4 Best Practices When Using E-mail Subscriptions for Data Capture
A powerful way to promote and capture customer channel preferences is through your e-mail subscription confirmation page. If customers have given the clear signal that they want to communicate with you by subscribing to your e-newsletter, why not use this opportunity to sign them up for your different communication channels? This year, the new channels being promoted during e-mail sign-up include SMS subscriptions, social networks and widgets.
This trend is still in its infancy and means we’re moving beyond defining relevancy just in terms of the content of the message. We’re getting closer to realizing the direct marketing mantra of delivering the right message at the right time in the right place. Capturing customers’ communication channel preferences should be treated like any other customer data request — with respect and common sense.
The following are four best practices when using e-mail subscription pages for data capture:
1. Every impression counts. Just because you’ve captured a customer's e-mail address doesn’t mean that customer's going to give you a phone number. Ask for channel preferences mindful of establishing trust and value exchange as a continuous step in building a relationship. Make sure you heed the “what, why, how” rule of data capture.
2. View data capture as an ongoing process. Don’t ask for too much data up front. Customer data, whether it’s an e-mail address or phone number, isn't an entitlement; it’s something you earn over time. Always deliver confirmation notices and content in a reliable and timely manner.
3. Segregate your messaging to new subscribers to build brand loyalty. Remember, every request you make represents a test of your trust/value relationship with the customer. Depending on your target market, make sure you ask the right questions in the most appropriate manner.
We all need to recognize that this simplistic, rules-based approach to capturing and acting on channel preferences is only a first step. Technology enables customers to move fluidly from one channel to the next. Our challenge as direct marketers is to harness technology in ways that help us keep pace — sending relevant messages, making dynamic channel choices based on presence and preference data, and morphing the message so it's appropriate to the channel. That’s what’s demanded by the real-time world in which we live.