The Importance of Permission-Based Email Marketing

According to a Merkle report, permission-based email enterprises about one-quarter of the time a person spends with email, second only to emails that are personal communication with family and friends. The converse of that, however, is that 75 percent of those in the study said they choose to opt-out of permission email because emails lack relevance; 73 percent said they opted out because emails were sent too frequently, according to the report.

So where is the fine line drawn? How do you create a powerful, permission-based, email database with key contacts and then provide them with timely, relevant information, versus obtaining qualified email leads only to lose their interest because of the negatives perceived by the recipients? The key to email marketing success is to find the balance, simply because this medium should be at the cornerstone of your marketing mix.

How to Build an Opt-in Email List – To start, creating an opt-in email list provides a foundation of qualified leads with which you can nurture and build relationships. Customers and prospects who visit your website and like what they see are more inclined to join an email list at that moment because they want more of what you have to offer. These visitors are the same people you want to target, much more qualified than purchasing a third-party list, particularly since email addresses change quite frequently. Plus those who opt-in at your website, or double opt-in through a confirmation email, are genuinely interested in your products and services so there is a great chance of converting these leads into sales and repeat customers. The other downfall with third party lists is that you have no idea how many emails these contacts are receiving, from companies other than yours. With your own personal opt-in list, you know exactly what the volume and frequency is for sending emails.

Do It Yourself Versus Using an Email Marketing Company – While creating your own database and having total ownership in-house may sound appealing, it can become extremely cumbersome and time consuming to manage. If you do not have an automated system in-house and linked to your website and databases, you will end up having to manually make changes like removing an email at a subscribers request or trying to figure out and determine your analytics for each email. Permission-based email marketing services for small businesses, like Constant Contact and iContact, manage everything for you, from utilizing your opt-in from your website to directly collect emails in a database that they house to offering design templates for your communications and emails. And, because services like this firmly follow anti-SPAM laws, your emails actually make it to where they are supposedly to go.

Defining Who You Are – Clearly having someone "ask you" if they can be on your email distribution list is much better than randomly sending information to third-party lists. But permission-based email marketing affords you the opportunity to also build your brand recognition with those who really want to hear from you. Opt-ins can also be tempted to sign up with the offer of free white papers, case studies, and password-only access to special areas of your website.

Create a positive image of yourself – Recent studies have shown that those who opt-in or make purchases from a particular business have an increased positive impression when that business sends them email. With email marketing, you can develop and foster a relationship that may have started simply out of necessity and begin to build towards a winning a long-term customer.

More and more people are tolerant about permission-based email marketing; however, you must not overstep those boundaries of trust. Relevant and timely information, special promotions or incentives will continue to build trust between you and your customers. But, emails every other day or information that is simply off-target from what your customers want or work with on a daily basis will lead your customers to opt-out as quick as they opted-in.

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