5 simple ways to persuade people to give you their data

Customer data

When it comes to creating effective digital marketing strategies, knowing as much possible about your customers and potential customers is key. We’ve already taken a look at how building customer personas can help you influence buyer behaviour, but where do you collect the data that guides you in creating these personas and enables you to refine them continually?

The answer is simple: get the data directly from the people with whom you want to engage but how? The first challenge in this process and it's a tough one is convincing prospects to volunteer their personal information. Luckily, there are a number of routes you can take to earn this marketing currency, such as:

  • Adding ‘Contact us’ forms on a website
  • Encouraging visitors to sign up for a newsletter
  • Offering a resource like an eBook or whitepaper in exchange for details
  • Getting them to enter a competition
  • Offering the opportunity to attend an event or sign up for an offer
  • Giving them exclusive access to ‘members only’ content
  • Asking them to fill out a satisfaction survey

However you want to go about acquiring customer information, there are some overarching principles at play. Here are five top tips that will improve your chances of striking those all-important digital data deals:

1. Don’t ask for too much information

We're all eager to capture as much data from our target audience as possible, but don't let the excitement get the better of you. Use common sense to identify the data that's necessary to achieve your goal. Unless you're Kellogg's, you probably don't need to know what they had for breakfast that morning.

However, bear in mind that consumers do recognise the importance of data tracking when it leads to, for example, better-targeted newsletter content or a tailored shopping experience. Accenture surveyed 2,000 U.S. and UK consumers and found that while 86 percent of those surveyed said they were concerned that their data was being tracked, 85 percent recognised the potential benefits. Almost half (49 percent) said were willing to give trusted brands their personal information in return for a personalized shopping experience, including recommendations, targeted offers, and notifications of upcoming sales.

2. But do ask don't buy!

When executing emailing marketing campaigns, bought mailing lists might give you immediate access to an audience it could take years to build organically, but size isn't everything. Legal intricacies aside, marketing with a bought list is a quick way to earn a reputation as a spammer and to alienate recipients, whether or not they're your target audience which, with this un-earned list, is by no ways guaranteed. Bottom line: quality beats quantity so build your list the hard way.

3. Give them something in return

They say the best things in life are free, and I'm not here today to argue with that. I will say that the wisdom of Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson, dance-pop behemoths though they may be, just doesn't cut it on the data-driven marketing dance floor of today. Prospects won't give your their details for nothing, just as you shouldn't always be expected to give away valuable content without demanding something in return.

Whether it's an insightful resource, a special deal or the opportunity to participate in something amazing, make your calls to action convincing, tell subscribers exactly what they're getting, and communicate the tangible benefits on offer. In short, people engage better when they feel they're involved in a fair exchange. Read more about the principle of reciprocity in another of our science of marketing posts.

4. Let them know they can trust you

Winning the heart of a potential sign-up is only half the battle; you need to nip any concerns they may have over privacy, security or abuse of personal information in the bud. Do this by earning their trust. Make it clear you'll respect their consumer rights and won't sell on their email address or information about their spending habits. Use logos (such as ‘Verified by Visa’ if they’re giving you payment details) or privacy policies to show that they can trust you with the gift they're giving you. Remember: this should be the start of a lasting and rewarding relationship, not a shady quickie you'll both come to regret faster than you can say Data Protection Act.

5. Give out your own details too

Fair's fair, and if you're asking strangers to fess up and tell you about themselves, it's only right that you open up a bit yourself. As a minimum, you should list your contact details somewhere accessible and make it clear how people should get in touch with you if they need to.

If you have any questions, or want the help of an integrated marketing agency, let our CEO Heather know. 

Read more posts in our science of marketing series.