One phrase you may have heard a lot more recently is permission-based marketing. But what exactly is permission-based marketing? And how does it fit into your current tactics? And, perhaps most importantly, how do you use permission-based marketing in your current business model?
What is permission-based marketing?
The likelihood is that you already have permission marketing as part of your approach. Essentially, permission-based marketing is a form of marketing strategy where you obtain permission from your customers before sending them more offers or information. For example, you may have offered signups to newsletters or regular product updates on your website. This is a type of permission-based marketing.
There are two main types of permission marketing:
- Explicit permissions: This form of permission marketing requires the customer to opt in by inputting their contact details such as email address or phone number.
- Implicit permissions: Perhaps the most common type, this is where you have to check or uncheck boxes to receive or refuse more marketing materials.
It’s important to note that you may not always get to decide what type to use. For some sectors, such as finance and health, you have to seek explicit permission from the customer. And if your business operates within the EU, that need for explicit permission extends to all sectors. Even if operating within the US only, you need to be aware of the jurisdictional factors when dealing with cookies and permissions.
Seven top tips for using permission marketing
So, how do you make sure you are using permission-based marketing appropriately and to its best effect? Here are seven top tips to help you move forward.
Always be clear about what happens when customers give you permissions to send material. Initial contact should make it clear what they will receive and how often. For example, if a customer signs up for information on call centre for small business solutions, you shouldn’t send them information that differs from that.
If you send things too frequently, or if the content you send is irrelevant to them, then customers will be more likely to opt-out. Talking of which, be sure to make that opt-out easy for them to do.
2.Build your contact list organically
Thankfully, the days of companies buying contact lists are mostly gone. In most countries, buying such lists is not illegal but using those lists for marketing purposes is. After all, how could your business get permission from a person you have never had contact with and who might not even know your company.
It may take time, but building your list organically is worth it in the long term. Every person on your list, such as email marketing, sending updates by SMS, or other options, has given you permission to contact them.
3. Be reasonable
When a customer gives you permission to send them information and other materials, they will have certain expectations (often based on what you have stated) as to how often you will contact them. If there is no information on frequency, or if you say you will send daily updates, then people may choose not to give you permission at all.
Think about what you are sending. For example, if you are sending information on wifi calling or other cloud communications, then weekly or twice-weekly is more than enough. However, if you are an online supermarket, customers may be open to daily updates on special offers.
4. Offer great content
It doesn’t matter what your business type is. If customers see that you offer consistently good content, it’s more likely that they’ll allow you to send them more material. Think about how you present your content and what you offer. Blog posts can be a great way to achieve initial engagement that attracts them, there are various content marketing platforms you can use. Then you can also offer exclusive content if they sign up.
For example, if your business offers a range of ecommerce solutions, you can offer special content to those on your mailing list, such as advice on how to start an online boutique.
5. Invest in good SEO
For people to sign up for your lists and content, they first need to find you. Think of SEO as the signpost that lets people discover your website or social media page. With a solid SEO strategy, your site should feature prominently on the main search engines such as Google. It should also guide them to the content, such as blogs, that is most relevant to them.
By using good keywords, people can find your content. If they recognize you as an authority on a subject or somewhere that offers the products they want, they are more likely to opt in to any marketing lists or newsletters on offer.
We’ve already touched on the importance of good content, but variety of content can be vital, too. Outside of people who sign up purely for notifications of special offers, most people will want and expect an array of content. Think about adding more visual content to what you send people, or consider things like webinars or instructional videos.
Imagine for a moment that your business sells international domains. If people sign up to your company’s list, they’ll get bored quickly if you merely send details of domains for sale. However, sending more involved information on the benefits of each type of domain may capture their interest.
When it comes to permissions (especially explicit permissions) you don’t need to make it complicated. You don’t need a customer’s life story to get them on your mailing list, just the basic contact details, such as email address or phone number, depending on the channel you will be using to keep in touch with them.
That simplicity also extends to opting out. People have many different reasons for leaving a list, and you should always respect their decision. Keep your opt-out button in clear display, whether on your site or within emails.
With cookies all but disappearing, permission based marketing is set to take centre stage. Not only does this ensure you comply with the differing sets of regulations around the world, it also means that you know you are operating ethically. If you are already using permission marketing, it is worth reviewing your strategy to see how many of these tips you are using now.