Options Dos and Don'ts
Permission Marketing is the current jargon for the
politically correct way
to manage your customer relationships: you make sure you
have consent before you email anything to anybody.
There's opt-in and opt-out, double opt-in and double
opt-out. It's really a bit of a double bind, with some
folks saying unsolicited email is just another way to
inform people of all their options, while some folks
receiving the unsolicited email are chanting
"invasion of privacy." Don't worry (or maybe you
should) - lots of lawyers have their teeth firmly clamped
to the issue as you read!
going to assume you are not one of those spamming
Plutonians, and you really do have your customers' best
interests at heart. You want to inform them, and you
want to know they want to be informed. Are we on the
same page? So here's how to
ďwalk like a GrokianĒ when it
comes to Opting Options.
form of opting-in, whether itís for a newsletter, future
mailings, membership, registration or simply a request for
information, involves an exchange of value. You get
something from your prospect that you want (usually
contact and profile information) and your prospect gets
something from you that they want. It's a very simple
equation. It's only when folks start feeling youíre
taking advantage of them that things take a turn for the
worse. So do your Permission Marketing with sensitivity,
sense and style.
make the opt-in procedure simple.
swear upon your favorite relative's sainted soul that you
won't share this information in any way without the
customer's permission. If thatís not your policy, then:
make it crystal clear, if you are in the practice of
passing along customer information, that this is what you
do, make clear the details of what, when and with whom,
and give the customer an out if she wants her information
to remain private. Then honor that as if your survival
depends on it (it does!).
ask for any more information than you absolutely need,
unless there is some real value to your customer in
allow the customer to agree to different mailings from
you, or not. If she agrees to receive a newsletter, that's
the only thing she is expecting from you. You might
have it in mind to send her lots of other stuff too, but
get her permission before you go flooding her with it.
Fail to do this and you are likely to find your customer
provide immediate visual confirmation that the
opt-in procedure (or opt-out procedure) was completed
follow up with a e-mail confirmation that includes:
information the customer provided
reminder of what the customer has subscribed to or
to unsubscribe if the confirmation was sent in error
opt for double opt-ins. A double opt-in means your
customer signs up for something on your site, then
receives some form of communication from you that requires
her essentially to sign up again: "Reply to this
e-mail to confirm your registration." Some people do
it, but it in this Martianís opinion it is completely unnecessary
and only confuses the situation. When was the last time
you placed the items you wanted to buy at the cash
register and heard the cashier ask, "Are you sure you
want to buy these things?" You don't have to make
folks jump through an extra hoop for a sale thatís
already closed! If the communication was sent in error,
your unsubscribe information will be sufficient.
if you are in the business of selling lists,
you do need a double opt-in. Without it, you
sacrifice quality and risk ticking off your customers.
You must be sure your customers agree to let you share
their information with others.
include unsubscribe information in every
communication you send.
this information does not have to be a direct
hyperlink, nor should you feel you need to make it too
easy to opt-out. It's a fine line you walk here - you
don't want folks opting-out on a whim, just because
they got up on the wrong side of the bed that morning.
By the same token, you must make it possible for them
to say "Thanks, but no thanks." One or two
extra steps to the opt-out procedure are acceptable.
test, double-test and triple-test your opt-in and opt-out
procedures to be certain they work properly. Folks get
grumpy when they opt-in to something and never get value
for having done it. And they get really grumpy when
they opt-out, but keep getting your mailings. Either way,
you are abusing your customers, and they aren't going to
take it kindly.
these things effectively and in good faith and you'll have
your customers feeling happy about having opted-in. And
satisfied customers are far more likely to opt-in to a
manage your Permission Marketing scrupulously, and you can
kiss not only your existing customers, but also your
potential customers goodbye.