Marketing is like dating – be relevant

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What these companies do is what Seth Godin called “permission marketing,” where the information you receive from the marketer is anticipated, personal and relevant. It is the polar opposite of the usual interruption marketing, where companies hope to generate awareness, interest, desire and action – the holy grail of all marketing – through a constant and annoying barrage. In today’s world, the assault just won’t cut it. People are simply overwhelmed with interruption marketing practices, and they have great filters for tuning you out, forever.

Instead, permission marketing involves five steps:

Offer a prospect a reason to volunteer: Offer something the person cares about, such as information, a sweepstakes or contest, even entertainment.

Offer information over time: Build a curriculum for the prospect. Since they raised their hand for information, don’t stop giving it to them. Teach them something they want to know.

Reinforce the incentive: Don’t bore your prospects; tweak the messages to them so you stay relevant, even asking them what they want to know.

Go to a higher place: As your relationship with the prospect gets more involved, ask for more information. Seems logical, yes?

Leverage the relationship: Now that you’re  on solid ground with the prospect, go for it and ask for the business. If you noticed in the recent elections, good politicians ask for your vote. Why not? You’ve gone to their rally, read their emails, and watched their pitches online. They have earned the right to ask for the vote.

No matter what your profession, you have something someone would like to know. If your prospects are willing to give you their attention, give them something of value in turn. As Godin says, permission marketing allows you to cut through the clutter and speak to prospects as friends, resulting in a mutually beneficial relationship.

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