Getting a Re-Tweet Is Easy. Getting Permission to Email is Much Harder

I’ve seen it written a slew of times and heard it even more; everyone is on email but not everyone is on a social network. In fact, Chris Brogan wrote a nice post about the concept of ‘earning your way in’. Now, I can hear people claim that we need to earn a re-tweet or we need to earn a like or a follow, but I would argue that it’s much harder to earn your way into someone’s inbox.

Taking a peak at some of the groups I participate with on LinkedIn, the discussions continue to flow in centered around purchasing email lists. Is this the way marketers are thinking about acquiring leads? Purchasing emails with the intent to email messages that will turn unsuspecting prospects into buyers? Why are we not even considering the fact that we should ‘earn’ the right to email these groups in the first place?

Consider the title of this post because it’s true. Getting a re-tweet is easy, but getting permission – real, genuine permission – to email is much harder.

So is there a difference when it comes to the value of something ‘easy’ vs. something ‘hard’? I would say so.

Take me for example. I don’t often re-tweet items that my followers post. I know I should do it more often, but I just don’t do it. Getting me to re-tweet something is not ‘easy’ so imagine how hard it is to get in my inbox? For a brand to be able to gain my permission and trust, the email has to provide value and it starts with the very first thing I ever get from you.

Ever have a cashier at a store ask for your email so you can get coupons and such? How often do you actually give out your email? You may like the store a lot, you are making a purchase of some kind but does that earned them permission to get inside your email box? Consider what it would take for you not to hesitate when they ask next time.

Here are 3 things your brand can do to increase your ability to get permission:

1. Trade

If you provide your email, we will give you 10% of this purchase. Then just unsubscribe if the email does not provide value to you. Or, if you provide your email, we will give you this super awesome whitepaper or ebook. Or, provide your email for a chance to win this wonderful win-ding.

2. Set Expectations

How about providing a preview of the type of communication they can expect to see? Imagine if you put a sign on your counter with a print-out of your last email campaign with coupons and said ‘our email subscribers got this deal last month. Sign up today so you dont miss the next one.’ How many of us dont want to give out our email because we have no idea what someone is going to do with it? Set expectations.

3. Be trusthworthy

Not as cut and dry as the first two but still simple enough. If word on the street is your brand is spammy, you are not going to be trusted. I dont want your emails, I dont want you knowing mine and I certainly am not going to re-tweet anything you say to my followers. Be trustworthy – all your actions have an impact on the actions you intend to take.

How do you get inside the inbox? Everyone may have email but we are more protective of it than ever. You must provide value and a reason to be there. Even if I dont open your email, just reading the from and subject and considering whether I should open it is costing me time. You need to earn it and earn it again.

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