Can I send you information about my upcoming book? I can? Great! I've just asked your permission, you've given it to me, and now I can send you an e-mail with the information you've accepted. That's permission marketing-getting a consumer's express permission to send them information, usually to their e-mail box, about your products or services.
Why ask permission? We're all getting inundated and overwhelmed with unsolicited e-mail sales pitches from unknown companies. Your marketing message, when not requested, is just as unwelcome.
By allowing people to sign up to receive an e-newsletter, to check a box to accept your occasional promotional e-mails, to say, "Yes, I accept your offer to contact me," you're getting the green light to be in touch with them. You're building an e-relationship.
But watch out! Don't abuse the permission you've received by e-mailing more frequently than initially stated, by sending information that was not specified or by allowing other companies to send information to your list. Be respectful, and you'll see positive results.
Aliza Sherman is an entrepreneur and author of Cybergrrl: A Woman's Guide to the World Wide Web (Ballantine Books). She is currently working on her next book and new company.