Whether you’re an entrepreneur, corporation or publisher, the power of the lead is critical to growing your business. Leads, also known as prospects, are typically at the entry point in the sales funnel. A business model popular among online publishers is to bring in leads at the free level (i.e. by offering a free report, free newsletter, free webinar), then add those names to their lists and—usually over the course of 30 to 90 days (the bonding time)—convert that lead into a paying customer. This practice is known as lead generation, name collection or a list-building effort.
Today, I’m going to share with you some proven online marketing methods I’ve used and had great success with at some of the top publishers in America. And bonus—many of these tactics cost little to nothing.
1. Teleseminar or Webinar. This is a great way to collect names. Promote a free teleseminar or webinar to prospects that are not your internal list—remember, this is for lead generation, not bonding. Your goal is to give away valuable information in exchange for an email address. The trick is to promote the event in as many places as possible without incurring advertising costs.
2. Co-Registration. “Co-reg” is another way to collect names, but involves a nominal fee. Co-reg is when you place a small ad on another publisher’s site after some sort of transaction (albeit a sales or lead gen offer). So, for instance, after someone signs up for an AOL Travel e-newsletter, a “Thank You” page comes up with a list of sponsors the reader may find interesting, including other free e-newsletter offers. The text ad is usually accompanied by a small graphic representing the sponsor.
The key here is to pick publishers and co-reg placements that are synergistic with your publication and offer. Another important note is to make sure you follow up quickly to these names so they don’t forget who you are. I suggest a dedicated autoresponder series. Co-reg efforts can cost around $1 to $3 per valid email address.
3. Affiliate Partnerships. This includes joint ventures, affiliate marketing, guest editorials, editorial contributions and reciprocal ad swaps. This tactic is extremely effective and cost efficient. The key is having some kind of leverage, then approaching publishers who may want your content or a cross-marketing opportunity with your current list (note: this only works if you have a list of decent size that another publisher will find attractive). In exchange for content or revenue sharing efforts, you and the other publisher agree to reciprocate with either e-newsletter ads or solo emails to each other’s lists, thereby sending a message to a targeted, relevant list for free. If you agree on a rev share, it’s free as far as ad costs, but you are giving that publisher a split of your net revenues.
4. Content Syndication. I’ve written about this many times, but can’t stress it enough: Content is king, and you can leverage it via the SONAR Content Distribution Model we’ve discussed before. SONAR is a cost effective, yet powerful, method of repurposing and synchronizing content (albeit text, audio, video) distribution into various, targeted channels. And it allows companies, publishers, entrepreneurs—basically anyone with content on a website—the ability to ultimately turn traffic into sales. SONAR represents the following online distribution platforms:
S Syndicate partners, content syndication networks and user generated content sites;
O Online press releases;
N Network (social) communities;
A Article directories; and
R Relevant posts to blogs, forums and bulletin boards.
SONAR works hand-in-hand with your existing search engine marketing (SEM), social media marketing (SMM) and search engine optimization (SEO) tactics.
Often referred to as the 'marketing maven' by industry peers, Wendy Montes de Oca, MBA has nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, media, and publishing with expertise in multichannel, direct response, and Web marketing. Wendy has generated more than million in total revenues for Fortune 500 companies, top publishers, consulting clients, and her own firm, Precision Marketing and Media, LLC. She is the creator of the groundbreaking SONAR Content Distribution Model and author of the best-selling book Content Is Cash: Leveraging Great Content and the Web for Increased Traffic, Sales, Leads and Buzz [Que Publishing, Paperback].