Lead generation is one of the primary goals that most online marketers have. Everything they do is in an attempt to generate more high quality leads, which they can then nurture into customers over time. While there are a huge amount of ways to generate leads, there are two main ways to go about doing it – interrupt marketing and permission marketing. As you’ll soon see, permission marketing is a hugely superior strategy, one that is incredibly effective for lead generation.
Interrupt marketing is a way to promote a product or service in which you force consumers to pay attention to what you have to say. Basically, you are “interrupting” them in order to pitch a product or service. Interruption marketing is typically associated with outbound marketing. For example, TV commercials that interrupt a show, direct mail campaigns and telemarketing calls are all forms of interruption marketing.
Permission marketing focuses on delivering a message to a consumer that actually wants the message. For example, if you request the email of a consumer and state exactly what you will be using that email for, you are using a form of permission marketing – if they agree to the terms, they’ll opt-in, if they don’t, they won’t. It’s as simple as that.
Even on the surface level, it should be obvious why permission marketing is a better strategy. Just think of some of the telemarketing calls you’ve received over the years. Your cable company may be offering you a deal that you may actually be interested in, but since you did not ask for the phone call, you’ll probably say “no thanks” and hang up.
Permission marketing focuses on generating leads by first allowing consumers to explore their brand on their own time. You provide them with an opportunity to learn more by asking them permission to obtain personal data, such as an email address. As part of the request, you must also state exactly what you will be doing with that personal data.
Simply asking a person for their email address does not give you permission to market to them. For example, say you offer a free coupon on your Facebook page if followers fill out a form that requires their email address. This is not permission marketing because you do not have permission to send them emails. If you do send newsletters out to individuals who have provided you with their email addresses but not the consent to send them anything, then you are practicing interrupt marketing.
Many consumers will not fill out a form if you aren’t using permission marketing. They are afraid that you might spam their email account or even worse, sell their email address to other companies. By explicitly asking permission to send them emails, telling them what those emails will contain and promising not to share their personal information, you are using permission marketing, which will make consumers much more at ease with opting in.
Once someone has opted in due to your permission marketing efforts, they now expect you to do exactly what you said you were going to do. If you stated that their email would be used to send them monthly newsletters, you are obliged to send them a newsletter every month. Your leads are going to upset if you don’t and you’ll have lost the trust that you created through the use of permission marketing.
A badly executed pop up is a pop-up that appears without the request of the visitor. In fact, when a pop-up isn’t requested, it’s basically a form of interrupt marketing. Think of it this way – if you’re in an electronics store comparing the features of different TVs, how are you going to feel if the owner walks up to you and tries to convince you to sign up to their rewards program? You’re probably going to feel like the owner has interrupted what you were doing. Using badly executed pop-ups will make visitors feel like you’re trying to force them to opt-in.
The email opt-in example is only one of the many permission marketing tactics that can be used in order to increase lead generation. The following are a few of the lead generation tactics that many websites are missing from their permission marketing strategy:
Huffington Post is a good example of how they use quality content. Their entire website is based on content and it’s available for free. However, they offer readers the opportunity to sign up to receive the top blog posts and stories on a daily basis. This permission marketing tactic only works if there content is of high quality, which they are banking on it being. Readers that enjoy their content will be much more likely to opt in.
Take H&R Block for example. They had a new service that they were looking to introduce to customers in the higher income bracket. They used banner ads in order to promote a sweepstakes in which they offered to pay the taxes of the winner. The only people that clicked on the banner were people that payed taxes and that were familiar with H&R Block. Over 50,000 people gave H&R Block permission to teach them about their service. They received around three emails a week containing trivia questions for about ten weeks. How effective was this permission marketing tactic? Emails had an average response rate of 40 percent and a total of 97 percent of those that signed up continued to play the game.
A huge part of your inbound marketing strategy is most likely focused on lead generation. The last thing you want to do is waste your efforts because you can’t capture any of your leads. Permission marketing will go a long way towards helping to establish trust and thereby helping you to capture more of your leads.
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