Executing an Effective Permission Marketing Campaign through Social Media Outlets

The concept of permission marketing was the brainchild of advertising guru Seth Godin, a trailblazer in the modern art of capturing the attention of consumers in a complex digital world. Godin contends that, today, companies can’t broadly disseminate marketing materials to the public at large and expect results.

Although that kind of “interruption marketing” strategy, where companies rely on conventional ads like television commercials to get viewers’ attention, may have worked in the past, consumers today have too much information coming at them from all different directions. Therefore, people are much more inclined to tune out, fast forward, or walk away. In short, standing out in a crowded universe of competing messages and advertisements is much more complicated in the 21st century.

To overcome that problem, proponents of permission marketing approach the advertising process from a respectful place. It’s no secret that most consumers get annoyed by unsolicited spam emails and telemarketing. Therefore, Godin devotees favor a marketing style that avoids overloading consumers with obtrusive ads that don’t interest them. Instead, they choose to respectfully obtain a person’s permission before targeting their advertisements toward them.

Although permission marketing has many applications, its use in the social media world can be especially effective. The following material provides a guide to implementing permission marketing techniques in an advertising campaign focused on social media.

Identifying Your Potential Followers

The hallmark of permission marketing is eschewing wasted time and effort targeting consumers that don’t want to hear from you. In the alternative, the goal is to identify people who would likely be interested in your products and focusing marketing efforts and resources on them. So, the first step is to create a profile of your typical customer, including that person’s interests and tastes. If the answer isn’t readily apparent, some careful research can help create the profile.

Getting Them to Sign Up

The beauty of the Internet is that sometimes very little marketing effort can have tremendous results. Take Facebook, for example. Once you set up a Facebook page, and after a few of your target consumers “like” it, sometimes there is a viral effect. Friends of friends get the message, and you might have swarms of users implicitly granting you their permission to target them in no time.

If you’re not seeing instant results, there are other ways to bring people in. However, you may have to work at it to entice consumers to get onboard. Surfing the web, people are constantly inundated with tons of different messages. Therefore, you have to craft clever ways to get their attention. Offering special deals to those who “like” your Facebook page is a very simple example. Also, bloggers should permit readers to sign up for a periodic newsletter or e-blast alerts, which effectively constitutes permission to target. Finally, ensuring that your social media entries reflect a professional image and give a positive impression is imperative.

Engage Them

It’s not enough to just set up a Facebook page or to join Twitter. To stay relevant, you have to maximize your use of the available social networking options. Just because someone “likes” your company’s page, for example, doesn’t mean you’ve achieved success with your marketing strategy. After folks have granted you permission to target your advertising efforts toward them, you have to keep a continuous dialogue going with them to remind them why your brand is special.

Updating your social networking presence is essential. If customers notice that your content is outdated, it could have an unfortunate impact on your credibility. In addition, routinely injecting some creativity is important if you want consumers to remain engaged. For example, providing special offers only to those customers who have granted you their permission through various social networking sites will communicate your appreciation for their loyalty and encourage them to stick around. The ultimate goal is for a company to ensure that its online identity as reflected on social media sites is responsive to consumers’ ever-changing wants, needs, and interests.

Treat Customers Well

The importance of taking care of customers deserves emphasis, as the failure to do so can have unintended social media consequences. People who feel slighted by companies often use Twitter or Facebook to vent their frustrations. If those messages are shared, it could have a negative viral effect. The reverse is also true: if you make customers feel valued, they’re more likely to share their positive experience with your company online. In fact, when customers broadcast positive messages about your business in this way, it will cost you nothing.

Remember that Numbers aren’t Everything

Sure, having a lot of followers can be a great thing, but if you lose sight of the need to provide quality content in a thoughtful, innovative manner, chances are you’ll revert back to the old ways of interruption marketing. Therefore, it’s important to focus on quality, not quantity when mounting a successful social media marketing strategy.

Don’t Annoy Them

Remember that a consumer granting you permission to target your marketing efforts toward them is a precious gift that must be appreciated and respected. Receipt of that gift does not justify an onslaught of emails, tweets, or other messages. Instead, the better strategy is to periodically remind followers of what you have to offer, and reaching out to notify them about special offers, sales, or new products can work as a sound policy.


Christopher Wallace is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Amsterdam Printing, a leading provider of personalized pens and other promotional products such as imprinted apparel, mugs and customized calendars. He regularly contributes to Promo & Marketing Wall blog.

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