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Symantec Corp.'s Small Business division looked to online direct marketing to stimulate requests for free downloadable trial software and its Trialware CD-ROM.

NetMarquee, an online direct agency in Needham, Mass., created an e-mail newsletter and a Web site for the division to boost interest in the software and help determine the future course of Symantec's direct marketing.

The newsletter goes to existing customers in the Symantec database, as well as other visitors who've registered on the division's Web site (www.smallbiz.symantec.com).

The personalized newsletter is e-mailed monthly to build relationships with customers. Content talks about Symantec and benefits for product owners, and also offers information about the high-tech industry that isn't necessarily product-related.

The newsletter also refers readers to the Web site, where they can download the trial software.

The Web site is meant to encourage requests and downloads by making it easy to find trial software on each page. It also incorporates editorial content to involve the potential customer.

"We made the information useful and interesting, but also integrated direct marketing components with it," said David Gumpert, chairman and executive producer at NetMarquee.

NetMarquee tracks visitors to the site through "click-stream reporting," and can determine information such as how the individual got to the URL, where they exit and what action they take.

The agency uses this information to build a body of data on each individual and reports it back to Symantec.

Ongoing communication with customers has revealed an interest in sales promotions, so NetMarquee now is experimenting with contests and promotional

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