WiredRed’s direct mail campaign spurs company growth

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For the first seven-and-a-half years of WiredRed’s existence, it grew slowly and organically. But in the last year-and-a-half, it has grown quickly, mostly due to an unorthodox direct mail program.

With the help of direct marketing agency Kern Organization, WiredRed—a provider of video conferencing, Web conferencing and online meeting software—decided on a mailing strategy not often employed: The company organized mail recipients’ names into “buckets” of 5,000, enabling it to mail out in groupings each week, adding and subtracting when necessary.

“So two weeks before Memorial Day, [mailings] can drop down and then we can pump it back up,” said Tom Toperczer, VP-marketing at WiredRed.

The main strategic benefit is to control the number of leads, so salespeople can deal with fewer clients and so provide better customer service.

“The most important thing is a quick response, which is possible using this formula,” Toperczer said. “That way, our customers immediately feel comfortable.”

Kern started mailing for WiredRed last year, testing creative, lists and incentives. Finally, WiredRed decided to offer potential customers a choice between a free trial or a live demo, as well as a free USB Flash drive or a gift certificate to to those taking part in a trial or a demo.

“The top-performing combination was the live demo with the USB Flash drive with a 2.2% lead rate,” said Josh Gold, an account director at Kern. Overall, Kern received a 1.38% lead rate that quarter.

The Amazon certificate brought in a 0.94% lead rate when combined with the live-demo option.

Later that year, Kern rolled out the live demo/USB Flash drive offer and tested two slightly different messages, which resulted in a 1.54% lead rate for one and 1.5% for the other.

“To this day, WiredRed is still getting sales from this mailing, and we don’t have a real explanation for it,” Gold said. He theorized that later mailings may have prompted recipients to revisit earlier mailings. “But we really have no way of knowing,” Gold said.

In the third quarter of last year, the numbers started to sag, with a 0.97% lead rate that went down even further, to 0.64% in the fourth quarter of 2006. But eventually sales began to increase. “It took six months to get the program dialed in,” Toperczer said, “but then things started to jump in the sales column after six or nine months. It was like having a baby.”

Because of the lagging lead-rate numbers, however, the direct mail creative and incentives were changed.

One new creative piece displayed new messaging and new colors, while the other compared WiredRed to its competitors, without naming names. “These are literally neck and neck,” said Gold. They both have a 1.19% lead rate.

The incentive was also tested early this year, this time with an offer of a USB Flash drive or an MP3 player.

The MP3 player had a 1.26% lead rate and the Flash drive had a 1.06% lead rate. This made the decision to offer the MP3 player in subsequent offerings easy.

At the start of the initial campaign, Kern also did an e-mail blast for WiredRed.

“It tanked,” Gold said. “These are IT guys, so you’d think they’d respond better to e-mail; but they suffer from the same over-saturation we all have. They delete what they don’t recognize.”

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