Quality Co-Registration Drives Subscriptions Honestly

Following my recent post Email List Growth: Stay Away from the Dark Side, I would be remise if I didn’t highlight ways co-registration can be a respectful service offered to potential subscribers. The Free IQ Test example represents the worst practices. I spoke to some friends at Prospectiv to ask them for an example of how to do co-reg right. Take notice of how different this process is.

First, this process starts during registration on the Game Show Network’s website. This is the first big difference--this site was not created simply for the purpose of harvesting email addresses. The site has a value proposition of it’s own. In this case, the publisher (GSN) has elected to drive additional advertising revenue by partnering with a co-registration partner (Prospectiv).

Once I complete my subscription, I am lead to another page offering me the opportunity to take advantage of an offer from one of GSN’s advertisers. This is a simple question and a single form. “Do you want to get this offer from 1-800-PetMeds”. There is no punishment if I were to click, “No, Thanks” – I would still get the benefits I originally wanted from registering with GSN.

After this form, guess what happens? I get a thank you page! No trap, no gimmicks. No requirement to register in order to get the thing I really wanted in the first place. (Remember in the Free IQ Test example, I had already invested 20 minutes in taking the test. In order to get my score I was compelled to register for things I was not interest).

There are two main approaches to co-registration:

First is co-registration that makes subscription a requirement to get something. These vendors put your add before delivering the value proposition promised by the site. This is a trap for consumers and it will only deliver you bad email addresses from angry consumers.

Second is co-registration that offers the opportunity to take advantage of additional deals after the main value proposition has already been delivered. True, some consumers may be annoyed by that, but it is still the consumers choice to take advantage of the offer or to say, “No, thanks”. The subscribers you get through this process are much more likely to stay engaged with your program over the long haul.

The key to success in co-registration is to understand how your brands offers will be presented.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when evaluating co-reg vendors:
  1. Will my offer be placed before or after the value proposition is delivered?
  2. Is the offer being placed on a site that has intrinsic value? Or is the site simply a gimmick for generating leads or subscriptions (like the IQ Test)?
  3. How many offers will be shown along with my offer?
  4. Will the co-reg company later sell names collected to other 3rd parties, thus devaluing the value of the email address they give me even more?

In short, do they respect permission and privacy?

Unfortunately, I must say add this last piece. Don’t take the vendors word for it. There are a few honest vendors out there, but there are just as many (if not more) dishonest vendors. Check the processes yourself. Look at every site that your offers will be displayed on and walk through the process yourself. Ask for references from other brands that you would like to emulate. If the only references are from companies you have never heard of or think do a poor job, then ask for more. Don't sign big upfront contracts, instead, start with a trial at a small fixed budget and then expand the scope if the trial is successful.

If the co-registration or lead gen company can’t, or won't, provide these things… then RUN, you are about to get burned. 

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