Postcards Yield Results for E-Mail Company

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SparkLIST Corp., an e-mail list hosting and management company, selected a low-tech method of promoting its services when it began a recent prospecting campaign.


Instead of using e-mail, with which it was familiar, it used traditional paper postcards in a seven-part mailing. About every five days, the company sent out postcards featuring an educational or sales theme.


The company chose traditional mail over e-mail because its business is e-mail, according to Kurt Zempel, SparkLIST's vice president of marketing.


"The last thing we need is to be accused of spamming," he said. "We have to be particularly sensitive because it's our business. E-mail is the last way available to us because we need permission to send out messages."


Zempel said that asking people to opt in to an e-mail would defeat the purpose of a prospecting campaign.


"We don't need permission to make a phone call or send a prospect a piece of mail," he said.


One company that responded to the campaign was MarketingSherpa Inc., Washington, which produces e-mail newsletters covering marketing and advertising. According to MarketingSherpa publisher Anne Holland, the postcards from SparkLIST could not have arrived at a better time. She knew of SparkLIST's services but had been a customer of another hosting company. Then disaster struck.


"Our list server blew up and we needed to make a quick change," Holland said. "They [SparkLIST] made it happen by being in my mailbox constantly."


Holland noted that the SparkLIST campaign was successful in keeping the company's name out front by using repetitive advertising techniques.


"They kept their brand at the top of my mind by sending a postcard every week," she said.


Zempel said the company's intention was to produce a soft-sell campaign, which it debuted in November. It initially sent postcards to about 1,500 addresses in its internal database. He said the company plans to purchase lists of names of Web hosting companies and mail to them as well.


"We're looking to supplement our house prospecting list," he said. "The Web hosting list is a bit of a stretch for us. We're targeting e-mail hosts and newsletter publishers."


He noted that SparkLIST, Green Bay, WI, is refining its list and plans to send an additional mailing this month.


Holland said, however, that she never read the copy on the postcards. The fact that SparkLIST's name was in front of her constantly was enough to sell her on the services.


"I honestly don't know if they were well written or not," she said of the postcards.


Holland also noted that many Internet marketers are now using a combination of e-mail and direct mail.


"The quality of the lists are better in direct mail," she said.


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