Permission Marketing Basics

I’m working with a communications specialist who has been introducing me to a world of web 2.0 marketing opportunities. Kim Lear has got me blogging and I’ve done a few e-mail announcements, just testing the waters. I’ve asked her to explain how a tried and true marketing strategy has been rejuvenated through new technologies. ~Niels Gram

Permission-based marketing is ballooning as an online and mobile marketing strategy.

But what does it mean? And how can small business get in on the action?

Permission-based marketing refers to any form of marketing where the customer has signed up to receive marketing material.

The process is simple. The vendor asks the customer if they would like to receive newsletters, e-mail updates, catalogues or a free magazine subscription.

Why would anyone give permission to be sent advertising? Because they want something. Perhaps they want to be notified of sales and events or they might want exclusive invitations or tips from the vendor.

The Sears catalogue is a classic example.

Once someone asks to be mailed a Sears catalogue, they are on the mailing list for life.

A new technology twist on permission-based marketing is the e-newsletter, or e-mail updates used by many stores, service providers and non-profits.

Businesses which know clients are active computer users are coming up with creative ways to attract and retain business through e-mail marketing.

A massage therapist might offer to e-mail clients breathing exercises each month, and include in the e-mail, ‘Click here to book your appointment for October.’

That simple monthly e-mail would give a client value even after they leave the table. It gives them a gentle reminder to come back – and it makes it easy for them to book an appointment while they are thinking about it.

The trick to a successful permission-based marketing initiative is to give people something they want to receive and of course, make it easy for them to buy.

When it comes to e-mail campaigns, permission is essential. Canadian privacy laws place strict restrictions on the use of people’s contact information. That extends to e-mail addresses and e-mail marketing.

Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003, otherwise known as CAN-SPAM, is an American Act that marketers worldwide base their best practices on.

The real key to online permission-based marketing is to remember anyone who has given permission to market to them, has also given their trust.

Marketers do well to send people what they asked for, nothing more, nothing less.

And within the e-mail they make it easy for people to buy.

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