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A Guide To Tracking Your Customers And Getting Them To Love You For It

A Guide To Tracking Your Customers And Getting Them To Love You For It

 

There have been many discussions, changes, and challenges in website conversion and behaviour tracking in the last 12 months. Companies need to balance their data intelligence needs with what their customers find acceptable and consider a reasonable use of their data. To help you walk that tightrope, here is my guide to tracking website activity in a way that benefits your business and is accepted by your customers.

 

1. Tell users what you are doing and why

Most website cookies, privacy, and collection of personally identifiable information notices are written as confusing legal documents. Unless your customers are lawyers themselves, chances are they just see jargon and don’t understand what it means.

Instead, try telling customers what you are tracking and why. For example, if your company uses website usage data to make improvements to the user interface, develop new and improved products and identify service issues, tell that to your customers.

Compare the 2 messages below. Which one would you trust more?

“We keep all of your activity anonymous and mix it in with everyone else’s. That data will help us improve our services to you, develop new products and make our website a little easier to use.”

“We anonymously track and aggregate website activity for evaluation and marketing purposes.”.

2. Give users a reason to identify themselves

Tracking activity and journeys across time and devices require you to identify users when they visit your website. Methods such as device or browser profiling, persistent cookies, and other ‘non-cookie’ tracking methods can give a fuller view of the customer journey.

However, the most efficient and accurate way to identify users across multiple sessions and devices is to ask them. To do this, you need to give them a good reason. Here are some great, legitimate examples of getting users to identify themselves when they visit.

Personalisation – Give your website users the ability to personalize their experience on your website. For example, save specific settings, favourite pages, wish lists, or other features that require them to identify themselves.

Security – Provide a secure login for your customers so that the information or details that they store with your website is safe. Then make it easy (but still safe) for your site to ‘remember’ the device(s) that they use regularly.

Tools & Resources – Even websites that cannot justify personalization features can often provide some useful tools or resources that also uniquely identify prospects and customers. For example, a boutique retail shop can use a ‘shipping calculator’ to match postcodes or addresses to later purchases. Whitepaper downloads and newsletter sign-ups are other examples where the company provides information to a prospective lead while identifying them.

 

3. Have an opt-out

While this may sound counter-intuitive to many businesses, having an opt-out selection can actually go a long way towards trust, retention and sales. There are many reasons why you should provide an opt-out for tracking:

Better your solution than someone else’s – Users are increasingly gaining the knowledge and tools to restrict the information that can be collected about themselves online. These 3rd party tools can block the wrong script, or otherwise negatively impact the user experience on your website. Providing your own solution allows you to ensure your site still delivers the experience.

People trust transparency – When you give this option to a user, along with the plain English reasons for tracking their activity (see tip#1), they can make an informed decision on what they want. By giving users this ‘control’, your company gains trust.

You still get aggregated data – While some visitors will choose to remain anonymous, however, many will consent, no doubt encouraged by your clear and honest reasoning for tracking. This means you will still be able to make informed decisions based on aggregated user data.

People still identify themselves – Even if people opt out of being tracked anonymously, the moment they complete an action that identifies themselves (see tip #2), you are still able to add to your understanding of their overall journey.

 

4. Remind opt-out users what they are missing out on

When users opt-out of being tracked, it is usually an indication that they do not entirely trust the website. As the user explores the website and gains trust, you should remind them of what they are missing, and give them the opportunity to revert their decision.

Your user interface should notify ‘opted-out’ users why certain features, such as those that require cookies, are not accessible while browsing anonymously. Users can then see the benefits of tracking in a more tangible way.

Combine this notification with a simple button or link to ‘opt-in’ to tracking, and you will find that many people will be more than happy to consent to the collection of their anonymous data.

 

5. Align yourself with reputable partners

It is almost impossible to implement any tracking or marketing solution without installing code on your web pages. When making decisions on whether or not to apply these solutions, you should always investigate what they do and how.

Providers that use tracking techniques such as 3rd party cookies should be avoided completely.

Following these tips should make your decisions on site tracking much easier, and should strengthen your trust, reputation, and relationships with customers at the same time.

 

Did we miss any? Tweet your thoughts to me @nathan5ri
 

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