Permission Marketing is a worthwhile initiative for some businesses
Permission marketing is a predominantly online approach of business prospecting that involves taking an explicit permission from the prospective customer to be contacted. As the prospect has agreed to receive promotional material, readership and conversion rates tend to be high. Permission marketing initiatives include opt-in e-mail, where web visitors sign up to receive promotional information in advance in the form of e-mailers or internet newsletters.
It can be successfully applied to niche industries, last minute special offers and discounts, secret shopping events, business-to-business opportunities and other initiatives.
Permission Marketing is generally well received by consumers
Permission marketing has consistently succeeded as the prospect is receptive to a message they requested in advance – there is a sense of inclusion and it’s also more cost-effective as the prospect is a qualified target. Permission is the crucial difference between successful legitmate e-mail marketing and automated spam.
In a competitive online environment getting to the most qualified audience – people who actively seek your product or service – is what internet marketing is all about. PPC and SEO are designed to get straight to your target market and permission marketing is no different.
Permission marketing offers the promise of improving targeting by helping consumers interface with advertising most likely to provide the desired promotional messages. As compared to other forms of online advertising, e-mailed advertisements that arrive in the mailbox of prospects have more chances of being viewed than randomly placed banner advertisements. They are also less expensive than sponsored link ads but they only put you in touch with customers you already know – which is something of a limitation if you are trying to attract a new audience.
Online Permission marketing delivers
While permission marketing can be delivered by either offline or online means, the online option works best. The Internet simplifies reaching multiple prospects and receiving their qualified responses to permission marketing queries. The cost of communication is therfore low for the marketer and even the effort required by prospects to respond is low. The trade-off in permission marketing is choosing between breadth versus depth strategies. In breadth strategy, a firm develops relationship with lots of consumers having low permission intensity.
While, in ‘depth strategy’, the marketer focuses on a smaller set of customers with high permission intensity that readily provide very detailed information on their values, preferences, etc. Marketers need to find an optimal number of consumers with the required level of permission intensity. Marketers also need to differentiate between the notions of opt-in and opt-out. Opt-in is when a person explicitly gives permission to receive advertisements, while opt-out is when the marketer provides people with an option of not receiving any future marketing. Thus, permission marketing builds on opt-in and to retain its sanctity, it needs to respect opt-outs in order to avoid crossing into spam territory.
Permission marketing also scores over other forms of consumer behaviour tracking, like banner advertisements covert tracking system (cookies). In the covert tracking mechanism of permission marketing based promotions, the consumer is a willing and active participant, while in the covert tracking he is unaware that he is being tracked. Thus overt tracking gives more customised results as the web visitor willing gives qualified answers too.
Permission Marketing Best Practices
A well executed online permission marketing campaign is more than just an aesthetically designed template and well written e-mailer. As the campaign is automatically sent, you need to comprehensively track and analyse responses. In fact this is the most significant and rewarding part of email marketing as you need to see how many email messages were opened, how many click throughs were generated and how many read beyond the initial click throughs (subsequent offers).
Your permission marketing, like any marketing initiative, should have an end objective – is it to grow sales or build a brand. As a brand building tool it can be effective if you have a message to tell but without a useful message that will be actively taken on board it may be a lost initiative.
By knowing how the promotional messages were treated by your target market, future marketing campaigns or even related sales processes can be customised accordingly for higher success rates. A well crafted and well tracked permission marketing campaign can reveal detailed, accurate and immediate customer behaviour, while increasing the brand appeal of associated products/services thanks to the usefulness of the campaign to the reader.
It’s important to consider permission marketing as part of an overall strategy. There is no one avenue of marketing that will solve all your problems, matching needs to resources and expectations will be an important driver of how you choose to market your business.
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