Bjorgvin Benediktsson


Are You Breaking This #1 Rule of Ethical Email Marketing?

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably signed up to a lot of email lists.

You receive emails about your hobbies. You signed up for the email newsletter from your favorite author. You’ll even accept the occasional Macy’s coupon spamming your inbox because you signed up for it last Black Friday.

But what isn’t cool is junk mail that you never asked for in the first place. I’ve grown so weary of my email inbox and the junk people send me that I’ve almost become afraid of checking it. What garbage are people sending me today they never asked my permission for?

That’s the word right there:


Seth Godin, the Zeus of Internet Marketing, coined the term Permission Marketing as follows:

Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.

So when you receive an mass broadcast email from an organization that you’ve never asked for information from, that’s not email marketing. That’s spam.

Seth Godin continues,

Real permission is different from presumed or legalistic permission. Just because you somehow get my email address doesn’t mean you have permission. Just because I don’t complain doesn’t mean you have permission. Just because it’s in the fine print of your privacy policy doesn’t mean it’s permission either.

I’ve spent years building up an audience of tens of thousands of engaged readers on my email list. I’ve written over 1,000 helpful articles that show the value of signing up. Of giving me their permission. The long-term benefit of asking permission is a real business with real customers that are fans of your work.

An organization looking to stack the deck for their short-term advantage doesn’t care about you as an engaged fan. They've reduced you down to a number. You’re a conversion rate on a spreadsheet, not a mutually beneficial relationship with a win-win situation in mind.

So the next time you receive a a mass broadcast email in your inbox from an organization that never asked for your permission to begin with, just remember what Seth Godin thinks,

If it sounds like you need humility and patience to do permission marketing, you’re right. That’s why so few companies do it properly. The best shortcut, in this case, is no shortcut at all.

Read his full manifesto on Permission Marketing here (or buy the book here).

I’m an email marketing expert that helps you grow your email list, generate ideas for engaging content and drive sales with your email marketing. Get Your Awesome Emails Manifesto and learn how to get 100 email subscribers/day in only 6 easy steps.

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