Q&A: Chris Sentz, Internet marketing specialist at Stanley Steemer

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Stanley Steemer revamped its e-mail marketing program last year and has used e-mails with geographically unique discounts and home care tips to rake in more than $1 million since the beginning of 2010. Direct Marketing News talks with Chris Sentz, Internet marketing specialist at Stanley Steemer, about his goals for the next year and beyond.

Direct Marketing News (DMN): Tell me about the e-mail marketing campaigns you've conducted over the past year.
Chris Sentz: Really we started in early 2009 just after I came on board, and we primarily just did opt-ins. There was no e-mail program in early 2009, so even having e-mail is a new thing. We did a double opt-in, so we sent people who had previously given us their e-mail addresses a message asking if they were still interested. We then sent general information e-mails to them about our services. They were mostly carpet oriented — it's our core service — and we sent those out almost quarterly to start with. And as we realized their success, so it became every other month, and now they're monthly. They've evolved into covering more services, and they're customized rather than just blindly sending them to everyone. So we're using much more targeted e-mails and definitely increasing the frequency.

DMN: What's your strategy going forward? How are you trying to improve on that?
Sentz: We are in the midst of an integration with ExactTarget, so we will be able to send messages based on specific targeted details to each customer and operation. Right now, we have to do everything manually, so we have to download that database from an operation and determine what the service is, whether carpet, air duct, or hardwood clean, and send a message based on that. Hopefully, in the next month or so, we will do that much more dynamically. We will use filters within ExactTarget to say that everyone in these types of operations can get these types of e-mails. It will be much easier. We are also tying to social media more, including Twitter and Facebook accounts, because they are all communications pieces.

DMN: How do you integrate all these communications methods?
Sentz: In the past, e-mail was fairly limited to the sends we would do on a monthly basis. Going forward, we are integrating with the informational piece, and follow up e-mails and surveys will go out. We'll also do follow up campaigns, and reminders to get your carpets cleaned again, and reminders to yearly orders again.

DMN: What are your other goals for the next year?
Sentz: The main goal is to get this integration done and out there. With that, we will be able to expand our program into having highly targeted sends and be much more efficient with those e-mails and how we send them.

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