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Email Permission

The What, Why, and How of Permission Email Marketing

Save your email campaigns from being reported as Spam! Learn how to get permissions before adding contacts to an email list...

GDPR, CASL, and CAN-SPAM – three anti-spam laws that can land you in serious trouble as an email marketer, if not adhered to!

Welcome to the world of permissions email marketing where customer relationships are at a pedestal and there is no room for unwelcome emails.

So let’s dive in and understand what it is, why it exists, and how you can go about it without breaking a sweat!

What is Permissions-based Email Marketing?

Permission marketing allows marketers the opportunity for in-depth conversations with leads. This is done by asking prospects for their permission to be contacted via emails and even calls. After marketers collect the contact info, they can follow up sooner or later based on what the prospect is looking for. In other cases, marketers can even nurture the leads with regular newsletters, service/product updates, coupons & discounts, etc.

Why Is Permission Email Marketing The Holy Grail Of Consent?

Anyone with an inbox today knows the frustration of receiving unsolicited emails from random spammers. Permission-based email marketing eliminates this by asking for a recipient’s consent before sending promotional material to their email. This allows companies to engage their customers with a positive connotation and make it easier for customers to share their contact information.

Why Is Permission Email Marketing So Important?

By getting permission, it’s also easier for companies to gain customer data. This includes names, email addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses, and more.  When added to a mailing list, this information allows companies the ability to send targeted content to specific customers based on their interests. Asking for permission will also enable companies to better tailor campaigns.

For example, if someone has already bought a product in the past, they are likely to make another purchase again. Likewise, if a new product is released, sending a promotional email to those who have already opted in will increase the likelihood of another purchase from that customer.

On the other hand, if a company sends a promotional email to a customer who has not opted in, they have lost the chance at making another sale to someone who may have been interested in the new product.

Keeping this perspective in mind, the benefits of using permissions email marketing include:

  • Increased open rates
  • Increased click-through rates
  • Decreased unsubscribe rates
  • Improved customer engagement
  • More positive interactions with customers
  • More accurate and reliable data on customer preferences
  • More precise and dependable messaging (tailored to each customer)
  • Increased sales and referrals!

Furthermore, permission marketing helps you achieve high conversion rates by targeting interested people in your product. As opposed to the traditional cold emails – which are perpetually getting worse – permission email marketing allows marketers to create relationships with customers before they even exist!

Types of Permissions in Email Marketing

There are two main types of permissions: implied permission and express permission. Let’s understand how you can handle each of them.

Implied Permission: Consider your current clients, business partners, website members, or even close vendors. You have an existing business relationship with them. This means that you already have implied permission to email them. However, this may not necessarily mean that you can send them regular promotional emails, especially if they are not relevant. There is a thin line of judgement here that you need to understand and define before you engage them in any ongoing campaigns.

Express Permission: This is the kind of permission that you need to ask for. You need to get subscribers to explicitly opt in to enrol them in any email marketing campaign. For this, you can set up a pop-up form on your website that asks prospects to subscribe. You can also use a landing page on Facebook or other social media channels as these are the primary entry points for many people to your website. This gives you an extra edge in building trust among your customers. Other ways in which you can ask for Express Permission may include:

  • An email that asks for consent to continue sending promotional emails in the future
  • A pop-up on your website that  asks for permission to send future emails
  • A reminder email asking for consent after someone has opted out from your promotional emails
  • A survey asking if someone would be interested in receiving future email updates from you
  • A call-to-action on a blog post asking for permission to send future emails

Examples of Express Email Permissions:

Here are some email permission examples of opt-in email permission marketing from brands and how they go about the design:

1. Accor

ACCOR permission email sample

Accor pretty much nails its permission email on its head by clubbing it with a pseudo-welcome email format. By mentioning a deadline to opt-in, they ensure a sense of urgency in the message so that the action from the receiver is prompt.

They also go a step further by tying up an offer of reward points for the email confirmation, incentivizing the action. This not only ensures that email receivers opt-in but also boosts platform engagement in the long turn.

2. Ikea

IKEA permission email

This is an excellent example of a Permissions Reminder Email. Ikea keeps the message simple and to the point, cutting down on any promotion or distraction. The email has only one goal – to confirm the email address and receive the permissions confirmation.

It also tries to create a bit of a FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) for users who actually care about their accounts by intimating that they might be blocked!

3. Refind

REFIND permission email
Image Source

Like Ikea, Refind keeps the message here simple. But it takes it up a notch by reminding users why they signed up in the first place by explicitly explaining to them the reason they would be using the permissions for. It also explains what happens if users don’t verify their email addresses – “Your email is not visible”.

The Effect of GDPR On Email Permissions

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has changed the way businesses handle data, one of those being how companies collect, store, and use data, including email addresses. Under GDPR, it is illegal to store the data of an individual without their consent.

This puts users in the driving seat, giving them the right to access their personal data and be informed about its use. And this doesn’t stop here. Users can (and should) also:

  • Get their private information edited for corrections
  • Restrict the processing of specific data
  • Rightfully object to any processing of personal data
  • Legally know about any data breaches regarding their stored information.

Since these rules were specially made to combat spam emails and data theft, it makes more sense than ever to get permission before emailing prospects. Subscribers need to opt-in explicitly to understand what consent they are giving and to what extent.

Double Opt-in Email – Your Best Bet for GDPR Compliance

Since the email address is the only thing that ties users to your company, you must keep this information clean. When users sign up for new websites, stores, and services online, they often type in their email addresses. That’s why it’s essential to make sure they double opt-in.

To achieve this, you send them an email with a confirmation link in it. This is to make sure users are serious about their interest in your product or service and not a bot scraping for email addresses.

Enabling this process for your email marketing means you’ll no longer have to fret about keeping data safe. It also protects users’ emails from being harvested by cybercriminals, spammers, and salespeople. An additional bonus – it gives you access to the complete list of subscribers. No more parsing through email lists or guessing who may or may not be interested in your service. Users have the opportunity to confirm what they want and what they don’t.

Wrap up

As a parting tip, remember that the key to making sure you have permission also lies in the opt-out section of your emails. If someone doesn’t want an email marketing campaign, they should easily be able to unsubscribe with just one click!

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Kevin George

Kevin is the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing full-service email marketing companies. He is an email enthusiast at heart and loves to pen down email marketing content. You can reach him at or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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