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MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 - SAVE $700 - VIP PRICING ENDS THURSDAY
Jul 31, 2001
Case Study

Software Company Raises Sales 25% With Simple Email Follow-Up Campaign

SUMMARY: In what is now the classic tradition of software marketing, SustWorks offers free trial downloads from their Web site. While the company certainly had sales -- their clients included schools and even a Naval Research Lab -- they worried that their conversion rate wasn't high enough. Was there an inexpensive method to increase the number of trial downloads who actually returned to purchase the product? This quick Case Study details the solution they found -- a solution so simple any company could use it.
CHALLENGE

Sustainable Software (SustWorks) use 100% online marketing to sell their products to the small business and home office marketplace. In what is now the classic tradition of software marketing, they offer free trial downloads from their Web site. While the company certainly had sales -- their clients included schools and even a Naval Research Lab -- they worried that their conversion rate wasn't high enough.

Was there an inexpensive method to increase the number of trial downloads who actually returned to purchase the product?

CAMPAIGN

In March 2001, the Company brought in software marketing consultant Mike Diegel to see if he could help. Diegel decided that email relationship marketing was a great, inexpensive solution.

So, after carefully rewriting SustWorks' privacy policy, Diegel began an email program to increase conversions. Each free trial download lasts for 21 days. Now Diegel automatically emails the trials a note seven days after they start. He explains, "It gives them a reasonable chance to take a look, and it gives us a chance to do any customer support - fix problems - before the 21 days are up."

The email subject line reads, "Recent experience with SustWorks Software". Inside, the brief text note asks if everything is working all right, and it includes a link to the online customer support center. This new center is "a pretty slick private discussion board system an in-house tech created."

Diegel is careful to check the email box designated for replies to this campaign four-five times per business day, because some people will hit reply with their support questions rather than clicking on the online center link. His rule is that every single email is answered within 24 hours if not sooner.



RESULTS

SustWorks' download trial to paid conversion rate is now 25% higher across all products. Plus, the average daily units of software sold have gone up from 21-46% percent depending on product. Diegel says, "The only thing we can attribute it to is increased contact with the customer."

About 60% of the replies Diegel gets to his email campaign are people writing back to say, "Everything's fine." Many add a note saying they appreciate the follow-up. About 20% of replies have a slight question about the product. Often they were planning on checking with customer support but just hadn't gotten around to it. In these cases, the email may shorten the sales cycle. Another 20% of replies really need technical support to help them figure out how to use the product. In these cases, the email may have saved the sale.

A tiny handful of people have complained about the program since it started. A few had forgotten giving their email to SustWorks and wanted to know how the Company got it. Just a one was upset and felt he had been spammed. Diegel whipped out a personal email explaining the situation and apologizing. Diegel says, "While his first email was nasty, his reply to my explanation wasn't, and he apologized for his earlier tone." So a timely and obviously personal response (versus a form letter) saved the day.

To reach Diegel directly: mdiegel@sustworks.com

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