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Permission Based Email Marketing: Definition & Rules

Instructor: Danielle Reed

Danielle works in digital marketing and advertising. She holds a bachelor's degree in English and an MBA.

In this lesson, we learn about permission-based email marketing and why it is essential for every business. We then cover some of the rules of permission-based email marketing and review some of the laws regulating the industry.

email marketing

Open your email inbox and read some of the subject lines. Your personal email gets sales, offers, informational, and relational messages every single day. These emails are carefully curated, composed, and sent to your inbox by marketers. The best part of it all is - you signed up to receive these emails. This is called permission-based email marketing. The definition of permission-based email marketing is a technique that sells goods and services through email communication once advance consent is given. Another term for this is opt-in email marketing.

According to Constant Contact, 205 billion emails are sent every day and the number is expected to reach 246 billion per day by the end of 2019. One of the reason marketers invest in permission-based email marketing is its ability to attract customers while being cost effective. MailChimp reports that ''53% of marketers say ongoing, personalized communication with existing customers results in moderate to significant revenue impact.'' This form of marketing simply works.

The Rules of Permission-Based Email Marketing

Since permission-based marketing of any kind was defined in 1999 by Seth Godin, it has been built on the principle of granting consent. The first rule of building an email list is: the initial step in building a successful email list is to get subscribers to give their permission. If your business uses an automated email marketing platform, it is probably required that you get permission to send emails. All of the major email automation platforms, including MailChimp and Klaviyo, require permission because they refuse to spam users.

People who have not given you permission will report your email as spam. Enough spam reports get your emails filtered and your URL blacklisted. An email blacklist is a real-time database which uses set criteria to determine if an IP address is sending email which is considered to be spam. If your IP is blacklisted by Gmail, this means none of your emails reach Gmail inboxes. In a world where over one billion people have Gmail addresses, you don't want to be blacklisted!

Get Permission

Whether they signed up on your website, at checkout for a purchase, in a contest/giveaway, or on social media, everyone on your list should have given permission. To cover your bases, it is advisable to make all permissions verifiable. This is as simple as a check box where users ''opt-in.''

This is not to say you cannot get creative about having people sign up. Users give up their email addresses easily if you offer them an incentive. Promotional incentives are a type of bonus or benefit a customer gets in exchange for doing business with a certain company. Restaurants offer promotional incentives like free appetizers or foods, service-based businesses can offer white papers or information, and nearly every business can fall back on discounts for services or products.

Never Buy a List

Buying an email list seems too good to be true because it is. Purchasing a list may generate you a couple of sales but the risk for using email addresses without permission is too high. Enough unsubscribes and you'll be flagged as spam and potentially blacklisted.

Add Unsubscribe Links to Emails

Every email should have an unsubscribe link at the bottom. Don't make it hard for customers to unsubscribe, this is not something they will enjoy. No matter how dynamic your company is, certain users will always unsubscribe. Campaign Monitor says a good unsubscribe rate is 2% or less. If you get higher than this, some customers will starting seeing you as spam.

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