E-mail helped rescue a marketing campaign by software provider iManage last fall after the terrorist attacks, anthrax fears and post office closures contributed to disappointing response rates for the direct mail portion.
The company sent three sets of 25,000 mail pieces and 25,000 e-mails last fall to promote its iManage Worksite software and a series of Webinars that took place Oct. 31, Nov. 7 and Nov. 14. The direct mail portion generated less than 1 percent to 2 percent, and the e-mail effort outperformed it by nearly 30 percent, said Dan Carmel, vice president of marketing and business development at iManage, San Mateo, CA.
“We had to deal with the attacks and some major postal issues such as post offices being shut down and people just being afraid of the mail,” he said. “I believe those were major contributors to the low response rate on the physical mail and that it would have done better in different circumstances.”
IManage began the effort right before Sept. 11. The second set of direct mail and e-mails went out in late September, followed by another drop in mid-October. Though Carmel would not provide numbers, he said the final direct mail piece nearly doubled the response of the first two.
Nearly 1,000 people participated in the Webinars. Despite the sluggish direct mail response, Carmel said the number of qualified leads exceeded what the company expected and that 15 percent of those who signed up for a Webinar participated in more than one.
IManage.com targeted managers in sales, marketing, customer service and manufacturing as well as IT people within mid- to large-sized companies. Among the verticals targeted were legal, financial services, government, manufacturing and hi-tech.
The e-mail effort represented the company's first major campaign in the medium.
“We learned that e-mail is a very effective means of communication and has the ability to get response rates that rival or exceed direct mail, and at a much lower cost,” he said. “It will definitely become a more integral part of our future campaigns.”
The three direct mail pieces used similar imagery of a person with his head in his hands looking dejected.
“The theme was to tell people not to end up like these people and here's how,” Carmel said.
The self-mailers opened to contain an outline of what could be expected at the Webinar and what topic would be discussed. The session topics were: seven keys to document and content management success; seven keys to e-collaboration success; and seven keys to corporate portal success.
Also included was information on the speakers, how to register and a sweepstakes offer for a digital camera. Recipients could register through an included business reply card or by visiting www.image.com/portal.
The e-mail and direct mail pieces collected information from recipients, including company size and number of locations.
The campaign cost more than $100,000, Carmel said. The cost of licensing the iManage WorkSite begins at $50,000 and runs into the millions depending on the needs of the user.