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.