4 Tips for Building a Subscriber Profile

Sep 06, 2012 4:26 PM  By

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Multichannel Merchant
Multichannel Merchant
Multichannel Merchant
O+F Operations and Fulfillment

A new survey by MyBuys and the e-tailing group found that consumers are more willing to provide personal information if doing so will enhance their shopping experience. Those consumers who were not comfortable sharing their information cited potential security and privacy concerns.

Essentially, the consumer must trust the brand to provide benefit and not cause harm. How can you, the marketer, create that trust with the consumer and acquire the data you need to provide that smooth, personalized shopping experience while not creeping out the customer?

Successfully balancing the two may rely on how and when you ask for the data. The first place consumers are likely to provide personal information is during checkout or when signing up for your email program.

While some data such as payment information and email address will be required, the goal of each of those acquisition points is to either capture the sale or opt-in. Asking for too much information here could result in purchase or opt-in abandonment. Therefore, post-purchase messages and welcome emails should instead be leveraged to build that stronger consumer data profile.

Don’t ask the customer to give the information if you do not have a plan to leverage it. Subscribers will be more willing to provide their preferences and personal information if they understand what they will get in return and you deliver on that promise.

Let’s look at a few tactics for email messages that can help you acquire additional data after a consumer has opted-in to your email program.

Creating an account
The “create an account” call-to-action can seem mechanical and impersonal. An account may be needed for a subscriber to purchase, but not just to receive emails and shop your site.

In order to get subscribers to take this step, it’s important to inform them of the benefits of establishing an account before they even buy. One approach can be to frame the process as “personalizing your account.” Let subscribers choose the types of offers, brands and products they want to receive.

Updating preferences
New subscribers may have an incomplete profile and existing subscribers may not be aware of new subscription options, frequency preferences, or profile fields that weren’t available when they signed up.

Rather than telling subscribers that they will receive “customized products and offers,” show them. Highlight contrasting product categories or specialized events to give the subscriber a better idea of what those customized emails may actually contain.

Joining a loyalty program
In addition to a loyalty points and redemption component, a loyalty program could mean exclusive offers, early access to sales, or shipping discounts. This enhancement to the shopping experience does not need to be overly complicated.

If you are just getting started, subscribers can complete their application to the program and you can either flag them as members on your list or store them in a separate subscriber list. That way, you can reward them appropriately for joining the program.

Receiving a birthday surprise
Birthdays – everyone has one and most enjoy receiving something special on their big day.

Birthday emails typically see a high level of engagement and conversion. Letting subscribers know that they can look forward to a gift from you on their birthday can encourage them to share their date of birth with you and enable you to launch an automated birthday program.

Limit the birthday request emails to subscribers who do not have an existing birthdate in your database and only ask for month and day unless year is needed for legal or reporting reasons.

Jim Davidson is manager of marketing research for Bronto Software.