In this week’s podcast episode on The Bookkeeper’s Voice, I discussed the concept of Permission Marketing. I realised that, even though it’s not a new term, many people are not sure what it means (or how to use it in their businesses).
Click here to listen to the full episode >>> Permission Marketing and Your Irresistible Offer.
I first learnt this concept from Seth Godin, and it was SUCH an eye-opener. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I was absolutely blown away because it completely changed the way I viewed marketing. And it really aligned with how I already felt about wanting to do marketing a different way.
What IS Permission Marketing?
Permission Marketing is exactly what it sounds like. At its core, it focuses on treating people with RESPECT. It treats being able to market your services to others as a privilege, not a right.
It’s so SIMPLE, but it’s completely counterintuitive to other marketing approaches out there.
There are so many marketing methods that are pushy and advocate sending the types of messages that could almost be confused with SPAM. Godin’s “permission marketing” method is a breath of fresh air.
Godin’s definition of permission marketing is “delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually WANT to get them.” and he also says“Permission Marketing is just like dating. It turns strangers into friends and friends into lifetime customers. Many of the rules of dating apply, and so do many of the benefits.”
And he also says “Permission is like dating. You don’t start by asking for the sale at first impression. You earn the right, over time, bit by bit.”
Don’t you hate it when a salesperson just leans right in and tries to kiss you after spending like three seconds together? Gross-burger!!
The takeaway is that, through treating people with respect; ie. with a “long-term relationship view”, instead of a “one-night-stand”, you are far more likely to get their attention.
Think about it…how many marketing messages hit you every single day? How many people have ad-blockers on their computers? How many times do you just tune a message out or get up during commercials on television?
I hate being SPAMED. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I am so committed to NOT doing that to you! It’s a terrible feeling to have a flooded inbox, especially if the content is just NOT relevant to you and your business needs.
Now, imagine getting a message that was tailored to exactly what you needed. Imagine a message that spoke right into your biggest pain point and offered honest and helpful solutions.
Would you pay attention? I know I would! That’s why Permission Marketing is such a big deal when it comes to getting people to pay attention to your message, brand and services.
Because it is different. Because it cuts through the noise with meaningful solutions and people love that.
After all, consider the current marketing terminology that’s out there. Most of it is totally gross, in my humble opinion. It talks about “marketing funnels” and “converting people”. What are we converting them into? Money! Blech!
Personally, I think that’s crass and it’s NOT how I want to view, or treat, my customers.
After all, if I felt like I was being treated like nothing more than a cash machine, I would definitely unsubscribe right away. I’m sure you would too!
So….why would we want to do that to our clients? Most of us DON’T want to do that, but it can be hard to figure out alternative marketing methods.
That’s why I’ll be breaking Permission Marketing down into two very clear categories, to set you up for success (and make your next offer absolutely irresistible).
To start with, you need to be putting out very specific and tailored marketing. (PS in order to do that, you need to know your NICHE. If you don’t know who your target client is and what their pain points are, you won’t have a clue what solutions to offer them. And if you don’t know what solutions to offer the, then you can’t possibly put out specific, tailored marketing. It’s going to be generic as “home brand” at the supermarket, or a beige cardigan on a bookkeeper. AKA won’t stand out a all!)
Anyway, back on point…If someone asks a question in your field, be ready to dig deep and give a great answer. If you’re sending out a proposal to a potential client, make sure you’ve done your research and asked the right questions to ensure that your proposal is as relevant as possible.
A great example of this is the person posting a question on Facebook. I’m sure we’ve ALL seen this… A business owner will come along and ask something like, “I need a software program that can send an invoice to the client which is going to allow me to put photographs on the invoice so that I can do my quoting.” (Yep! Real life example here, which I go into in a lot more detail on the podcast episode here.)
And when you scroll through the comments, you find about a hundred comments all recommending Xero! And in amongst the bookkeepers recommending Xero, you’ll find a couple of bookkeepers recommending themselves (even though the original poster didn’t ask for a bookkeeper AT ALL!).
Look,I am not judging here. I’m guilty of doing this in the past. It’s human nature to jump on the bandwagon, and to promote ourselves (and products that we like), but… there’s a problem with this.
It’s not addressing the problem that the business owner actually has. By recommending a software (or yourself), you’re ignoring the person’s needs, and there’s a good chance the business owner won’t be interested in what you have to say. He’ll take his search elsewhere and you’ll lose out on a potential client.
It is FAR more effective to take a step back, consider the question and give a specific, relevant and HELPFUL answer.
If you can do that, you’ll stand out from the crowd. Through offering specific advice that is relevant to your potential clients, you will have so much more success in building your client base. And with the kind of people you really want to work with; those who you can do meaningful work with, who appreciate you and see the value in what you do.
Never underestimate the power of offering specific, relevant information. It’s become a rare commodity and it is something that people notice.
Now, let’s step off Facebook for a minute! After all, maybe you already have a number of leads, or you’re looking for a way to generate more income from your current business model.
The best way to do that, according to Permission Marketing, is to offer VALUE.
This is pretty simple (although it can be challenging to execute). When you put out content, make sure that you’re actually giving valuable information, instead of just trying to sell your services or promote your own business.
Not only do you need to make sure you are putting out valuable content, but you also need to ensure that it is relevant to your specific client base and niche. (Shut up Amy! Enough about the niche already… but seriously!) You can do this by taking the time to learn their pain points and problems and creating content that offers solutions.
This takes patience and perseverance, and the willingness to get up close and personal with your ideal clients. There are no shortcuts with Permission Marketing, as Godin says, “Creating value through interaction is far more important than solving a consumer’s problem in thirty seconds.”
The same goes for when you respond to a potential client online. It can be so easy to be drawn into what you THINK they need.
Instead, be ready to really knuckle down and work out what they ACTUALLY need. Then, if it ties into your business model, and it’s something that you want to work on, offer it to them!
Over to You…
Join the conversation! Had you heard of the concept of Permission Marketing before now? If not, what was your biggest take-away? I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, and I’d really like it if we could keep the conversation going. I bet there’s plenty of bookkeepers out there who haven’t heard of this method yet.
If it was helpful to you, share it around! If you want to know more about it, visit my Podcast and check out the latest episode >>> Permission Marketing and your Irresistible Offer.
P.S. If you want to learn how to price properly (after you market your services!), then CLICK HERE to join our FREE pricing series!