Exploring Co-Registration to Grow Your Email List

An enterprise's ability to forge relationships, and further, partnerships, is a revealing indicator of its future success or failure. One of the best ways to do anything (e.g., content syndication, affiliate marketing, etc.) is to let others do the hard work - particularly when it comes to new customer acquisition on the Web.

For email, employing or engaging in co-registration marketing is a way to piggyback off of others' success. Co-registration (or co-reg) is when one company uses another company's subscriber or audience base to gain new customers. Specifically, the practice entails marketing products or services during the conversion process. Think of it as buying a layer of advertising space on someone else's registration path in order to pick up some new customers.

As a means to grow an email list, there is no better (faster) way than co-registration and many retailers, service providers and information publishers would be wise to explore or re-explore the benefits.

Say for example that you represent a software company that has created a family budgeting product and you're looking to drive awareness and leads for a free trial. With co-registration marketing, you would approach websites catering to those interested in personal finance or those with a high parent population. It works the other way around too. If you're a blogger in the personal finance space, consider approaching software services in the finance vertical and offering a co-registration deal to acquire new subscribers to a weekly email newsletter.

Let's explore a few steps to get started down the road of co-registration:

Step 1

Identifying prospects for co-registration is an important part of the process. Not only are you looking for a website that matches (in terms of demographics) the prospects your enterprise is seeking, but you also have to make sure they are capable on the technical side and willing on the business side. That's why it's a good idea to start with a list of a few hundred potential co-registration partners (perhaps scoring them by fit and potential impact).

Once you've identified some possible partners, it will be necessary to vet them thoroughly in order to determine or verify some key information about the website itself and the leads that might be generated.

Step 2

Marketers will need to have access to demographic data (e.g., location, income level, etc.), average level of Web traffic/conversions on different intervals and the process that will be taken moving forward.

One of those processes is setting up and agreeing upon various stipulations each party will have. That might include the length of time the co-registration deal is in effect, how the receiving party will be charged (per individual lead or per block of time) and any qualifying filter questions required. What's more, email marketers will need to establish how the co-registration will look, such as will it be hosted on the site or sent via email?

Step 3

Other important processes include development of the offers that will be presented and the creative that will be used. These are both highly important aspects of co-registration and poor performance will result if they don't cater and appeal to the audience.

For example, Alex & Ani - a jewelry company - partnered with Fabletics - a women's activewear brand - to grow its list by gaining access to email addresses for a similar audience. Fabletics emailed a contest message to its list and when recipients signed up for the contest, they were acknowledging it was OK to sign them up for Alex & Ani emails as part of the contest rules. The important thing to take away here is that the companies were very clear that it was a joint effort and each company's messaging was on-brand. 

Here's how the email looked:

Here's how the lead-generation form looked (notice the terms and conditions):


Step 4

Finally, there must be some mechanism to measure performance - without it, there will be no means to understand the effort that resulted from the co-registration partnership. Access to analytics or the reports that will be provided are important aspects to address early on when agreeing to terms. 

Co-registration can seem like a daunting task, but it's not really, particularly when companies identify the best partners, agree upon the terms and deliver the best experience possible for all parties involved. What's more, it's important to make sure potential recipients understand what they are signing up for, clearly expressing that by entering a contest, using a free trial or getting some sort of perk comes at the cost of signing on for another company's email messages.