The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

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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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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Moving Prospects Down The Lead Funnel With Quality Content

Many marketers struggle to move prospects through their lead funnel once the top of it is filled with prospects.  Since most prospects differ in specific needs and buying schedules consistent engagement and nurturing is needed to facilitate sales funnel movement.  Therefore, marketers need to intensely focus on their content market strategy in order to ensure hitting their sales goals.  Let’s look at some effective ways of moving prospects down the lead funnel with quality content:

Content Must Be Designed With A Purpose

The ultimate purpose of content, whether it be a website, blog, or social media posts, must be to convert a total stranger to a permission-based lead and ultimately to a loyal customer.  Consider your own web search activities for a moment.  If you wanted to buy lead management software, what would you actually look for?  Are you more concerned about a lot of advertising bragging about the cheapest price, or are you looking for information to help you solve a problem?  Your visitors are just like you; they are looking for relevant information. Understanding the content people want and need should be the key to your purpose.

Content Must Attract Permission-Based Leads To The Top Of The Funnel

Attracting leads to your website or blog might include a number of different methods.  Since you are attempting to attract people who don’t even know you exist, SEO is a very important factor in attracting leads to the top of your lead funnel.   To gain access to the top of search engines, all website and blog content must be relevant, current, and properly optimized to meet the strict requirements of the ever evolving algorithms.  Properly designed landing pages and calls to action play a significant role in convincing visitors to give you information, like an email address.  Once prospects have actually requested more information, your email or direct mail marketing campaigns can be custom designed to meet the needs of the consumer.

Content Must Nurture Leads From Prospects To Customers

Your content marketing strategy is now moving quality permission-based leads through your lead funnel. The next step is to nurture these leads by establishing trust and building relationships.  You have the opportunity of establishing your company as an expert through effective email or direct mail campaigns, blogs, or social media marketing.  By scoring these leads, you know when to send them the right piece of new content.  Content that is totally honest and transparent will gradually change some of these nurtured leads into sales.  Content marketing must continue even after the lead has been converted.  Proper follow ups with additional education and value can leave a lasting impression that will not only generate repeat sales, but will increase your leads through word-of-mouth advertising.

When a prospect gives you information and let’s you know what they like, you know exactly what to give them.  By delivering quality content to a permission-based audience, conversions will come more quickly and your lead funnel will flow more freely.

RegReady is a transparent, fair and balanced customer acquisition community helping you develop true opt-in marketing lists and sales leads. We are advocates of quality customer relationships developed through permission-based marketing and education. We help you find prospects motivated to ask for more information. Contact us today to see how it works.

 

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Four Important Steps To Effective Lead Management

Research shows that over 50% of business leads aren’t yet ready to buy anything, but that certainly doesn’t mean that these leads need to be wasted.  By developing an effective lead management program, you can nurture these potential customers by engaging them with educational content until they are ready to become customers.  Here are four important steps to effective lead management:

Step # 1 - Develop A Permission-Based Marketing Campaign

Obviously, the lead capturing process is the critical piece of the lead management puzzle.  Developing your website in such a way as to provide compelling educational content to your prospects will encourage them to provide you with their information in return.  If your offer answers an important question or solves a particular problem for your website visitors, they will more than likely opt-in to your offer and provide enough information to allow you to qualify them.  You are now ready to establish relationships with people who have asked to receive your message.
 

Step # 2 - Using Various Options To Nurture Opt-In Leads

Due to customer awareness, the sales cycle has become a bit longer these days.  Every email or direct mail marketing campaign must be focused on building relationships.  Each campaign must be set up based on the specific actions of each lead category.  Which web page did they visit?  Which offers have they requested or downloaded?  Your targeted permission-based campaigns will offer them information on topics that are important to them and you will be able to progressively understand their needs.  Social media marketing using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google +, can be effective tools to develop an open line of communication with your prospects and current clients.
 

Step # 3 - Lead Scoring To Determine The Lead’s Potential

By setting up specific qualities or scores that define a strong lead for your company, lead management software will allow you to compare each lead’s score to that of your ideal lead and identify those that are qualified.  Lead scores can change based on the action of the prospect.  The score can be increased or reduced based on the lead’s activity.  Timing is critical in all areas of lead management.  The goal is to determine the ideal time to send each lead to your sales team.  

Step # 4 - Making A Successful Transition From Marketing To Sales

Once the lead nurturing process has determined that certain leads may be ready to make a purchase, they should be immediately passed to your sales team.  This transition must be as efficient as possible.  The sales team needs to know all the information you have collected so they can better understand the needs of each individual lead.  By understanding the needs, they can target their sales more closely and have a better chance of converting a lead into a customer.

Obviously, not all leads generated are always ready to buy, and many leads will never purchase your products or services.  Managing those leads could possibly turn into a sale somewhere down the road.  Your goal in effective lead management is not just capturing an enormous amount of leads, but keeping customers coming back.

RegReady is a transparent, fair and balanced customer acquisition community helping you develop true opt-in marketing lists and sales leads. We are advocates of quality customer relationships developed through permission-based marketing and education. We help you find prospects motivated to ask for more information. Join RegReady today and start generating leads for free.

 

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Understanding The Different Phases Of A Marketing Lead Funnel

If you were to ask any online marketer – “What is the biggest problem you face in your online business?”, the most common answer would probably be – “Developing an effective lead generation and lead management strategy”.  Businesses must learn how best to move away from the old mass-marketing strategy to target marketing.  The lead funnel is probably the missing element of most marketing programs.  Businesses must learn how to move quality leads through the different phases of a marketing lead funnel.

Lead Generation – The Wide Area Of The Funnel
An effective lead generation strategy is critical to filling the top of the lead funnel.  Obviously, the more quality website visitors you have, the better chance of converting more visitors into quality leads, and eventually customers.  Two of the major problems in this area are the lack of online presence and the lack of content-fuelled SEO.  The days of writing content to please search engines are over.  The key to web content is to write to please the tastes of your target audience.  Compelling calls to action will be the key to creating high interest in the product or service you’re offering.  A business blog will help immensely in building your brand and also help establish a good reputation for your business. Developing a social media strategy that works best for your business can be a key factor in quality lead generation efforts.  It is important to understand that all lead generation efforts must be totally up-front and transparent.

Lead Cultivation – The Middle Section Of The Funnel
Lead cultivation or nurturing allows you to move your quality leads through the sales funnel. This process allows you to actually position your business and build a connection with your target audience.  Lead cultivation must be designed to attract the right buyers and create a demand for your products or services.  This is an opportunity to educate and build relationships.

Lead Conversion – The Smallest Section Of The Funnel
The content of your website or blog, in addition to educating your prospects on your products and services, must also provide tips and information on how to make the best vendor selection. You must show your visitors how your product or service can best meet their needs or solve their problem.  Lead conversion is all about focusing on key problems and issues.  This phase of the funnel must be more than simply focusing on you.

The successful transition from lead to customer is by no means the end of the marketing process.  It is the post-sale process that really secures your customer base and stimulates customer loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising. Many online businesses fail simply because they do not have an effective post-sale strategy. 

 

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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!