In the age of privacy and data protection, email marketers must act responsibly when sending out marketing content to email users. Failing to observe email marketing best practices can have a negative impact on your reputation and deliverability. In addition, the consequences of violating marketing regulations, such as those set out by initiatives like GDPR, CASL, and the CAN-SPAM Act, can be severe.
As such, for their own protection and the protection of email users in general, marketers are well-advised to take a safety-first approach when they enact their email campaigns. While marketers should consider using double opt-in methods to ensure consent, engaging in what is known as permission email marketing is a great starting point.
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What does permission email marketing mean? How to engage in permission email marketing Use opt-ins
Offer a way out
Let your subscribers personalize their experience
What does permission email marketing mean?
“Permission email marketing” is the practice of gaining permission from users before adding them to your mailing list or contacting them with marketing emails.
This is widely considered to be the optimal approach to email marketing nowadays, as it helps marketers to stay compliant with regulations. Moreover, a permission-based marketing approach helps email marketers improve engagement with their campaigns, as marketing messages should only go to those who are most interested in receiving them.
In contrast, proceeding with send-outs without obtaining prior permission is problematic for all parties. Users who receive unsolicited commercial emails will quickly become irritated and report the sender as a spammer, causing deliverability issues for the email marketer. In addition, since there is no way of gauging the validity of recipient addresses without permission, these senders often have a considerable number of invalid addresses and even spam traps in their lists, further compounding their problems.
All of this means that a permission-based approach is essentially the only way to achieve truly sustainable success with email marketing.
How to engage in permission email marketing
Generally speaking, the best course of action is to give leads and subscribers clear options at every turn, so that each phase of their journey with your brand is the result of a decision they’ve made for themselves. The following are some ways that you can enact permission email marketing effectively:
1. Use opt-ins
The initial stages of your contact with a lead are highly important because they set the standard for what will hopefully be a long, mutually-beneficial relationship. Marketing is all about building trust, so it’s crucial to establish a good precedent by demonstrating that you respect users’ preferences.
A common online strategy is to use lead magnets that offer some kind of incentive, such as a discount code, in exchange for contact details. These are great places to include an opt-in, giving leads a clear indication of the choice they are making rather than relying on implicit consent. Regardless of whether the incentive is free or contingent upon the provision of an email address, having a clear opt-in here establishes transparency.
Similarly, require double opt-ins for users who elect to join your mailing list. This demonstrates that you take their consent seriously, which helps strengthen their relationship with your brand. In addition, it also benefits your deliverability by keeping your email list clean.
2. Offer a way out
It’s good practice to offer your subscribers a way out at various stages of an email chain. Users may decide to opt in and receive your marketing content, but that doesn’t guarantee that they want to continue receiving messages from you indefinitely.
So, it’s a good policy to always include an unsubscribe button at the bottom of each marketing email you send to your subscribers.
Engagement levels vary from one subscriber to the next and fluctuate for each subscriber at different points of the campaign. Providing the option to cease communications at a time of a recipient’s choosing builds trust and prevents frustrated users from reporting you as spam for a lack of other options.
3. Let your subscribers personalize their experience
No two subscribers are exactly the same, and each has their own preference about how they interact with brands. For this reason, it’s a good idea to provide them with some customization options.
A great example here is frequency options. While some users may be content with the default frequency of your send-outs, others may find it a little too much. Letting subscribers adjust the frequency of incoming messages allows them to find a level that’s comfortable for them. It shows recipients that you care about their experience, and helps you retain subscribers who might have otherwise opted out.
Similarly, it’s worth checking in with subscribers who have fallen off somewhat. Sending out re-engagement content shows your subscribers that you are aware of their experience, and gives them the option to reinvigorate their relationship with your brand. If it’s not possible to re-engage them, removing their addresses from their list will benefit all parties.
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To reiterate, marketing is all about establishing relationships based on trust, and this is especially true in email marketing. Due to the nature of communication, transparency and respect should be absolute priorities. Permission email marketing allows you to uphold those principles in your marketing campaigns.