Permission email marketing vs s*p*a*m, what’s the difference?
Spam is equivalent to the “junk” mail you receive in your physical mail box, if you did not give explicit permission for the mailer to send it to you. (As a copywriter, I shudder to call it “junk” mail, but that’s what it’s known as.) To carry the analogy further, you would continue to receive the mailings forever and there would be no way to turn it off.
If permission email marketing were to be carried over to the direct mail world, here’s how it would operate.
You would decide that it would be ok to be included on Company A’s mailing list. Either they mailed something to your home as an insert for another company’s materials, or you picked up a postcard somewhere. They may have offered a free gift or report if you sign up now. They may even have a mechanism for you to call in and ask to be included on the list.
Next, the company would mail you a postcard asking you to confirm your inclusion in the list. That’s what we call “double opt-in” in email. You take the first step, raising your hand as it were, asking to be included on the list. The company then requests that you affirm that indeed it was you that wanted to be included. The company is making sure that it didn’t receive your name and address from another party.
After the company received back the confirmation from your address, it would begin regular mailings to your home.
If you’re interested in starting your own ezine, one resource you should check out is Alexandra Brown’s site:
She offers a free 45 minute audio class on starting an ezine, and free articles, weekly tips via email, and paid products.
According to her site, Mark Victor Hansen & Associates said she is one of the top ten direct marketers in the world, so you should definitely check out what she has to say.
The free article section alone looks like a goldmine to me.
I’m not an affiliate (yet) but perhaps I’ll sign up…her stuff looks like the real deal.
In his book, Purple Cow, Seth Godin discusses the concept of “sneezers”.
“Sneezers” are “experts” who tell all of their friends and colleagues about a new product or service, and are perceived authorities in the area and are therefore influential.
The book is worth reading just for the discussion of “sneezers”.
What relevant does this have for your email marketing campaigns?
In fact, email is the perfect medium to capitalize on the “sneezers” tendency to “spread” the virus. Email is so very simple to forward to any number of people, adding one’s own comments. And today, of course, almost everyone has email.
You can understand why the ease of forwarding makes gives email a nudge over paper-based communications in many applications. If you happen to hit a “sneezer” at just the right time, you can have influence far beyond your original prospect list.
These principles should not be restricted to business. I belonged to a service organization that insisted on mailing a monthly newsletter with news and training opportunities. I asked why email was not used, citing the lower cost, instant delivery, and ability to forward. I argued that the newsletter could be much more effective and we could save money at the same time. Predictibly, my concerns fell on deaf ears.
For the service organization to which I belonged, there was not much at stake. But my story illustrates how organizations can get trapped by inertia, doing things the same way they’ve always been done and not taking advantage of new opportunities.
Here are some ideas to help you as you begin thinking about advertising in ezines.
If you have an existing business, you should strongly consider taking it online. Here are some reasons why.
1. Take advantage of web searches.
More people are online than ever before, and it’s getting easier to browse the web on handheld computers or cell phones. People are probably finding you or your competitors by searching on Google, Yahoo, MSN, or other search engines. A search engine optimized web site is your best bet to getting them to call you or walk through your doors.
2. Offer as much information as you want with no printing costs.
Depending on your type of business, you may want to offer white papers, technical guides, user’s manuals, and the like. A web site is ideally suited for this. You can easily create documents that have all of your contact information on every page.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with selling something on your website too.
3. Keep in contact with your prospects and customers.
Bulk email services make it simple and easy to keep in contact with your customer base. You can make it easy to sign up on your site. Bulk email services are ideal for delivering:
Consumers often require seven contacts with your company before making a purchase, especially when making a high dollar purchase. Many studies have been conducted on this subject and if you think about it, it’s just the way human psychology works. It’s been stated that people buy from those they know, like, and trust. A series of training or information messages helps to cover that ground much faster than with traditional print methods.
Let’s say that a prospect comes into your store to shop for a pellet stove. If they don’t make a decision before leaving, you can hand them a piece of paper with directions on how to sign up for your 5 day program on how to select a stove. You can “sell” the program by stating that it’s a big commitment to buy a stove, you know they are making an investment and this course gives them a little more to think about in every message. You could also offer some bonus, such as a coupon, if they sign up.
How many of your prospects walked out and eventually bought from a competitor, because they didn’t have compelling reason to come back to your store?
4. Retain more customers.
This builds on the previous benefit. If you can stay in contact with your customer, when it comes time to make the next purchase, they will be more likely to call you first.
5. Allows for quick communication.
You can decide to offer a special sale, send out an email, and have traffic to your store the next day or even the same day.
6. Nurture mutually beneficial relationships with other vendors.
To go back to our pellet stove example, let’s say that you sell pellet stoves but do not sell pellets. When fall approaches and the pellet dealers begin to receive their stock of pellets, you can pick one dealer that you recommend. You send out an email to your customer list recommending this particular dealer and give the reasons why. You can work out an agreement with the pellet dealer to pay you a percentage on the referrals, or you can ask them to give a coupon for $50 or $100 off a stove to all of their customers. It costs you next to nothing to make the recommendation, and you will get some future benefit in the form of sales that you would otherwise not had.
Compared to tradition offline methods, online marketing is much less expensive, and if done properly, your cost per sale is much less.
8. Complement Your Existing Marketing
You probably spend a considerable amount of money with traditional marketing, using one or more of the following:
Rather than doing away with these, an effective online marketing strategy can help you make the most of them. For example, a print ad can direct readers to a specific page on your website.
Online marketing is only going to get bigger, and the time to get on the bandwagon is now.