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Co-registration: The Secret to Growing Your Email Lists

As published in DM News

In the world of email marketing, buying a list is considered a big “faux pas” amongst permission fanatics and professional email 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 email service provider.  So what’s a marketer to do when they want to engage in email marketing but don’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 email list industry has run amuck with the concept ever since.  For those you not familiar with the practice, co-registration is where your opt-in offer appears alongside or after the opt-in form of another website.  The idea behind this is that since it’s sometimes difficult and time consuming to get people to come to your website to opt-in, it is easier to syndicate your opt-in offer to other websites.  If done properly, co-registration has proven to be an effective way to grow your email 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 websites catering to it.  Here you would simply try to cut deals with website 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 website.  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 websites 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, below are some best practices that will help to ensure your efforts are successful:

  • Make sure your co-registration offers are accurate.  If you say you will send email once a week make sure these recipients don’t end up on your daily list.
  • If you work with an ad network, insist that you know where your opt-ins are coming from so that you can reference the website in your introductory email.  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.
  • Send the introductory email as soon as possible.  “Out of site, out of mind” and people forget that they opted-in or will lose interest.
  • 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.
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