Rob Frankel - Branding Expert

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Unlocking the Money

'Tis the season to be making money. Christmas is staring us in the face. Retailers are hawking everything they can. And this year, many dot com's are freaking out because the sites they thought were lead-pipe cinch fortunes haven't exactly panned out the way they planned.

What's a site to do?

If you're smart, you'll go shopping -- for ways to bring in new users. And what I want to put forward to you today benefits BOTH existing and new site owners. I call it List Leasing, but you can call it whatever you like. The point is that it's a great way to unlock the money that's stored in your site; and a terrific way for new sites to gain users.

It goes like this:

If you're doing business on the web, you fall into one or both of the following classes: you either have a site or you're launching one. If you're launching, I strongly urge you to start contacting existing sites that are brand compatible with -- but not competitive to -- your own sites. Don't waste your time with the mega-sites. First, they won't talk to you. Second, they'll take weeks to respond if they DO talk to you. Third, you don't need billions of names to make this work. We're having success with lists of only a few hundred.

The guys you want are small to mid-size sites. People with a list of customers or users that have a few hundred or thousands of names. And then you want to contact those site owners with a proposition: a quick check for a quick introduction to their members.

I know, it sounds too simple, but it really IS that simple. And here's why:

If your proposition really does add value to the site owner's members, it positions them as a hero to their members. A really helpful message, written properly, shouldn't be viewed as spam. As you know, I strongly believe in keeping a presence before your branded community, and this is just one more way to do that. If the note to the users isn't a hard sell, it usually works really well -- mainly because it ISN'T selling. It's informing, from the heart, of something the owner feels is really helpful.

Don't worry about privacy policies, either. If you look closely, most of them state that that the owner won't release names to a third party. Well, with list leasing, the owner ISN'T releasing the names to a third party. He/she's simply communicating to the group. And again, that's perfectly fine and helpful if done correctly.

Finally, another great reason to go hunting for lists right now is that there are few existing policies for this kind of arrangement. Which means with cash in hand, you can probably negotiate yourself a great deal for BOTH parties: the "buyer" gets targeted prospects and the "seller" gets a little cash for essentially writing one e-mail.

Of course, let's not forget that this is exactly how great working relationships begin.

So if you have a list that others may be interested in leasing, I strongly urge you to post its availability to FrankelBiz with a "LIST:" header, so that other e-merchants can contact you. And if you're an e-merchant, post your "WANT LIST" accordingly.

Remember, if you AREN'T doing these kinds of deals, you're not unlocking the value of your user list. This is a great way to show case histories to potential site advertisers, as well.

Make it quick. Make it ethical. And pretty soon, you'll be making money.

Ho, ho, ho.

Rob Frankel

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