Understanding permission required in email marketing is critically necessary for a successful return. GDPR legislation requires you to know your obligations.
Businesses that get it right and build permission-based email database enjoy high open and click-through rates on their campaigns and are able to drive significant levels of sales and revenue from their email marketing initiatives.
Businesses who get it wrong see low open and click-through rates on their email campaigns and miss out on potential sales and revenue.
Read on to discover what permission is and why it’s an important part of your email marketing initiatives, as well as actionable tips and examples on how to get permission to email individuals the right way.
Understanding Permission – using data
Permission is the act of getting consent from a subscriber to send them commercial email marketing messages.
There are generally two types of permission: implied permission and express permission.
You have implied permission to email, somebody, if you have an existing business relationship with them. This could mean they are a current customer, donate to your charity, or are an active member of your website, club, or community.
If you don’t have implied permission to email a person, then you need their express permission to send them campaigns. Express permission is granted when somebody specifically gives you permission to send them email campaigns, likely by entering their email address in a subscribe form on your website or entering their details into your in-store newsletter subscribe form.
You might have tens of thousands of paying customers worldwide, and, because these people are current customers, there is implied permission to send them campaigns like the one below.
For those that aren’t existing customers, however, Freshbooks needs to receive express permission to send email campaigns and attempts to do so on their website.
When people visit their blog, Freshbooks presents them with a pop-up encouraging them to subscribe to their email list in return for an eBook on business growth. By entering their email address in the box, people are giving Freshbooks express permission to send them email campaigns.
By leveraging both implied permission and express permission, Freshbooks is able to build a large email list that not only complies with global anti-spam laws but ensures their campaigns get high open and click-through rates.
Why permission matters
There are a number of reasons why it’s important to only send campaigns to people who have given you permission to email them:
1. You’ll get better open and click-through rates
Research shows that the average open rates for email campaigns to recipients who have given you permission to email them are around 30-40%, while the average click-through rate is around 20%.
However, email campaigns sent to lists of subscribers you don’t have permission to email (i.e, because you purchased the list or to simply find the email addresses on the internet) has an average open rate of around 2% and click-through rates of around 0.2% and is now illegal under GDPR legislation you need to understand permission and how to use data. By only sending to people who have given you permission to email them, you’ll likely get open and click-through rates 10x higher than if you were sending to a list of people who did not subscribe.
2. You’ll get a better return on investment from your email campaigns
Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of your email marketing campaigns is simple: It’s the cost of sending the campaign divided by the number of people that took your desired action.
If you’re sending to a list of subscribers who have given you permission to email them, you’ll get a significantly higher ROI than if you’re sending to a list of people you don’t have permission to email.
Imagine that it costs you $100 to send a campaign to a list of 10,000 people, and your goal is to drive them to your website to check out your latest product.
If that list is made up of people you have permission to email, then roughly 4000 of them (40%) will open the campaign and roughly 800 (20%) will then click-through to your website. That’s an ROI of 12 cents per website visitor.
However, if this list is made up of people you don’t have permission to email, then roughly 200 (2%) will open your campaign and 20 (0.2%) will click-through to your website. That’s roughly $5 per website visitor.
Permission-based email lists have a 40x higher ROI than purchased or scraped email lists.
3. You won’t destroy your deliverability rates
Research shows that, when you send campaigns to people you don’t have permission to email, the number of spam complaints you receive increases by 10x.
This is particularly bad because, each time you send an email campaign to your subscribers, the big email providers like Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo Mail watch how your subscribers interact with those emails.
If they notice that a lot of people mark your emails as spam, they’ll automatically start sending your campaigns directly to the spam folder for every one of your subscribers using their email service.
So, to ensure your future campaigns make it to your subscriber’s inbox, be sure to only send email campaigns to people you have permission to send to.