Sales Soar After Pre-Release Effort

Inquiries and sales for new site-tracking software from Web applications provider NetIQ are nearly three times higher than expected after a pre-release direct marketing campaign.

“We have nearly doubled or tripled all of the categories we track when we run a direct campaign,” said Barry Pashall, corporate product manager for WebTrends Products, Houston, a division of NetIQ. “That includes response numbers, downloads, number of sales and the dollar amount of sales.”

The campaign, which ran from the end of May through mid-June, involved direct mail, e-mail and online advertising. The goal was to build interest for WebTrends Reporting Center 5.0 with IT managers, Web marketing managers and executive-level people involved in the decision process for purchases.

The campaign theme conveyed the difference between basing your business decisions on guesswork as opposed to the “insight that can be obtained from actual facts using WebTrends Reporting Center.”

NetIQ began a three-step direct mail campaign the last week of May to 17,000 marketing executives at Fortune 1,000 companies.

Playing on the guesswork vs. facts theme, the pieces discussed the difference between using fortune telling, horoscopes and palm reading instead of facts. The text was limited and quickly gets to the call to action, which is to visit a microsite where prospects could sign up for a free Web seminar and get a free white paper titled “Winning on the Web: The Executive Pocket Guide to Smarter Marketing.”

“We went with multiple mailings because we wanted to enhance the number of impressions,” said Eric Anderson, director of marketing at White Horse, Portland, OR, the agency that handled all of the creative for NetIQ. “There is always the possibility that it will take a couple of attempts to get your piece on the desk of your target, and the more times they see your messaging, the better chance you have of them understanding the significance of your product.”

The e-mail campaign was targeted at 50,000 people. The list was taken from a database of current NetIQ customers.

“The e-mail has a very direct call to action,” Anderson said. “We put a small amount of text in the e-mail and tried to get right to [the] call to action.”

Recipients of the e-mail were given a 50 percent-off offer on the product along with an invitation to attend a free Webcast. Five bullet points outlined the features and capabilities of the product, and a link to a microsite was at the bottom of the e-mail.

The sales cycle could range from a few days to several months, but Pashall said the average time is three to four weeks.

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