By Howard Sewell
New online publisher offers an effective complement to content syndication
I’ve always been a fierce proponent of “blended marketing.” This is the idea that every good marketing plan is a broad combination of tactics, vehicles, media and vendors. Not only does this minimize risk (by limiting the exposure from any one lead source), it makes vendors work harder (more competition), you reach more prospects (by exposing your content to the audiences of multiple sites and other online properties), and you gain flexibility (by being able to shift your investment based on which tactics and venues prove to be more effective).
Key to such a blended, integrated approach is a combination of “push and pull” tactics. The “push” being broadcast media such as email and direct mail. The “pull” includes online media such as content syndication and banner ads.
Much of white paper marketing these days - content syndication being the prime example - is of the “pull” variety. The problem with relying 100% on pull marketing is that if your topic is not one that’s commonly understood, recognized or otherwise “hot,” the chances are slim that readers are actively searching for that topic. If so, perhaps it’s time to introduce a little “push” into your white paper marketing effort.
You can rent an email list or direct mail list, and drive your message to the market that way. However, email response rates are down significantly, so successfully employing email and direct mail requires that you have your message, offer and audience nailed. One misstep, such as an errant subject line, and your investment is virtually worthless.
Emedia Pushes Content to Large Groups
Enter Emedia, a division of Reed Business Information. Emedia is a new entry into the online space in the U.S. Based in Europe since 1998, they launched in the U.S. in 2005.
Emedia publishes opt-in email bulletins covering a range of markets, such as small business, education, public sector and health care and covers topics such as IT security, IT compliance, CRM and wireless technology. The company boasts a total base of over 1 million subscribers. Individual bulletin readership ranges from 25,000 to more than 300,000.
Because the bulletins are specifically categorized, they enable advertisers to present content offers such as white papers to readers who have an active interest, involvement or stake in a particular topic or market. In addition to white papers, advertisers also use the e-bulletins to promote guides, evaluation software, training and even new products.
Emedia provides a convenient way to “push” your content to a very targeted audience without the hassle and risk inherent in the more traditional route of renting an email or direct mail list. As such, they’re an effective way to balance the preponderance of content syndication sites that may currently make up the bulk of your white paper promotion efforts.
Advertising options include a standard text ad and both standard and skyscraper banner ads. If you don’t have in-house creative staff or work with an agency, Emedia can help with ad copy or banner design as well. A sponsorship option (limited to one advertiser per bulletin) combines a text ad, top billing in the newsletter, and a standard (468 x 80) banner. Clicking on any ad takes the reader to a registration form that Emedia sets up and hosts on the advertiser’s behalf, and if the prospect is already registered with the Emedia service, his or her contact information will be prepopulated on that form, increasing conversion rates substantially.
Markedly different from the e-newsletters offered by competing publishers, editorial content is virtually nonexistent. One suspects that this might have a negative impact on open rates, click-throughs, and even opt-out rates, though Emedia claims that the content, while 100% advertising-based, is tightly focused and so closely aligned with the reader’s interest that opt-outs are minimized. A further downside: reach is limited to North America and the U.K. at present, though a more global footprint may be part of future plans. And as with any newsletter sponsorship, availability can be an issue; some of the more popular e-bulletins get booked up well in advance.
Ad pricing is competitive and available on an inclusion or cost-per-lead (CPL) basis. Insertions range from $2,495 to $3,995 and CPL deals range from $30-$100 per lead with a $5,000 minimum commitment. The company claims Microsoft, IBM, HP, Cisco, Symantec, EMC and Sun among their client base. At Connect Direct, we’re just starting to test the service, and so far, results are promising. Of note: client service is a notch above what we typically expect from most vendors. Turnaround, responsiveness, and overall communication are all top-notch.
Summary: Emedia provides an effective complement to content syndication, and an easy way to push your white paper to a very highly targeted audience. It’s worth a test.
About the Author: Howard J. Sewell is president of Connect Direct Inc. (CDI), a full-service agency specializing in demand generation for high-technology companies. Named one of the “Top 100 Agencies” for 2007 by BtoB Magazine, CDI maintains offices in Silicon Valley and Seattle. Howard can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.