netgenShopper is a online buyer/seller matching service enabling local businesses to find new customers in their own region. This start-up’s executive management team all have marketing backgrounds -- and it shows. We asked President Mike Kohonoski to tell us how they used a national broadcast email marketing campaign to sign up small businesses for their service.
netgenShopper created their email campaign entirely in-house. “List buying was quite a process in terms of doing research. We talked to other people who’d used lists we were considering and talked with vendors to definitely make sure they were opt-in lists.” PostmasterDirect was one of several list vendors used. The offer was a 90 day free trial to the service.
In general, the campaign had successful open rates in excess of 40% with conversion rates nearing 3%.
Like most smart direct marketers, the team at netgenShopper added a number of tests to this campaign so they could learn as much as possible about what works with their target audience, and hone future pitches. “In total we tested a half dozen messages across a variety of lists.” Kohonoskitold us his top four lessons learned:
1. “Free” in the subject line: “We were concerned about that because so many email systems supposedly filter out messages with it, but it proved not to be an issue. ‘Free’ worked very well.”
2. Text vs. HTML: “Clearly html was a huge winner.”
3. Message tone: “More formal and benefit-oriented messages work well with small businesses, vs. casual and more hyper messages.”
4. Response forms inside the message vs. links to a site form: “Merchants looked at having the sign-up process inside the email as a positive thing.”
NOTES: Kohonoski says to limit sales benefits listed in your copy to just three “that number is an easy number to read.”
What’s netgenShopper testing next? “We’ll get even more targeted and create messages to specific industry types.”
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