How to Use Registration-Based Sites for Marketing

By Alexander Hiam

A registration-based site builds a list of visitors for you to market to. You can then use this list to send marketing messages by e-mail or regular mail. A registration-based site is one that locks visitors out of the bulk of its pages until they input their name and some identifying information, such as an e-mail address, title and business, or other useful information for your marketing activities.

Think about what you want to do with the names before deciding what information to ask people to provide. If you may want to mail or call visitors, collect their full addresses and phone numbers.

To do so, create a form for visitors to fill in, linked to a database that captures each field (a field is a specific bit of information, such as name, title, street address 1, street address 2, state, zip code, e-mail address, daytime phone, evening phone). HTML programmers know how to program these forms, or you can use an off-the-shelf version from an ISP.

People won’t register on your hub website unless you offer them something that (a) reduces the perceived risk they may feel they’re running by giving up their contact information, and (b) seems worth the minute or two registration takes. A credible, well-designed site and a well-known brand or business name reduces the sense of risk.

As for what you give them to reward them for registering, that’s up to you — apply your marketing imagination to the challenge. If you have useful information, you can allow people access to it after they register. If you normally charge a fee for some service, offer a discount for visitors who register. A frequent-customer discount is another great way to entice people to fill in your form.