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Email Marketing Etiquette Part 4: Permission!

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Though for most of us, marketing professionals, ensuring that your email marketing campaigns are permission-based is essential. And, any marketer worth their salt, already has this in place.

Beyond email marketing etiquette, this is a fundamental business rule and definitely, a best practice. By not asking permission to contact existing and potential customers, you're essentially violating their privacy.

And, in this case, you're nothing more than an email spammer; or, even worse, a-dinner-interrupting telemarketer, Skype solicitor or an SMS scam artist.

The Internet essentially eradicated any sense of personal privacy, where any sort of information on a person, family or business is up for grabs (or for the lowest bidder). Web surfers, customers, and potential clients are incredibly protective of their personal information, and rightfully so.

Why would any respectable business invade personal privacy and prerogative of an individual? The simple answer is those businesses aren't for real and are more focused on their bottom line rather than customer satisfaction or developing sustainable business relationships.

So, for argument's sake, let's assume that permission-based emails aren't the norm. Then, what's the etiquette surrounding asking permission from your potential recipients, and why is it so important?

First, let's tackle why it's important: as we've touched upon previously (and quite aggressively!), it is critical for your customer relations and trust to ensure that you ask permission to send promotional emails.

As long as you make it as easy as possible for customers to opt-in for your emails – signup forms on your website and links on your social media sites – and clearly state that their information remains private, then you're not violating anyone's privacy.

For any permission-based email, clearly state your intentions for emailing them (sales or news updates) and always include a statement of privacy. This statement always includes that you're never going to give or sell their information to a third-party.

With permission-based emails, always give your customers choices:

  • Content: sales, news or other (industry-related).
  • Frequency: daily, weekly or monthly.
  • Type: HTML or graphic-based.
  • Contact: Ask permission to send your customers the occasional product or service survey.
  • Recommendations: Based on your customers' choices, offer them a chance to opt-in for different emails from you.
  • Partner Opt-ins: For your partners or affiliates, always present the opportunity for customers to sign-up for additional emails.

Though this blog is a part of the series about email marketing etiquette, it isn't surprising that how often permission-based emailing is called into question and isn't always followed.

Whether it is an opt-in from a point-of-sale (POS) or on your website, you're making a long-term connection with your customers.

This is the basis of any B2C relations: your customers are coming to you rather than you chasing after them. Honor their choices, and you're ensuring a long-standing and enduring relationship.

Did you miss the first three parts of this series?

Email Marketing Etiquette Part 1: The Anonymous Sender

Email Marketing Etiquette Part 2: Plain Text Emails.

Email Marketing Etiquette Part 3: CC'ing Your List.

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