The thin line of permission based e-marketing

How do you define permission based e-marketing? Or in other words what does opt-in mean to you? I recently read an article that talked about these very questions and it got me thinking. As an email marketing service provider how should we educate our client base and hold them accountable to pure permission based marketing.

I would like you to answer the following questions and see where you have drawn the line between permission and not. When answering these questions think about whether you believe your new contact has consciously opted-in to your marketing within each situation. **Make sure to read to the end!!

  1. You find the Director of Marketing’s email on their ‘About Page’ – do you add them to your contact list and start sending them your newsletter?
  2. You recently spoke at a tradeshow and in return for your work you receive the tradeshow list of attendees with contact details including email addresses – do you set up a series of emails to nurture them to become customers?
  3. You have a booth at an event and have a fish bowl for business cards with the a raffle incentive – Do you follow up with these people with a personal email or do you automatically add them to you database to receive your newsletter and promotional campaigns. 
  4. You are putting on a webinar and the survey includes an email field – do you follow up with these contacts afterwards with a Drip Marketing campaign and add them to your database?
  5. You have just released a white paper and everyone must fill out a survey before they can access it – do you follow up with these contacts afterwards with a Drip Marketing campaign and add them to your database?
  6. You have a survey for people to sign up for your newsletter (or other email communications) – do you add them to your database and include in the next campaign?

Now let’s walk through each of these to determine if they pass the permission test.

  1. Taking email addresses right off a website is in direct violation of the Can-SPAM Act. If they have other contact information on their site such as a phone number use that to reach them until you have their permission to stay in touch via email.
  2. Receiving a trade show list or purchasing a list of companies or individuals does not give you the right to email them. Again, use their other contact information as collateral and start your campaign off with a Telemarketing call or Direct Mail piece. This will help better qualify your contacts anyways.
  3. This one is debatable topic. On one hand they willingly gave you their business card and know their email address is on there. On the other hand, if you do not include the fact that they will also have the chance to receive your email communications then you risk them potentially marking your email as spam. A personal email follow up may be a better choice until you get permission from them directly to receive your marketing messages.
  4. When someone signs up for a webinar they are willing to offer their contact information in return for good content. Because of this you are able to pursue as an email contact. If you wanted to be a little more careful however you could add a field in the survey asking them if they would like to receive your email communications.
  5. This is the same as #4.
  6. This is the most permission based you can get. Your new contact is willingly signing up to receive your communications, therefore send away!!

For more information on Deliverability, visit here.

Please share your thoughts and comments on this subject.

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