What is Permission Based Marketing?

Permission-Based Marketing Uncovered

If you are a marketer, permission-based marketing should be a well-understood and applied practice. However, for those just getting into marketing it’s helpful to gain a basic understanding of what permission-based marketing is and what it is not in order to keep current customers and attract new customers in a respectful manner.

Permission-Based Marketing Definition

By definition, permission-based marketing is: The practice of sending marketing communications only to recipients who have given their consent to receive them. It most widely relates to email marketing communication, which is what this post will focus on.

There are two kinds of permission for permission-based marketing:

  • Explicit permission is obtained when the individual opts-in or specifically requests to receive information from you. (Ex. Sign up for newsletter, contact us form on website, etc)
  • Implicit permission is obtained by a customer or client relationship. (Ex. Contacting current customers about new offers, incentives and more)

Over the years, consumers have become wearier of email marketing campaigns due to frequent misuse of personal emails by corporations and commercial institutions. Everyone these days has a “spam” email address that they give out when an email is required by a retailer or online form. People are bombarded with advertisements, sales, client emails, and personal emails every day and if they don’t know who you are or why you are sending them an email you are likely to get deleted immediately or flagged as spam. And once you get booted it’s really hard to get back in front of them and change their perception of your brand or company.
According to Seth Godin, a marketing guru, “permission is like dating. You don’t start by asking for the sale at first impression. You earn the right, over time, bit by bit.”

Opt-in Email Marketing

Gaining permission can also be called opt-in. Consumers opt-in to receive content of interest or to follow companies or brands they advocate. The opt-in process needs to be obvious and clear. It doesn’t have to be a formal, “join my list” type thing; however, you want to make sure people know they are giving you their information and what they should expect in return. In exchange for permission you make a promise to the consumer. It’s wise to be specific about what you are offering and how often they will receive communication from you. If it’s an email newsletter, then tell them if it’s weekly, monthly or bi-monthly. If it’s a free download, tell them it’s an immediate download via email. Making promises and delivering on them is good permission-based marketing practice.

Now that you have a base understanding of what permission based email marketing is, check out our post on How to Build an Effective Email Marketing List to get started today!