Permission-Based Email Marketing

Permission-Based E-Mail Marketing That Works!

By Kim MacPherson
Reviewed by Jacob Young

This book should come with two disclaimers on the cover. First: "Readers not convinced of the power of permission-based e-mail marketing need not apply." And second: "Once opened, this book will provide useful, ready-to-wear information, be you novice or seasoned marketing executive."

The book follows in the tradition of Seth Godin's Permission Marketing, but while MacPherson's text agrees with Godin's work on the power of permission marketing, she focuses much more on the "how-to" rather than "how-come." Only a handful of pages is devoted to selling the reader on permission-based e-mail marketing, and Rosalind Resnick, CEO of NetCreations, Inc., takes all of a page and a half in her foreword to lay it out in the plainest terms: E-mail is faster; e-mail is cheaper; e-mail is better; now on with the show--the show being MacPherson's nuts-'n'-bolts guide to harnessing that faster, cheaper, better business energy source.

Treat your network marketing enterprise like a hobby, and it will remain a hobby. Treat it like a business, and it will become a true business. MacPherson takes this logic a step further, and encourages you to treat your business like a science. Much as a biologist might study the life cycle of an organism, she breaks down and analyzes permission-based e-mail marketing. From acquisition, to testing, to retention, MacPherson literally has her "e-mail customer contact cycle" down to a science.

That's not to say that the human touches are lost, even when marketing through a machine, even when doing so with scientific rigor. For example, MacPherson presents a chapter entitled, "Segmentation and Splits for Top Retention." Indeed, it does sound as though she's writing about the developmental stages of some creek-dwelling invertebrate. She's actually writing about a strategy that networkers should know very well. Different people have different needs, and it's up to the marketer to cater to them accordingly. E-mails designed with specific types of individuals in mind will be far more effective than mass e-mail blasts. MacPherson urges marketers to know their lists--to know their people.

In fact, the person-to-person skills at which networkers excel translate very well into MacPherson's model. Welcome e-mails, personalized correspondence, special offers, and making things as easy on your customers as possible are all common-sense carryovers from human interaction. The book and its scientific bent simply enable you to organize and target these people skills, and thus maximize their effects.

Some readers might reflexively shy away from the book due to its technical associations. While you may encounter an initial language barrier, with a glossary that appears early in the book and telling contextual information, you'll soon be talking conversions, segmentation, and hard bounces with the best of them.

MacPherson goes so far as to gear her teaching style toward networkers, who often learn by observing others. Like a three-way call, there are professional examples of e-mail campaigns throughout the book for readers to study. A quick glance through the "case studies" (again, MacPherson the scientist) and you should be able to find several situations applicable to your own.

This is not a technology book, it is a marketing book that uses technology as a spring board. It is a very human technology at that, merely another form of communication. Don't let these disclaimers frighten you away. Let them welcome you. Permission-Based E-Mail Marketing That Works! is worth it!

Paperback, 261 pages, Dearborn Trade, (a Kaplan Professional Company).