04 May First-Party Data and Your 2022 Marketing Plan
Customers have learned to value their data privacy, and are increasingly opting out of sharing their information. Even if you don’t realize it, much of the data you use to strategically market to and reach your customers is owned by platforms like Google and Facebook. If these platforms were to disappear, or to stop allowing you access to this data, where would your business be? This fragile dependency is why we encourage our crafty clients to work on developing their own zero or first-party data through emails, newsletters, and customer relationship management. Let’s dive into this important trending topic.
What is Zero or First-Party Data?
Data that you get from a third party, like Facebook or Google or any social media platform, is called third-party data. First-party data, therefore, is data that you can collect from your own properties: your website, your newsletter platform, your point-of-sale system and any other applications you use. Zero party data is data that the customer gives you themself, like information from surveys and online interactions. This vital data about your customers (and prospective customers) is then yours to keep and use in your marketing strategies.
Why is collecting first-party data so important?
Google is on track to phase out third-party cookies in its Chrome browser starting in late 2022, with completion in 2023. Safari and Firefox have also moved to block tracking through third-party cookies. In 2021, with the release of iOS 14, users can opt out of sharing their personal data on sites like Facebook and Instagram. These changes shrink the pool of accessible data you can use to track your customers’ behaviors online is shrinking and reduce your ability to target your marketing and advertising efforts towards your ideal customer. According to the Deloitte 2022 Global Marketing Trends report,
“While consumers may appreciate relevant ads, they also have concerns about how their personal information, purchase preferences, and browsing habits are being used.”
This means that you, as a crafty business, need to start thinking about ways you can collect data with customers’ permission, and keep that data private and secure. Zero and first-party data is crucial to your ongoing success (Forbes).
How can I begin collecting this data?
The good news is that you probably already have some of this data at hand. If you have Google Analytics installed on your website, you can already glean information about how customers view and use your site. If you don’t have Google Analytics installed already, it’s free to use, easy to implement, and can provide you with a wealth of information. If you’re feeling uncertain about how to decipher some of that information and what it’s telling you, we have two great videos that will get you started.
Your point of sale (POS) system is another great source of information about your customers’ buying habits, as well as a place to store data. Adding physical addresses, email addresses, birthdays, and other notes on personal preferences can make your POS a valuable tool in customer relationship management.
Finally, we always encourage our clients to build a healthy newsletter list. Customers who give you their email address and permission to use it are a captive audience of fans already primed to purchase your exciting offerings. Newsletter platforms like Mailchimp or Constant Contact can help you manage the logistics of newsletter campaigns as well as assist in collecting data on your most engaged customers (open rates), what they find the most interesting (clicks), and, when linked to your POS, can deliver an actual return on investment (ROI) for each email send (sales resulting from an individual newsletter). If you don’t know where to start with newsletters, check out our post on The Basics, Newsletters 101. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can delve into automations like welcome sequences, abandoned shopping cart reminders, birthday greetings, and more.
How can I manage this data?
Managing the data can be fairly easy or highly complex, depending on how much data you want to collect, the size of your audience, and how much time, effort, and money you’re spending on strategic marketing and advertising. Many POS, like Shopify, will integrate with a variety of customer relationship management (CRM) applications which can help you use and manage your data. While CRM can be pricey, it can also manage large amounts of information and provide the insights you need to market more effectively. This article from The Digital Merchant offers an overview of 11 CRM systems that can integrate with Shopify.
How can I keep this first-party data safe?
If you haven’t already taken steps to make your website secure, now is definitely the time to do so. Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). It uses technology called a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a server and a client. Getting this installed on your website is a simple and relatively inexpensive process, and you can contact your web provider to learn more about how to do so. Another bonus: Google rankings prioritize the safety and security of your website, so adding the SSL will mean you will show up more consistently in search results!
We hope we’ve given you an introduction to Zero and First-Party Data and why it’s more important than ever that you collect this data for your crafty business. If you want help implementing new systems, or deciphering the information you collect and strategizing your marketing and advertising campaigns, contact us today to get started!