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ELetter.com to Automate Mass (Snail) Mailing

By Gary Gately
May 11, 1999 12:00 AM PT

Mass mailings, the bane of small and mid-sized businesses lacking the means to outsource, just got a whole lot simpler -- and cheaper, says an Internet start-up seeking to tap into the multi-billion-dollar annual market.

ELetter.com to Automate Mass (Snail) Mailing

San Francisco, California-based Eletter, Inc. ELetter says its new online service will allow businesses to quickly and easily outsource a mailing -- from production to distribution -- without ever leaving the desktop.

ELetter promises companies can reduce to minutes the days or even weeks normally spent manually printing, folding, stuffing, addressing and mailing. In addition, business using the new service will save up to 50 percent, compared with costs of traditional mass mailings, ELetter claims.

The company noted U.S. Postal Service figures that put the cost of postage alone at more than $6 billion (US$) for mass mailings by 10 million small- to mid-size firms. More than 90 percent of them, ELetter says, prepare and manage mailings manually because of the lack of affordable alternatives.

From 50 Postcards to 5,000 Brochures

"These smaller businesses are often turned away from mailing houses because their quantities are too low, and retail print shops offer no relief for the manual labor and time-sink involved with stuffing, addressing, stamping and sending mail," said Manish Mehta, ELetter president and CEO.

"ELetter has automated the entire process right from the Internet so that organizations can save up to 50 percent, whether they are sending 50 postcards or 5,000 full color brochures, and completely eliminating the need to manually prepare direct mail jobs.''

The company also announced that it has raised $3.5 million of venture capital, with Trident Capital as lead investor and additional capital from Artemis Ventures and individual investors.

ELetter promises savings of up to 50 percent on printing costs too, with its "ColorGauge" system that charges customers only for the amount of ink used.

To use the service, users upload a mailing list, then upload their mail content in almost any file format. ELetter will produce a wide variety of mailings from black-and-white letters to postcards and full-color newsletters or brochures. The user then chooses production and mailing options.

ELetter is offered online through its site as well as portals including infoUSA, ThinkDirectMarketing.com and iMall. Production prices start at 14 cents a postcard, 26 cents a letter and 80 cents for an eight-page booklet. Each ELetter customer also receives discounts on postage. A First Class stamp, for example, will cost 27 cents from ELetter vs. 33 cents at the Post Office.


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