ESoft E-Mails Draw Customer Leads

A lead-generation campaign begun this summer is producing about double the number of leads generated a year ago for a computer network security firm.

ESoft Inc., Broomfield, CO, is targeting more than 40,000 IT professionals via two e-mails. One offers a free vulnerability scan, the other a free white paper: “Why Your Network May Not Be as Secure as It Should Be.”

The ability to produce instant results was part of the reason for the e-mail effort.

“You get immediate feedback from the audience,” said Reid Hislop, eSoft's vice president of marketing. “Our community is the IT professional who spends the majority of his time doing research online.”

Hislop's company provides software and hardware solutions such as anti-virus, spam filters and content filters as well as firewalls.

Marketing agency Leopard, Boulder, CO, designed the campaign for eSoft.

Both e-mails employ a basic look and start with: “Cyber attacks are increasing both in frequency and intensity. And while the bottom-line costs to organizations like yours can be enormous, the opportunity costs can be even greater.”

The “vulnerability scan” e-mail is three paragraphs. The “white paper” e-mail is four paragraphs and mentions eSoft's security solutions. It also offers a rebate of up to $1,000 “when you trade in your existing security product for an eSoft solution.”

Sources for the e-mail list included Infosecurity Magazine (just over 4,000); Security Wire Digest, which includes subscribers to its online newsletter in Europe and North America (20,000 combined); SC Magazine, which serves IT professionals in the security arena (6,000); and Baseline, a general IT publication focused on the implementers of IT solutions (11,000).

More than 41,000 people got both e-mails. Criteria used in the selection included companies with greater than $10 million in revenue, more than 100 employees, title and product interest.

The first vulnerability-scan e-mail went July 17 while the first white-paper e-mail was sent July 10. The effort concludes this month.

“The bulk of the response is realized in the first 48 hours after an e-mail is sent,” said Jody Eichler, director of online marketing at Leopard, who added that the HTML e-mails outperformed the text-only versions.

Of the white-paper e-mails, 974 visitors, defined as someone who clicked through the e-mail and went to a unique landing page, were recorded for a 2.34 percent click-through rate. Of those who clicked through, 41.27 percent completed the form on the landing page and submitted it.

Of the 30,296 vulnerability-scan e-mails tabulated so far, 466 visitors were recorded for a 1.54 percent click-through rate. Nearly 15 percent of those recipients submitted the form on the landing page.

But the lead-to-close ratio is what's crucial.

“We get a much higher close ratio off the smaller number of leads through V Scan, and that's what matters for us,” Eichler said. “They believe they have an issue they need to solve, and a lot of times we can solve that for them, whereas the white paper translates into a greater number of leads for us, [giving] us more awareness than high-quality leads.”

He estimated that each new customer could generate $15,000-$20,000 annually. The cost of the campaign included list acquisition expenses of about $28,000 and around $15,000 in fees to Leopard to manage and submit the creative as well as media planning and tracking results.

“We are getting people who have been hit before and who didn't respond, but they are now viewing us as a credible player,” Eichler said. “Before Q3 last year, we were doing 200 to 300 leads per quarter.”

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