Does Permission Marketing Work for You?

When I started as a local marketing coach, I signed up to several email lists from online marketing and business gurus.  This means I wade through numerous emails everyday and don’t read most.  A few have my attention but most do not get a second glance.  Permission marketing is where people appreciate your material.

Understanding Permission Marketing

Permission marketing demonstrates the difference between technical and adaptive marketing solutions.  Email marketing is a technical solution.  You learn how to create, maintain and use email lists and they are a great marketing tool.

Go further and learn how to write great emails with captivating subject lines.  If you can get to emails that recipients find a pleasure to read, you are almost there.

The challenge is to find people who appreciate your efforts and look forward to seeing your emails in their inbox.  This means you are interesting and engaging to them.  You have their attention and so their permission.

Generating Loyalty

  1. How do people feel when they sign up for your e-newsletter, blog or lead magnet?  How do you know?
  2. What do they believe about your ability to deliver on your promises?
  3. How are your messages to them different from junk mail?

How to Win Permission

This is a long game.  It takes time to win attention.  You must turn up day after day with a consistent and engaging message.  People must understand what you stand for and those who find it attractive will reach out to you.

The model most often promoted could be described as give give give take!  You give a lot away in the hope that somehow out of gratitude, your people will in time buy from you.  This can and does work but does not in and of itself build loyalty.

The reason is marketing is often about what the business owner wants.  They lack empathy with their market.  They are not tuned into the lives of their followers.

This is not an either or situation.  I suspect many of the most successful online gurus have a mixture of loyal readers and others who were initially interested.  It is complicated and success is likely to find a range of people with different needs and so different degrees of loyalty.

What makes the difference?

It is the models we use to think about business.  The most common models are confrontational.  Competition between businesses is one example but this easily spills over into relationships with customers. Attempts to motivate customers to buy more, are likely to generate a confrontational market.  But this is how we make sales, isn’t it?

Any business has to sell.  The issue here is the model we use as a context for sales.  We can use unexamined sales models based on confrontation.  Alternatively we can seek non-confrontational models.

For example, the journey or pilgrimage.  You as a business are on a journey and invite others to join in.  Everyone brings something to the journey and is responsible for their part in it.  Some aspects are held in common while others are unique to each person.  The aim is to meet both the goals held in common and those of each person.

Following this twenty-fifth post to encourage coaches to reflect on relational marketing, take this opportunity to sign up below.  You get a weekly round-up of my posts and a pdf about how to make sure you are charging what your business is worth.

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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