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H Keep nudging the customer: It may seem like nagging, but trialware conversion rates usually jump when users get two or three e-mail reminders during the trial period. "At ScanSoft, we offer a 20-day trial,' says Michael D'Arrigo. "During that 20-day period, the user receives three e-mails. The first is a confirmation/thank you and provides support contact information and a low-key purchase offer. The second e-mail is mailed ten days into the trial period and reminds the user that the trial period will be coming to an end, gives some tips and tricks on using the product, and includes a stronger call to action. The final e-mail drops five days before the trial expires and is a strong 'last chance' call to action."

Michael D'Arrigo, direct marketing manager, ScanSoft, 100 Cooper Ct., Los Gatos, Calif. 95032; 408/395-5148. E-mail:

H Offer a post-trial discount: "In one of our early experiences with e- mail," says Matt Artz of ESRI, "we had about a thousand valid e-mail addresses for people who had downloaded an evaluation version of one of our products. We spent about two hours drafting a very brief e-mail that basically said, 'Thanks for evaluating our software--if you liked it, we've arranged a special deal where you can take $100 off the price if you call within the next ten days.' Within ten days we generated $20,000 from this one campaign, about a 20% response rate!" Artz says the offer succeeded in part because the discount was impressive (one- third off the regular $299 price) and there was no complicated marketing message. "And the timing was right--their evaluation version had expired and the product was fresh in their minds."

Matt Artz, manager/product marketing group, ESRI, 380 New York St., Redlands, Calif. 92373; 909/793-2853. E-mail:

H Develop a series of interconnected offers: Bytes of Learning sells software to educators, who are notoriously prickly about commercial e- mail messages--but Conrad Noll says his company can usually send two sales letters a month without getting complaints. The secret, he says, is to avoid repeating the same basic offer; instead, his company sends short sales letters that link prospects to different discounts, trial downloads, and content samples on the Web site. Over time, the campaign creates "an ongoing impression of the product which builds to the point when they accept the offer and make a purchase."

Conrad Noll, director of sales & marketing, Bytes of Learning, 8675 12th Ave., Burnaby, B.C. V3N 2M1; 604/521-6485. E-mail:

H Build an educational campaign: Especially for products with long sales cycles, says KnowledgePoint's Ian Alexander, a multi-part e-mail campaign may be more effective than an occasional single sales letter. "Many of the leads we get for our Performance Impact product may never close, and many are six months away from being a qualified 'prospect,'" he says. "For this product, we've created a twelve-month e-mail campaign. Each month they get an e-mail that educates them about issues surrounding performance management. We give them statistics, insight into best practices, etc., as well as deeper info about the product. With each e-mail we give them an opportunity to request a price quote or get a free demo CD. The result is that we touch the client for twelve months or until they buy or say stop--and our price quote requests have gone through the roof."

Ian Alexander, vice president of marketing & sales, KnowledgePoint, 1129 Industrial Ave., Petaluma, Calif. 94952; 707/762-0333. E-mail:

H Advertise a seminar: E-mail seems to be replacing expensive direct- mail campaigns as a way to promote seminar and conference attendance. LionBridge marketing director Stu Cartwright recently used his e-mail newsletter to advertise a Web seminar. "Despite rumors of 'slow summer months,'" he says, "we attracted over 200 registrations to each Web seminar. Interestingly, the closer to the event date that we mailed the notification, the higher the registration--just the opposite of all traditional event marketing maxims."

Stu Cartwright, director of marketing, LionBridge Technologies, 950 Winter St., Waltham, Mass. 02451; 781/434-6004. E-mail:

H Offer a pass-along incentive: To attract signups for its Web Attack conference in New York City, the Iconocast newsletter created a rich media e-mail that featured King Kong rampaging through Manhattan with a "personal message" from editor Michael Tchong. Recipients were also asked to forward the e-mail to their friends, with a DVD player as a prize for the most messages forwarded. "We discovered that when you incentivize people, they go crazy," says Iconcast marketing director Greg Ogarrio. "We were able to track messages that were forwarded, and we found that 295 people sent out 8,268 copies of the e-mail. Our e- mail was everywhere."

Greg Ogarrio, marketing director, Iconocast, 470 Third St., San Francisco, Calif. 94107; 415/778-0805. E-mail:
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Date:Nov 15, 2000

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