Portal Uses Postcards to Show Its Services

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Online intellectual property portal Delphion Inc. conducted its first direct mail campaign last month to promote its services and convert its free users into paying customers.


The campaign includes five postcards, each promoting a different aspect of the company's service. A postcard will be sent every two weeks until March 22.


The company provides patent and other IP searching services. Its initial postcard mailing, which went to 13,000 addresses in the United States and Canada, provided an overview of Delphion's subscription services. Subsequent mailings, which went to the same addresses, focused on the company's data extracting, alerts and text clustering services.


"Our focus is to get people who sign up as a basic user to upgrade," said Kevin Corcoran, Delphion's director of marketing communications. "We have 33,000 registered for our free service."


Since many of Delphion's 220,000 monthly unique visitors come to the www.delphion.com site to research patents and other intellectual property, Corcoran said, they don't have time to surf around to acquaint themselves with the company's products and services.


"We're trying to sell each one of our tools' value independently of each other," he said. "We're an online business. People use us as a work site. They have a mission. People don't spend time reading about our services on our site. We needed to get the information to them through direct mail."


The company expects a response rate of 1 percent and 1.5 percent on the postcards, he said.


One problem Delphion encountered with the mailing list was bad data. The company, which culls its names from its Web site, does not buy or rent names. Corcoran said the company found that about 20 percent of its list was incomplete or contained incorrect information. Because of the confidential nature of intellectual property, many people registering at the Delphion Web site do not provide their correct names and/or addresses.


"We've been getting a lot of bad addresses and fields," he said. "Confidentiality is a huge thing. Getting real good data sources is a problem."


Delphion receives about 70 new registrations daily, he said, and it is building a new list of names for marketing purposes.


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