Permission Marketing Chapter 9 – Permission-based web marketing
By Optism Team, Oct 27, 2011
Optism provides permission-based, mobile marketing services. Providing the opportunity for mobile subscribers to opt-in to advertising messages based on their preferences is the core tenant of our service. Our blog series Permission Marketing in the News has been highlighting mobile and other permission marketing news for the past year. The leading proponent of permission marketing is Seth Godin who coined the term in his book Permission Marketing in 1999. To celebrate our one year anniversary, we are running a series of blog posts summarizing his book chapter by chapter and analyzing how changes in the mobile and advertising marketplace have impacted the recommendations in his book.
Seth starts Chapter Nine with a look at the impact the Internet will have on the world. In 1999, the Internet – or at least broad public access to it – was still very new. Still, it was already making billionaires out of the visionaries who figured out quickly how to make the most of this new phenomenon.
Seth identifies six key benefits that the Internet offers direct marketers – many of which we can now also claim for mobile marketing. With some paraphrasing and modernizing of Seth’s original text, these benefits are:
- No postage costs
- Testing any campaign or initiative can be completed very quickly
- Response rates are high
- You can educate people about your product and build their appreciation for its virtues over time (referred to by Seth as “curriculum marketing”
- Once you’ve made a connection with someone, you can keep the conversation going with little or no additional cost
- Printing is free (printing is done by the consumer, not you)
Seth goes on to explore “five simple steps to any Permission Marketing campaign in the context of the Internet.” These steps will really resonate with permission mobile marketers – they are undoubtedly part of your current campaigns and if they aren’t, maybe they should be.
- Offer a prospect an incentive for opting in. This incentive doesn’t have to be monetary — there are many ways to reward a customer for paying attention.
- Use the attention being offered by consumers to teach them about your product or service. With a mobile marketing campaign, you learn more about your customers as they learn more about your offerings. Mobile is a natural for this kind of marketing. A dialogue-based campaign is ideal for keeping the conversation going.
- Use the two-way nature of your engagement with customers to make sure they are paying attention. “By encouraging responses, it’s easy to determine who’s involved in the campaign and easier still to upgrade the rewards to consumers to maintain their interest.”
- Offer additional incentives to get more permission from customers. Unlike mass marketing campaigns, which deliver the same rewards and content to every customer, a web- or mobile-based campaign can be customized “for an audience of one.” That custom package can offer content and rewards that are tailored to the individual customer’s preferences.
- Over time, you can change consumers’ behavior to generate profits. You can build a responsive, receptive audience who “want and expect to hear from you on a personal and relevant topic related to purchases.”
Seth reinforces a message from earlier chapters: building an opted-in audience can take some time, but permission marketers cannot skip this step. Renting or buying contact lists does not work. Without the consumer’s explicit opt-in, your messages will be perceived as spam and could do serious damage to your brand.
Permission marketing and your web site
Seth writes, “Your Web site should be 100 percent focused on signing up strangers to give you permission to market to them.” He also notes that it’s important to be very transparent with people. “The more explicit the opt-in, the more valuable the permission. Tricking people into giving their e-mail address is a waste of time.”
We’ve noticed something similar with mobile opt-ins. We don’t recommend that a brand use a flashy contest with a big prize as an incentive for opting in. If you do, you’re likely to end up with a large number of people who are just in it for the prize and quickly opt out once the contest is over. It’s far more valuable to have people opt in who are genuinely interested in what you have to say. Of course, there should be a reward, but keep the reward related to your overall brand story.
The rest of Chapter Nine provides advice on how to set up your permission-based web site.
- Test and optimize your offer
- Make the permission overt and clear
- Use computers, not people, to send and receive information
- Focus on mastery – online consumers need to feel smart
Much of Seth’s web advice is relevant today and lots of it can be readily adapted to mobile marketing. Seth also offers this caution when addressing the privacy issue: “Jeopardizing one’s privacy is the single largest reason given by consumers for not shopping online and for not opting in to promotions and marketing programs online.” As we saw in our recent blog on the importance of respecting people’s privacy, this issue is just as hot today as it was in 1999.
For additional mobile marketing “getting started” advice, check out our Opt-in best practices blog. Also, you might want to listen to the three-part podcast between MobileGroove’s Peggy Anne Salz and Ogilvy’s Rory Sutherland. The podcasts cover topics such as using mobile for customer service and for targeted moments (such as when a customer is in a buying mindset). In the final instalment of their conversation, Sutherland talks about how marketers should focus on the value exchange and develop strategies for improving consumers’ experience.
In Chapter Ten, Seth provides case studies to back up his theories – and provide examples of what happens when you don’t get it right.