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Glue Dots follows metrics to ensure postevent e-mails stick

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Glue Dots International is a small company with a big reach. Its pressure-sensitive glue products are sold to industrial manufacturers as well as large craft stores across the country. The company sells through a network of distributor representatives who work with customers and create orders. To help those distributors identify new leads, Glue Dots attends seven to nine trade shows throughout the year. It also passes on leads generated by its Web site.

But Jenny Stagliano, Glue Dots International's marketing communications manager, said there was a problem with this practice: The company had no way of making sure distributors followed up on the leads. In fact, it wasn't uncommon after a trade show to get complaints from prospects who never received more information.

"We'd sometimes get calls from prospects saying that they didn't hear from the distributors," she said. "We needed a way to give prospects more information, and to make sure they were able to buy from us right away."

Stagliano solved this problem by creating special e-mail messaging that goes out post-trade show to an average of 180 leads. (The postshow messages go out in addition to the company's existing, monthly e-newsletter, which it sends to current customers via e-mail service provider Vertical Response.)

The messaging is designed to let prospects know which distributors will be following up with them, and to extend special pricing and offers originally available at the trade show.

"We want people to feel serviced as soon as they make an initial contact with the company," she said. "We also wanted to let distributors know that if they don't follow up in a timely fashion, those leads will be passed to another distributor."

Stagliano's challenge was to create a newsletter that would have a high open rate and convert prospects into customers, which is why she did careful testing and metrics tracking before deciding on copy and design, she said.

For example, Stagliano wanted to see if moving the show special offer from the bottom of the e-mail to the top would have an impact. It did, she said: E-mails with this information at the bottom had a 50% open rate, a 1% unsubscribe rate, 12% click-through, and 4% conversion rate. E-mails that lead with the show special had a 54% open rate, a 1% unsubscribe rate, 14% click-through rate and conversion rate of 7%, she said.

Today, every postshow e-mail that goes out leads with that show special message to help boost sales and conversions.

"Metrics are definitely important," she said. "They really help us target our sales efforts and keep pace with the best practices that are performed by larger companies."

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