TechTarget.com Finds E-Mail on the Mark

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TechTarget.com, a network of Web properties for vertical segments of the IT industry, will send an e-mail blast to high-level executives next week to promote SearchWireless.com, which launches this week. Based on experience, the company has high hopes for the campaign.


TechTarget consists of 15 sites, including SearchWin2000.com, SearchCRM.com, SearchASP.com and SearchWebHosting.com. Each time it launches a new site, it sends as many as 350,000 acquisition e-mails to IT professionals during the first three months of the site's existence.


The company claims that these prospecting e-mails regularly draw a click-through rate of 10 percent to 20 percent. Of this audience, 5 percent to 10 percent registers to become members.


"We use targeted messages to let them know that there's this resource out there that will really save them time and help them in their jobs in day-to-day situations," said Sean Brooks, director of site management at TechTarget.com, Needham, MA. "We let them know that we understand the situations you are in, that this is a place where you can gain a lot of information and [that can] help you perform better."


The prospecting e-mails are sent to lists purchased from companies such as PostMasterDirect, DirectMedia, Internet.com and publications from each vertical market.


Its SearchWireless.com mailing will go out Oct. 2 to 70,000 decision makers. The messaging will focus on the confusion in the wireless arena and the site's ability to help sort out fact from fiction, Brooks said.


E-mail also plays heavily in the site's retention efforts. TechTarget offers weekly live question-and-answer sessions with industry experts at many of its sites. Each week members receive a notification of site-specific speakers and topics. Each property within the network has between 20,000 and 100,000 members.


For example, a recent message read: "Dear SearchStorage.com Member: Happy at work? Want more money? Discover some of the hottest opportunities available for storage industry professionals during the live Employment Announcement tomorrow, Sept. 13 at 3:00 p.m. EDT. Hosted by WorldStor, a leading Storage Services Provider, this is your best chance to go online and discover why WorldStor may be the perfect place for you."


Event sponsors have often had the chance to reach more than one site with its message. "We can hold cross-site online events," Brooks said. "If someone were to have an event on Win2000.com, but the topic also covered [visual basic], they can also have it on our SearchVB.com site. So it becomes a large, yet extremely targeted, audience."


TechTarget's total membership is approximately 500,000 IT professionals. It has more than 300 sponsors on its sites.


Since there are not substantial e-mail lists for all of the vertical markets, TechTarget uses direct mail when necessary. For example, Search390.com is a site for mainframes. To reach IT professionals who deal with that topic, it is sending 50,000 direct mail pieces.


A past campaign for SearchStorage.com in March and April went out to 100,000 people. It generated a response rate of 3 percent. The company purchases its mailing lists from technology-related publications such as Computer World, Storage Management Solutions and others.


Each TechTarget site offers an industry-specific search engine, editor's picks of the top vertical sites and professional tips.


"We break down each site's categories similar to a Yahoo, but it's specific to each vertical market," Brooks said. "If you search for hardware, you'll get information on enterprise printing and Parallel Sysplex -- not hammers."
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