Let’s come clean here: How often have you filled in an online form in order to get something of value, but played around a little with the truth? That includes putting in a false name or phone number, or a made up location. The fact is, a lot of us do this, and the reason it boils down to is trust, or lack of it. The result? Bad data.
According to research by marketingtechnews.net, which they discuss here, more than two thirds of consumers in the UK admitted to providing false information, with the main reason being that they had concerns about how the data would be used.
It’s an interesting insight into consumer behaviour, but the result of this is that it provides inaccurate and misleading data for digital marketers aiming to capture it and gain insights into their potential customers, which in turn leads to bad marketing decisions and the provision of content that is neither as valuable, or as relevant, as they intend it to be.
From this point, customer experience is affected, which inevitably leads to bad news for business.
The whole process of asking a visitor to your website to fill in a form in order to access information that is of value to them is based on the concept of mutual trust. That trust breaks down when, having captured the data you wanted, you bombard the consumer with unwanted, irrelevant content or aggressive sales pitches. ‘Once bitten, twice shy,’ they say. ‘Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me,’ is another way to look at it.
Consumers who have suffered from an onslaught of such email marketing where they are offered completely irrelevant and unsolicited content that in no way relates to their interests, or even sales phonecalls, simply because they downloaded an eBook, won’t go within a mile of your website again.
This concept goes right to the top. The World Economic Forum says that high trust levels enable a 20% growth in a sector, while low trust hinders growth by 20%.
The Edelman Trust Barometer 2016 makes for some uncomfortable reading, suggesting that wealthier, educated and engaged individuals are increasingly wary of how their data will be used by businesses. Only 30% of consumers believe the benefits of filling in that form are worth the risk, with only 10% actually feeling like they have benefited from providing their information through a more personalised customer experience.
This begs the question: If businesses are not using the data to provide a better customer experience, what are they using it for? Or do they simply not know how to use it once they’ve got it? The latter is more probable, making many marketing departments appear like the proverbial donkey with the spinning wheel when it comes to customer data: Nobody knows how they got it, and damned if they know how to use it.
This is where an integrated digital marketing strategy comes in. IBM company Bluewolf’s annual State of Salesforce study revealed that within the marketing, IT and sales sector, data quality was a big problem for 29% of marketers, but only 19% felt they had strong data quality.
The report said that with no single platform on which to gather, analyse and act upon data, marketers are ‘inundated’ and are spending a lot of time trying to manage various different tools. That’s time they should be using to focus on their job: marketing. That in turn leads to creating content that doesn’t target the right people with the information at the right time, which is a crucial part of the digital marketing mix.
Therefore, adopting a single platform makes a whole lot of sense. Not only does a Content Management System, or better yet, HubSpot’s Content Optimisation System, allow a business to effectively gather and analyse the data they require, but it helps in creating the actionable, relevant, SEO-optimised and helpful content that will help turn visitors into leads, and leads into customers, and integrates that content across all marketing platforms such as the business website, blogs, Calls to Action, Landing Pages, social media, marketing emails, and so on.
Creating effective landing pages is a vital component of your marketing strategy because, if done properly, a landing page will show you exactly what a site visitor was interested in by having one purpose and promoting one piece of content only. That means they should be targeted only with content that is relevant to that interest, rather than a vague interest in the various types of content or subjects addressed on your website.
Receiving only the content they are interested in means the issue of concern over how a consumer’s data is used is avoided, because it is clear to them that it has been used properly to gauge what other content they might be interested in.
Your analytics need to be able to show you what stage of the customer journey a visitor to your website is at, where they were when they then decided to provide data in return for a download or more information, whether they came back again, and whether the download was related to their initial search.
This allows you to form better insights into your potential customers, which in turn allows you to create better content that offers value and a solution to their challenges or needs through segmentation.
That means using the data consumers have trusted you with to deliver your part of the bargain by giving them the relevant information they want, and nothing else, which maintains a high trust level. It’s all about having a mutually beneficial engagement. If you maximise the potential of your integrated platform, that should help bring them through the customer journey at the pace they choose and in the way they want, which can only mean a positive user experience.
And that is what will bring them, and others, back to you with more valuable data you can use to further increase your sales through targeted marketing.
Learn how to create great content that will help attract visitors to your website and turn them into leads by downloading our Lead Generation Survival Kit: