Data is the oil powering the new open-source intelligence economy. Tech giants such as Google and Facebook have built incredibly powerful businesses from their ability to harness and utilize user data. Data gathering and utilization should now be a core part of every businesses’ model.
If you maintain a website for your business, there are many opportunities available for capturing first-party data from your users or customers. This data will be highly specific to the people who are already interested in your products or services. The data can often be gathered at minimal cost. The insights it can provide could be priceless.
Here are six simple ideas for leveraging the power of first-party data through your business’ website.
1. Add tracking pixels to your web pages.
Tracking pixels are 1×1 pixel images which can gather lots of useful data on your website’s visitors and how they interact with your content. Some common uses for tracking pixels is providing information on the browsers and types of devices visitors are using to access your website. This can allow you to better optimize your webpage for these browsers and devices. Tracking pixels can also provide important insights into which adverts your visitors are most likely to interact with.
The data provided by tracking pixels is similar to that given by cookies. However, cookies are downloaded by your visitors’ web browsers and can be blocked. As tracking pixels are built into your webpage, they will record data on every single visit.
Tracking pixels are tiny and most web designers choose to give them the same color as the webpage’s background, making them essentially invisible. It’s important to check for GDPR compliance with tracking pixels though. Just like cookies, visitors should be informed about the types of data you are gathering on them.
2. Incentivise visitors to create accounts or join your email list.
Attracting web traffic is difficult enough but maintaining this traffic can be even harder. One of the best way to keep visitors coming back to your webpage is to direct them to new content, products, or deals which matches their interests.
Many ecommerce businesses use services such as PayPal to allow customers to purchase products and services without creating an account. This has lots of benefits for both the companies and customers involved. Customers may be wary of giving card details and other sensitive data to websites they know little about. But relying fully on guest checkouts makes it much harder to companies to build relationships with repeat customers.
A great solution to this problem is to offer visitors to your website some kind of incentive to create an account or join your email list. These incentives could include free products or discount vouchers. If you’re dealing with digital products such as ebooks, you can reward customers with free products for signing up with no additional costs.
3. Ask customers to provide information directly.
Surveys have been a huge part of market research since the modern advertising industry first developed in the mid-20th Century. Pioneering market researchers conducted interviews and focus groups with targeted customers to build a more nuanced picture of how customers felt about their products.
The Internet makes capturing this data easier than ever before. A well-tailored survey can provide you with incredibly data on your customers and their relationship with you.
As with creating accounts and generating email list sign-ups, these surveys will attract much more interaction if you offer some kind of incentive for completing them.
4. Make providing data fun.
Very few people get excited about the prospect of completing a marketing survey. However, fun quizzes and surveys can provide you with data on your users or customers in a more indirect way.
There is no limit to the types of surveys and quizzes you can construct. Examples might include questions aimed at telling people which Hogwarts house they would be most suited for or what type of car best represents their personality.
Be creative! The more unusual and interesting the idea behind your survey or quiz, the more likely people are to engage with it. Make it easy to share their results on social media and you may even find you’ve created a subtle marketing survey with the potential to go viral.
5. Interact with your customers directly.
Brands have increasingly come to realize that they gain lots of free publicity through savvy interaction with their customers. Wendy’s Twitter account is a great example of this. Packed with witty pop culture references, the fast food brand’s tweets have gained lots of traction both on and off Twitter. Reddit’s popular Ask Me Anything sessions have also helped many brands gain free attention. You could host an AMA session on your own platform, giving users a reason to sign-up and participate.
This approach should be handled with caution, however. There can be a thin line between being irreverent and sparking outrage on social media. Reddit’s Ask Me Anything sessions can often go horribly off the rails. Actor Woody Harrelson’s frequent response of “I’m here to talk about Rampage” became a meme when he deflected AMA questions which weren’t related to his latest movie. Talk show host James Corden had his AMA derailed with responses detailing second-hand stories about his alleged arrogant attitude to crewmembers on his show.
But as well building your brand and attracting publicity, this kind of open interaction can provide you with direct information on how people feel about what you’re offering.
6. Use chatbots to resolve customer queries.
Chatbots can be a powerful tool in problem resolution. A well-programmed chatbot can quickly give customers and users answers at much lower cost for businesses than maintaining a large call center. These chatbots can also record everything these customers and users are telling you, allowing you to better identify common problems and issues.
Chatbots are a perfect example of a mutually beneficial tool in the relationship between a brand and its customers. Their ability to capture first-party data on customer problems is incredible.
Don’t Miss Your Chance to Capitalize on First-Party Data
First-party data can be one of the most powerful tools any business has to build a better relationship with its customers. The data gathered is highly relevant to the products and services your business offering. Capturing first-party data can also be much cheaper than looking to outside solutions.
With so many possible benefits, every business should be doing all they can to harness the power of first-party data.