Right now, no matter what time of the day or night you are reading this, one of your competitors is making money (a lot of money) using one simple idea. As a freelance copywriter, I strongly encourage every one of my clients to emphasize this idea over all other formulas they may be using now in their advertisements, the approach they use in their web copy or their other marketing programs.

Before I explain what this idea is, let me tell you about a client that didn’t hire me to be their freelance copywriter. I was brought in by the ad agency who had been doing work for a very upscale furniture and decorating chain in Florida. The ads they showed me were breathtakingly beautiful in their design and photography.

But the client and the ad agency were all so enamored with their creativity that they had left out one “minor” element of the ads, copywriting. The only words on the entire layout said something along the lines of, “everything you’ve heard about us is true.”

Apparently the owner of the chain had a reputation for being fussy, particular and a little bit contrary when it came to the interior design work he did for wealthy clientele.

But both he and the ad agency felt that his reputation was so widespread that all they needed to do with the ad was to arouse a reader’s curiosity, and the ad would make a pile of money.

I caused a lot of waves when I suggested that the copy just wouldn’t do. I proposed instead that they adopt the idea below.

So what can this idea do to make an ad (or web site or any other marketing program) more profitable?

  • It can create a large list of people who identify themselves as being interested in your product or service.
  • It can also produce a list of people who ask to receive your marketing materials.
  • It eliminates forever the problem of sending out untargeted junk mail that does not get opened or read.
  • It generates repeat traffic to your website as long as you keep producing fresh and useful content.
  • And most important of all, when your marketing message is requested, welcomed, expected and read by interested prospects; your sales rates increase exponentially.

What is this simple idea? No doubt you’ve already guessed it is Permission Marketing a phrase coined by Seth Godin when he literally wrote the book on the subject.

Mr. Godin defined Permission Marketing as the very opposite of Interruption Marketing, such as the telemarketer who calls right in the middle of your supper. The Permission Marketer instead obtains your consent to market to you often with the offer of a free booklet or some other free product of value.

As I mentioned in my article on , Freelance Copywriter Secrets: Why 2-Step Ads Make More Sales a free offer “lowers the bar” for a reader to respond and it subsequently enables you to build an ongoing relationship with that person. The whole idea behind Permission Marketing is that it breaks through the clutter of all the other messages bombarding your prospects every day.

Godin calls this getting the prospects to “raise their hands” or volunteer to participate in your marketing. Thereafter, any marketing message they receive is by consent, and they can “opt-out” at anytime they choose, so their involvement is always with permission.

My suggestion to the Florida company and its ad agency was to use the ad to pull in inquiries from people who wanted more information. I proposed that they incorporate within the ad an offer for a booklet with ideas for interior decorating and tips for determining quality when buying upscale furniture.

Unfortunately, the creative types felt that my suggestion would cheapen the creative layout of the ad and I did not get the job as their freelance copywriter. By the way, they ran that ad in a Florida magazine that targeted very wealthy Florida residents, and it ran one time. I suspect it didn’t produce enough revenue to justify running it again.

Godin sums up the concept of Permission Marketing as, "turning strangers into friends, and friends into customers." If you aren’t already using Permission Marketing along with your other marketing strategies, you need to get this ball rolling right away.

If you already have some aspects of it in place, keep improving, it will be the best investment you will ever make.

And finally, if you haven’t read Seth’s book, Permission Marketing I just cannot recommend this book enough. It WILL make you money.

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown


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