Getsitecontrol Insider

Beginner's Guide to Permission-Based Email Marketing

February 18, 2021 Getsitecontrol Episode 27
Getsitecontrol Insider
Beginner's Guide to Permission-Based Email Marketing
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Permission-based email marketing entails sending promotional emails only to people who have given you explicit permission to do so.

In this episode, we'll discuss 7 ways to implement permission-based email marketing in your business. Tune in!

Prefer reading a text version? Check out this blog post on permission-based email marketing.

Ready to start using the tactics we've discussed? Then add a GDPR-friendly email opt-in popup to your website. Here is an example.


you’re listening to Getsitecontrol Insider, where we discuss proven ways to grow your online business. 

In this episode, we’ll talk about permission-based email marketing. You’ll find out why it’s so important to have an explicit permission to email your subscribers, and how to make sure you get it.  

Email marketing is here to stay. In fact, according to the latest stats, it’s only getting bigger and bigger.

Because so many businesses understand that email marketing can be so lucrative, consumers are receiving more and more emails in their inbox.

 When these emails are not welcomed, it can get pretty annoying pretty fast. 

 Not the best way to gain a loyal customer for life, huh?
Here’s the great news – you don’t have to rely on shady (and sometimes illegal) tactics to grow your email list when you use permission-based email marketing.

What is permission-based email marketing?

As the name suggests, permission-based email marketing entails sending promotional emails only to people who have given you explicit permission to do so.

This does not include implicit permission.

Implicit permission happens when your new subscribers give you their email address in exchange for a freebie: an eBook, a free trial, a PDF, or a discount.

In this case, the permission is implicit because they are giving you permission to send them the freebie they want, and this implies they accept to receive other emails from you…

… But they haven’t explicitly given their permission yet. 

“So what?” – you may say. Is sending emails without permission illegal?

 There’s a reason adding people who didn’t opt into your email list is against the terms of service for most email marketing software.

It’s spammy and annoying.

These businesses don’t want their names attached to spam emails. They prefer that you use their tools to send emails only to people who opted into your list in the first place.

Now, whether you can send emails without permission, implicit or explicit, depends on who you’re sending it to, and how you got their email.

For example, in most states of the US, you can send cold emails if you provide a way for the recipient to opt out.

However, in GDPR-regulated countries, that is illegal. You need clear consent before you send marketing emails.

In other non-GDPR countries such as Canada, you can only send marketing emails if the email address is available publicly.

This means that if you purchased a lead list or scraped email addresses from a website, it’s illegal to send cold marketing emails to those addresses.

Why permission-based email marketing matters for your business

Even if your audience is located in a country where email marketing laws are a bit looser, your business can still benefit from using permission-based email marketing.

Why is that?

It’s pretty simple – people who want to hear from you and who gave you permission to receive marketing content will be more likely to open your emails. This means you’ll have higher open rates and lower chances of getting flagged as spam.

This increases your deliverability and ensures that the people who do want to hear from you… actually CAN hear from you, instead of missing your emails entirely when they land in the spam box.

But that’s not all. You can also expect higher conversion rates from a list made up of people who gave you explicit permission to email them.

List size is a vanity metric. What matters is that your list is engaged and generating profits for your business. 

And a large list of subscribers – who didn’t give you permission to email them and aren’t interested in hearing from you – won’t be engaged and won’t generate sales either.

Permission-based email marketing can also help you establish your brand in a positive way. It shows that your brand respects customers and values them as people, not just as leads.

Finally, you will cut down your risk of getting reported and fined, no matter where your subscribers are based, because permission-based email marketing follows even the strictest guidelines worldwide.

7 ways to implement permission-based email marketing

If permission-based email marketing principles sound complicated to follow, don’t worry. Here are 7 ways you can start implementing these principles in your business to do email marketing the ethical – and legal – way.

1.    Add an opt-in box for your newsletter when offering lead magnets

In the past, marketers added a quick disclaimer at the bottom of a popup box to let people who downloaded their lead magnets know that they would receive marketing emails.

This is a perfect example of a grey area when it comes to implicit versus explicit permission. While this is legal in many places, this doesn’t follow GDPR guidelines – unless you require a double-opt-in, which we’ll talk about later.

People can easily miss a disclaimer, so while you could argue that they should have read the entire popup box before signing up… it’s not the best way to start a trust-based relationship with your potential customers.

Instead, add a separate checkbox that allows them to provide explicit consent to receive your regular marketing newsletter.

2.    Implement a double opt-in

Another popular way to implement permission-based marketing is by requiring a double opt-in.

A double opt-in consists of two steps:

●       Step 1: Provide the email address via a form or popup

●       Step 2: Before adding the subscriber to your list or sending them their lead magnet or welcome email, send them a confirmation email

At this point, the subscriber needs to confirm that they indeed want to become a subscriber and receive your emails by clicking on your confirmation link.

If they don’t, you can’t add them to your list.

While this may slow down your list growth, people who don’t confirm their subscription weren’t going to open your emails anyway.

They would have been dead weight in your list and would have been more likely to mark you as spam if you would have kept emailing them.

Having them confirm this step is a way to get explicit permission if you didn’t use a checkbox we discussed above. 

3.    Make sure your emails have an easy way to unsubscribe

Every marketing email should contain an ‘Unsubscribe’ link somewhere, usually at the bottom.

Don’t make your subscribers scramble to find this link.

Yes, they may be less likely to unsubscribe if they can’t figure out how to do it.

But then they may be more likely to mark you as spam, and they won’t be engaged with your brand anyway at this point.

4.    Set expectations right from the start

Start things off on the right foot: have a welcome email that introduces your brand, what types of emails they can expect, and how often you typically send emails.

When people expect your emails, they won’t automatically think it’s spam.

By creating clear expectations for both parties, you have a brand-to-audience relationship that is based on consent and respect. 

You can also give subscribers a way to segment themselves using links. This works well if you send emails about several different topics, or if your audience is composed of different types of people.

5.    Provide an easy way out of specific promotions

Some buyers know right away that they want to hit the ‘buy’ button on your latest promotional sequence. Other buyers may wait until the very last minute – and the very last email – to buy.

Yet other subscribers won’t buy at all!

Some won’t mind receiving several emails in a row when you’re in a promotional period, and that’s okay. 

However, there are some who will mind, and they will either:

●       Stop opening your emails and tank your open rate

●       OR Unsubscribe from your entire list

●       OR Mark you as spam

None of these are good for your brand.

Every time you want to send more than one or two emails for the same promotion, provide an option for your subscribers to opt out of that promotion ONLY.

This means that those who still want to hear from you but who aren’t interested in your current promotion can remain subscribed and enjoy your usual content without getting spammed.

6.    Customize frequency of newsletters

If you send daily emails to someone who would rather hear from you weekly, or weekly emails to someone who would rather hear from you monthly, your business can suffer. Even if they don’t mark you as spam – they are less likely to open your emails, which eventually will tank your open rate.

To avoid that, you can give your subscribers control over how often you email them.

Why? Because they may be excited about your content while still trying to maintain a clutter-free email inbox.

By allowing them to manage how often you email them, you’re not just getting their permission to send emails – you’re getting explicit permission for when to email them.

The more personalized the experience, the more likely they are to:

●       Open your emails

●       Remain subscribed to your list

●       Gain trust in your brand (and become a buyer)

●       Not mark you as spam

7.    Check in with your cold subscribers

Suppose, you haven’t emailed your list in 6 months. Before you start off your email marketing endeavors again, consider checking in with your subscribers first. 

Subscribers who haven’t opened an email in 6 months are considered cold, so if you haven’t emailed them at all… they’ll all be cold. 

By that point, they may no longer be interested in hearing from you, which means you need to get their permission again.

Consider doing a re-engagement sequence, or a list scrub.

What’s the difference?

A re-engagement sequence can be made up of one or more emails in which you re-introduce your brand, provide value, and restate what your subscribers can expect.

A scrub sequence is a call to action to all cold subscribers.

In a scrub sequence, you’ll ask your subscribers to click on a link to confirm they want to remain subscribed (thus updating their permission for you to email them), or click on another link to unsubscribe.

By the end of the sequence, you can let them know that if they don’t take action, they will get removed from your list.

You can send 3 emails over a period of 1 to 2 weeks to give them the opportunity to choose.

Make sure you remove anyone who hasn’t clicked on the link that confirms their subscription once the sequence ends.

And there you have it – 7 permission-based email marketing tips to help you create a trust-based relationship with your subscribers.

Want to grow your list using these tactics? You can start by adding GDPR-friendly email opt-in popups. Check the link in the description to grab on for your website. 

This is it for the episode,

Until next time!

What is permission-based email marketing?
Why permission-based email marketing matters for your business
7 ways to implement permission-based email marketing
1. Add an opt-in box for your newsletter when offering lead magnets
2. Implement a double opt-in
3. Make sure your emails have an easy way to unsubscribe
4. Set expectations right from the start
5. Provide an easy way out of specific promotions
6. Customize frequency of newsletters
7. Check in with your cold subscribers