Permission Marketing Defined

Permission marketing is a marketing strategy where businesses seek the explicit consent of their target audience before sending them promotional messages. This involves obtaining the recipient's permission to receive marketing materials, which can be given in the form of an opt-in or sign-up process. 

For instance, before sending an email to a user or customer, you must first ask for permission using an opt-in prompt. Sending push notifications to mobile devices also requires opt-in permission. Check out this relevant article on how to write compelling opt-in messages for iOS.

The goal of permission marketing is to build trust and foster long-term relationships with customers by providing them with relevant and valuable content that they have requested. Permission marketing is often compared with traditional "interruption marketing," where businesses push out advertising messages to a wider audience, regardless of their interest or consent. The concept of permission marketing was popularized by marketing expert Seth Godin in his book "Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers".

How to Use it in a Sentence

Permission marketing is a cornerstone of modern digital marketing best practices.

Common Permission Marketing FAQs

Permission marketing is a strategy where businesses seek the explicit consent of their target audience before sending them promotional messages. This type of marketing is strategy is commonplace in the digital age. In contrast, traditional marketing — also called "interruption marketing" — is a strategy where businesses send advertising messages to a wider, unsegmented audience, regardless of their interest or consent.

Although most marketing campaigns today leverage permission marketing, some businesses still use interruption marketing tactics alongside permission marketing tactics. For example, TV commercials are a form of traditional marketing that is still considered commonplace and highly valuable from a brand perspective. TV commercials interrupt the viewer's experience and are presented to a wide (e.g. unsegmented or untargeted) audience, which is why not every commercial resonates with every person who's watching. Untargeted online display ads that appear on websites or social media are another example of a traditional marketing tactic in action. Although these tactics can still be effective, they are often less targeted and less relevant than permission-based marketing strategies, leading to lower engagement and conversions. For that reason, traditional marketing strategies are often considered to be better for brand-building and promoting audience awareness as opposed to driving conversions.

Businesses can obtain permission from customers through opt-in or sign-up processes, where the customer actively agrees to receive marketing messages. This can be done through various channels such as email, social media, or website forms.

OneSignal makes it easy to earn opt-in permission and track subscribers across every channel, including email, mobile push notifications, web push notifications, and bulk text message marketing.

Check out our relevant content on opt-in prompting:

Permission marketing benefits both businesses and customers. For businesses, asking for permission helps build trust and foster long-term customer relationships, resulting in higher engagement, customer loyalty, and sales. For customers, permission marketing provides more control over the messages they receive and helps ensure that the content is relevant and valuable.

Businesses can ensure they are providing valuable content by understanding their target audience and tailoring their messages to their interests and needs. This can be done through segmentation, personalization, and regular analysis of customer feedback and key engagement metrics.

To learn what KPIs are most important to track to optimize your push notifications, check out our guide to understanding push notification performance.

Best practices for implementing a permission marketing strategy include being transparent about what customers can expect to receive, providing valuable and relevant content, respecting customer preferences and expectations, honoring privacy, and regularly analyzing and optimizing campaigns based on customer feedback and metrics.

To learn more about how to optimize your engagement strategy, check out this article on cross-channel optimization tips to improve customer engagement.

Yes, there are legal considerations businesses should be aware of when implementing a permission marketing strategy, such as complying with laws and regulations related to data privacy, anti-spam, and consumer protection.