Build a Permission Asset, Part 3

NOTE: be sure to read part 1 and part 2 of this post series before continuing!

– – –

Welcome back!

Today is our final post in the series about Building a Permission Asset.

Just to recap: we’ve already learned about what a permission asset is, how to asset your current status and tools for building it.

Now we’re going to talk about the two most difficult challenges: PATIENCE and PROTECTION.

Yes. Building a permission asset takes time. LOTS of it.

See, notwithstanding our instant-gratification culture, your permission asset isn’t something you just “get.”

You can’t download off iTunes. Or find it on Craig’s List. Or buy it from some random college kid in your neighborhood.

It takes time. Work. Maintenance.

And most of all, patience. Because some people won’t want to give you permission asset right away. And some people won’t want to give permission EVER.

With that in mind, let’s wrap things up with several patience and precautionary measures to protect your permission asset during the long haul:

1. Privacy. While giving their email address to you is technically “free,” customers are still concerned about getting spammed. So, make certain people understand your intentions at the onset. Let them know you will NOT be sharing their information. Respect always wins.

REMEMBER: Attention is the most powerful form of currency.

2. Get it early. Whether it’s in marketing (or a one-on-one conversation) you can never get permission too early. The biggest regret you will EVER have in marketing is, “Damn it! I should have been collecting people’s emails sooner!” It’s not too late – you can start TODAY.

REMEMBER: Broadcast your uniqueness, make the mundane memorable, turn strangers into friends, friends into FANS and fans into word of mouth. Now!

3. Think long term. Look upstream. Consider the lifetime value of ONE fan. Think about how many friends they could potentially tell. Most importantly, think about how valuable your relationship with them could potentially grow.

REMEMBER: There are no one-night stands with your permission asset.

4. Consistency. Whether your permission asset is supported by an ezine, podcast or blog, you MUST deliver value. So, remind your fans WHY they follow you. Also, ask for their input, ideas, feedback and comments. Maintain a continuous dialogue with them. Because:

The more involved they are, the more ownership they take.
The more ownership they take, the more people they tell.
And the more people they tell, the bigger your permission asset (and, ultimately, your following) grows.

REMEMBER: Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness.

5. Gratitude. Because your permission asset is so valuable, and because a following is NOTHING without followers, make sure you regularly thank your fans how much you value their loyalty (aka, permission). Offer them specials and discounts. Go out of your way connect with them via email, phone, or if possible, in person!

REMEMBER: Practice proactive gratitude. That which you appreciate appreciates.

6. Leverage. Once your permission asset hits a critical mass (1,000, 5,000, 10,000, for example) you will earn more opportunities to leverage it. The bigger your permission asset is, the more you can ask people for.

REMEMBER: Some people on your list may buy at a later time, simply because you stayed in front of them. Leverage your increasing momentum.

7. Respect. A few years ago, I emailed the aforementioned permission guru, Seth Godin. I asked him what he thought the most important word in marketing was. His answer was, “Respect.”

So, when it comes to your permission asset, never, ever, ever, ever, E-V-E-R disrespect or violate the trust of your fans. If they want off your list, respect their choice and gracefully remove them. Don’t take it personally.

REMEMBER: R-E-S-P-E-C-T!!!

8. Value. Your content – be it text, audio or video – needs to be relevant, interesting, focused, smart, concise and remarkable. Most importantly, it needs to be delivered in a unique way. You need a voice. A lens. A thing. A philosophy.

I think author and blogger extraordinarine Guy Kawasaki said it best, “It’s impossible to build community about mundane writing.”

REMEMBER: YOU. ARE. A. WRITER.

9. Patience. Don’t expect to get 500 subscribers in your first week. Have patience. Boost your list one fan at a time. The good news is, once you get past a certain number, you’ll begin to grow exponentially.

But, the (sort of) bad new is, building your permission asset never ends. You’re in it for the long haul. Better be passionate!

REMEMBER: There ain’t no finish line.

– – –

NOTE: Even with all the tips, suggestions and ideas you’ve read in these past three posts, there’s still one additional challenge to recognize: What if, no matter how hard you try, some people just WON’T give you permission?

Unfortunately, that IS going to happen. No matter what business you’re in, no matter what type of permission asset you’re building, some people just won’t give it up.

AND MY THOUGHT IS: Respect that. All you can do is your absolute best to deliver value and be yourself.

If someone is hesitant to give you permission, persistently (but not annoyingly) remind them about the security, privacy and respect of doing so. Educate them about the value of giving you permission. Don’t sell too much or too often and don’t annoy or bother them.

If that doesn’t work, back off. Don’t take it personally. Perhaps YOU are not the right person to convince them. Perhaps, over time, they will be convinced or evangelized by an existing member of your permission asset.

“You still haven’t subscribed to Janet’s weekly ezine? Man, you’re missing out! Last week’s article saved me thousands of dollars!” says one of your raving fans.

If that (still) doesn’t work, maybe it’s time to let that person go and move on.

There are plenty of other fish in the Permission Sea.

– – –

So, as we come to the end of our three-day discussion, I wanted to share one final example.

This is my favorite illustration (no pun intended) of the power of building a permission asset.

Scott Adams.

You know, the creator of Dilbert!

He runs the most successful, most widely read and highest syndicated comic strip in the world.

o His comic strips are read by millions of people every day.
o He gets 200-300 comments PER POST on his daily blog. (Holy Technorati Batman!)
o He’s published dozens of bestselling books.
o His line of Dilbert merchandise makes millions every year.
o His scores of fans rearrange their schedules just to come out to his book signings and events.
o His speaking fee is $50,000.
o He is the CEO of Scott Adams Food, Inc., maker of the Dilberito & Protein Chef.
o He won the National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award and Newspaper
Comic Strip Award.
o He received the NCTE George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language.
o He’s been in the rankings of the “50 Most Influential Management Thinkers” placing 31st in 2001, 27th in 2003 and 12th in 2005.

But here’s the best part.

Scott Adams was the first syndicated cartoonist who published his email address on all his cartoons.

Initially, he did it in the hopes that people would email jokes to him.

Which they did.

Eventually, he started asking these people who emailed him if they wanted to occasionally hear from him via his an ezine.

Which they did.

WHICH MEANT: they gave Scott Adams permission.

WHICH MEANS: he built (and continues to build) his permission asset.

WHICH PROVES: he who has the biggest list (and, the best relationship with that list) wins.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How many people art anticipating YOUR marketing?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Seriously, you need to read Seth’s book.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

…only 21 more days until NametagTV.com goes ON AIR!

Build a Permission Asset, Part 1

How many people are anticipating your marketing?

Odds are, not many.

And why should they?

Most of your customers have been screwed over, sold on, marketed to, argued against, targeted, annoyed, persuaded, dishonored, pitched, pressured, bothered, interrupted, threatened and manipulated by too many companies too many times.

And they’re tired of it.

So, this means four things for your company:

1. Customers are in charge, not you.
They don’t have to listen to you if they don’t want to.

2. Customers are working extra hard to avoid and ignore your marketing.
Just think about the last time you skipped the commercials on Tivo. Then multiply that times 300 million. That’s the posture of the masses.

3. Customers are not afraid to (quickly) pick someone else.
Especially since there are infinite numbers of other options instantly available.

4. Customers are controlling how much attention they (choose) to give to you.
Because they live in a hyperspeed, ADD, instant gratification culture, and they’ve got better stuff to do.

SO, IN SHORT: Customers are calling the shots.

Not you.
Not the media.
Not your company.
Not your marketing machine.

The customers.

For that reason, you need to ask yourself ONE vital question:

How are you building a permission asset?

Bestselling marketing author Seth Godin, in his book Permission Marketing, explains it like this:

“A permission asset is the privilege (not the right) to deliver anticipated, personal and relevant ideas to the people who CHOOSE to get them.”

Wow. So, people are actually proclaiming, “Yes, I hereby allow you to market to me whenever you want.”

Glory hallelujah!!! (And all the angels sang. Amen.)

Permission. It’s the marketing word of the millennium.

IT MEANS…

o You’re building a following.
o You’re the bulls-eye, not the arrow.
o You’ve become the selected, not the selector.
o You’re working in the name accumulation business.
o You’ve earned the right to market to your customers.
o You’re worth more next week or next month than you are now.
o You’re finding products for your customers, instead of customers for your products.
o You’re accumulating, delivering value TO and maintaining respect FOR a group people who admire and support you and your ideas.

That’s permission.

So, now that you have a better understanding of the culture in which your customers live – AND what permission looks like – the next step is to assess your current permission status.

We’ll tackle that tomorrow with a list of 18 questions; then finish up this post series on Friday with one final list and example.

See ya then!

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How many people are anticipating your marketing?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Go to www.gitomer.com and subscribe to Jeffrey’s ezine. Watch and learn.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

…only 23 more days until NametagTV.com goes ON AIR!

95 Things I Learned from Seth Godin’s “Meatball Sundae”

So, I’m on vacation for the next two weeks (my couch).

However, I wanted to keep last week’s tradition alive since the feedback from the Ridiculously Long Lists was so positive! As such, I came up with five more lists. This should hold you over until I return on January 7th.

See ya in ’08!

Oh, and don’t forget to read all the lists from last week:
101 Lessons Learned from 2007
101 Ways to Create a Powerful Web Presence
123 Questions Every Marketer Must Ask
69 Mini Philosophies on Just about Everything
49 Ways to become an Idea Powerhouse

But now for today’s list:
98 Things I Learned from Seth Godin’s “Meatball Sundae”

Which, by the way, goes on sale TODAY. And if you don’t buy it here, your 2008 might be DOOMED!

1. An inbound email is an opportunity.

2. Appeal to the reachable.

3. Are you telling people about me?

4. Assume that every chamber is loaded, that every interaction is an interaction with a critic.

5. Be customizable, upgradeable and discussable.

6. Be on the lookout for everyone.

7. Being well rounded is totally overrated. (Actually from The Dip.)

8. Blogs validate our three desires: to hear our own voices, to be heard by others and to hear what the crowd thinks.

9. Build a permission asset.

10. Build the foundation of your idea around your marketing.

11. Bundling isn’t necessary. It slows people down from finding specifically what they really need.

12. Businesses grow because customers tell other customers.

13. Capture the attention and commerce of the people who truly care.

14. Create a story that spreads from person to person, from blog to blog that moves through a community and leaves an impact as it goes.

15. Create art not to please a gallery, but to please yourself and to please the people who are attracted to your vision?

16. Customers are saying, “I’m not a hostage any longer.”

17. Customers are working overtime to ignore you.

18. Do you quit when it’s HARD or quit when it’s RIGHT.

19. Don’t find 100,000 people, find 10 people each of whom know 1000 people.

20. Don’t hype it up. Just appear.

21. Don’t send users away from your site, claim them as your own.

22. Embed the idea into the experience itself.

23. Embrace the chaos of your industry and figure out how to weave it into a long term asset for the future.

24. Enter the public square and enable conversations.

25. Every interaction with a customer is a make or break proposition. You don’t get a chance for a learning curve. You don’t have the opportunity for the user to overcome initial discomfort.

26. Everyone can be the best in the world at something, they just need to figure out what that is.

27. Everyone picks the best one when given a choice.

28. Find a market that hasn’t been found yet. Create something so remarkable that people in that market are compelled to find you. String together enough of those markets so you can string them together as a business.

29. Given the choice, people want the choice.

30. Going through all the trouble and time to get halfway there is a waste.

31. Humans hate to make commitments because commitment is risk and risk is frightening.

32. Ideas that spread through groups of people are far more powerful than ideas delivered at an individual.

33. If it doesn’t cost your life, it isn’t a quest. (Also from The Dip.)

34. If it doesn’t sound perfect after a sentence or two, it’s easy to glance down at the next ad.

35. If you can’t see a curve, how dare you go into that field.

36. In a free market, we reward the exceptional. (Also from The Dip.)

37. In a transparent world, people avoid the deceitful.

38. In a world of choice, compromised solutions rarely triumph.

39. In a world of choice, nobody picks something that is good enough.

40. In a world of networks, few pick the isolated.

41. Instead of how well you use a paintbrush, success in the world of art is how compelling your idea becomes.

42. Instead of racing around trying to find attention, stand around and allow attention to find you.

43. Instead, focus on creating an environment where other people could have a conversation, work hard to offer enough value that people will choose to have the conversation in your place – and make it from you from time to time.

44. Invest what it takes to be seen as the best in the market you choose to compete in.

45. It’s easier than ever to sell something.

46. It’s not us and them, it’s us and us.

47. Live a story that matches the story you want people to tell other people.

48. Make something worth talking about and make it easy to talk about.

49. Make sure the architecture of your idea is viral.

50. Make sure the FIRST group of people you share your idea with are open to big ideas and have big mouths.

51. Most people, most of the time, want to be like most people, most of the time.

52. Movements are at the heart of change and growth. A movement – an idea that spreads with passion through a community and leads to change – is far more powerful than any advertisement ever could be.

53. Movements come from out of nowhere, from small companies or impassioned individuals.

54. No dip = no scarcity = no value. (Yep, from The Dip.)

55. No dips = begging to be frustrating. (Yep, from The Dip.)

56. Nothing deserves to be viral, it becomes viral if the selfishly motivated consumer spreads the word, and if they’re not spreading the word, there’s something about the idea that makes them NOT CHOOSE to spread the idea.

57. People have control over the attention they give marketers.

58. People who are perceived as the best get rewards that DWARF the people who are third and fourth and fifth.

59. People who really care will find you.

60. Practice a calm and patient approach to permission marketing.

61. Quit or be exceptional. Average is for losers. (Best line of The Dip.)

62. Quitting is winning.

63. Realize that you’re not in charge.

64. Satisfy people who can best leverage your ideas.

65. Selling is about a transference of emotion, not a transference of facts.

66. Settle only for mastery.

67. Some external force has to make you a safe choice, i.e., media, book.

68. Speaking fee range is based on what serves the needs to the person who made the decision.

69. Starbucks offers 19,000 different beverages.

70. Stuff that stands on its own tends to be more remarkable. They have to be, the creators figure, because without a helping hand from a wealthy partner, that’s all they’ve got. It’s their only chance.

71. That’s why being a doctor is worth something – because not everybody’s a doctor.

72. The average length of video is five minutes, but the average length of viewing time is ten seconds. Ten seconds is all you get to prove to the viewer that it’s worth it to invest another ten seconds, and if you get someone to stick with you until the end, you’ve hit a homerun.

73. The distance between the brain of the designer and the ear of the consumer is shorter than it ever was before.

74. The internet doesn’t forget.

75. The Internet has nothing to do with what the movement is; the Net merely makes it easier than every for a movement to take place.

76. The moment your message ceases to be anticipated, personal and relevant, you cease to exist in your customer’s world.

77. The question isn’t, “How do you get Dugg,” the question is, “How do you make stuff worth Digging?”

78. The Web is like Santa Claus, but without the gifts.

79. The world is competitive, and you can only pick one, so why not pick the best.

80. The world now acts smaller and works faster.

81. There isn’t a mass market anymore: you’ll do great if there’s a niche, if your customers have natural peers.

82. There must be something about it that makes the people eager to spread it.

83. There’s not a lot of reason to persist with something that isn’t engaging.

84. Things become viral because the AUDIENCE wants to be viral, not because of you.

85. Today’s spoiled customer is willing to pay almost anything for the exclusive, noteworthy and indulgent.

86. Track attention and monetize interaction.

87. Treat every interaction, service, product and side effect as some kind of media.

88. Trust comes from repeatedly delivering insight and truth.

89. We don’t need to look for things to use our spare time because we don’t have any.

90. We feel safe and secure and validated when we choose the popular records.

91. When you get to the end of the dip, compounding your activity works, but once you’ve earned the respect, keep getting better at the craft, but stop promoting yourself because it takes away from the story – get out of the way so the people who are in love with you can talk about you.

92. Who knew? The Web knew.

93. Within you world, whatever world that is, you can see who is winning.

94. You can buy tiny slices of attention for a fraction of what it cost a decade ago.

95. You can harness the power of thousands of people for very little money.

96. You don’t have the money to command people to listen to you.

97. You’re always on the record, everyone is a critic, and the Web remembers forever.

98. Your people want to be heard

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