How to Collect Data Online
Post-GDPR it’s even more important that you know how to collect data online in line with regulation. There are various ways of doing this.
1.Website Sign Up – One method is a sign-up sheet and a good one is easy to see and find, appears on every page but isn’t obtrusive and only asks for relevant information. This is helpful for segmentation. If you only ask for their first name and email address, two thirds of people are happy to sign up.
On the other hand, nobody likes to fill in a long form, particularly when they first encounter you online. They will be suspicious of what you want all of that information for, and who you might share it with. Further down the line, you can ask people to indicate the kind of information they want from you or segment them through their behaviour and build a bigger picture.
Less than 10% of subscriptions – sign ups – happen on the home page, so if you’re not giving people enough opportunities to subscribe further into your website, you could be missing out.
2. Contact Form – Other methods of gathering data online include a contact form for people to send you enquiries.
3. Purchase Data – You may have purchase data of what people have bought from you, lead magnets which people receive in exchange for an email address, or even competitions.
4. Social Media – In the past, social media campaigns have been a good way to build lists, although changes in Facebook and other platforms means it’s more expensive to access a reasonable volume of people, so consider what the cost of acquisition is per contact.
5. Downloads – One output of content marketing is the creation of targeted content that is so appealing and relevant, your target customer wants to sign up and share their contact details with you – consciously.
Of course they can unsubscribe soon after. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.
But if you enable website visitors to subscribe to your list/s themselves, you can track (and demonstrate) how someone came to be on your list if it’s ever queried. Likewise offline data capture can be accompanied by a signature.
6. Co-Branded Campaigns – There are ways of accessing someone else’s list though: someone could do a sponsored campaign for you which they send to their list, and off the back of that people can opt-in to yours. That can be a really good way of accessing another organisation’s list.
7. Affiliate Marketing – The way you gather data can also affect the way people feel about you. If someone doesn’t remember you, there’s a risk that they don’t feel warmly towards you, but if they’ve got something of benefit from an encounter with you, they’ll be a lot happier about being on the list.
Before You Start – It’s important to understand how these regulations apply: you must allow people to opt in and out of every single campaign and it should always be possible for them to unsubscribe. This ensures you stay on the right side of the law.
GDPR – all you need to know – can be found at https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/ – no need to recycle their guidelines.