At least twice a week I have a conversation with a client or potential client about who they can sign up to receive their email newsletter. This conversation most often occurs with people who are new Realtors, insurance agents or mortgage brokers because they don't yet have a list of past clients.
Can they sign up every person who has given them a business card? Can they buy a list of their neighbors' email addresses? What about uploading the contact list of the local board of trade into their own contact list?
I tell them no.
I tell them it's not the smart thing to do.
While contacting these people might not be spam in the strictest sense, it still carries the whiff of canned meat.
This is the thing: it's not about building the biggest list you can. And it's not about what you can get away with.
It's about building a trusted relationship with clients and prospects by sending them information that they want to receive.
It's about being the go-to guy rather than the pest at the party.
The term Permission Marketing - marketing only to those who have given you permission to keep in contact - was coined by Seth Godin several years ago in his book of the same title. Permission Marketing has become accepted practice for most organizations - because it works better than spam.
In his latest blog post, Seth clearly outlines the difference between two email newsletter campaigns - one permission-based, one not. He says:
A spam campaign feels like a smart idea, but over time, the more you use it, the less your brand is worth. A permission campaign, on the other hand, only grows in value, until it gets big enough that you can build an entire business around it.
Earning permission is a long-term, profitable, scalable strategy that pays for itself. Think about how much better off a brand would be if it took the time to make promises, keep them and be transparent about its communications.
Go read the rest of the post for the example of good and bad.