The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

Debunking Co-Registration Myths

Co-registration is sometimes known as cost-per lead (CPL) or cost-per-acquisition (CPA) service.  A website and advertiser form a relationship through an intermediary to exchange consumer contact information—essentially sales and marketing leads. The advertiser gets the leads, Co-registration leads are gathered when someone registers for one thing (e.g., a free membership, or a magazine subscription) and then is offered more information on a topic that is contextually relevant to the website. In another case, a website visitor might be presented with a popup asking if they would like to receive information on related products by email.

Nearly all Internet users have come across co-registration in one form or the other. If you’ve signed up for free email through Yahoo!, you’ve mostly likely come across page asking if you’d like information on related Yahoo! services. That’s co-registration in its simplest form.

Essentially, co-registration is an “up-sell.” Website visitors who are interested can “opt-in” to receive more information via e-mail newsletters or other form of direct marketing. With one simple step (a checkbox for example), the online marketer gains permission to email these customers about requested services.

Benefits of co-registration

Many website publishers have taken notice of the revenue opportunities available through co-registration, resulting in a swift and steady increase in the number of sites where it’s offered. The benefits are significant; with co-reg, marketers:

Find and reach new customers beyond their existing lists and web traffic Zero in on customers who are genuinely interested in their products or services Efficiently build a solid customer database Drive brand awareness and customer loyalty Increase traffic to the company website

Co-reg is attractive because of its affordability.  Some networks sell co-registration anywhere from  .10 to $1 per email address. The price usually gets higher when additional information is collected such as name and address. From a lead generation standpoint, this affordability enables advertisers to convert only a small percentage of a co-reg list and still turn a profit.

In spite of the relatively low price, co-reg yields an immensely high volume of leads from prospective customers, generally on an ROI-friendly cost per acquisition (CPA) or cost per lead (CPL) basis.

Opt-in rates can range as high as 15 percent to 20 percent and result in thousands of new leads on a daily basis. Co-registration allows you to build a house mailing list for about the same cost as a few rental email lists.

Another advantage is that people who opt in via co-reg are genuinely interested. They have expressed interest in a product or service by taking time to check the box on a co-reg form.

Disadvantages of co-registration: why the bad rep?

Clearly, co-reg has major advantages. But while CPL programs are among the least understood and most underused tools available to the email marketer, co-reg leads are used by some of the biggest businesses (e.g., Amazon, Yahoo and Monster.com). Savvy marketers understand how big the lead generation business is, and how ready vendors are to sell their leads as co-registrations.

Yet small marketers are reluctant to use these programs because they mistakenly think that it’s spamming.  So why the bad rep? Unfortunately, some unscrupulous vendors have used sneaky ways to get more leads. The worst offenders use opt-out rather than opt-in methods to gather co-registrations. Opt-out leads are unreliable and problematic because the prospects did not proactively request information (the box was checked automatically).

Other vendors advertise “free leads,” luring marketers to their sites in the hopes of up-selling other products. Unfortunately these lists are sold under false pretenses and rarely contain true co-registration leads. Either these email addresses have been given away over and over again, or they were “harvested” unethically and contain old or abandoned emails. Software is often used to troll the web, searching for email addresses from websites or the WHOIS database. “Free lead” vendors then sell CDs full of harvested emails as if they contained legitimate co-registration leads.  In most cases, however, these lists are worthless, further giving co-reg a bad reputation. Another problem is that some leads that were acquired legitimately may be “aged.” This means the prospects submitted their opt-in requests request many months ago, decreasing the probability of subscribers responding to the offer.

On the other end of the price scale are brokers who drive lower-cost subscriptions through affiliate relationships, with very little if any quality control regarding who these affiliates are. One problem some advertisers might encounter is foreign subscribers ending up on your list. In this case usually some enterprising affiliate has translated an offer into other languages in order to tap new markets.

Co-registration best practices: how to do it right

Email experts at Gold Lasso suggest the following best practices for ethical co-registration:

Use only confirmed opt-in. This is an absolute must. Never have the opt-in box pre-marked, and don’t use a network that endorses this practice. You only want subscribers who have expressly given permission through their own action. While this will naturally decrease your ultimate numbers, the leads you do get are of much greater quality and much more likely to buy from you.

Follow up quickly—and steadily—with your leads. Co-registration provides you with a steady stream of leads; it’s up to you to convert them into customers. Leads obtained through co-registration have likely never been to your website and may quickly forget that they have signed up with you. It’s the classic case of “out-of-site, out-of-mind.” Be sure to get in touch with them quickly, and remind them why they are hearing from you.  Know where your opt-in email addresses are coming from so that you can reference the website in your introductory email. Have a plan for future communications, as well.  You’ve got to maintain momentum.

Keep it simple—but make it enticing.  Typically with co-registration, you only get one or two sentences to describe and promote the service for which prospects are signing up for. Make sure your copy and information requirements are geared toward gaining qualified leads, not lifelong customers. Think about including a promotion, such as a sweepstakes or freenewsletter to increase opt-in rates.

Make sure your messages are accurate, relevant and compliant. If you offer a weekly email, make sure subscribers don’t end up on your daily list. When contacting for the first time, they may not know who you are, or even remember that they have requested information. So develop a quality auto-responder campaign and follow through on what they were expecting to receive. If you offered a free report on negotiating a mortgage, that is what they are expecting. The auto-responder should be CAN-SPAM compliant and offer subscribers an easy way to remove themselves. 

What to look for when choosing a co-registration network?

Because co-registration is such a simple way to get a bounty of leads, there are a lot of network providers to choose from. Make sure you find one that is ethical, reputable and uses only best practices. Here are some fundamental guidelines for your search:

Be sure the network you’re dealing with clearly states it will not resell your leads. Make sure the network discloses where your offer will be placed. Networks should be able to post real-time leads for immediate follow-up. Confirm that brokers and networks are 100% opt-in (and ask how they define “opt-in”)

The key to successful co-reg programs is transparency and interactivity between all three participants – publishers, advertisers and registrants/ subscribers. Subscribers need to be made aware of their options so they can actively participate in sharing their email address, and publishers need to be aware of what offers are being presented to subscribers. This fundamental component of co-registration programs will ensure both advertiser and publisher goals are met with success.

 

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Lead Sharing: How to do it Right

There has been a lot of buzz these days about information privacy. People generally want their information to be, and assume it will remain, private. However, in today's digital age that is not always the case. The result? Unhappy customers.

One of the ways in which this can happen is inappropriate lead sharing. This happens when a company collects information on a customer, then sells or gives away that information after having led the customer to believe that their information will be kept private. It's a startlingly common practice, but it can and should be prevented.

One fool proof way to prevent this from happening is to abstain from lead sharing all together. If someone opts into your email or physical mailing list, do not share or sell this information. Unfortunately, this isn't always a feasible option. Some companies need to share their leads to get more leads themselves.

The next best option, in that case, is to only conduct lead sharing with other related companies who share your same set of business ethics. Don't go giving your leads out to just anyone who asks. This will not settle well with customers, as it shows a lack of respect for their trust and privacy. Instead, only share leads with partners or closely related companies with whom you have a mutual understanding of best practices.

One additional tip: Never sell leads. Money can be made by selling people's contact information, but the practice is widely considered unethical. The simple solution is to not engage in this practice to begin with. Sharing leads with related companies is one thing. Selling them to anyone who asks is entirely another.

So there you have it, a few easy tips to keep your lead sharing ethical and well-managed. Doing things right is a sure-fire way to build a customer base...and doing them wrong, inversely, can ruin your business.

 

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Using Co-Registration to Build Your Email Database

As published in Chief Marketer

The proliferation of digital marketing has created an avalanche of noise, forcing consumers to find new and innovative ways to filter them. To combat this, many digital marketing pundits have strongly encouraged the use of permission-based marketing where prospects and customers have specifically requested to start a relationship with a company.  In an era where trust is paramount and consumer attention elusive, this advice is solid. Unfortunately, this advice fails to answer a simple question that has been dogging marketers for years: how do you obtain and scale the acquisition of consumer permission in the first place?

In the past, co-registration was considered a shady strategy used by unscrupulous companies to aggressively grow their marketing lists and sales leads. Seen as a “shotgun approach” that emphasized quantity over quality, co-registration was something spammers and purveyors of payday loans engaged in. Registrations were often incentivized with paths that lead nowhere. Worse, to scale profits, intermediaries often sold the lead data they collected multiple times over, leaving the concept of consumer permission tarnished. Despite these past transgressions, the basic co-registration methodology, applied with scruples and care, is by far one of the most cost-efficient and effective ways for companies to obtain explicit consumer permission, building a trove of qualified marketing and sales leads.

The co-registration process is when a publisher (these days every company is a publisher) and an advertiser form a relationship by themselves or through an intermediary to exchange consumer contact information based on permission—essentially permission-based sales and marketing leads. Co-registration leads are gathered when a visitor to a website, app or other digital property registers for something specific (e.g., a free membership, magazine subscription, or white paper) and then is offered the opportunity to opt-in to receive information from one or more advertisers on a contextually relevant topic.

Nearly all Internet users have come across co-registration in one form or the other. If you’ve signed up for free email through Yahoo!, you mostly likely encountered a page asking if you’d like information on related Yahoo! products and services. This type of co-registration is an internal cross-pollination process. Essentially, co-registration is an “up-sell” to visitors who are interested in “opting-in” to receive more information from advertisers. With one simple step (a checkbox for example), a company gains permission to communicate with consumers about requested information. The reason this methodology is very effective in generating initial permission is that a potential prospect or customer is already in the mindset of giving permission and has taken the necessary actions to do so.

This basic methodology can yield quality lead generation benefits such as targeting genuinely interested prospects; efficiently building a solid leads database, driving brand awareness, and increasing targeted traffic. To maximize these benefits, a set of best practices must be strictly adhered to, otherwise marketers run the risk of severely diluting their efforts.

1. Never use pre-checked boxes or defaulted positive opt-in mechanisms.This is an absolute must. This is simply a bad practice and avoiding publishers and intermediaries that engage in this practice will save marketers from future problems a pre-check can cause. You only want prospects that have expressly given permission through their own action. While this will naturally decrease your ultimate numbers, the leads you do get are of much greater quality and are much more likely to buy from you.

2. Follow up quickly—and steadily—with your leads. Co-registration provides you with a steady stream of leads but it’s up to you to convert them into customers. Leads obtained through co-registration have likely never been to your website and may quickly forget that they have opted-in to hear from you. It’s the classic case of “out-of-sight, out-of-mind.” Be sure to get in touch with them quickly, and remind them why they are hearing from you. Know which digital properties your co-registration leads are coming from so that you can reference them in your introductory email. Have a plan for future communications, as well. You’ve got to maintain momentum.
    
3. Make sure your follow-up messages are accurate and relevant to the initial co-registration ad. If you offer a weekly email, make sure subscribers don’t end up on your daily list. When contacting for the first time, they may not know who you are, or even remember that they have requested information. So develop a quality auto-responder campaign and follow through on what they were expecting to receive. If you offered a free report in your ad copy, make sure they receive it promptly. Lastly, The auto-responder should be CAN-SPAM compliant and offer subscribers an easy way to remove themselves.
    
4. Keep ads simple—but make them enticing. Typically with co-registration, you only get one or two sentences in your ad copy to describe and promote the products and services that your prospects are signing up for. Make sure your copy and graphics are contextually relevant or have demographic appeal to the digital property your ads are syndicated to. Remember, including incentives and sweepstakes of low value attracts leads of low value.

5. Validate all lead data at the source if possible. Dirty data and email addresses are a waste of time and resources and data cleansing at the source is well worth the investment. Besides, if you use email to follow up with your leads, than email validation is a must since sender reputation and delivery are greatly dependent on hard bounce rates. If cleansing and validation is not an option at the opt-in source, do it as quickly as possible before the data enters your CRM or ESP system.

With new ad filtering technologies available to consumers, companies will need to find innovative ways to acquire marketing permission. Co-registration, when applied ethically and responsibly, will yield marketers the permission-based starting point on which to build new relationships with prospects.

 

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The Email Monetization Playbook
Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!

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Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!