Co-registration: The secret to growing your e-mail lists

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Elie Ashery
Elie Ashery

In the world of e-mail marketing, buying a list is considered a big faux pas amongst permission fanatics and professional e-mail marketing pundits alike. In fact, the practice is so loathed that the mere mention of a purchased list can get you banned by a mainstream e-mail service provider. So what's a marketer to do when it wants to engage in e-mail marketing but doesn't have a year or so to grow a list organically?

Fortunately, some very creative, yet somewhat desperate marketer came up with the idea of co-registration and the e-mail list industry has run amok with the concept ever since. For those you not familiar with the practice, co-registration is when your opt-in offer appears alongside or after the opt-in form of another Web site. The idea behind this is that since it's sometimes dif­ficult and time consuming to get people to come to your Web site to opt in, it is easier to syndicate your opt-in offer to other Web sites. If done properly, co-registration has proven to be an effective way to grow your e-mail lists. However, just as with anything in the list industry, it has been abused and twisted to meet marketers' objectives.

You have two choices if you decide to use co-registration — the do-it-yourself approach or the ad network approach. The do-it-yourself approach to co-registration is highly effective if your market is finite with a limited number of Web sites catering to it. Here you would simply try to cut deals with Web site owners to place your opt-in offer alongside theirs with a checkbox next to it. These types of deals are usually done on a price per lead or barter basis. With barter, you would simply return the favor on your Web site.

For the time-crunched marketer who is concerned about volume, going the ad network route is probably your only choice. With an ad network, your opt-in offer is syndicated on a multitude of Web sites based on demographics, geo location and a host of other variables.

Deals are usually made on a flat price per acquisition (PPA) with minimum orders depend­ing on the type of acquisition sought and quality of data collected. Some new co-regis­tration ad networks are turning to market forces with an auction style system to determine price and placement.

Whichever method you use for co-registration, make sure your co-registration offers are accurate. If you say you will send e-mail once a week, make sure these recipients don't end up on your daily list. Also, if you work with an ad network, insist that you know where your opt-ins are coming from so that you can refer­ence the Web site in your introductory e-mail. This will minimize list attrition and remind the person that they opted into your list. Do not accept an offer from an ad network that is blind. This might work for banners but not for opt-ins.

You should send the introductory e-mail as soon as possible — people forget that they opted-in, or they lose interest. Finally, do not have the opt-in checkbox pre-marked and don't use an ad network with this practice. If someone doesn't click a checkbox to say that they want to hear from you then they probably don't want to hear from you. It's simply wasted money.

Elie Ashery is president and CEO at Gold Lasso. You can reach him at eashery@goldlasso.com.

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