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Pleased to meet you

May 16, 2014

Having recently moved to a new area, I’m keen to meet people and hopefully make some new friends so I thought I’d try the following approach next time I’m out and about:

Hi, we’ve only just met but may I have your email address and telephone number? Whilst I’m asking, would you also tell me about your favourite food/clothing brand/sport? No, I’m not going to tell you why I want to know. Yes, of course I’ll pass your details on to other friends if I think it might be useful to them. What? You don’t want to tell me?

You may judge for yourself how successful and popular I’m going to be, but I suspect there would be few dinner parties at my house this year.           

Unfortunately, whilst we would never attempt such a rude introduction in a social setting, many companies continue to use a similar approach when inviting customers to sign up for their newsletters or indeed when “allowing” customers to buy online.

We talk of building brand loyalty and authenticity but without trust these are just buzz words that have little to do with the real relationship we have with our customers and clients.

In an age where concerns regarding data capture and privacy are at a high, it is imperative that marketers are not just meeting the legal requirements of permission based data capture but are also being honest and transparent with customers about why we want their contact information and what we are going to do with it.

It is true that by putting in place a positive opt-in process, the volumes of data you capture may decrease, and will decrease further when a recipient has to confirm their subscription via a link sent to their email address (DMA White Paper on email lifecycle marketing).

But by implementing such a process, the quality of the data you capture is far higher than if you just have a preselected permission option.  If recipients are willing to go through the sign up and confirmation process, then you know they really want to be on your list.

And if you are transparent about why you want to contact them, how (and indeed how often) you are going to contact them, and make sure they know the real benefits of subscribing, the more people will sign up.

Asking questions and getting feedback from your customers allows you to make informed and intelligent decisions within your business and ensures that your email recipients are receiving relevant and timely content.

Effective customer engagement starts with a first conversation so begin with an honest hello and you will find that less people want to say goodbye.

Posted by Rebecca McCormick

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