Short of holding continuing-education classes nationwide, how can you ensure that your product will stay in use? Dr. Andrew Wang, cofounder of $1.5-million BayWare, in San Mateo, California, dropped a postcard twice a month to his customers who were struggling to learn Japanese with the help of his first software offering, Power Japanese.

The neon-colored cards regaled the users--many of them business travelers--with tips on Japanese customs and pronunciations, printed in English and Japanese. "The postcards make us feel as though we are studying with the support of a group...they keep us motivated to keep learning," says a Power Japanese user. BayWare's cards kept arriving for a year--but only after a customer returned the registration card. A message flashed during installation, listing the rewards for registering. Some 60% of customers responded, which is about twice the norm.

Mailing out 5,000 postcards biweekly was a big job for BayWare's staff, but the $2,400 required to produce and mail monthly paled next to the payoff. "The purpose was to keep the language alive and keep in touch with customers," said Wang. "It's also turned out to be great for marketing."

Copyright 1997 G+J USA Publishing