Permission marketing works because it obeys the same social rules that govern social relationships.
You meet someone.
You learn about each other.
You begin to develop mutual trust.
As the relationship progresses, you ask more from each other — more time and more attention.
A similar sequence transpires with permission marketing.
You ask to send someone personal and relevant messages. Messages that create value for that person and that they enjoy receiving. You earn their attention, a precious resource. You begin to earn their trust.
The right way to get permission
How do you get permission to send messages to a person? Follow these four principles:
- You need their emphatic consent. Don’t just ask for their email address. Ask for their address with the explicit understanding that they will receive email from you.
- Get their consent before you send anything. Email recipients, internet service providers, and Gmail are very sensitive about spam. They are also unforgiving. Too many spam reports and your domain can be blocked. Ask for permission. You’re unlikely to receive forgiveness.
- Accurately describe exactly what you will send them. If you are going to deliver an educational email sequence, great. But if it’s four emails in the next four days or eight emails over the next month or an email every Tuesday morning, tell them what to expect. Then when the email arrives, they’ll likely remember and be much more inclined to open it.
- Send them nothing outside of your permissions. Shouldn’t have to say this, but it’s easy to cross the permission marketing boundary. Whatever you have been given permission to send, don’t exceed that limitation.
Permission does not have to be one way
Since it’s the internet, you can treat different people differently. Figure out what different groups want to receive and send them what they want.
You can also ask them to communicate back to you. For example, you send an email that has three tips on how to improve productivity. At the end of each tip, provide a link to a page on your website with a longer article on that subject. Which link has the highest click-through rate? People have just voted for their favorite productivity tip.
You both benefit from permission marketing
It’s easy to see how permission marketing benefits your potential customers. They only receive messages from you that they have asked you to send. They anticipate receiving these messages. The messages you send are personal and relevant.
What does permission marketing do for you?
- You can use very low cost sending methods like email. You’ll get high opt-in, open, click-through, and conversion rates.
- Once you have put the email sequence in place, the opt-in process and the emails run on automatic.
- You build trust with people. Later on, when you start to talk to them about a mutually beneficial commercial relationship, they find you credible and trust you enough to want to hear what you have to say.
- You educate them so they can move forward in the lifecycle of their relationship with you.
- You can communicate in a personal way because you are sending something people asked to receive.
Once you get used to the idea of permission marketing, it feels like the most natural thing in the world. You can’t imagine using interruption marketing with potential customers any more. Just like you wouldn’t dream of being that obnoxious guy at a networking event. You know, the one who goes around handing out business cards to everyone and talking only about himself.
Photo Credit: Brenda Starr