For example, if you make a new contact at a networking event and you exchange business cards, it DOES give you permission to contact them by email.
It does NOT give you permission to add them to a subscriber newsletter or email marketing database. Any email sent this way is unsolicited and is basically like turning up at their house uninvited.
You need an email address owner's permission before you can send them a commercial email. If you don't have this permission, then the recipients of your mail may well regard your message as spam; unsolicited commercial (bulk) email.
A far better way to do things is to send an email inviting them to join your subscriber list and offering an incentive such as a free report, online training, special discounts etc, in return for them "opting in". Those who respond positively to your invite actually want to receive your newsletter and you are not "spamming" them.
"Opt-in" is another name for permission based email marketing, and has two levels:
* "Single opt-in": The recipient gets added automatically to a list after completing a Web opt-in form, sending in a postcard, emailing a request, etc.
* "Double opt-in" or "confirmed opt-in": The recipient requests a subscription, which generates an automated email message to which he must reply or click a link to confirm the subscription and be added to the list.
Findings from IMT Strategies demonstrate the impact of permission-based over unsolicited emails. Only 5% of consumers are eager or curious to read an unsolicited email as opposed to 61% with permission email.
Permission v Unsolicited Emails Permission Unsolicited
Curious to read it 48% 16%
Eager to read it 13% 4.0%
Indifferent 0% 3.0%
Open it "Somewhat annoyed" 7.0% 76%
Delete it without reading it 2.0% 1.0%
Source: IMT Strategies
Statistics aside, opt-in email marketing just makes more sense, both for customer relations, reputation management… and your marketing ROI.