E-Mails Yield Book, Seminar Sales for Tom Peters

Book sales weren't the only result of an e-mail campaign designed to sell the newest release from business guru Tom Peters.

The Tom Peters Co., Cincinnati, sold just over 500 copies of “Re-imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age,” but it also might snare two registrations for a $1,595 workshop through the effort, which included an e-mail sent to 36,884 subscribers of Peters' monthly newsletter.

“Buy Re-imagine!” appeared at the top of the October e-mail. It also plugged a free online seminar in which Peters would discuss the book. Recipients could download a chapter, browse the table of contents, review notes that didn't fit in the book, participate in an online discussion and check his book tour schedule.

Also drawing a mention was the “Leadership Challenge” — described as a workshop encompassing leadership practices — in February. This generated 725 click-throughs to the online store and 205 book sales.

“We had a 36 percent open rate, and we had 692 people register for the free online seminar,” creative director Geoff Thatcher said. “We also had more than 1,300 people visit pages on our site devoted to Tom's book.”

Subscribers were targeted in another e-mail a week later. The online seminar was mentioned again along with the leadership workshop. This time, 128 recipients clicked through to the online store and 50 people bought the book.

“I tried to sneak an extra one in. It wasn't as effective,” Thatcher said. “It had an open rate of 32 percent with 2,741 going to a page where they could download the free chapter, and those registering for the online event totaled 251.”

The final effort, sent Nov. 7, also targeted the subscriber list, which had grown to 39,819. It opened by noting another free online seminar and included part of The New York Times' review of Peters' book, a mention of the Leadership Challenge and a plug for baseball hats priced at $14.95. That e-mail sold 30 books.

“The [last] e-mail had an open rate of 36 percent, with 138 visiting pages devoted to Tom's book and 777 registered for the online event that was free, but from that online event, we are negotiating a contract with a client to do some leadership coaching,” he said. “We also have in the works two people who look like they will sign up for the Leadership Challenge, so it looks like we will generate some income above and beyond what we hoped for regarding just the sales of the book.”

The book retails for $30 and was released at the end of September. It is Peters' 11th book in the past 22 years, during which time he has offered his thoughts regarding business and management.

Two earlier e-mails in September, which were text-only and included a 10 percent discount, were more targeted. The initial one went to the first 200 people who had reserved a copy of the book on the Web site and offered a signed copy. It also included a direct link to buy the book, plus a link to www.tompeters.com. The result: 115 books were sold. The second e-mail went to 350 others who had reserved a copy online. This generated 100 sales.

Overall, the campaign generated $20,000 in combined book sales and expected seminar attendance fees. SubscriberMail, Naperville, IL, an e-mail service provider, executed the campaign.

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