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Paper Marketplace E-Mails Grow Newsletter

PaperExchange, a business-to-business marketplace for the paper and pulp industry, has experienced response rates as high as 35 percent for its first e-mail marketing campaign.

“The markets lend themselves to direct marketing, and more importantly, to e-marketing,” said Sharon Rice, PaperExchange's chief marketing officer. “You can really pinpoint exactly what product the customer wants, at what point in time, and provide that offer to him.”

The company has seven vertical markets, including recycled paper and printing and writing paper, giving it the ability to better target its customers.

PaperExchange used Ruder Finn, New York, an online marketing company, for the campaign.

PaperExchange, Boston, has sent out monthly e-mails to 3,000 of its 6,000 active members since the campaign kicked off in January.

The first phase was to communicate more effectively with customers, providing them with information on new products, industry news and offerings at PaperExchange. The company also announced a free, daily e-mail newsletter scheduled to launch next month.

In February, PaperExchange sent e-mails to subscribe to the newsletter. The company saw a 30 percent response rate for more information and an 11 percent subscription rate.

In March, PaperExchange followed up with members who had not subscribed with a different e-mail. The company changed the subject line from “Exclusive Free Offer for PaperExchange Members” to “Special Privilege for Members Only.”

This time it received a 35 percent response rate and 5.8 percent subscription rate.

“We're really trying to understand the behavior of the membership base and trying to figure out what it wants and reacts to,” said Rowland Hobbs, senior vice president at Ruder Finn. “I had hesitation at first, and worried about the membership base feeling like they were getting spammed. But we discovered that it worked out because people in this industry don't check their e-mail as often.”

Ruder Finn plans another e-mail promoting the newsletter sometime next week, Hobbs said.

The third phase of the campaign, which began in late February, used e-mail to promote new products for sale at www.paperexchange.com. In contrast to the first two phases, however, these messages were sent to only a few dozen people at a time.

Members were targeted based on the information they provided at registration, representatives from both companies said. Meanwhile, the e-mails contained links to pages at the site that offered information on the new products.

Hobbs said though it was too early to determine conversion rates, the e-mails received responses ranging from 12 to 35 percent.

“We've been pleased with it because we feel that if you can target and pinpoint the right offer to the right customer, you're always doing a good job for your business and your customer, ” Rice said.

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