Case study: NEDS steps up e-mail efforts

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Data center and managed services company New England Data Services (NEDS) doesn’t get much of a chance to upsell its customers. Data center customers tend to have a “set it and forget it” attitude, meaning that once their servers are up and running, they don’t go back to their provider unless they have a problem, according to the company.

“We do data backup; we handle security,” said Brian Duke, senior sales executive, New England Data Services. “But most people never think about us again once they are set up.”

In a bid to keep the company fresh on its customers’ minds, Duke launched an e-mail marketing campaign about two years ago, sending messages out from the company’s own server.

NEDS started by sending out a simple newsletter on a semi-quarterly basis. “We were only doing it once in a while,” he said. “There was no set pattern, and we didn’t have an idea what we would send until we were working on it. It was usually: ‘Oh, we haven’t done a newsletter lately. Let’s get one out.’ We would send blasts about whatever was going on.”

There were several downsides to this approach, Duke said, and the campaigns received a lukewarm response at best. Most of the time, he didn’t even know if his e-mails were being delivered.

“We were sending them out and we couldn’t track what was being delivered and what bounced,” he said. “And when we did go through manually and look at what came back, we found that maybe 10% of e-mails were coming back.”

NEDS decided to move its e-mail marketing to an e-mail service provider, choosing StreamSend to handle its campaigns via dedicated IP address. In addition, NEDS started using StreamSend templates to give its mailings a consistent look and feel, Duke said, and created a regular quarterly schedule so he could start planning e-mail content well in advance.

As a result, e-mails go out regularly and contain a mix of tips, product information and security updates. Duke is also using e-mail to promote the company’s corporate blog. The biggest change, however, relates to conversion and click-throughs. Immediately after e-mails go out, the NEDS Web site sees page views increase by more than 400%, while the number of site visitors increases 300%. This translates into a 10% lift in Web site lead generation, he said.

“We’re really stepping up the quantity and quality of our communications,” Duke said. “And it’s enough to keep customers engaged and get them back to our Web site, which is what we wanted to do all along.”

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