Whatever your business goals may be, your customer communication strategy is what drives you towards success. But to create a communication strategy that actually works you need to understand your customers on a deep level.
Getting to know your customers means gathering data and taking time to understand it. It’s the former that can be tricky for companies to get their hands on, especially with legalities involved, like GDPR.
In the past, companies have had to rely on first, second, or third-party data to fuel their customer communication engine.
Although tricky to harvest, zero party data hinges on both building trust and an exchange in value for the customer.
Zero party data is a stated preference on what customers are interested in. Something that companies can use to their advantage in their communications.
However businesses often struggle to find sustainable ways to collect it. Given the history with data and the security stories that surround it, the public are apprehensive about giving up their personal information.
Modern Customers and their Data
The 2021 Consumer Experience Sentiment Report released by Merkle found that the middle aged and older generations were reluctant to share their data. However, millennials and Gen Z were found to be much happier to do so.
The general consensus is users want to feel in control of their personal information, regardless of who has it. Ownership should rest with the individual. It’s up to businesses to make sure their customers feel comfortable with sharing their data and that it is going to be used responsibly.
You’ll find that customers are happy to share their data with you if there is something in it for them as well. A fair trade.
What does the value exchange look like?
For the modern customer, handing over their data is very much a transactional thing. Customers are aware that they are giving something to your business and that it shouldn’t come for free.
You must recognise that customers expect something in return for parting ways with their data for you.
It doesn’t have to be anything major, but something that shows that you are keeping the customer in mind. Something like a once off voucher code or access to an exclusive piece of content can work for some.
Providing you’ve taken time to get to know your customers, identifying a fair value exchange should be straight forward.
But, there is no greater exchange in value for the customer than providing them with a highly personalised shopping experience.
Customers want and expect this as part of their experience with any business. They don’t want to see things that aren’t relevant to them. And they are willing to share data in order to get it.
But providing a personalised experience for customers is more than just using their first name in a message or knowing their birthday. It’s about fully understanding their favourite products, interests, and what they want to see from you.
Zero party data plays a massive role in helping you make this experience possible.
How to Collect Zero Party Data
There are several ways to collect zero party data. Businesses will find new ways to collect it as time progresses.
But for the moment, here are some methods businesses are using. If you haven’t already started your zero party data collecting activity, these can help get you off the ground.
Browsers can be turned into fully fledged shoppers with the use of quizzes when they first enter your website or app.
It can help the customer fully understand what to do and allow you as a business to promote the right products to them.
Your quiz could include things like what colours, styles, or fabrics they like to wear. This type of zero party data helps you understand your customers straight away and add value to their experience from the start.
This makes every visit to your store personalised and increases the chances of conversion.
Social Media polls
A seemingly understated way of gathering data and potentially widely ignored. Social media polls give customers the opportunity to vote on something. This is a way that your customers can give their opinions on something to do with your business.
It’s a simple, relatively low effort, but effective way of getting new data into your ecosystem.
Customers are between twenty and forty percent more likely to engage with businesses that they come across on social media. So you can be pretty certain that your customers will give their opinion.
Websites like Qwertee get users to vote on designs. This way they know what their customers like and those who voted are more likely to order those designs as they feel personally invested.
Post purchase surveys
This is a straightforward way of gathering zero party data. Discovering what paying customers did, and didn’t like about your products or service is important information to have. It can help you increase your conversions in the future and finely tune your product offering as well.
Surveys can be hit-and-miss so target repeat customers as they are more likely to respond. And time the survey at the moments of peak satisfaction.
It’s hard for a pop-up on an app or website to not catch the eye of the browser. But if they’re not done in the right way they can be annoying and get in the way of a positive customer experience.
You need to make them conversational and to the point. Asking your customer to fill out a survey through a pop-up won’t be well received. But asking them one or two questions doesn’t take up too much of the customer’s time.
Although it doesn’t seem like much, one or two data points from engaged customers can help to build a more accurate picture.
Pop-ups can help increase conversions six fold. But as well as this they also provide new opportunities for personalisation and product recommendations.
How Zero Party Data helps Businesses
Collecting good quality zero party data is one of the most important things a business can do right now. Understanding your customers, who they are, and where they spend their money means you can put the right product out in front of them.
It can help you to optimise your customer engagement efforts and increase retention and conversion rates.
Increase data quality
The quality of your data is vital in ensuring that your communications are as strong as they possibly can be.
You’ll find that with the introduction of zero-party data that the quality of your customer data could increase significantly. This is down to the fact that customers are giving it to you first hand.
Zero party data can be a much cleaner source of information than any other sources.
Drive new insights
You need to do what you can to ensure that you’re constantly on top of trends and how your customers are behaving.
Giving customers the opportunity to make their feelings and preferences known means that you have information straight from the customers’ mouth. These insights can be invaluable to businesses.
Build effective campaigns
A campaign is only as good as the data it is built upon. You should have a constant flow of up to date data coming into your system. Your campaigns will not perform as well as they could if they are built off the back of old data.
Zero party data can play a big role in informing your campaigns and the type of content you should be sending to a particular segment.
It will also allow you to choose the best channel to send your communications through. Knowing where your customers prefer their messages to be received will lead to a higher open and click through rate than just guessing.
Your campaigns can be much more laser focused with up to date data that is given to you straight from the customer with no middle man.
Customers want to feel as though they are being heard and, more importantly, listened to by businesses.
It’s also important to note that you are being totally transparent with customers when it comes to collecting zero party data. When you approach customers directly and ask for their data it can help them trust you. Enough so that it helps them decide on making a purchase with you or not.
Don’t Stop Asking
Collecting data first hand is important, but it won’t last forever. The behaviours of customers change rapidly and you need to make sure you’re up to date.
There are a lot of different ways to ask for first party data, so don’t be afraid to ask for it from your customers more than once.
To learn more about capturing first party data and how to utilise it, get in touch to request a demo.