Online marketing technologies and best practices are constantly evolving. Once it feels like you’ve mastered them, a new technique or technology will emerge and claim to be the “next big thing.” But while new tech can be challenging to keep up with, it can be an asset to your business. After all, who doesn’t want fresh, innovative ways to make their marketing campaigns easier and more successful?
However, these modern innovations can come with significant concerns that you should be aware of. And when it comes to personalizing your marketing, it’s customer privacy that you must keep front of mind.
How do you balance these two concepts? The good news is that you don’t have to figure it out alone. Let’s discuss how to strike this balance in your online marketing campaigns.
The Problem With Overpersonalization
One significant advancement in online marketing technology is the ability to leverage customer data to target marketing on an individualized, personal level. That is, if you have accurate information about your customers, you can better tailor a campaign’s messaging to a specific subset of your audience. And with AI technology and predictive analytics, you can often anticipate their needs before they arise. As a result, your business stays one step ahead of the game.
But as incredible as this technology is, it also has its downsides. For example, the more data you collect, the more you risk invading the privacy of your customers. As much as consumers like personalized solutions, they value their privacy and demand a certain level of transparency.
Have you ever Googled a product out of curiosity, only to see advertisements for it for weeks to come, everywhere from your social media pages to random websites? The feeling of being “watched” by this type of technology can be annoying at best — unnerving and off-putting at worst.
Therefore, it’s vital to balance your personalization techniques with the privacy of your customers. Aim to impress your customers, not scare them away. Of course, this is easier said than done, especially as world governments introduce regulations that restrict the kind of data you can collect.
So how are you supposed to keep it all straight? To start, it’s helpful to keep in mind the following best practices for personalization.
Use New Technology to Your Business’s Advantage
While it’s understandable that you might consider abandoning personalization altogether for fear of invading your customers’ privacy, you must understand that personalization is vital in any marketing campaign. After all, no one likes spammy emails or text messages that feel impersonal, generic, and rushed. Rather, people enjoy feeling heard and valued. Therefore, customizing a marketing campaign to appeal to potential customers personally can entice them to check out your business.
For example, suppose that you own a coffee shop. If you have consent from your customers to gather location data, you can use text message marketing to send them a coupon for a drink when they’re within a certain radius of your business. Maybe they weren’t thinking about stopping for coffee before, but now they want to because you reached out to them at the right time. Predicting what your customers want before they realize it themselves can take your marketing campaigns to the next level.
Here are some additional examples of how personalization and new technologies are benefiting businesses worldwide:
- Virtual and Augmented Reality: When customers can virtually try on clothes before purchasing, you reduce the risk of a return
- Personalization in Healthcare: Personalized data can help deliver health information to patients quickly and effectively
- Integration With Smart Devices: Smartwatches can collect personalized data and provide health information to users and to businesses who want to sell targeted products to them
When it comes to personalization, the sky’s the limit — as long as you respect your customers’ privacy. Embracing this technology is essential to taking your brand to the next level, and if you don’t take advantage of these powerful marketing strategies, your competition probably will.
Target Customers Personally With Email and SMS Marketing
The average email open rate is 21% across all industries — a modest number that represents a good opportunity to reach your audience.
Text messages, on the other hand, have an open rate of an impressive 98%. Why so high? When most people hear and see a text notification, they usually don’t ignore it. Of course, they may also get notifications for emails, but these usually take a backseat to texts. And because people get so many emails, it’s not uncommon for people to silence email notifications altogether.
This isn’t to say you should abandon email marketing — far from it. It’s still a powerful form of marketing that enjoys a consistently high return on investment. A recent study found that the return could be as high as $36 for every dollar invested in email marketing.
The answer is to leverage both email and SMS marketing to create a powerful strategy for connecting and building a relationship with your customers. In addition to the aforementioned predictive analysis, you can use sentiment analysis and emotional cues to connect with your customers and send them personalized messages you know they’ll read.
Email and text message marketing also let you be as creative as you want. These short-form messages should indeed be concise and to the point, but they still allow for a lot of fun. Add polls and surveys. Link to funny videos or GIFs. The more relatable and genuine you appear to users, the better. Plus, text and email campaigns usually aren’t expensive to run, so you have little to lose but a lot to gain.
When you deliver these personalized campaigns via email and text message marketing, your customers will feel a sense of genuineness from your company. They’ll also be able to instantly access your products or services. It’s the perfect combination to secure a sale.
Protect Customers’ Privacy and Earn Their Trust
Personalization is a surefire way to attract new and potential customers to your business, especially when you invest in text messaging marketing. However, consumers also greatly value their privacy. They don’t want to feel like they’re being watched or that you’re stealing their personal information.
Fortunately, there are ways to benefit from their data and maintain their trust. Some of these ethical business practices include the following:
User control is vital to earning and maintaining the trust of your customers. When you first establish a business relationship, make sure you always give your recipients the option to opt in or out of certain types of data collection. By giving users control over their privacy, they’ll be more inclined to trust your business.
In-Depth Privacy Policies
Ethical Data Collection
Collecting personal data is beneficial, but be cautious before you hit the ground running, and always exercise ethical best practices. As discussed, this includes gathering consent. But this also extends to a firm stance against sharing or selling user information without their knowledge or approval.
Invest in robust cybersecurity. Not only does this protect your customers’ information, but it can give them (and your brand) significant peace of mind. You’ll have their trust, and you’ll feel good knowing you’re protecting your users.
In the interest of quelling privacy concerns, you should know that there are ways to gather personal information anonymously. If it fits your business model, look into these methods to reduce security risks as much as possible. This option lets you obtain valuable information without making your customers uncomfortable — it’s a win-win.
Finally, keep in mind that technology evolves quickly. Even if you’ve done your research and have implemented a privacy-first personalization strategy, it may be irrelevant in a month when new technology emerges and new regulations surface. So stay informed about privacy best practices and legal requirements to avoid trouble. The last thing you want to worry about is a lawsuit.
Work With Knowledgeable Partners
The good news is that you don’t have to walk this minefield of personalization and privacy alone. You can partner with a knowledgeable marketing agency that can answer your questions and help ensure you maintain ethical practices when gathering customer information. Typically, these experts are well-versed and up-to-date on modern privacy best practices, even as they change from one year to the next.
Keep Up With Regulations
As new technologies arise, so do new policies. In the European Union, for example, the General Data Protection Regulation requires companies to get explicit consent from their users to collect their information.
Likewise, many other countries are putting privacy protections into place, and businesses must adapt accordingly or face legal repercussions. Therefore, it’s vital to be aware of what your country requires.
If you aren’t transparent about your privacy policies, your users may decide to take their business elsewhere. You don’t want to risk losing them over an issue you can easily prevent by being straightforward.
Personalization and Privacy: Finding the Right Balance
Balance is a significant factor in every successful marketing campaign. This is no more true than when it comes to personalization and privacy. On one hand, you should take advantage of new technologies to connect with your customers and earn their business.
On the other hand, your users must understand the information you’re collecting and give you their consent. Give them peace of mind with thorough privacy policies that outline your intentions. Furthermore, invest in effective cybersecurity measures to ensure user data remains safe. By covering your bases and earning the trust of your customers, you can expect better results from your personalized marketing campaigns.
When in doubt, create a marketing strategy you’d want other companies to market to you. You may want targeted communication that makes your shopping experience easier, but you probably wouldn’t be thrilled to hear that your health data is being sold to another company.
Finally, finding the perfect balance between personalization and privacy isn’t always easy, and it may take some trial and error to get it right. Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it out alone.
Run High-Quality Personalized Marketing Campaigns With Contact Consumers
If you’re looking for a partner to help you execute ethical, effective marketing campaigns and find the ideal balance between personalization and privacy, turn to Contact Consumers. We specialize in email and SMS marketing and can help you develop powerful, long-lasting customer relationships.
We proudly work with various industries worldwide, so no matter what your brand excels at, we can help you be even better. And with our team of privacy-minded individuals, you won’t have to worry about compromising your customers’ data.
For more information about our top-of-the-line marketing services and how we can enhance your marketing campaigns, contact us today.