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Top Ways to Improve Your Email Marketing - Page 1/10

Permission Email Marketing: “Permission” Is Not Optional

One of the most commonly promoted but least practiced of all the “best practices” related to email marketing is the aspect of permission: how you add email addresses to your list and how – or even if – you gain the individual’s permission before doing so. There’s a variety of different levels, from harvested names with no permission whatsoever (i.e. spam) to the pinnacle of permission-based email, the double opt-in.

While those that don’t adhere to permission guidelines will argue otherwise, permission-based list building has become standard practice for legitimate email marketers. Not only is it considered a best-practice and one that respects your contacts and the use of their email address, it is also a key component for optimizing deliverability, for maximizing the return on your investment, and for gaining and maintaining recipient trust.

Therefore, it is always a bit surprising to professionals in the email industry when the issue is still debated and when large, respectable companies don’t practice it with their own email programs. The ongoing debate serves as a stark reminder that thousands of marketers still haven’t climbed aboard the permission-based email marketing train. Don’t be one of them.

Permission Email Marketing: The Challenge

Many marketers understandably resist the idea that they need to get permission fi rst. For anyone who has previously worked with another channel -- print, radio, TV or direct mail – they may be unused to the standard to demanding recipients’ permission before contacting them.

But email is different. It’s a personal medium, like the telephone. But as we’ve seen with the popularity of the Do Not Call List, telemarketing wore out its welcome, and unsolicited email has, too.

As well, many marketers who do email to a non-permission-based list will think they’re getting acceptable results from an email program that sends out a general email blast to a list cobbled together from customers, trade shows, demo requestors,white paper downloaders, etc. But the more experienced email marketers realize that a far more effective way may be to email to a smaller list of individuals who have actually expressed a desire to hear from you. Why? Because when you market to people who have told you expressly that they want to hear from you, you can expect to see these results:

- Better response rates
- Increased trust and brand affinity
- Better deliverability

Yes, it takes time and money to build a permission-based house list and create targeted, relevant offers and messages. Yes, your list will be smaller than if it was an unsolicited email list. When your sales manager or CEO is in your face demanding cash-money results right now, “permission” can be a tough concept to sell.

But email marketing isn’t about list size or simply blasting recipients with email after email. It is about getting great results and building relationships. Quite simply, permission email gets better results and is the only way to build email relationships with customers and subscribers.

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