I have been thinking and talking quite a bit about data hygiene the past few weeks, and I have probably been paying more attention than normal to data gathering practices. This topic comes up so much when discussing new customer acquisition. It’s great to go out and get new addresses, but at what expense? You have to be smart.
I witnessed something yesterday that I wanted to talk about. This is my one of my wife’s biggest pet peeves. I know that I have seen her do this before, but it was very timely yesterday. Let’s say that you are offering something on the web for download or perusal. In order to allow a person to view this content there it is the sign-up process. We force people to register for an account to view or grab the special thing of value. This frustrates my wife every time that she gets to one of these pages. She feels like she has been lured into some kind of a trap, and as soon as she enters her information, who knows what’s going to happen.
What does my wife do with these forms that she encounters? She enters information like this:
First Name – kjsdksjdksj
Last Name – ksjdlksjdlks
Email Address – firstname.lastname@example.org
Most of the time, that’s good enough to grab what she needs, and then she is gone, never to return again. What has that done for me the marketer? First of all, we have someone who didn’t give our site a chance, but we also have something much worse. We have a broken email address that will cause us nothing but Deliverability pain. Deliverability to Yahoo has now been lowered because I either have a bounced message, or I have sent an email to a user who did not request it. Neither of those scenarios are very good for the sender.
What are some ideas to see a better outcome for this? There are a couple of possibilities. The first would be not to require a sign-up before allowing the download of content. This can certainly work. Sites like download.com come to mind as places where you don’t have to register, and I certainly go back to this site over and over. I would suggest that work to build your relationship with a potential customer. You can always offer email sign-up on every page.
A second possibility is to verify the email address before you allow access to the content. At a bare minimum, you have a legitimate email address now. Double opt-in is always a scary proposition for marketers. You will have a lower acceptance rate, but the addresses are good. Less is sometimes way more in the email business. I would also suggest that if you take this approach, you should be ready to offer more than just that one piece of content. I don’t want to go through the whole confirmation process unless the site is somewhere having an account will benefit me in the future.
Get creative with your ideas. I think good content is the single most important driver to adding new members.