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Definition of Permission Marketing

Permission marketing is quite an interesting term.  Coined by entrepreneur Seth Godin 11 years ago, it allows for a powerful marketing tool that as a small business owner is in your best interests to obtain.  But what does it actually mean?

Permission marketing in its most basic form means that you have requested permission prior to sending out your email or newsletter.  Now this is where it can get a little confusing.  If you ran a competition recently and your terms and conditions stated that all entrants get automatic entry into your database which allows for them to receive a monthly email – this is not permission marketing.  Why – because in all honesty how many people read the terms and conditions from start to finish.  It may not have been a conscious decision on their part to opt into your mailing list.

Comprehending the difference between the two is where the value lies.  Think of all the advertisements you are subjected to on a daily basis.  If you watch television you are bombarded with advertisements.  If you browse through a magazine you see them.  Turn on the radio and you still hear them.  Go online and it becomes even worse.  They are everywhere and that is before you have even checked your emails.  Out of all of these advertising methods – how many of them did you actually choose to receive?  Chances are one or two newsletters or emails that were received in your inbox were of interest to you and you actually gave them some attention or acknowledgement before hitting the delete button.

By using and subsequently understanding this form of marketing means you are tapping into a readership that actually want to hear about the product or service you are offering.  They have seen it, like it, are responsive to your information and in the future may choose to purchase it.  However this kind of marketing cannot be achieved overnight.  Patience is a virtue and definitely required when it comes to permission based marketing.  Never underestimate the value of your reader’s attention – without them – well let’s just say that your business will fast become a hobby in which no one wishes to participate in.

For further information on this subject check out Seth Godin’s book Permission Marketing : Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers.

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Written by: Nicole Graham


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Established in 2007, Bauhinia Solutions is a boutique virtual business support agency with a team of dedicated and experienced business specialists, administrators, and virtual assistants.