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Co-Registration: Worth It or Throwing Money Away?

Pat Marcello

The mantra for online business has been “Build Your List,” for as long as I can remember, and I've been around almost 10 years now. It was one of the first things I learned. Having a big list allows you to communicate with the people on it as many times as you like, whenever you like. Though we know better than to bombard our lists with messages, which will do nothing but cause the dreaded “list burnout,” the idea that you make $1 per month from every person on your list has been the promised result.

But is that true? co-registration form example

I say, it depends. Having a list is important. But rather than seeing the people on your list as dollar signs, you should have formed a bond with them. They should be people who have come to know, like, and trust you. If they don’t, you’ll not be making the proverbial $1 per month per person. In fact, you could find trouble or even be booted from your autoresponder service.

Not good.

One of the biggest issues that may cause trouble is co-registration. So, what is it?

Co-registration happens when people advertise newsletters, reports, trial offers, or other perks that are offered in exchange for people’s names and email addresses. These advertisements become “CO-registration” when your advertisement appears alongside several other offers on the page from other companies that are compatible with yours. Usually, you’ll see co-registration advertisements with 3, 6, or even 8 or more advertisers on the page or pop-up.

In the example above, you’ll see three different offers from three independent businesses, advertising all on the page of a newspaper company you would definitely recognize. Co-registration happens all the time, and I would venture to guess that everyone has seen or even opted in to get free somethings.

For example, magazine subscriptions are offered this way. Ever hear of Publisher’s Clearing House? The basic premise behind their business model is co-registration – with magazine companies.

Co-registration can be both good and bad. Here’s why:

The good, the bad, and the uglyThe Good

The good thing about co-registration is that it helps to build your list quickly. With some services, you pay per subscriber. With others, you’re guaranteed a certain number of subscribers per month and often, you’ll get more. That’s awesome. You can go from zero to 60 in your first month of subscribing to the co-registration service, and though these sign-ups will cost you, they can be worth more than you pay for them, many times over.

The Bad

One disadvantage of co-registration leads is that people forget that they signed up for your list. Because there are multiple offers on a single page, folks will forget you. That’s it. They’re stone cold leads, and they’ll forget. They just do, IF you let them.

The Ugly

Co-reg leads often complain to your autoresponder company that you’re spamming them. In fact, the complaints start to pile up if you’re not careful, and that’s not good. Too many people complain about you and the autoresponder services, like Aweber, Get Response, and iContact start to ask questions. Of course, AWeber won’t even allow co-registration leads as part of their terms of service. If they catch you with them, you’ll lose your account. Why? Because they know what happens with co-registration if it’s not handled right -- headaches.

In Tom Sather’s “Analyzing Subscriber Complaints for Better Inbox Placement and Research,” (June 20, 2013, SearchEngineLand.com) one marketer’s complaint stats showed that complaints from co-registration leads were almost 8 times higher than leads the marketer they studied had gotten from his or her own website. Of course they are! The people who sign up on your website already know you and like you and what you have to offer or they wouldn’t have given you their information. Ergo, the only other facet of your relationship you need to work on is trust. With co-registration, you’re just some stranger.

You Can Stop the Bad and the Ugly

Though co-reg leads won’t ever be as responsive, overall, as leads you’ve gathered from your own site, or even from outside advertising, you can train the people on that list to know, like, and trust you. That equals sales and that equals money, which is the reason you’re paying for these leads in the first place, right?

The very first thing you should have going out immediately to each of the subscribers is an email going out to them. This is extremely easy to do using your autoresponder’s follow-up series of messages. Reminding subscribers where they signed up is a good idea, too. And you should warmly welcome them to your list:

Dear {firstname}

Thanks so much for being part of our family! If you want SEO advice and information, you’ve chosen the right place, thanks for choosing us from the many magazines Publisher's Clearing House offers. I hope we have a long and fulfilling time together.

Blah, blah…


And then, give them something that they weren’t expecting. “As an unadvertised bonus for being our valued subscriber, we’d like to welcome you with this gift…”

And make that gift good. It shouldn’t be some nasty PLR article that you’ve spun 100 times. (And if you’re still doing that, wake up! Those days are gone.) Your welcome gift should be something that is well-made, well-researched, and well-written. Or a video that is well-produced. Don’t give them a bundle of things to file away and look at later because they'll never look at them. Give them quality, carefully-prepared content that they absorb easily and put into action, no matter your niche, and they will love you for it. Do you think they’ll forget your company’s name? I don’t.

Keep on keepin’ on

You can’t neglect your subscribers after that, either. If you deliver a series of messages over time, like I do, make sure they go out every 3-4 days. Some of my mentors told me that you make more money if you mail every day, but I just feel like people are sick of being treated like slot machines. You can’t build a list of people who will know, like, and trust you if you’re doing that. You have to genuinely care about the people who have trusted you enough to provide their information for you. Isn’t that a fair exchange?

Here are the 5 Commandments for Having a Responsive Co-Registration List

  • Never take your list for granted. Just because they’re on your list today, they can unsubscribe tomorrow.
  • Do NOT lie to them. Ever. Period.
  • Don’t mail them more often than they like. Take a survey and see what the major preference is. Then, let your list members know the results.
  • Never offer to sell a product that YOU have not personally tried and would recommend, even if you weren’t going to make money from a subscriber buying the product. It will just show in your tone, and if you treat your list well, they will be interested in your recommendations. They’ll see that you’re genuine. Very important.
  • Don’t be list incestuous. Don’t agree to arrangements where you MUST promote someone else’s bad product, just because they promoted for you. People DO remember when you lead them astray.

Succeeding with co-registration all comes down to the old saw, “Do unto Others as They Would Do unto You.” Just because this is the Internet, it doesn’t mean you can be a jerk and rake in scads of cash from a list, just by sending them daily offers. People most definitely don’t like it if you try.

And yet, even co-registration leads can convert like crazy, if you take care of your list members and treat them like you would treat friends. Heck, some of your subscribers, over time, probably will become your friends. I can’t count on two hands how many of my once customers are now good friends. I’ll bet some of you long-time marketing people can say the same, and to me, there’s nothing better than that.

Pat Marcello is the president of and SEO manager for MagnaSites.com, a full-service digital marketing company. You can also check out her views on the world of SEO at http://www.theSEONewsBlog.com

Pat Marcello

Provides valuable insights and adds depth to the conversation.

Pat Marcello is President and SEO Manager at MagnaSites.com, a full-service digital marketing company that serves small- to medium-sized businesses. Follow her on FacebookTwitter or Google+. Pat’s last article for SEMrush was "Google's Fetch and Render: Why It's Important."
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