Permission marketing is a strategy first proposed by marketing expert Seth Godin in 1999. He introduced permission marketing as a break from interruptive forms of marketing that were creating more enemies than friends in an information-heavy world. In his book, “Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers,” Godin cited examples like TV ads that cut in on a show or pop-ups that interfere with a website.

In 1999, when the internet was in its infancy, interruption marketing was already a problem, and it became more and more consequential as the internet evolved. According to Yankelovich, Inc., the average consumer encounters 3,000 advertisements per day. Furthermore, they’re invasive and unwanted. Have you ever seen an unexpected advertisement for a product you spoke about with a friend a couple of hours earlier? Did your phone hear you? Honestly, as a marketing professional, I wouldn’t cast that possibility aside.

What is Permission Marketing?

Godin described permission marketing as “the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal, and relevant messages to people who want them.” This strategy puts to rest the marketing funnel that only focuses on conversions and instead proposes an alternate funnel that focuses on building the relationships that are grounds for those conversions.

Through a series of personalized and individual interactions, you can turn strangers into friends, friends into customers, and customers into loyal customers. The permission marketing funnel also includes a space for former customers because it’s unrealistic to expect a customer to remain a customer for life.

To move a customer through the permission marketing funnel, a business must consistently deliver personalized interactions. Once a customer completes their journey through the funnel, a business must continue delivering personalized interactions until the former customer backpedals to the loyal customer classification or becomes a stranger again.

Why Does Permission Marketing Work?

Getting your audience to opt-in to your marketing materials pre-qualifies the lead. With permission marketing, you know that a larger portion of your audience will interact with your content because they’ve already indicated an interest in the information. Anyone can throw $10,000 into a huge Facebook ad campaign, but most people who see your ad on their timeline will scroll right past it. Permission marketing ensures that the people who see it want it.

When attention is in short supply and consumers are professional advertisement ignorers, permission marketing helps your brand stand out from the competition. People are less likely to interpret your messaging as spam because you’re communicating with them as if you were talking to a friend.

What Does an Effective Campaign Look Like?

A lot has changed since Godin first wrote about permission marketing in 1999, but the premise remains the same: get a consumer’s permission and turn them into a friend before you market to them.

Opt-in forms are predictable, but you can use them as a foundation for a more creative campaign idea. Introduce a game or competition to get people excited about your business and have them sign up for your email list at the end.

Another permission marketing strategy is to offer an incentive or discount in exchange for an email address or an answer to a question about your brand. Studies show that when a cash reward is involved, 99.6% of people are willing to share personal information.

Finally, segment your email campaigns based on what you know different subsets of your consumers will like. You can do this by tracking purchase behavior, sending birthday emails, or special discounts for things you know people need.

Start Marketing Smarter

Don’t lie – some advertisements annoy you. So don’t do the same thing to your customers. Permission marketing is a great way to turn everyone into your friends and customers with exceptional ROI.

As brand consultants, Kreativ Alchemy specializes in brand positioning and marketing strategies that pay off in the long run. If your company is interested in switching up your strategy, contact us to learn how we can help.