Before I start writing about my experiences with lead capturing and a growing list of potential customers, I think it’s important I tell you how this will soon change drastically in many ways. You may have already guessed where this is going, and you are probably right; it’s the GDPR enforced by the European Union as of May 25th, 2018. This affects anyone dealing with customers within the EU, even if your business is located outside of it. Thus, even if Brexit happens and we get a clean break from the EU, you may very well still have to keep this in mind.
GDPR is meant as a way of bringing the power of data back to the people you collect it from. Processing, gathering and handling data will be drastically changed in the near future. If you collect any personal information from your customers, you need to make sure this is bulletproof within your organisation. If you get caught having been sloppy in your data processing and protection, the new fines are designed to hurt. That is, they go up to 4% of your global turnover or €20 million! No small fee for having misplaced someone’s email address.
How will GDPR change the way we capture data?
Well, to be honest, if you are capturing data in the honest way (e.g. Not buying it online or from third parties), chances are you’re in the clear. However, what you need to be aware of is two vital things:
- Even if you capture data honestly, from now on, authorities will put a lot of weight on whether or not the data you capture is actually necessary and relevant. You may think it’s great to ask for things like phone number, mailing address, favorite number, mother’s maiden name etc.. when you have someone sign up for a newsletter to be allowed to download your report or white paper, but do you really need this to send out the occasional promotion via email?
- Telling authorities you’re gathering the data to better understand your target audience, where they come from and what they are looking for will no longer cut it. The data is being placed back with the people, they are in charge, and if it’s not relevant to the way you treat them, it’s not relevant, and you should not be collecting it.
- What you so choose to do with the collected data is also an important aspect. You can send it straight to a Mailchimp list or an encrypted database. As long as the data processor is compliant and up to standards. If you are storing the data straight to a google sheet, or simply get an email with the details every time someone opts-in, this is no longer compliant with the data protection standards. Make sure you read up on this so your processes for handling captured data are up to speed and you avoid those monstrous fines!
Growing your lists AND staying compliant
SmartTrade App is a payment provider. Which means we play around in an industry not a lot of people will naturally have a lot of experience with. That is, until they need a payment facility, and they start frantically researching all the different options out there. However, I can tell you, to really get on top of everything on your own, you’ll need to spend a lot of time. So what we’ve done is create a white paper, downloadable directly from our website. Just drop us your email and you’ll receive a fair comparison of all the relevant providers on the mPOS market. This brings me on to a very important point;
Stay respectful to the competition
No one likes someone whose sole purpose is to make competition look bad. If you write a white paper, it needs to be fair and just. By all means feel free to give a fair opinion, but do avoid trying to make it too much of a pitch and more a piece of research made for the customer to make their own decision, such that they do not have to do their own. More often than not, this will end in your favor!
YouTube is a fantastic place to display your knowledge and expertise. When we work with small businesses, trying to help them grow, so many are worried about sharing tips and tricks online because they believe people will simply do things themselves and not hire the business. However, think of it like this; if what you charge money for is so easy everyone can do it, chances are you probably can’t charge money for it in the first place.
You are an expert! Show people why! If you have fantastic products, show how to use them, or how to make your own, simpler versions. Give an introduction to what you’re passionate about. If you perform a service, show people how to do the small things themselves. That way, you can become the face of a particular niche. If someone is following your YouTube video on how to check boiler pressure, who do you think they’ll remember and come to when the boiler goes bust? You got it…
You can keep this on your website as a teaser with the “weekly tips to your inbox” tagline to directly grow your own email list. Or, you can post as a YouTube channel you promote, where, despite not having your own organic list, your subscribers will get a notification and email whenever you post new videos because they’re in YouTube’s mailing list. This indirect mailing list method could be just as, if not even more powerful than your own, just because of the reach YouTube has!
Lead Capture Software
You’ll see a lot of lead generators you can implement on your website. What you want is one which allows you to specify exactly when and whom to target. We are currently using something called pop-up domination, which we’ve been happy with so far. We’d love some more options, but it has been great! Pop-ups on sites are great as long as you control them. Don’t use them excessively, let people actually see who you are before anything pops up and keep it relevant. If you have a product site, have a pop-up offering a 10% coupon if they sign up to your newsletter for weekly sales and new products. If you offer a service, you can offer a free consultation, or if you offer something recurring, the first one can be free.
A very valuable source of information on lead capturing is Neil Patel. He has also developed a lovely lead capturing software called Hello Bar, where you can not only quickly implement it on your site, but you can have steps so your customer sees what’s most relevant to them.
All in all…
… there are endless ways to grow your lists, but with fear of having put you to sleep at this point, I’ll end it on these three ways which have been great for us at SmartTrade and businesses we work with. When it comes to lead capturing and gathering information on potential customers, just remember the golden rule:
Treat your customers with respect, or don’t, they’ll respond accordingly.