Anne Holland

Study Data: Easiest Way to Build Your Opt-in List With Targeted Business Prospects

August 22nd, 2006

According to MarketingSherpa’s latest B-to-B Marketing Study (see link below) 80% of business technology marketers who’ve tested co-registration as a way to generate new business leads in the past 12 months found it to be effective.

That data didn’t surprise me because I’ve seen similar data from marketers in many different niches, ranging from ecommerce sites such as Sierra Trading Post to news organizations such as USA Today to tech giants such as Oracle. In fact, 32% of marketers who gather new email names via co-registration offers on third-party sites say those names perform as well as regular house names.

So, exactly what is co-registration?

You simply put your opt-in offer as an extra check box on another site’s registration page or order form. Then, the other site sends you the names of everyone who checks that box so you can add them to your email list. You can pay on a per-name basis, or in some cases run the campaign as a barter.

Source #1. Controlled circulation networks

Several vendors run online networks gathering business executive names mainly for controlled circulation business magazines. (Example, one of them is SynapseConnect’s They place offers on a number of B-to-B sites and then ask responders to answer a long list of questions to qualify to receive targeted trade magazines for free.

Generally they sell co-registrations from this system for about $5-$8 a pop. This includes snail mail address and often even phone as well as email, and you can target by title, ZIP, industry, etc.

Most of these networks’ clients are trade magazine publishers, but I know of several B-to-B marketers who are using these services to grow their own lists as well.

Source #2. Creating your own third-party info site

I also know several B-to-B marketers who’ve gone this route. They got together with several complementary vendors in their same field and created an educational site for the industry. It can contain articles, a white paper library or a glossary, or even a special offer such as a sweeps.

All partners work together sending email campaigns to their own house files to visit this new site. Then all benefit from resulting registration opt-ins. An example of such a site is The CFO project.

Source #3. Special offers to business news sites

Although many trade magazines are still mired in the print-past and refuse to consider co-registration (often the ad sales reps haven’t even heard of it), some publications are testing ideas.

For example, The Economist has offered a co-registration program for more than two years to such advertisers as Oracle. In this case you purchase “complimentary Economist subscriptions” and they send out an offer to their opt-in list of free readers asking folks to sign up — handing over their email address to you — to get into the paid site. (See sample below.)

Source #4. Related vendor’s “thank you” pages

Are you friends with any vendors in your field who are not direct competitors but share a similar target market? Ask them if they would consider putting a co-registration offer on the “thank you” page of their own online offers.

So, when new prospects sign up for a webinar, white paper, email newsletter or to attend a user conference, the page after they sign up could say, “Thank you. You’ll get your XYZ in the mail. In the meantime, would you also like to sign up for this?”

Admission — aside from word of mouth, this sort of thank-you page co-registration is how my own company gains most of our new opt-in subscribers.

Three quick tips to maximize your co-registration campaign:

Tip #1. Isolate the incoming names

Best practices now say you should isolate co-registration names from your house list. Keep the files separate, or at least code name origin scrupulously so you can segment, mail, and track them separately. This way you know which partners send you great names and which to cut. You also can send targeted mailings and offers to those names in future that might not appeal as much to other lists.

Tip #2. Polish your creative

Your creative consists of a logo (generally 120×60 but some sites ask for 80×60) and about 250 characters of copy including white space. That’s not much copy, so just as you would with a search engine ad, carefully write it to be as powerful as it can be.

I recommend you test offer copy to see which pulls the best opt-ins for your program. However, “best” doesn’t equal “highest volume.” You want names that will be high-quality prospects, the rest are just a waste.

Tip #3. Be relaxed about barters

Don’t get too picky about name counts. Some barter deals will yield loads of names, others just a few. Again, remember that quality matters far more than quantity. As long as you are getting highly-targeted, responsive names, you are coming out ahead. Grab them and keep on smiling.

Useful links related to this article:

Co-registration samples:

— For a copy of MarketingSherpa’s new Business Technology Marketing Benchmark Guide, which features data on co-registration, go to:

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