Online acquisition techniques to grow your database

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It's not news that marketers have a variety of online marketing tools they can use for lead generation - from search and e-mail to Web media such as banners and skyscrapers to co-registration. The challenge is in hitting the balance: getting the right mix of these tools to reach the right audience, at the right time, in the most cost-effective manner.

When it comes to converting prospects to customers, e-mailing your house list is still the most effective method, especially when you apply segmentation and the testing and refining of offers, messaging and timing. But before you can do all that, you need to build that list and keep it fresh. That's where online lead generation comes in.

To avoid wasting precious marketing dollars, a key goal with your online lead-generation activities should be to identify the most qualified customer at the best cost with the optimal volume of leads.

In this context, using search has its limitations. Yes, it's targeted but will you be in the realm of best cost with optimal volume? It's no secret that the cost of high value keywords continues to escalate. Marketers often build their online lead-generation campaigns around Web media, and for those marketers targeting narrow audiences such as travel or health-related segments, Web media can produce high performance metrics.

However, if your goal remains the same - that is to identify the most qualified customer as the best cost with the optimal value of leads - you may want to look at co-registration to form the core of your online advertising strategy.

To avoid certain pitfalls when developing your acquisition strategies, we suggest you remain firmly focused on brand image quality control. Best practices dictate carefully checking out the Web sites and/or networks where your media is placed, to ensure you avoid tarnishing the brand.

Make sure the sites where your co-registration appears gather information from consumers who have explicitly given permission for you to use personal information to market products and services to them. These sites and networks also need to have in place strong and specific consumer privacy protection policies.

If you have limited resources to help you reach your cost per registration or cost per lead goals, consider working with a company that understands how to hit the balance and achieve your targets.

Remember, an experienced and reputable online marketing firm embraces best practices while representing your, and their, best interests.

In addition, an experienced online marketing company knows the "soft spots" when it comes to managing data transfers, security issues, standardization of data and dealing with a multiplicity of vendors.

Hitting the online acquisition balance isn't as easy as it seems, but with a little forethought or help from an experienced online marketing partner, you can keep up with the latest site statistics and industry trends, know what sites to test and get the qualified leads you anticipate at the cost targets you have established.

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