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DXStorm Eyes DM Success After Initial Phone Campaign

The early success of a first-time experiment with telemarketing is leading a dot-com business to expand its offline direct marketing efforts.

DXStorm is conducting a campaign in which 120,000 small- and medium-sized businesses in Canada are being called to promote its eParcel Stores service, which is being marketed under the label of the company's business partner, Canada Post. For 75 Canadian dollars per month, DXStorm offers to build and host Web sites that allow businesses to sell products online.

A postcard direct mailer bearing DXStorm's toll-free number was dropped Nov. 8 to the same list of businesses. The mailer also referred to eStoresCanada.com, where small businesses can sign up for the eParcel Stores service online.

Initial results showed that 25 percent of the business owners contacted through the outbound campaign expressed interest in the service and were flagged for follow-up calls. DXStorm, Toronto, initially predicted that it would close sales on 1 percent of its list, but now believes it will surpass that expectation.

The success of the campaign has led DXStorm to begin planning a larger effort that is set to begin in January. Guy Russel, business director at DXStorm, would not reveal details of the upcoming campaign, but said DXStorm eventually plans to market in the United States.

The company hired Impiric Communications, a division of Young & Rubicam, to use its 65-station call center in Toronto to handle both the inbound and outbound aspects of the campaign. Impiric also provided the list used in the campaign.

Russel and Sharon Oatway, president of Impiric's call center, made the initial calls to prospects to test the offer and refine the telemarketing script used in the campaign. They also worked together to refine the training program for the agents, who are contract employees hired on a temporary basis.

DXStorm went through three groups of call center agents before it selected the team that has conducted the bulk of the campaign. Calling began Oct. 9 and will continue through Dec. 15.

Once calling began, the script changed several times during the first four days of the campaign before Impiric settled on a final version. The call center managers also made multiple adjustments to the training program used to familiarize agents with the DXStorm product and campaign.

DXStorm also helped with creative adjustments to the direct mailer, which was designed by Impiric's creative team. The oversized, four-color postcard was sent out through Canada Post's Webdriver program, which offers preferred rates to online businesses seeking to generate traffic at their Web sites.

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