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August 29, 2008

Permission Based Marketing

Selling is no longer based on interruption. The whole concept of interrupting a program to tell people about the sponsors was dead before the end of the 70’s if we’re honest. Today it is a call to fast forward, leave the room, take a nature break or whatever. It’s akin to spam isn’t it?

Forcing your way into a person’s attention in their email is the same as on a highway billboard, a TV commercial, radio commercial ads in magazines and so on. All the same wonderful qualities of spam, not asked for, not requested, not interested…

I have been performing permission based email marketing since before I even knew what it was. For example, this site also has a networking group attached to it. On the Consulting Pulse LinkedIn group it explicitly states that there is a weekly newsletter associated with the group. I also have the link on this site for the newsletter, and it does pretty well here. We even run Adwords campaigns aimed specifically at attracting those people who want to receive weekly newsletters on Consulting skills and trends.

We now have around 3,000 odd members in the newsletter, 2000 of which are in the Consulting Pulse group and an even smaller number who are subscribed to the Blog here.

Not bad, we only started recently, and I hope that we are delivering real practical value to our subscribers.

But we realized pretty early on that we had at least two audiences for what we were doing. People who subscribe to RSS feeds are of a specific type. They surf the web a lot looking for good quality feeds, they read them regularly, and they like the idea of commenting on them.

But for all the hoopla surrounding Web 2.0 and the new media, these people are a minority. At least they are in the consulting field anyway.

So in order to make sure we have the ability to reach a strong audience we use the email marketing company Constant Contact. They seem to have a lot of features and they’ve been good to me. I am no aficionado of these things however. I used Topica in the past, now I use these guys. They seem better…

Every week the email goes out, and we seem to get good opening and click through rates. Why? Because it is all permission based. People know its coming, they read it, interact with it, and they respond.

I use the newsletter to point people to my Blog posts, and I have some additional sections as well. Each week we go into the English Language and its uses, which has helped me no end in my own work, as well as some tips on the Consulting Career. There is often a book review as well from my current manic habit of listening to two or three audio books a week.

For me, there is no better way to convert to a sale than by using permission based email marketing. Sending information via emails to people who trust you, who are waiting for the regular updates, and who have decided that there is something of value to what you have to send them. As a tool to help selling consulting services, I recommend it to you fully!

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