Simple Design Gets Results for Mailer

A no-frills self-mailer from software developer WXSolutions apparently has struck a chord with recipients. The 500-piece mailing in late January has resulted in 25 responses, including 10 classified, as strong leads.

The piece, which measures 8 inches by 11 inches, contains a brief introduction for WXMaestro, the company's new Web management tool, on the front. The response mechanisms are an invitation to call a toll-free number or visit for a “demonstration of how to take back control of your Web site.” A resume of a fictional failed dot-commer appears on the back.

“The resume is intended to represent a person like many of the people who started Web development and management companies a few years back,” said Bob Chew, the company's vice president of business development. “They originally had a job flipping burgers, then started a company, and with the introduction of WXMaestro there is no longer a need for them so they are back to flipping burgers.”

The mailer was designed to appear conservative at first glance and then hit people with the comedic tone once they read the back, Chew said.

WXSolutions works with small to midsize companies. The company expects to mail 15,000 pieces by the end of April.

“The mailings are being sent to two groups,” Chew said. “The first group is a wide range of companies including media publications and research groups. We wanted to raise awareness in these groups and contact people who might have an interest in the developments taking place in our space.”

The second group, which will account for 30 percent of the 15,000 pieces, will go to companies in vertical markets such as government, education, nonprofit and financial services. The mailings will be identical, except that pieces going to the second group will include a sticker inviting recipients to attend a seminar in their area or to visit the Web site to register for one.

“The idea behind this mailing was to get people back to our Web site in order to get them to attend one of our seminars,” Chew said. “It's at the seminars where we begin to create a dialogue with them and make our pitch.”

This is the first major direct marketing effort for the product. The total cost of the campaign is less than $25,000.

Mailings were sent to the marketing and communications executives. Chew said WXMaestro is designed for use by nontechnical people, but most of the time the mailing is forwarded to the technical people within a company.

“There are a lot of people that feel they can't use the Internet properly for Web communications,” he said. “They feel it's either because they don't have the time or the funds to do it.”

WXSolutions worked with Bryant Fulton and Shee Advertising, Vancouver, British Columbia, on the campaign.

Pricing for WXMaestro is based on two separate programs. If it is set up as an application service provider, the pricing is based on the number of pages being managed, and it will cost an average of $20,000 a year. If it is set up as a server to be run by the company itself it will cost an average of $70,000 a year.

The average sales cycle for the product is two months.

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