Here at CDI, we’re fierce proponents of “blended marketing”: 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 e-mail and direct mail, and the pull being online media such as content syndication, banner ads, etc.
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 or recognized or otherwise “hot,” the chances that readers are actively searching for that topic are slim. If so, perhaps it’s time to introduce a little “push” into your white paper marketing effort.
You can rent an e-mail list or direct mail list, and drive your message to the market that way, but e-mail response rates are way down, and so employing e-mail and direct mail successfully requires that – at minimum – you have your message, offer, and audience nailed. One misstep – an errant subject line, for example – and your investment is virtually worthless.
Enter emedia. emedia is a new entry into the US online space – based in Europe since 1998, they launched in the US in 2005.
emedia publishes opt-in e-mail bulletins – enewsletters covering a range of markets (Small Business, Education, Public Sector, Healthcare) and topics (IT Security, IT Compliance, CRM, Wireless Technology). Subscription is free, and the company boasts a total subscriber base of over 1 million. Readership for individual bulletins range from 25,000 (Financial Markets Technology) to more than 300,000 (IT Security).
Because the bulletins are categorized so specifically, 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. Besides white papers, advertisers also use the e-bulletins to promote free guides, evaluation software, training, 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 e-mail 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 the option of both standard and skyscraper banner ads. If you don’t have in-house creative or work with an agency, emedia can help with ad copy or banner design also. 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 pre-populated on that form, increasing conversion rates substantially.
As markedly different from the e-newsletters offered by competing publishers, editorial content is virtually non-existent. One suspects that this might have a negative impact on open rates, click-throughs, and even opt-out rates, through emedia claims that the content, whilst 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 UK 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 both a per insertion and Cost Per Lead basis. Insertions range from $2,495 – $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 amongst their client base. At CDI, 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.
emedia provides an effective complement to content syndication, and a hassle-free way to push your white paper to a very highly targeted audience. Worth a test.
The preceding article appeared in the December issue of the WhitePaperSource newsletter, a leading information source for more than 20,000 white paper writers and marketing professionals. All rights reserved.