The more we know about our audiences, the better we can serve them, right? Without knowing what they want or need, without having as as much data as possible, how can we effectively segment, personalize, and ultimately serve our audiences?
As an expert with an audience, your goal should be to collect more data about your users. But you have to do it in a way that increases, not decreases overall trust.
When I go to a website and they immediately ask me if I’m a creative, or developer, or marketer, I personally feel like they’re being more data grabby than helpful. And this is a growing sentiment. People are becoming more touchy about their data as consumers become more informed at the crazy ways it’s being used.
Good data collection practices have a few things in common:
- informed consent – the user immediately knows why you’re collecting the data
- “whats in it for me” – the user benefits from providing the data
- easy to update – the user can change their mind, opt out, or request you wipe their data
Here are some high value data collection methods with good data practices baked in:
- requesting feedback via post purchase email sequences
- post-sale survey – ask why your (now clearly qualified) customers almost didn’t buy to surface objections that almost purchasers have
- post-product use survey – intent of collecting information to improve an infoproduct and relationship with customer, helps you understand how (if?) its being used, provides an outlet for them to share and color in your blindspots, potential source of testimonials
- net promotor score – the self-fulfilling prophecy, often filed under useless metrics as at best an unreliable source of information, those questions (e.g. on a scale of 1 to 10, how much would you recommend this to friends?), it brings you back into the customer’s mind and prompts them to consider who might be a good referral – its a brand touch
- asking for permission to track, providing the real reason (which should be exclusively to help them) in a concise way, and creating and sharing a way they can opt out later with ease. I know, earth shattering idea right?
- combine with tokenizing user data – often called “pseudonymization,” this processes a users’ personal data in a way that prevents identifying that data as being associated with that user…
Tokenization/pseudonymization is complicated. It’s becoming increasingly hard to prevent indirect methods of re-identification given users’ online footprints are so big these days, but it allows you to unlock the underlying value of data while taking every measure possible to protect your users’ privacy.
Let me give an example.
If I have 10,000 users coming to my website, what they do, and getting to an accurate interpretation and clear picture of the situation is prerequisite to my ability to serve them relevant content and products. BUT I really don’t need to know their name or demographics to accomplish that with aggregated anonymized data.
Much more later.