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Do you have permission?

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When it comes to email, there are four categories of permission—explicit, implicit, secondary and no permission—and yet few marketers know what kind of permission they used to develop their lists. They also struggle with figuring out the best ways to get permission, according to new research from RegReady, a company that helps organizations acquire permission-based sales and marketing leads. The research, released this week, is based on electronic surveys of 123 marketers and 1,002 b-to-b and b-to-c consumers. RegReady found that explicit permission—companies asking consumers directly if they can market to them—is most effective; however b-to-b companies in particular feel "less strongly" than b-to-c companies that explicit permission is required for marketing. Meanwhile, 70% of b-to-b and b-to-c consumers feel "very strongly or somewhat strongly" that they should have to give their explicit permission before being marketed to via email, according to the research. In fact, 80% say that implicit marketing after making a purchase is wrong. Those respondents felt that making a purchase does not constitute permission to market to them via email. Secondary permission via purchased lists, rentals and affiliate marketing had similar results with 72% of respondents feeling "very strongly" about companies not sharing their information with other companies. "Most marketers link implied permission with explicit permission and we see from the survey that consumers—both b-to-b and b-to-c do not agree," said Elie Ashery, Gold Lasso/RegReady's president and CEO. "What we see happening is all these marketing automation systems have been encouraging marketers to send more volume and it is inundating users to the point that they are going to start ignoring what's coming in." Ashery said there are a few steps that marketers can take to boost their deliverability and engagement rate. First, they should separate their lists by engaged versus nonengaged addresses. Once that's done, see how that list was acquired. Chances are those people were acquired with explicit permission, Ashery said. Next, try and reach out to those who have not given explicit permission and ask for it. "Everyone is going to have to move up the curve to explicit permission eventually, so it's better to start now," he said. If you are set on sticking with an implicit model, make it more explicit by putting language into receipts, contest entries and webinar registrations that lets people know they may be opting in for marketing materials. In addition, if you regularly rent lists try switching to co-registrations, which can have better results, Ashery said. "Find brand-enhancing partnerships with like-minded content providers," he said. "Yes, you're using someone else's content, but you're still using an explicit permission model." Finally, marketers should work toward eliminating email prospecting or marketing without any permission, Ashery said. "Eighty percent of consumers feel strongly or somewhat strongly that email shouldn't be used as a prospecting vehicle. You have a far better chance of getting into the in-box and getting opened if you respect their wishes."

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