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Jul 12, 2000
Case Study

FT Energy Uses Free Email Editorial to Sell High-Priced “Power” Report

SUMMARY: So you've got a list of customers who get your email newsletter, and you've got a hot new product to sell to them. If you abandon your regular editorial format in order to push the product you may end up with annoyed readers and few sales. Here's a tactic the Financial Times Energy Division uses instead.

Jon Starr, marketer for FT Energy’s Management Reports, had a hot new $300 report to sell entitled, “Power Market Risk Management: A Survival Guide,” but direct mail “response rates are decreasing and it takes a few months to produce and get results back from DM campaigns.” So, he decided to test online marketing.


Jon approached the editor of FT Energy’s daily email newsletter, Energy Insight. “We strive to get an article put into our newsletter about every report we do, but it’s up to the editor whether it’s a newsworthy topic or not. It can’t be just written by the marketing side. For this report, the Editor and I wrote page-long article that described why power companies should be embracing risk management as a tool. Luckily one company had just been burned on that aspect, so the Editor had a news item he was able to feed in.” The article included a fairly brief mention of the report with a link to a Web page. “We haven’t implemented online buying yet (although that’s on our development list for the future) so the Web page just had a brief 3-4 paragraph description of the report.” Interested buyers could respond via phone, email or fax.


More than a dozen of the 3,500 free opt-in subscribers bought the report within just a couple of days. Most ordered by faxing back the online order form.

NOTES: Starr says, “There’s very little trickery in online marketing. The key remains getting a timely message to a well-targeted audience. Email newsletters make it easier than direct mail is to be in the face of the right decision-maker.”
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