Persistence Pays Off in BTB Mail Campaign

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A concerted and continual direct marketing effort to a single list is working for Oracle Small Business Suite provider NetLedger Inc. to generate awareness, interest and trial for the software.

NetLedger claims response rate has risen 20 percent to 0.6 percent against a June mail effort to 500,000 small businesses. A February mailing to the same audience garnered 0.5 percent for the San Mateo, CA, company. Ten percent of respondents have been converted to clients.

"What's encouraging is we're already seeing an improved yield on the second mailing, so it does corroborate our hypothesis that keeping a sustained effort against this list is more beneficial than dabbling in and out of different lists," said Jim LaBelle, NetLedger's vice president of marketing.

The Oracle Small Business Suite is an application service provider offering hosted by NetLedger. It is available for an annual fee of $1,200 for the initial user and $600 a year for each extra user.

The mailer encourages prospects to enroll on or call a toll-free number for a 14-day trial of the software suite. Endorsements from PC Magazine and a comparison between QuickBooks and the Oracle Small Business Suite pressed the case in the direct materials.

Previously, NetLedger's mailings involved a series of one-off efforts. But this did not get the desired results last year.

"In some ways, when you're purchasing software, it's also one of those things that can often be event-driven," LaBelle said.

These events could be the opening of a new office, overload of the current system that delays reports or if an accountant leaves.

Businesses are not always ready to purchase software when they receive a first direct mail. But it helps to stay in regular touch so that the marketer is top-of-mind, LaBelle said.

Rented from InfoUSA, the Oracle target list covered the retail, wholesale and professional services categories with 10 to 250 employees and sales of $1 million to $50 million. SIC code, size, metro-area location, high-speed Internet access and head of company were key attributes sought.

Supported by a $350,000 budget for the year, the NetLedger campaign kicked off with a mailing in February and followed in April by a telemarketing effort. Follow-up calls for the June mailing will begin next month.

Creative and execution was handled inhouse with the help of a consultant.

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