A few weeks ago, I was in the meeting where our sales stakeholder mentioned the opportunity of buying a list. As he explain where the list was from ,the number of “contacts” we would receive, and the nominal cost, my facial expressions illustrated exactly what I was thinking , “Eek,Ick, and No! We shouldn’t buy names. We should build a permission based program.” I think most marketers would agree building a permission marketing program is important.
What’s Permission Marketing?
The term “permission marketing’ was popularized by Seth Godin in his book, Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends, and Friends into Customers. The gist is you should seek permission to send your prospects or customers any email or other piece of content. Period. Nothing is sent without the customer or prospects acceptance/ approval/blessing.
Permission marketing is the cornerstone of most email programs. Without it, your email program is dead.
Why is permission marketing so important?
Dennis Dayman, chief privacy and security office at Oracle Eloqua nailed it on the head when outlining its best practice for email deliverability, “
“Marketers should never assume that subscribers or visitors will want new information or want you to share their information further than what they signed up for in the past or what you promised them. Give them control over their own information. When you do this, customers stay more loyal. Send what you promised to send and send when you promised to send.”
Getting back to my sales stakeholder, is he wrong? Not necessarily, his job is to sell. And he is just looking to fill his pipeline. However, it is my job to help change the conversation.
Best way to say no is to educate why. Why is the most important aspect in any conversation with stakeholders. Don’t stop at the what. Explain why something should not be done and then explain what you are offering instead.
My colleague wrote the below to the team to explain the importance of permission marketing,
- 77% of deliverability is based on sender reputation – Return Path 2008
- The presence of just one spam trap can drop your deliverability rating by up to 53% Return Path’s Reputation Benchmark Report, 2009
Permission email marketing is not an overnight build. It takes time and long-term patience. But, it will enhance our brand and therefore enhance the business and it will generate more leads for you. Getting people to opt-in is the first step to assessing interest. That is why we mentioned intake first to see who will “raise their hands.”
I understand that it is tempting to buy names, but those names don’t always translate into interest or leads. (This is the why for sales)
Buildings opt-ins will involve a lot of consistent activity that the marketing team is committed to such as: (This is what we plan to offer instead)
- Driving traffic to webpages with downloadable assets to capture prospect emails
- Conducting routine webinars to capture prospect emails
- Including a form on the website to opt-in to emails
- Including an opt-in link on all emails sent out from us in case the email is forwarded to someone not on our list
- Promoting our opt in form via social channels
- Building a subscription preference list
- Including the opt in form in employee email signatures
- Providing collateral to be handed out at events that directs people to opt in to emails to learn more
Third-party lists are often purposely seeded by ISPs with fake email addresses whose only purpose is to catch spammers. Third-party lists also frequently contain out-of-date email addresses that will cause bounce rates to rise. While the act of purchasing and sending email to an unsolicited list does not by itself violate the CAN-SPAM Act, it is an agreed upon bad practice in marketing.
Not bad right?
It is not our intent to say no, but helping our internal folks understand the importance of building a trusted, high performing email program. Permission marketing is the key to trust. Trust is important to any business partnership. If I cannot trust your business with my email, should I really do business with you?
What else would you add?
Rachel DiCaro Metscher has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review. She is currently working in the DC metro area building content marketing programs from the ground up.