the main visual dimensions (Kotler, 1974).  The email is personalised to me as it has my name. This adds a personal touch and creates the impression that I am a valued customer at Trainline.

Characteristics of the offer

Attractiveness of the offer: Discounted train fares

Landing Page:

The offer of 43% off tickets and, having more to spoil loved ones is attractive. Although, the individu

trainline-imagesal routes displayed to me are all journeys from Birmingham to London. And I am currently in Brighton however I have taken multiple journeys from Birmingham in the past. So the system has not really updated itself in order to have a more tailored display to me which would be a journey from Brighton to London at this moment in time.  “Book Now” is really emphasized as there are 7 buttons to book now which all leads to the landing page. Trainline clearly demonstrates their main desire is for a transaction to take place. I believe Trainline should have put their social media higher up in the email and also include it on the landing page.

The landing page is trainline’s main homepage whereby you can search for journeys   and then book. The layout of the main homepage is extremely user friendly, especially in comparison to other online train booking organisations.  The page is consistent with the sole aim of the email for the customer to book a ticket. There is not a great use of layout and imagery for the landing page but it is not required due to the nature of the business. It does not have a lot of consumer choice unlike something like a retail outlet. It offers the opportunity to also download a free app. I already have the app which I refer trainline-mailto when booking tickets. This would be a great way to acquire new customers in the case that a customer does not have the app. So even if a customer does not purchase a ticket on that first instance the app is easily accessible for next time.

Gov.UK (2016) state that it is a legal requirement for companies to offer to opt out option by sending STOP text to a short number, or using an unsubscribe link. Trainline have adhered to this as an option in the email. The option to unsubscribe is not the most obvious of choice to do as this is not their main goal. The overall email is quite long as it requires quite a bit of scrolling reaching the end. Although the layout of the email makes it easy to scan in this instance. For further engagement there is an option to rate the email. To cut down the length, I would have saved some of the latter part of the email for the landing page. Managers believe length to email have a negative effect. Having said that, some Trainline emails have ended up being added to my junk virtual mail because of the irrelevance and length. To sum up, I did buy a ticket from Trainline following this email because I needed a ticket to get back home for Christmas and the email reminded me of that. Also I did not want to miss out on the promotion especially as a student who loves discounts.




Berger, I. & Mitchell, A (1989). The effect of advertising on attitude accessibility, attitude, confidence, and the attitude-behaviour relationship. Journal of Consumer Research [Online] Vol 16. Available at: [Accessed 29 October 2016

Gov.UK(2016) Available at: [Accessed 29 October 2016]

Kotler, P. (1974). Atmospherics as a marketing tool. Journal of Retailing [Online] Vol 49(4), Available at:  [Accessed 29 October 2016]

Vriens, M., Van der Scheer, H.R., Hoekstra, J. C. and Bult, J. R. (1998). Conjoint Experiments for Direct Mail Response Optimisation. European Journal of Marketing, Vol.32, n.3, p. 323- 339.

One thought on “Trainline B2C Email Marketing Tactics Unfolded

  1. A well crititized blog with good explanation of the tactics unfolded. It was interesting to see how you adapt the model to your work, which enforced your points. However, it would have been great if you gave examples of other train companies to strengthen your points even further.

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