John Pemberton was a marketing genius. Not only was he the founder of the most well-known brand in the world – Coca-Cola – but he also created one of the most powerful direct response strategies as well – the coupon. Both of John’s inventions have stood the test of time, and they are both instantly recognised by almost every person in the entire world – we all know what Coca-Cola is, and we all love a great value of an offer.
Today the coupon has moulded into many forms, one of the most successful online being co-registration.
From a lead generation perspective, co-registration is a seriously powerful tool. They let you offer something exciting to your customers or prospects, in return for valuable data about the people you’re selling to.
First, we’re going to take a look at four strong reasons as to why, co-registration is so powerful. Then, we’re going to explore how you can put them to work as part of your lead generation activities.
Reason One: Forget the Middleman, Co-registration Let’s You Go Direct
When done right, using, co-registration as part of your marketing plan can give you direct access to your customers and prospects. They can let you cut through the layers of middlemen, retailers and distribution channels, to create a one-on-one line of communication.
Most advertisers hate that their audience is largely “owned” by retailers, as this gives the retailer the power to dictate your price, switch in your competition’s offers, or even shut you down – and there is very little you can do about it. But co-registration let’s you forge an unstoppable link of loyalty with your customers – a link that is between you, them, and nobody else.
So, the first benefit of introducing co-registration into your marketing plan is the relationships they help you build.
Reason Two: Gather Critical Market Insights & Feedback
Beyond the relationship-building side of things, the information you get can help you improve your marketing plan by giving you a platform from which to perform detailed market research that tells you what your customers are interested in. This can help you mitigate the risk of running headfirst into a massive product launch only to find that there is no demand for what you’re selling.
Let’s look at Netflix as an example. Netflix are in direct communication with their audience, and by using analytics to find out which shows and characters their customers are building the biggest connections with, they can develop future product releases that they know will succeed.
Reason Three: Co-registration Sells Stuff
This is an obvious benefit, but it should not be ignored. Co-registration sells stuff. We’re not just talking here about the direct sale you get from the take up of an offer itself – although that is, of course, a good thing. Rather, we’re talking about the upselling opportunities it delivers – the chance to cross-sell other products, and create repeat purchases.
An old-school pro called Gary Halbert once said that the best list to get more sales from is your own. Why pay a premium to sell to other people’s databases, when you could build your own using co-registration. It’s an evergreen strategy to fast-track your way to wild profitability.
Reason Four: Stronger Brand Awareness
P&G are well-known for using daily deals on their products, but not just for the more conventional purposes of increasing sales or generating leads. Instead, P&G have often used co-registration as a way to tell a story that strengthens their brand. In an attention economy, co-registration gives brands a lot of visibility and let’s them show off what they’re all about.
If co-registration is so Great… Why Isn’t Everyone Using Them?
Co-registration isn’t right for every business, and there are plenty of reasons why some companies never go down the this route. For example:
- Co-registration doesn’t work well for one-shot products.
- Co-registration offers take a lot of time to track, test and optimise before they get a strong response.
- They don’t understand or know about it.
- They don't like the incentives that publishers use to attract consumers
- A lot of people are lazy.
But if your products are in the 99% of product categories that have repeat purchasing potential, then co-registration gives you a serious opportunity to make your brand more powerful and more profitable and to reach out directly to your customers.
So now you know why you should probably be running a co-registration campaign, let’s look at how to set it up:
Step One: Infrastructure
The first thing to look at is infrastructure. The right infrastructure for a co-registration campaign will normally include the following:
- Landing pages – Make sure you have landing pages that are optimisable and mobile responsive, and which can receive and respond to traffic spikes smoothly.
- Validation – Not everyone will be genuinely interested in building up a relationship with you. Having validation on-form to stop those only interested in a free lunch will compound and save you big over time.
- Retargeting and nurturing plan - You should have a consumer road map ready to execute while your story and brand is still top of mind. This is your chance to bring the heat. Pro Tip: The more personalised you can make your follow up, the more profitable long-term connection you will be able to build.
Oh, and stay lean on your first run. Set up the first path from A to B based on marketing objectives you have for your companyies co-registration campaign, and then work outwards.
Step Two: Traffic
If you create your offer and leave it just floating aimlessly around cyber space, it won’t have much impact in the real world. You need a bucket load of traffic if you want to see results!
There are a million ways to get traffic, so we are simply going to list the highest pound-for-pound channels which deliver the best ROI and strongest customer loyalty. Remember, you should calculate Value Creation and Profitability together, rather than only looking at profitability – this is why we have left POP and Redirect Traffic from this list as although they can drive beastly quantities of traffic, they are very intrusive forms of marketing that will have a negative impact on your brand reputation.
- Publisher Partners.
Look at your target market demographics, and reverse engineer the sites that they are hanging around online. Then, reach out to the managers of these sites to add a link or offer onto their site. Most sites out there are dying to offer their audience better value on good quality products, as it increases their own engagement with their audience. Remember here that these sites have their own struggles and worries. When they find out that competitor sites have teamed up with X brand and given Y offer, it drives affinity and keeps attention. You can even go as far as leveraging the mailing lists of these sites to drive even more targeted traffic.
Pro Tip: Go as native as you can with the offer. Aim to get your offer included in editorial content, or integrated as part of their website – this drives a lot higher engagement than more obvious sponsorship ideas, as it looks less “salesy” and circumnavigates the audience’s “banner blindness”
- Affiliate Traffic
In the 1900’s, the ability to leverage hundreds – or even thousands – of personal media buyers for your brand, and only paying out once you’d squared a lead, would have seemed like a crazy fantasy. But thanks to advanced networks, you can now team up with affiliate partners to drive massive quantities of targeted traffic – with very little work on your part.
- Custom Audiences
More of the same? Fortunately, the power is now in your hands.
"The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads" said Hammerbache, in an interview with Charlie Rose, the former Facebook Data scientist and founder of Cloudera.
Using Facebook custom and look-a-like audiences, you can target a pool of nearly 1.7 billion monthly active users to find all the people who fit the audience that you want to reach.
Now that you have a solid infrastructure, and some inspiration for places to draw your traffic from, it’s time for one last crazy thought…
If you have been dreaming like Jeff Beezos, Larry Page and all the other technology giants who are shaping our future, then you may have been informed of ideas such as the smart home that can order directly from the brand.
As this reality falls more into place, there is going to be a plethora of hugely profitable opportunities for brands to go direct to consumer. These ideas might seem very “out there”, but they are actually happening. While raking in profits in the short-term using campaigns like we’ve just discussed, take time to consider crazy ideas like these too, as they may just help you secure the long-term sustainability of your brand.