Maccel Group knows direct mail. As a firm specializing in market planning, launch strategies, and lead generation, Maccel had used direct mail many times for promotion. It ran a seminar using only direct mail marketing, for example.
This time, it wanted to try something different. Instead of promoting its recent seminar with direct mail, Maccel Group turned to email. In doing so, it reduced costs by almost 50 percent and saw a huge jump in attendance.
Here’s how. Maccel Group worked with Blue Ink Solutions, an email marketing consulting firm, to put together a database of recipients. The opt-in database was compiled from several lists, ranging from specialized industry publications to more aggregated business-to-business (B2B) lists.
Maccel Group composed creative that was reviewed and tweaked by Blue Ink Solutions. (One tweak was adding a line saying if a recipient couldn’t attend the seminar, he could sign up to be notified about future events. That addition grew the list about 29 percent.) The mailing, sent about two weeks before the February 28 event, began this way:
This FREE Seminar Will Change the Way You Approach Marketing…
Want to learn the secrets of the high-tech marketing pros? In this FREE half-day seminar, you will find out how to create competitive advantage in today’s high-tech marketplace using proven strategies, innovative marketing tools, and high-tech marketing best practices. CLICK HERE to find out more.
Those who responded to the mailing — and only those who responded — received a series of messages. First, they got a short confirmation message, thanking them for registering and reminding them of details, such as seminar location.
Next, Maccel Group sent out a short email message listing a sampling of registered companies. It included the following text:
We thank you for your interest and thought you’d like to know some of the other stellar companies that are planning on attending…. The seminar should prove to be a good networking event as well as informative! So make sure you have marked Traction Marketing Seminar on your calendar.
Great idea. Just because someone registered for the seminar doesn’t mean she would necessarily attend (always a risk when conducting a free seminar), so the mailing helped solidify the registrant base. Doing this cost next to nothing.
A couple days before the event, a final reminder was sent with directions, location, and so forth. After the seminar, Maccel Group sent out a few more email communications, including a thank-you note and an offer for a free service.
So how did all this stack up against the previous direct mail efforts? Email won handily:
- Speed. Email interaction took place in minutes, not days. Because it is more two-way than direct mail, it allowed for better communication. After the reminder message was sent, a few registrants canceled. Maccel Group was able to pull some names off the waiting list and quickly add them to the sold-out event.
- Targeting. Maccel Group had a specific target audience in mind. Blue Ink Solutions had experience locating vertical lists. Email made it easy to filter the database geographically.
- Cost-effectiveness. The cost of putting on the seminar — including the cost of hiring the email marketing firm — dropped by 43 percent.
- Attendance. This one is a bit tougher to compare apples to apples, because the seminar, which formerly had a nominal charge, was free for the first time. Attendance did jump 240 percent, and my opinion is that surely that can’t all be attributed to the price drop.
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As an email marketer, I would rather have 100 customers who open and engage with my messages than 10,000 who don't.