Alice has a dilemma.
She’s designed a workshop that’s perfect for the clients she loves to work with, but she’s feeling awkward about how to promote it authentically. Every time she goes to mention it – by email, on social media, in conversation – she can’t seem to shake the notion that she’s annoying people.
And yet, if she doesn’t let people know about the workshop, she feels she’s letting them down. She knows she needs to give them the opportunity to hear about it and decide for themselves if they want the benefits.
She also knows that if she doesn’t sell enough places, the workshop can’t run and she won’t make any money and she’ll be no closer to leaving the 9-5 job she hates.
How can Alice promote this great offering without becoming an annoying spammer?
And how can you promote your products and services, authentically and freely?
The key is to promote to an email list that has given you permission to do so
You’ve probably heard marketing guides (like me) banging on about your “email list” like it’s the be all and end all for growing your business. And in many ways it is. One reason is that a professionally managed email list (in other words, using software like Aweber or Mailchimp) is one of the strongest vehicles for “permission marketing”.
Let’s backtrack… Once upon a time, the world became saturated with what’s known as “interruption marketing”. A lot of the marketing messages we’re confronted with on a daily basis would fall into this category – for example, an advert on the side of a bus, in a magazine or on TV, or a flyer you get through the door.
These “interrupt” your experience. You didn’t ask to see a large movie poster at the bus stop, you were enjoying looking at the scenery going past. You may have absolutely zero interest in that movie – for example, it’s a horror movie and you hate horror movies.
“Permission marketing”, on the other hand, is about communicating with people who have said they want to hear from you. They voluntarily give you their email address (for example, by signing up on your website or on a sheet of paper you pass round at an event) because they want you to send them useful content. They know that much of this content will be free (like blog posts, videos, webinars or teleclasses) and that some will be information about paid offerings. That suits them just fine because the services you’re offering are likely to be useful for them – they’ll be solutions to needs they have.
If you’ve felt uncomfortable emailing people about your offerings, it’s important to check your set-up. If you’re using your regular email account (like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo or AOL) and are sharing the information with all your contacts, it is spamming because those people haven’t asked to receive the information. It’s unsolicited and they also don’t have an easy, polite way of unsubscribing. Your recipients can perceive themselves as trapped – too polite to let you know they don’t want to hear from you about these things, but simmering with resentment every time your name appears in their inbox.
With a professionally-managed email list, people can easily unsubscribe. They can take away their permission away – namely, by clicking the “unsubscribe” link in any email you send.
This means that anyone who stays on your list is telling you that you can keep communicating with them. So it’s your duty to keep communicating with them!
Disclaimer: Some interruption – or disruption – is okay
Even with permission marketing, you’re still interrupting something. You’re interrupting your reader’s norm, sharing with them the message that something else is possible for them. You’re disrupting their notion that things have to stay as they are: stuck, painful, unsatisfactory or unfulfilling.
Could you disrupt the notion that mums are expected to endlessly and selflessly give to others without thought of themselves? Could you disrupt the concept that back pain or RSI is forever and incurable? Could you disrupt the belief that divorce is the only solution? Could you disrupt the notion that writing a book is hard, that someone will always look terrible in photos, or that a stammer will always hold someone back?
Just as your subscribers are giving you permission to market to them, give yourself full permission to let others know about what you offer. Give yourself permission to disrupt their unsatisfactory norms.
Take this mantra, write it down, reaffirm it often: “It’s okay to let people know I exist and that I have something of value to offer”.
Over to you
What ways of marketing are you already using that feel “permission” based? When marketing has felt icky, was it because permission wasn’t there? How do you imagine it would feel different to communicate with people who actively want to hear about what you offer? Leave a comment below, let us know…
P.S. PASS IT ON
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© Corrina Gordon-Barnes