Permission Is Not Optional In Email Marketing

May 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Email Marketing Beginners

Permission is not an optional extra, but is the basic apparatus in email marketing. Permission is the key component in gaining recipient trust, optimizing deliverability and getting investment returns. It is practiced by all legitimate email marketers. But many new email marketers, especially those from print, television, radio and direct mail background resist the idea of taking permission. They fail to realize that email is different from the rest as it is a personal medium, similar to telephone. And the result of decline in telemarketing is a clear proof of this malpractice.

Email marketing isn’t about smacking the recipient with one email after another nor is it about list size. Initially some do get okay results when they do not take permission. These kinds of marketers send out floods of email to email list gathered in trade shows, from white paper downloaders and visitors. But for most of the marketers, mediocre result is not the goal. When subscribers give permission for emailing, results such as increased response rates, better deliverability, and increased brand affinity and trust can be seen. It does take time to build a list based on permission and to send out relevant messages to targeted readers. This list will become shorter by the day if this list is an unsolicited email list. In simple words, permission helps in achieving better results and it is the only method to build strong relationships with customers via emails.

Few marketers think that their non-permission programs are bringing results which are just fine. But when they review their open rate, click rate and conversion rates, they can conclude that they could have improved the results by at least five times if they had used the permission based approach. Permission not only means the subscriber’s consent of receiving emails from the company. It can be further broken down into expressed consent and implied consent. Expressed permission is what the subscriber gives when he fills the opt-in form or clicks on the email permission checkbox when he is filling the registration form. Implied permission is not given actively, but is a following result of another actions like not un-checking the pre-checked email permission box. This practice is not healthy and can affect the relationship with the customer. Therefore, expressed permission is the acceptable one. Implied permission can also be expressed as opt-out.

The U.S. issued law for commercial email in 2003 which is also called as CAN-SPAM. This law allows opt-out marketing if certain conditions are met. The opt-out emails should include a working unsubscribe link. The commercial email should be labeled as a promotional email if affirmative consent is not given by the recipient. This law only has legal criteria and does not promote opt-in or best practices. Opt-out email marketing gets the company blacklisted instantly. This means most of the money and time spend in emailing is wasted. In opt-out email marketing, there is a high chance of sending emails to addresses which do not exist or which block the messages.

Opt-in email marketing is of two types: Single opt-in and double opt-in. In Single opt-in, the subscriber is automatically added after the completion of web form or after emailing a request. In Double opt-in, also known as confirmed opt-in, the subscriber is sent an automated email message immediately after the request to which the subscriber must reply to confirm the subscription and to be added to the email list.

Statistics and surveys have proven the benefits of using opt-in email marketing. Instead of wasting resources on people who aren’t interested in the company’s services or product, a small part of the same resources can be utilized effectively by reaching out to the targeted customers.

Opt-in Email Marketing Tips

Opt-in email refers to those promotional e-mails sent to individuals who have requested to receive them. Not like spam, wherein promotional emails are sent to a large number of recipients without considering whether such individuals want the information, opt-in emails generally are sent only to individuals who particularly requested for them.

Opt-in e-mails often are personalized, targeted and convey information regarding specific promotions or topics that clients are interested and concerned to learn about.

Usually opt-in e-mails include product information, newsletters, helpful articles and advices or special advertising offers. When for instance a user frequents a certain website selling music and books online, he can “opt in” to accept publications or notices each time his favorite musician or author releases a new material; promotional e-mails may also grant the user with a discounted offer only available for individuals in the “opt-in” list.

Even though this direct targeted email marketing and promotion is more expensive compared to bulk unsolicited email, surveys do reveal that this is more effective.

Opt-in email has many forms. The ‘single opt-in” list is established by inviting or requesting users to sign up through a “web form”. The moment they send the form, they are enrolled to be a member of that list.

You can take it a little further by adding another step, which is requiring all recent members to confirm or verify their subscription through email; this list then is commonly referred to as a ‘double opt-in”.

Confirmed or verified opt-in authenticates and supports that the email list truly is approved; this came to be the basis for qualifying the list as a recognized, “non-spam” method of communication in the business.

There are several businesses on the internet that can rent you a list of email addresses of individuals who opted to accept a commercial email. In most cases, they in actuality are not renting the list as you will not have any chance of seeing the concrete list. These companies charge a fee for every email address that they mail your message to.

As long as all who receives the email are not paid in order that they read the messages, as long as they are truly interested with the offers that they have signed up, this method of marketing may be profitable.

The problem here in most cases is that they charge between 10-20 centavos per email address as well as mailing it to a considerable amount of list so to obtain wonderful results; this can be relatively expensive. However when you can afford it, you will create excellent targeted traffic.

What about “opt-in series” email promotion?

Opt-in ‘series” email promotion or marketing works in such a way that you offer a charming and appealing free sample, gift, article or giveaway at your website, generally works successfully through a pop window and when visitors collects their freebie, then they are obliged to type in their email address and name. Now they are already subscribed to receive a series of your personalized and scheduled email reports and messages pre-written by you. The best series type is that which supplies free helpful and valuable information regarding a certain subject that can solve your customers” problem.

A good quality “email series” will establish good relationships with prospect clients, which is something is more valuable and a point that is often overlooked by many online businesses. This approach can be personalized and fully automated as soon as you have done the structuring and setup work.

Here are guidelines so to be safe:

1. Never purchase someone else’s “opt-in lists”. The clients who opted or choose to receive email messages in that certain list wants receive email information from somebody else and not you.

2. Never purchase and use those types of programs called ‘millions of email addresses plus a bulk emailer program”.

3. Never sell your email list to someone else as well. Clients want to receive mail from you because in the first place, they want the information that you are providing them.

4. Consider a ‘double-opt-in” email procedure when gathering your very own list of emails from your website.

5. Do not use false header on your messages. Meaning, do not attempt to conceal your identity.

6. Never advertise or promote your website on all mailing lists newsletter whereby it was not collected through ‘double-opt-in”.

7. Without delay, fulfill and meet any request of removal from the list. Create a link that is simple to follow on all emails that you send.

When working on a plan, begin by asking yourself and determining the amount of e-mail addresses that you desire to obtain each month. Then, figure out the location or where your target clients frequent as well as the cost in order to obtain visitors to your website so you can invite or request them to “opt-in” to your list.

Good luck.

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