Tech Firm Hopes Mail Drop Gets Phone Ringing Again

Testware, a software and Web site tester, once needed only to answer the telephone to find new business. But with companies not spending amid the economic downturn, the phone has been ringing less, and so Testware is launching its first direct marketing campaign September 11.

Leslie Segal, president of Testware, Piscataway, NJ, said so many companies spent a lot of money the past few years to test the software running their Web sites that marketing wasn't necessary. Its clients included start-ups and Fortune 50 companies within all types of verticals.

Testware wants to ensure its first campaign makes a lasting impression by conducting a seven-piece direct mail effort that will be delivered over three weeks. The company plans to mail 200 people, targeting small, midsize and large businesses. Depending on company size, the campaign will target the chief information officer, the question-and-answer manager or the development manager.

Twenty-five percent of the targets are customers Testware has had in the past seven years, and the rest are prospects. The company is not mailing to just anyone, Segal said, as Testware did an outbound phone initiative to ensure potential prospects were just that.

“We did a lot of pre-calling before we decided who we were going to contact,” she said. “A lot of companies do not outsource this type of business, so we did not want to waste money and time reaching out to those people who would have no use for our services. We wanted to make sure they did [outsource] or were considering doing it.”

The campaign cost less than $50,000, Segal said, and depending on the size of the job, one customer could recoup the cost of the entire campaign.

The company wants to show recipients that Testware understands the software and Web site testing process and that it can make it easier.

“We know these people work late nights and worry a lot,” she said. “The idea is to show them that we feel their pain and know how they operate.”

The best way to emphasize the message was a food-for-thought theme, Testware concluded. The campaign centers on three main mail pieces. Each will be preceded and followed by a postcard, with a final postcard being delivered after the last piece has arrived.

The first piece will be delivered in a Domino's Pizza box containing a $10 gift certificate for Domino's as well as information on Testware and an offer for a white paper. A free analysis of the recipient's Web site by Testware is made in all three pieces.

The second piece will come in a Starbucks coffee box and contain a mug and a half-pound of decaffeinated coffee “so they can sleep,” Segal said. The third piece will be delivered with a box of Godiva chocolates.

The text within the pieces will be limited to descriptions of Testware, its services and how the accompanying gifts can be beneficial. The company opted for more images because its objective was to get prospects to the Web site, where it would provide more information.

“All we want to do is drive them to our Web site to help create a pipeline that we can connect with them through,” Segal said. “Our goal is to get 10 qualified leads in the pipeline for next year.”

Last year, the average sales cycle for Testware was three days. That has grown to three months. Segal said the campaign was launched now to line up prospects for next year.

“Companies are usually planning their budgets and how they are going to spend for the next year in October,” she said. “We want to get in their face before they commit any money to any projects.”

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