Build your list with co-registration

Collecting customer opt-ins while they register on other Web sites has become a common way to build e-mail lists. Four industry experts explore this cost-effective strategy.

Thomas Harpointer
CEO and founder, AIS Media

One of the biggest challenges that all marketers face is list-building. Many rely on traffic to their Web site and existing customers, but how many people opt in that don’t know your company? Opt-in e-mail lists are a top priority, espe­cially with today’s increased postal costs, which may mean shifting budgets to e-mail. One of the best ways to get new leads is to reach out to other places where those folks are surfing anyway. Co-registration is a fantastic way for marketers to expand their market at a fairly limited, controllable cost.

The primary challenge is to find Web sites that have a similar audience that the advertiser is interested in. If someone publishes a financial newslet­ter, for example, it would be great to get their co-registration offer on — although it might be very expen­sive to do so since it’s a high-traffic por­tal. Another option in this case would be for co-registration offers to show up in complementary financial newsletters that don’t directly compete with the advertiser’s service or offering.

Free ways to get co-registration deals include looking for co-operative efforts between competitors, or paying a low price or establishing a barter deal with an e-zine or portal to get listed.

For a more expensive co-registration deal — for example, a health offer on WebMD— marketers need to know their audience and have a number in mind in terms of what their ideal cost per acquisition is. A company selling high-end financial planning, for instance, might only have 25,000 ideal prospects. For a company like that, it may be will­ing to pay up to $20 per customer acqui­sition. But for a small electronics retailer selling digital cameras, even $1 may be too much to pay.

Co-registration is really a shortcut to building your e-mail list. It’s not always free and you need to monitor it, but for any company looking to build a permission-based list, co-registration has to be part of that strategy.

Have a number in mind in terms of your ideal cost per acquisition

Jay Schwedelson
Corporate VP, Worldata

Co-registration is a very cost-effective way to grow your list uni­verse. The quality of the names you receive from your co-registration effort depends entirely on the sites and media partners you choose to work with. The consumer side of co-registration is a minefield of poorly developed co-registration networks. The b-to-b category is more reliable in many cases in terms of lead quality. Regard­less of target, co-registration can be a terrific new lead generation source if done properly.

Co-registration differs from buying a list because these names represent potential customers who have “raised a hand” and said “I am interested in your product or service.” This is in contrast to purchasing a list of people that you hope are interested in your product or service based on inherent data.

The key first step is to understand what information you want to collect. Do you want to collect phone numbers, e-mail addresses or to ask an additional custom question? After that, the key decision is what type and how aggres­sive of an offer you want to use.

The buys are priced based on how strong the incentive is in the offer, the fields the advertiser wants to collect and the target audience that it is trying to reach. But make sure not to go too far with incentives. The more the offer strays from the actual product or service the less likely that the lead will have a strong lifetime value.

Co-registration is taking on many new forms. In the next few years we will begin to see co-registration in every area of our daily lives. When you get your e-ticket at the airport, after you pay your credit card bill and just about anywhere you provide your contact information either online or offline. It is a controlled and cost-effective method to grow your customer base.

Make sure that you understand what information you’re looking to collect

Ben Chestnut

Co-founder, MailChimp

Spam laws and the efforts of anti-spam groups are educating new market­ers about the proper way to grow their lists and, as a result, co-registration is growing. Faced with the fear of a hefty fine from the FTC, they’re beginning to understand that just purchasing a CD-ROM with 30 million e-mails on it is not the right way to generate awareness.

A company that would benefit from using co-registration is one that needs to grow its e-mail list but doesn’t have the traffic on its own Web site; has an e-mail marketing strategy and e-mail market­ing program in place already (newbies and co-registration don’t mix well); and knows how to measure and optimize its e-mail marketing ROI.

Try to pick a co-registration site that is somewhat related to yours. It’s a lit­tle like Google PPC advertising, where you want your ad to show up on certain keyword searches. If you sell gifts on your Web site, arrange co-registration with another gift/e-commerce store. I know a store owner who sells gourmet food online and has co-registration deals on sites where people give gifts such as flowers or travel.

To see success in co-registration, put yourself in the shoes of the recipient. Someone registers to your list from a totally different Web site. Maybe it was because of an incentive you’re giving, or maybe it was an impulse buy. When they receive an e-mail from you, they may not remember who you are. Make sure the branding is consistent. Send a follow-up e-mail very soon (if not instantly after co-registration occurs). Be sure to do everything you can to minimize surprises, so you prevent false spam complaints.

When and if you merge co-registered leads into your master database, keep a note in their record that they were co-registered and from what source. You may want to segment your list and send special offers to people who co-registered from other sites, or run A/B tests on the ROI of co-registered vs. on-site subscribers.

Note in your database when a customer comes from a co-registration source

Elie Ashery
President and CEO, Gold Lasso

The Word is getting out about co-registration, which up until recently was a little-known industry secret. After all, marketers are always looking for the best performing media and, since co-registration is a pay-for-performance model, it’s a great alternative to paying for clicks and impressions.

Companies who sell goods and ser­vices with high price points are typical users of co-registration, but companies that engage in mass marketing for lower-priced consumer items are also looking at co-registration as a cost-effective way to grow their house list.

Costs can vary greatly depending on the type of data and co-registration leads collected. I’ve seen consumer leads range from 30 cents to $15, and b-to-b leads range from $10-$50. I think, because the co-registration marketplace is so frag­mented, supply and demand forces play a large role in determining price.

For a long while, co-registration has been considered a black box industry where an advertising intermediary pulls strings to match buyers and sellers with little transparency. This black box is being forced open as advertisers demand to know where their co-regis­tration leads are coming from and pub­lishers are concerned about the type of ads that get placed on their Web site.

The biggest mistake a marketer can make regarding co-registration is not following up with their leads as soon as possible. This is especially true for marketers with list building objectives. A typical Web site user will forget that they opted in to a co-registration offer and will tune out an untimely follow-up as quickly as they opted-in.

As an advertiser, not all co-registration intermediaries will voluntarily give up their lead sources. Demand to know where your ads will be placed and make sure the intermediary provides the lead coupled with the lead source. To increase your credibility, immediately follow up with the lead and reference the lead source.

Follow up on your co-registration leads while you are top of mind

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