A term and strategy originally coined by Seth Godin, permission marketing focuses on marketing to subscribers on an opt-in or permission basis. While the concept is certainly not new – Godin developed this term back in 1999 when writing his book, Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends, and Friends into Customers – it has become more important than ever in today's world.
Simply put, permission-based marketing applies to any digital marketing strategy that requires permission from an audience to receive announcements and offers from a brand. This is most often applies to email marketing campaigns but it also applies to SMS marketing and mobile marketing strategies.
In Godin's concept, there are two schools found within this marketing strategy – express-permission and implied-permission.
- In express-permission marketing campaigns, consumers give their email address in order to receive marketing messages, such as newsletters or other email offers. This is typically used in customer acquisition.
- In implied-permission marketing campaigns, brands already have a relationship in place with their audience. Messages here would include messages to frequent customers or customers who have given their email details to create a store account.
Both of these strategies can be used within digital marketing, with both giving customers full control over when and how they wish to receive messages from your brand. The focus on permission marketing essentially comes down to giving consumers the power to choose the way that they are marketed to by companies. When permission is enabled, brands have a far better chance to meet the needs of their audience in a way that caters to the needs of the audience.
Why Consider Permission Marketing?
There are many reasons that permission marketing has become the industry standard across a broad range of digital marketing campaigns. One of the biggest reasons is, of course, the ability to drive trust.
Signing up for coffee shop rewards or grocery store rewards is often done by customers who regularly make purchases at their favourite shop. Earning points on every purchase is an added incentive. Giving email addresses to further gain incentives then becomes a good deal. When something such as a phone number or email address is given in return for enhanced service or some type of offer, it is a win-win for brands and consumers.
This is ultimately what permission-based campaigns are all about – empowering customers to provide information in return for some sort of benefit. This approach allows you to niche market to your audience on their terms, building trust and driving loyalty in the process.
Non-permission based marketing, on the other hand, involves offers being sent without explicit consent. This could include any type of message that is sent where email addresses or phone numbers have not been given with the expectation of receiving messages. If you had to receive a list of attendees from an event your company has sponsored and then send out messages to all on the list about upcoming products, you would be marketing to an audience without their consent. This can very quickly lead to a loss of credibility and trust. It can also put you at risk of customer complaints, privacy violations, lost business and reputation or even blacklisting.
There are a number of advantages to implementing permission marketing across your various digital campaigns. Some of the biggest advantages include the chance to build and maintain customer relationships, build your reputation and boost your lead generation efforts. Putting thought and time into thinking about what your customers want is the best way to encourage loyalty in the short and long term. This is also an essential way to build healthy relationships through high-quality digital marketing campaigns. It gives you a way to nurture new leads in a way that adds genuine value to your audience.
With that said, permission-based campaigns can sometimes go wrong, like any other campaign. Marketing automation has paved the way for highly targeted campaigns that can nurture leads at every stage. Mistakes can be made with any automated campaign, however.
To avoid this from happening, it is always a good idea to stick to a messaging schedule that does not send out too many emails or mobile messages. Updating customers every single time you have a new product in-store or overloading inboxes with a constant flood of promotional messages can quickly lose trust.
At the same time, sending out just one message once in a while can also backfire, causing customers to forget about your brand.
Using Permission Marketing in Your Digital Strategy
There are a number of ways that you could integrate permission marketing into your digital strategy. Some of the simplest, most effective ideas include the following:
- Promotions. Promotions that are planned around your target audience's interests and needs are one of the simplest, easiest to implement strategies that can also promote certain products or services.
- Loyalty campaigns. Member-only benefits and other loyalty programmes are always a powerful way to grow your reputation and encourage customer retention. Done right, these campaigns add huge value.
- Newsletters. Even regular email updates can help to keep customers updated, promote products or offers, share news or add value in other ways when approached carefully.
To ensure that you get the most from your permission campaigns, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Always ensure that you have full permission from customers before sending any campaign
- Include fine print and disclaimers that clearly outlines privacy and other related information
- Make sure that there is a clear, easily located unsubscribe button in the footer of your emails
- Add content that provides incentive and value for customers to come back for more
- Use your campaigns as a way to connect to your audience on a deeper level
- Keep content direct and simple, include lots of graphics and don't forget about calls to action
- Use split testing to determine which subject lines and headers resonate best with your audience
- Personalise messages to further add value to your audience in a way that builds engagement and trust
- Invest in a marketing automation platform that allows you full control over your campaigns
Grapevine offers a powerful marketing automation platform that will allow you to create personalised, focused messages to help you take your permission marketing campaigns to the next level.