Site Channels Members Through E-Mail

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MysticalPlanet.com is betting that e-mail marketing and online sweepstakes will enjoy the same success in reaching people who practice holistic health and metaphysics as they have experienced in connecting with Internet users in general.


During a five-week period from June through early July, MysticalPlanet, Las Vegas -- a start-up that bills itself as a holistic Internet community -- conducted an e-mail marketing campaign to drive traffic and registration on its site.


Each week MysticalPlanet sent out 2,000 e-mails to a different mailing list, for a total of 10,000 e-mails by the end of the campaign. The weekly grand prize was a $100 shopping spree and a free membership to the Web site, valued at $45. The second place prize was a free membership.


Gala Gorman, MysticalPlanet's founder, said she turned to e-mail as a main marketing vehicle for the same reason that most other commercial Web sites do -- e-mail users are avid Web users.


"Because we are on the Internet, people who are actively using the Internet and have an e-mail address are going to be more interested in our site and what we have to offer," Gorman said. "And what we're trying to do is build an online community for cultural creatives," a term Gorman uses to describe people who follow astrology and other mystical arts.


To locate people with those interests, MysticalPlanet targeted e-mail lists that focused on four areas: metaphysics, astrology, holistic health and self-help/improvement. Gorman said the company tested a different list each week and made slight alterations to the promotion according to the subscribers of the list. It rented the e-mail lists from DigitalWork.com, Chicago, a business services and marketing firm.


Gorman said it is too early to determine which lists drew the best results, but she said the average response rate for all five test weeks fell between 2 percent and 3 percent. In the next e-mail campaign, Gorman said she would try to craft a more compelling letter that better targets each category of the MysticalPlanet community.


The Web site, which in addition to information and inspirational quotes also includes an e-commerce component, began to seriously market itself in June. Gorman placed ads in New Age magazine, set up a booth at the Body, Mind & Spirit Expo in Spokane, WA, and negotiated for banner ad placements later this year on CNBC.com. She did not say when the next e-mail campaign would begin.
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