How to ask permission to send an e-mail?

There are cases in which we first have to receive the permission of a target if we want to send them newsletters. The group of techniques which can be deployed to achieve this permission falls under a marketing category called “permission marketing” which was introduced in 1999 by Seth Godin.
This technique is mainly used for B2B (Business To Business) marketing.
We must first define and distinguish the following situations:

Lists purchased that have professional e-mails or private e-mails on free domains

Generally speaking, purchased lists don’t come with personal names (professional or not). If personal e-mail addresses are provided, the price of such lists could even be 10 times the cost of an institutional list or a list with no e-mails. When we purchase a list it’s very important to find out what type of permission was given by each single e-mail. If the permission is limited to a certain type of product or to a certain type of business, we must initiate a permission marketing procedure amongst the ones which we will mention below. If the permission is unlimited, it means that whoever obtained this permission is allowed to send promotional e-mails of any kind, even coming from other businesses. In this case there is no need for permission marketing and we must consider the Option IN consensus following the “Double Click Option”.

Lists purchased that have institutional e-mails

Institutional e-mails usually have a format like or or
With this type of e-mails we don’t need to take any kind of precaution before sending them promotions.

Lists purchased that have a role or department mail box

Role or department e-mails also have a format like or or
With this type of e-mails we don’t need to take any kind of precaution before sending them promotions.

lists purchased that have certified e-mails

Certified e-mails are to be considered institutional and as such they don’t require any type of precaution or risk from a legal point of view.
For these types of e-mails we don’t need to take any kind of precaution before sending them promotions.
However, the receiver is usually annoyed if he receives promotional messages on a certified e-mail, which could lead to a negative opinion of our business.

Contacts with a name and a phone number

This type of contact obviously can’t be used for an e-mail marketing campaign since we don’t have an address.
In this case we must first obtain the e-mail and then the permission.
By telephone – if the amount of contacts is relatively small and if it makes sense with regards to ROI (Return On Investment) the telephone call is the most efficient method, with the highest rate of success (as a percentage).
Our statistics, achieved with a skilled phone operator, achieved a redemption rate above 50%. This means that out of 100 contacts we managed to get 50 e-mails and the permission to send them promotions.
Other techniques involve searching for the business through a website, search engines, social media, the Yellow Pages or similar registers, through matches on purchased lists, etc etc…

Contacts who visited our website (from social media, search engines or directly) and registered

This system has the highest level of technological content, but it also achieves the highest redemption rate with one of the most competitive permission costs.
Basically we need to work on the structure of our website, on the creation of resources (content that is solid and complete) with a high added value, that the visitor will be able to download after having provided his personal data along with a permission.
In this category we can include the access to games, the subscription to free or discounted services, lotteries, etc etc…With access being granted only after the user has shared his personal information and agreed to the privacy policy.

Contacts who interacted directly with us through an online chat found on our website

It is very important for us to structure our website so that a visitor who lands on it, wanting to satisfy his curiosity, will then feel the need to speak/chat with somebody in order to find some answers to his questions.
During this conversation we will be able to create a profile of the client and obtain an e-mail address along with the agreement to our privacy policy.

Permission marketing method through e-mails

This is the cheapest and most convenient method, however it is also the one that achieves the lowest number of positive results.
The percentage in this case could amount to just a few units for every thousand e-mails sent.
However if the mail marketing program is fairly sophisticated we could customize the e-mails in order to increase the possibility of success.
The mail marketing program will need some characteristics:

  • It must be possible to add custom fields where deemed necessary (attributes)
  • It is particularly important to be able to assign an attribute about the type of e-mail
Our method classifies e-mails in to 6 categories
  • Professional and personal e-mails
  • Private e-mails
  • Institutional e-mails
  • Certified e-mails
  • Department e-mails
  • Role e-mails

The mail marketing system must be able to change the initial salutation based on the type of e-mail: For example, it must avoid sentences such as “Dear Mrs” when the e-mai is something like

The system must also be able to create dynamic lists with homogenous e-mails (either all institutional, all department e-mails, etc etc…), adapting the message and the images to the type of message. This means a more formal approach for Role e-mails instead of a more friendly approach for private e-mails or free domains.

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