In case you missed it, we had a conversation about permission marketing a little over a year ago. It bears revisiting the concept, given the current rediscovered role of the customer or prospect list in marketing.
Rediscovered because for a while it looked like with social media you could just throw messages out there for free and have them stick to your target market.
Now that everyone has had a chance to settle down to the hard realities of conversation and calls to action within the same sentence, I wanted to explore the topic with you.
Do you have a permission-based list ready to be used? In that case, you may skip this post. All others, think with me.
Even when you work on your to do list, start it with an objective in mind. What is it that you want to accomplish this year, month, quarter, today?
Rather than having a scattered compilation of items, if you put some thought into your goal, then the list becomes the process to get you there.
For marketing to be successful, you need to have repeatable processes that you can measure and tweak depending on the social situation and context and get you results. The one key consideration is that of attracting and retaining the right people to your conversation.
Hence the role of the list. What are some ways to having a customer and prospect list?
- building - you start from close to zero
- creating - you have data on customers and prospects
- renting - typically trade publications that rent their subscriber lists
- buying - vendors abound
Have you noticed how many of the social networks you belong to are focusing on list building? You guessed right, that's where the money is... but not just in random lists.
Lists, like all data sets, need to have a rhyme or reason to make sense and yield results.
Building a list is hard work compared to renting one. The upside is much greater. Think about the magazine you subscribe to, some of them you might even get comped for.
Now think about someone renting that list and sending you something. They're just guessing as to what you may respond to.
There are statistics as to the percent hit ratio using such a method. Is there information on the percent people who consider you a mail spammer now? Many vendors are out there selling pre-qualified lists. Do they work?
My preference is for creating a list with existing information and asking people if they'd like to opt in. Or, if no data exists, you could work on building a list from scratch. Permission works to both create and build.
Some considerations on permission:
- it's not universal - in fact, it works best when very specific and context-driven
- it does not entitle you - taking permission for granted without providing value is a slippery slope
- it's time limited - it's a good idea to ask again after a certain period
- it's non transferable - permission is attached to the person, not the role
Most importantly, remember that just because you can, you shouldn't if you don't have permission. With the cost of email being much lower than that of mail, email is getting the bulk of spam. Will we see an active do not email movement (that link is to tell you there isn't one) as we do with do not mail?
How do you go about getting permission once you identified who you'd like to attract or add?
Your job as a marketer is to articulate what is already there, and highlight its existing value through relevant and valuable content that attracts, engages, and acquires a clearly defined and understood group of people.
You do it to meet a stated objective or set of goals.
With the help of social media, you can make those communications as frequent as the people on the other side wish to make them, thus gaining some insights into who and how often by interacting with them in a context in which they choose to syndicate your content, follow your account, or become a fan of your product page.
Give your readers the opportunity to subscribe to a newsletter, or to follow a specific Twitter account where you share special deals.
Building or creating a list requires more work than renting or buying one, the upside makes it worth it.
Some people at this point usually ask me - but what if people don't want to opt in your content? Wouldn't it be so much better to ask them to opt out? What do you think?
Tomorrow we will talk about how to tie the data and actions so you can gain a better appreciation of what's working and what needs tweaking.
© 2006-2009 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.