The First Rule of the Mequoda Marketing System

The first rule of the Mequoda Internet Marketing System is to make it as easy as possible to start a customer relationship—and give something away. Don’t ask for the money right away. But BusinessWeek.com gives away volumes of priceless content without even asking for an email address in return.

When the visitor does register, however, BusinessWeek Online requires a full name, postal mailing address, email address, username, password and security question. In return, the registered user can request any or all of 11 free email newsletters, e.g. Innovation Insider, Asia Insider, BW Technology, Investing Intelligence, etc. Also offered are free, online instructor-led classes on topics ranging from starting your own business to setting up your wireless home network.

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Current subscribers to the printed edition of BusinessWeek may view premium content, although there is no effort to explain just how much McGraw-Hill is holding back exclusively for its paying customers. There is no aggressive “teasing” or selling in order to get the visitor to buy a paid subscription to the print publication. That effort comes later in a series of email sales letters.

One thing is certain: these folks sure are giving away a lot of great content!

The balance between how much to give away and when to charge for premium content is very difficult to determine. If this strategy is working for BusinessWeek Online, congratulations! But we do wonder if an aggressive conversion architecture with an enticing upsell landing page wouldn’t result in higher revenues.

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