An E-Mail Tool for Multi-Level Marketers

E-mail service provider IMN is launching a version of its technology aimed at wooing the Amways, Pampered Chefs and Avons of the world.

The company’s tool, which is called Party Pulse, is being initially rolled out to IMN’s client, PartyLite, a division of home furnishings and fragrances company Blyth. PartyLite, according to the company, is one of the largest direct sellers of candles and home accessories in North America.

The “party” in both the product and the client’s names refers to the primary method of selling for companies with this model — the house party. In this scenario, the sales consultant — an independent businessperson who sells the company’s products — asks friends and acquaintances to host parties, where the products are shown off and sold.

“About half of the industry uses the party plan model,” said David Fish, CEO of IMN.

IMN’s Party Pulse lets the parent company control the content of the email newsletters that are sent out to customers and prospective customers. The messages are customized to appear to be “from” the sales consultant who collected their addresses, with whom the customer or prospect has a relationship. Sales consultants get monthly emailed reports aimed at helping them build relationships and learn customers’ interests.

“This is the notion of personalization at the intermediary level,” said Fish.

In initial tests, each monthly newsletter has an open rate of 30 percent, and 10 percent of those who open click through to hostess specials — the incentives given to those who agree to host a party. The company says that of people who open the newsletter, 26 percent spend more than three minutes reading it.

PartyLite has 42,000 sales consultants in North America and plans to roll out the tool to all of them.

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