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  • Writer's pictureMarc Primo

Permission-based marketing: Why it pays to be courteous to your online customers

This is an article ‘Permission-based marketing: Why it pays to be courteous to your online customers’ by Marc Primo

Considering the many analytics out there that mine data, there’s a very high chance that you often receive unsolicited emails in your inbox. You might be wondering how marketers get a hold of your address and start retracing the sites you’ve visited. For businesses practicing lead generation via email newsletters and subscriptions, this type of marketing can serve as a double-edged sword, which can make or break a customer’s trust. With the proper approach and strategy, permission-based marketing can work for companies in a world wherein four billion users open their emails daily.

Permission-based marketing is simply getting a customer’s permission to collect data from their visits, which may include their email addresses or social media accounts, so that businesses can send them promotional materials or brand updates that they may find interesting. Naturally, uninvited brands that clutter your inbox with things you don’t need can be very annoying. That’s why more businesses today are focusing their strategies on seeking customer permission to improve their services rather than deliver daily spam.

The emergence of permission-based marketing

Since 1999, the term ‘permission marketing’ has been a by-word in the industry, thanks to author Seth Godin who came up with both the word and the approach. These days, customers are open to signing up for newsletters or regular email updates from the brands they trust, of course, with the knowledge that they can opt out anytime and choose which information can be collected from their end.

Lead generation via email remains a highly lucrative method when it comes to increasing a company’s conversion. Despite being one of the oldest forms of marketing, emails register a significant $36 for every $1 of marketing money spent by a business. When customers sign up for your email marketing campaign or even simply follow you on social media, you instantly get higher chances of landing a conversion or a sale.

However, coming off as a spammy brand that borders on being intrusive can show customers their interest is not really what’s in your brand’s mind and heart. This is why it’s important to review the key elements that make up an ethical permission-based marketing campaign.

Know your customer and anticipate their needs

Permission-based marketing is a powerful strategy that can significantly impact the effectiveness of your email campaigns. By applying the foundational principles of Godin’s Permission Marketing to your email strategy, you can enhance your subscribers' experience and build stronger relationships with them.

Most banks resort to the Know Your Customer (KYC) approach. The term refers to the crucial process of identifying and validating a client's identification when opening an account and on a regular basis after that. Its main goal is to make sure that banks and other financial institutions are working with legitimate people or organizations. Since this type of data collection is sanctioned by federal regulators to limit instances of fraud, banks can easily get the information they need from customers to better anticipate what they might be interested in.

However, other companies who are not in the banking industry will have to seek customer permissions in order to get their messages across to the right audience. One crucial aspect of permission-based marketing is anticipation. First you’ll have to ask yourself: Do your subscribers eagerly look forward to receiving your emails?

It's essential to provide customers with valuable and engaging content that leaves them excited for what you have to share. By consistently delivering high-quality information, you can establish trust and loyalty, making your subscribers more receptive to your messages.

Make it personal once you get their permission

Another key principle of increasing your leads via permission-based marketing is through personalization. Gone are the days of generic email blasts. Instead, it's crucial to segment your recipient lists and tailor your content to the specific needs and interests of each group. This is where funnel marketing comes in, and your campaign’s success depends on how you properly place each of your recipients on their corresponding stage of the funnel.

By understanding your subscribers' needs, preferences, and demographics, you can create emails that feel personalized and directly relatable to their unique situations. You can also guide them as they go through the awareness down to the conversion stages of their respective journey. This level of personalization goes beyond simply inserting their names in the subject line; it involves crafting content that resonates with them on a deeper level.

Stay relevant with your audience

Lastly, email marketers who seek permission from customers and get it need to focus more on being relevant. This is vital to keep what you’re sending via emails of interest with your audience and applicable to your subscribers' situations. To keep them engaged, work hard to provide content that is valuable and relevant to their needs and addresses their pain points. Share guides and tips which they can revisit from time to time and instill your brand as a credible industry authority or thought leader.

Whether it's offering helpful tips, industry insights, or exclusive offers, ensure that your emails address the specific pain points or interests of your subscribers. This relevancy will increase the likelihood of them opening and engaging with your messages.

However, it's important to note that personalization is not the same as being personal. While personalization can be achieved through tailored content, it's essential to go beyond surface-level efforts. Simply including a subscriber's name in the subject line isn't enough to create a truly personal connection. Instead, focus on building authentic relationships by understanding your audience and addressing their needs, challenges, and aspirations through your email content.

Getting past the hurdle of interruption and intrusion

One challenge often faced in permission-based marketing is the initial interruption. In order to obtain permission to market to your audience, you may need to interrupt them at least once. The thing is, what truly matters is what happens after that interruption.

Once you have received their permission, it's crucial to provide consistent value, relevant information, and a positive user experience. By delivering on your promises and exceeding expectations, you can build trust and establish a long-lasting connection with your subscribers.

Remember, gaining permission is just the first step; it's what you do afterward that truly matters. By focusing on delivering value and building authentic relationships, you can create a loyal and engaged subscriber base that will remain excited to receive the emails you sent them.


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