NetLine E-Mails Prove Lead Generation Skills

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NetLine Corp. practiced what it preaches with an e-mail campaign offering a free, eight-page white paper on lead generation that pulled in more than 530 leads for its sales force.

NetLine took an educational approach to its white paper, with little direct promotion of its services. The idea was to position NetLine as an expert in the field.

"So when we followed up with prospects, often within minutes of downloading the paper, we made sure to reinforce that we used our own technology to route leads to sales for follow-up or to view real-time click-through and conversion results," said Raechelle T. Drivon, vice president of marketing at NetLine, Boulder Creek, CA.

She said NetLine used its own best practices to generate favorable response and conversion rates, "all of which we could be doing for them on their next e-mail-based lead-generation campaign."

NetLine sent two e-mails, each using a different list. Managers, directors and vice presidents of marketing in small to mid-sized companies as well as in divisions of larger firms were the targets for both.

The first was sent in HTML form June 11 to 2,000 names taken from eMarketing Magazine, an online publication that folded last year. It drew 89 requests for the white paper. NetLine struck a barter deal with the publisher, trading some of its list management and mailing services for access to part of the company's list.

The second e-mail went in text form July 9 to 7,000 names from 4marketeers, a worldwide community for marketing professionals that allows companies to send an exclusive message to its list for $175. It drew 441 requests for the white paper.

The message to the 4marketeers names included a foreword from Ken Davis, the community's organizer. Recipients were asked to download NetLine's white paper called "E-mail-based lead generation: Marketing's magic bullet."

"Our strategy was to leverage the extremely hot topic of lead generation to gather leads from NetLine," Drivon said. "We used the smaller eMarketing Magazine list as a testing ground for the offer and the response form before rolling out to a bigger list.

"We tested different registration forms for this mailing, one short and one long, to see if the length of the form impacted the conversion rate."

It did. The eMarketing list was split evenly between the short and long forms. For the short form, 70.5 percent of those who responded to the e-mail completed the form while 48 percent who responded to the long form completed it. Mandatory fields in both forms included name, title, company, telephone number and e-mail address. Respondents to either form were required to check boxes and also opt out of receiving further news via e-mail from NetLine.

For both e-mailings, NetLine did not choose specific titles or company sizes, though both lists comprised marketing executives. But since NetLine targets business-to-business firms in software, publishing, life sciences and financial services, it did go for industry selects in the eMarketing list. Industry selects were not available on the 4marketeers list.

Drivon said this e-mail campaign specifically addressed a key challenge.

"Like most companies, our sales team never stops asking for warm, qualified leads to follow up on," she said. "But also like most companies these days, we have a very small marketing budget to work with.

"So by using our own technology and making a barter deal for access to a list, we were able to make both our sales team and our CFO happy. All totaled, we spent less than $1,500 and generated over 530 leads for our sales team."


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