E-Mail Newsletter Spurs BTB Leads for Web Firm

The inaugural e-mail newsletter from Sevista promoting its eCampaignManager to midsize companies received a click-through rate of nearly 20 percent.

Sevista, Atlanta, sent the newsletter to 1,200 chief marketing officers and vice presidents of marketing at hi-tech, retail, media and marketing companies.

The company collects demographic information from subscribers who click through to Sevista's Web site, www.sevista.com, and follows up with a sales contact.

Bill Wallace, president and chief operating officer at Sevista, said it was too early to discuss conversion numbers.

“But a good number of the people that we have been in contact with as a result of the newsletter have turned out to be good leads for us,” he said.

ECampaignManager is a Web-based tool that lets users create e-mail marketing campaigns, conduct surveys, send alerts, track responses and tabulate results in real time. Pricing starts at $1,000 per month up to $3,000 monthly depending on the number of messages a company sends and the number of campaigns it conducts.

The newsletter is designed to be informative and not come across as a product pitch.

“There will always be a subtle 'go the Web page' link where they can get more information on us and the product,” Wallace said. “But if you try to make it a heavy sell then you just lose them.”

The newsletter contains information and statistics compiled from third-party firms on the benefits and successes of e-mail marketing. Wallace said future newsletters would include case studies of Sevista clients.

“We want to change the visuals and feel of it from mailing to mailing,” he said. “It will always have that educational theme to it but we have to keep it fresh and change the things we talk about, otherwise it is just going to become junk mail in people's e-mail box.”

The second issue of the newsletter was mailed to 1,600 recipients. It went to the 1,200 who received the first newsletter plus 400 prospects who had requested more information from Sevista's sales staff. Sevista plans to send two issues per month to subscribers.

The product debuted in January and was marketed primarily through print advertising. But recently Sevista began using the newsletter as opposed to direct mail.

“Direct mail is too expensive with a low return rate,” said Susan Harman, senior vice president of marketing at Sevista. “The results do not come in immediately like they do with the newsletter.”

Mailing the newsletters costs roughly a penny per name, she said.

Wallace said newsletters are the best way to quickly and effectively get in touch and build relationships with prospects and customers. The instant feedback from recipients could be crucial to the direction of a campaign, he said.

“Having the ability to get responses in real time is critical,” he said. “It helps us decide how to tweak a campaign to be more effective or just cancel it altogether.”

The newsletter and the e-mailing campaigns are created and run in-house.

While Sevista is building a database with its growing list of subscribers from the newsletter, it said it would not offer or sell information to other parties.

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