The concept of Permission Marketing has been around for some time, (initially coined by Seth Godin in Permission Marketing: turning strangers into friends, and friends into customers,) we thought it would be an interesting refresher for today.
As marketers, how do we create intimate relationships with prospects? How do we do this in the most effective way?
There are many theories postulated on this question and many support the idea that in order to get the most out of our relationships with potential customers, we should give them a choice of whether or not to accept the start of a relationship.
Think of it as a contract; how many times do we get emails we don’t want, flyers in the door we never asked for, and how often are we bombarded with media messages we don’t want to see?
As respectable marketers, the only logical way to approach prospects is to give them the chance to accept the beginning of a relationship, which puts them at ease and doesn’t terrify them at the first sight of what could be an intrusive email. After all, an email inbox is the property of its owner, and they have every right to accept emails from whoever they want. Think of it as Facebook: If someone wants to become your friend, they have to request permission from you first.
If marketers approach from this angle, we begin to see the concept behind the relationships; engaging and creating dialogue is a two-way street, or as Godin puts in his book:
“By talking only to volunteers, Permission Marketing guarantees that consumers pay more attention to the marketing message. It serves both customers and marketers in a symbiotic exchange.”
The good news for us is that a relationship-based model allows us to conduct basic demographic targeting and relieves us from spending time on prospects who will never be interested in our products.
In a changing marketing world, where segmentation and targeting with relevancy is becoming a key component in the sales process, permission-based marketing should be an established component of building good rapport.
Content marketing is the process of building a long-term relationship. First you offer valuable information to your prospects, later on in the process you go in for the sale. Or as Seth puts it:
“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… In order to get permission, you make a promise. You say, “I will do x, y and z, I hope you will give me permission by listening.”
Don’t be afraid to ask for permission. It’s a valuable commodity for today’s best marketers.