Opinions of contributing entrepreneurs are their own.
Facts is powerful. It can generate leads, inform customer interactions and ultimately grow sales.
Data is also a force that companies can use for good (or evil). The poster child of the latter is third-party data, which has given the analytics industry a bit of a bad rap in recent years. However, with third-party data being phased out, it opens the doors for companies to rewrite the script on data through better data collection practices.
Related: 4 steps to becoming a data-driven company
The benefits of healthy data collection
Healthy data collection is the process of collecting, organizing and using data in a legal, fair and secure manner. It is an approach to data that is in everyone’s interest.
When a company has certain consumer and customer data, it can personalize experiences. From tailored emails to unique sales offers, customers have better overall experiences when the right data flows between them and the brands they patronize.
A healthy flow of data also impacts both ends of the sales funnel by generating a higher number of quality leads from potential customers. For those close to the point of sale, important data (such as an email address) can drive fewer cart abandonments. All of this translates into better revenue, which is in the best interest of any business.
The question is, how can businesses benefit from this positive, respectful approach to using data as we move toward a future without third-party data?
Here are some strategies companies can use to collect both potential and existing customer data in a way that benefits both businesses and consumers.
Related: How marketers can prepare to remove third-party cookies
1. Use on-site software to capture first-party customer data
As third-party data becomes irrelevant, it puts a new emphasis on first-hand data: data that consumers provide companies with their explicit consent. There are multiple ways to collect this data independently, including directly on your website.
Software solutions can be installed on a corporate website, allowing a brand to collect data directly from visitors. This can link anonymous digital identifiers to customer profiles – crucially, using data collected with owner awareness and acknowledgment.
The need for sound first-party data collection is great, especially in a world that is becoming increasingly skeptical of third-party information. The collection of first-hand data empowers brands to confidently create personalized browsing, individual product offers, and targeted cart abandonment emails.
2. Surveys are a neat and clean data collection strategy
If a company wants to collect data through its efforts, surveys are one of the best ways. This is a great way to gather information from online customers as they make their way to the door.
The most obvious way a survey can help with data is by collecting important personal information. By asking a customer about certain preferences and inclinations, you open the doors for personalized marketing in the future.
You can also use surveys to gain insight into your customers as a whole. Survey Monkey emphasizes the importance of closed questions that provide clear, quantitative data.
For example, consider a scenario where a company asks existing customers how easy it was to navigate the website. It provides specific answers in the form of a five-point scale ranging from “difficult” to “super easy.”
This produces a growing amount of data that comes directly from the customers with their explicit consent. The company can then use it to enhance its e-commerce shopping experience, benefiting both the company and consumers.
This can turn one-time interactions into lasting customer relationships. In fact, both parties are fully involved in the exchange of data.
Related: 5 ways to build great customer relationships
3. Offer Giveaways (With Reasonable Obligations)
Another way to proactively collect consumer data, even from those who aren’t your customers yet, is by using giveaways.
Contests are a great way to drive engagement and spread brand awareness. They also double as an easy way to get a person’s data with their blessing.
Entering something like a product giveaway often comes with certain stipulations. This could be sharing a post, leaving a comment, or signing up for an email list. That last option is a great way to start generating customer data. Once you have someone’s email address, you can communicate with them and use things like surveys to expand on the data they’ve already given you.
It’s a good idea to use a double opt-in solution to respect the customer as well. Also known as confirmed opt-in, this consists of a confirmation email that a person must accept before actually being added to a list.
Related: The demise of third-party cookies: Keeping the sweet spot
Campaign monitor points out that the double opt-in approach has the important advantage of creating higher quality leads. The extra step of signing up for an email list twice indicates that the consumer in question is so interested in your business that they’re willing to put in the extra effort.
From double opt-in giveaways and post-sale surveys to comprehensive solutions like Resolution, there are multiple ways businesses can collect data. These are strategies that benefit both businesses and consumers, allowing both to mutually benefit from a new future without third-party cookies, where data will remain as relevant as ever before.