YesMail Debuts Talking E-Mails

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YesMail.com debuted a service yesterday that will allow e-marketers to add voice capabilities to their e-mail marketing campaigns.


The service allows marketers to send HTML e-mails that let the end-user initiate a live conversation with a company representative through a button embedded within the message. The recipient can click on the button and, using a sound card, can speak via phone or computer to a customer service representative or a company's call center.


The Chicago-based provider of permission-based e-mail marketing solutions teamed with ITXC, Princeton, NJ, a provider of Internet voice services, to offer the service.


YesMail touts the service as a better way for marketers and advertisers to close online sales that otherwise would be abandoned. The company said consumers abandon online shopping carts 75 percent to 80 percent of the time because some shoppers might have questions or want more information about a product before committing to a purchase.


The one-to-one voice interaction also would allow marketers to upsell or cross-sell products and services, said Scott Stephen, senior vice president of operations and client services at YesMail.


"Once a recipient calls a customer service representative and takes advantage of an offer," he said, "there could be complementary offers that the customer service group could push at that point."


Stephen said YesMail tested the service in early March on an undisclosed number of cable subscribers, offering a number of discounts. He said 40 percent more recipients clicked through for more information using the push-to-talk service than they did for a standard HTML format.


YesMail will resell the service to marketers on a cost-per-thousand basis.


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