Volume’s Nice, But Quality Is King

What’s a “good” coregistration/lead-generation offer?

This topic may not be as sexy as who caught Paris Hilton on someone’s voicemail, or Brad and Angelina adopting another baby (two subjects that keep me glued to my TV). It’s about crafting a lead-generation offer that’s truly effective in the online world, one that translates into something very sexy: a medium in which to generate new, scaleable, and sustainable business and revenues.

Let’s start at the top. It would be really great if people in the know within the co-registration space actually knew what a good offer was. Think of it this way: we keep score with money, straight-up dollars and cents. But is it money made by the site, or does it save a lot of cash for the advertiser shooting for an acceptable price per acquisition? Who’s supposed to win?

What about the user experience during the lead collection process? Was it compromised? Was someone tricked into not only signing up for an offer but also buying something with false promises of free goods? Some Web sites take great pains to present a user-friendly content experience but are bizarrely cavalier when it comes to permitting egregious opt-in offers.

At the end of the day, the only long-term success stories are win-win situations. Our salespeople still hear the same pitches from brokers who want to run offers on our network that I heard during my first couple of years in this business. Why? Because so few are maturing along with the industry. A good offer isn’t necessarily one that pulls really well (i.e., a lot of consumers select the offer, which sometimes amounts to forgetting to uncheck the box), thus generating a lot of revenue for sites, brokers, network operators, and so on.

Is this sustainable?

What really counts is how well the offer does for the advertiser, whether all this volume converts to customers at the increased lead volumes. Too many operators just force-feed advertisers with as many leads as possible until the insertion order’s fulfilled, then move on to the next sucker. I know for a fact a lot of people would look at the free iPod offers and say to me, “Dude, I know you don’t like it, but that deal rocks!”

What does that even mean?

Last time, I described the current state of coregistration; how too many companies are still doing things backwards. I took a little heat for not offering any solutions. So here’s my two cents on what a good offer is (without revealing too many secrets).

Actually, this is one reason we started the Online Lead Generation Association (OLGA). So many agency or marketing people used to ask me, “Can you talk to my people about how to really run good campaigns?” One of OLGA’s primary goals is education, still sorely needed.

Offers must be relevant and targeted to be considered of good quality. When I hear an offer’s great because it can be shown to everyone over 18 in the United States, it doesn’t excite me. I don’t want to display the same offer to an 18-year-old female in Los Angeles and a 35-year-old male in New York City. Do you know any 16 year olds interested in offshore tax shelters? I don’t. So why show them that offer?

Understand who your customer is, and set that profile as the key demographic and geography to target. Next, make sure you’re clear on how you plan to communicate with your lead. Require the lead to provide only limited data points. It’s amazing how often clients give us required data fields, only to later learn they didn’t need all those data points for follow-up messages.

Check with your distribution partners about how the offer is performing for them and with your client to see how the offer is converting to ensure a renewable source of revenue for the site and an acquisition channel for the advertiser. Finally, and most important, to make an offer truly successful you cannot be lazy, which is all-too common in our space. Another deadly sin is apathy. Both are topics for the next column.

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