Leadership isn’t a position that you take. It’s something you earn. According to leadership expert John Maxwell, “If you have integrity with people, you develop trust. The more trust you develop, the stronger the relationship becomes. The better the relationship, the greater the potential for a leader to gain permission to lead.”
That’s why growing a base of followers – and marketing to them – is best accomplished with their express consent. Permission marketing, a term coined and developed by Seth Godin, is the single most powerful method to fill your practice with long-term, loyal clients who will follow you anywhere.
I was prompted to write about this concept based on an email I sent out about a free webinar given by a company I’ve personally used… and on a topic many of you have interest in. Several of you expressed concern about handing over your email address by signing up for this webinar, presumably because you don’t want to get ongoing email from the webinar host. In case you still are confused about this, here’s the deal:
Willingly giving someone your email address gives them permission to send future emails to you.
That’s the essence of permission marketing. Whether it’s for a webinar, a website opt-in gift, a health summit, or even in a public talk, when you hand over your email address to someone, you are essentially raising your hand and communicating that you are interested in their ideas. It’s only logical for them to think you’d be interested in maintaining an ongoing relationship with them.
I am a strong proponent of building your list and developing deep connections with your followers through permission marketing. It’s the most effective (and cost-effective) way to establish leadership in your field and to grow your practice with the people you want to work with and, maybe more important, with those who want to work with you.
Your list of prospects and clients, especially those who choose to align with you, is your key practice asset. You can have all the healing powers in the world, but if you have no followers to share your gifts with, your ability to have an impact will suffer. Receiving valuable information from you allows your audience to get to know, like and trust you. And since it takes a long time for people to feel comfortable enough to make a decision to work with you (up to 16 exposures, according to Tony Robbins), an ongoing email conversation facilitates and accelerates this trust-building process.
People who sign up to your list are telling you they like what you have to say – they are willing to hand over their email in exchange for the value you are giving them. They want what you are providing. And as long as you continue to give value in your future communication with them, they’ll likely hang around long enough to ultimately exchange their money for your services. That’s how email marketing plays a key role in building your authority and your patient base.
Of course, it’s not cool to email people without their permission. In fact, consent is not only common courtesy, it’s required by anti-spam laws. Collecting names or business cards from people and then plugging them into your email marketing system without their knowledge is a violation… and is rude and wrong. You should never send broadcast emails to someone who hasn’t specifically opted-in or signed up at an event that clearly states they are being added to your email list. Even your clients, friends, or business associates are off-limits.
These laws also require you to provide a way for people to unsubscribe from your mailing list with each email that you send out.
Since I know that I always have the option to unsubscribe, I’m willing to sign up for things that might help me. I don’t worry too much about handing over my email address because the power to disconnect is always in my control. It’s your choice whether or not to roll the dice and trade your email address for the potential reward in return. Same thing goes for whether or not you wish to build your own list in this manner.
Either way, fretting over this strategy is futile because, like it or not, permission-based marketing will be around for a long time to come. When done well, it will ignite big growth for your practice and your position in the community.