Every single day you're probably faced with a sentence that reads something like:
'By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.'
And 9 times out of 10, you're probably going to gloss over this tiny print and click 'Accept All Cookies' to get to your destination quickly.
We’re all familiar with the process of web tracking; most of us consent to this on a daily basis. We do it so much, that clicking ‘I consent to cookies’ is a subconscious act. Most of us probably share more online than we realise, across apps, sites, contact forms, and socials.
Data is invaluable
As a business, it’s the closest thing you’ll ever get to grabbing a screen recording. Data gives you a window into customer behaviour and web navigation patterns. Your site will grab cookies, pixels, IP tracking and local storage data.
Customer data is important to any and all businesses. It’s integral to all business decisions you make and will feed your marketing choices. The effectiveness of your marketing is really pivotal to your customer data, and paying attention to customer patterns will help your organisation thrive.
Why? Because the benefits are invaluable.
Global Mckinsey Institute’s stats says “Data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, 6 times as likely to retain customers, and 19 times as likely to be profitable as a result.”
It's a no-brainer. We all must track necessary information from our customers, to make solid marketing decisions and grow better businesses.
Tracking means you can...
- Retain shopping cart items, if the customer wishes to wait before they purchase
- Improve UX designs for a smoother customer experience
- Remembering login details for a quick login every time
- User Preferences and accessibility (text sizes, languages)
- Retaining web history so that you can provide secondary purchasing options based on what you’ve already provided
- Track details like geographical location and demographics to understand your audience better
This is mutually beneficial for both the business and the customer.
As a business, it means you can individually tailor the customer experience on your website, meaning customer data is retained, adding massively to the inbound strategy.
As a customer, it means you’re getting a tailored experience every time, with your preferences and data being stored for a continuously easy and personalised website experience.
But it's sensitive information...so handle with care
However, collecting customer data should be done safely and securely to avoid devastating cyber hacks and damage to your company's reputation.
Massive names have been affected by data breaches, and it can be incredibly damaging to your company's reputation. In the past two years alone - Forever 21, Duolingo, and even the government have all been victims of cyber security attacks, where sensitive customer information has been leaked.
It's devastating to a business, and it's a surefire way to land you into legal battles.
And of course, this is where the 5 golden rules of GDPR come in. These are:
- The collection of data must be lawful, fair, and transparent
- Data collection must be adequate, relevant, and limited to what is necessary
- Data collected must be accurate and kept up-to-date
- Data should not be stored longer than for the period it is required
- Data should be kept secure and confidential
Most good CRM systems like HubSpot will already have your GPPR measures in place, but it's still really useful to brush up on GDPR knowledge if you're accepting customer information.
So how can you best keep your customer data safe and secure to avoid leakages and reputation damage?
Secure your data and safeguard sensitive information
Keep your systems safe with high-quality software protection. If you’re dealing with customer payments, it’s important to keep the cyber gates triple-locked with barbed wire.
Use encryption on payment pages and make sure the data remains unreadable. Carry out regular security audits, and check you’re running everything in line with compliance standards (think ISO Standards).
Data security measures should include...
- Strong passwords
- Restricted access to sensitive information
- Regularly updating your security systems
- Robust firewall protection
It's an obvious one - but make sure you have obtained explicit consent from your customers before collecting their personal data. Clearly inform your customers about the type of information you will be collecting and how it will be used. Being honest and transparent about sensitive information will ensure trust between you and your customer.
Opt out should be easy
Respect your customer’s right to opt out. We all have complete control over what we share online.
If your customers have shared sensitive data, then make sure it’s reversible. Allow your customer to opt out at any time. This includes data deletion, or unsubscribing from your online presence as a whole.
Make the 'unsubscribe' or 'opt out' buttons easily findable to avoid any frustrations. This gives your customer breathing space and lets them know they can change their mind.
Only collect what’s important
Collect the important information that will genuinely improve the user experience with your online presence. Track cookies, retain page preferences that actually matter, and only obtain the information that is genuinely necessary to your operation and inbound strategy.
Speaking of inbound strategy...
Got all the data, but no strategy? Method might be able to help out with that.
We've got all the juice on inbound marketing, and we'll help you safely and securely access the tracking info needed to analyse audience behaviour and really get your marketing strategy off the ground.
Book a free demo call today, or check out our free downloadable eBooks all about the inbound strategy.