As business-to-business (B2B) publishers and brand marketers grapple with increasing volumes of data, tighter rules proposed under new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and ePrivacy legislation, and a bewildering number of content touch-points, is it possible to remain in control of your readership data? Are you concerned that any discussion around ‘permissions’ could result in a mass opt-out and a decline in audience numbers? According to Daniel Verrells, managing director at Beeline Data Services, it doesn’t have to be that way. Daniel shares his views on targeting, preferences and happy consumers.
It all starts with accurate targeting
Your best chance of achieving a long-term, engaged readership is to ensure that you target the right people from the outset. Sounds simple, right? Yes, but it is not uncommon for B2B publishers who are desperate to increase audience numbers to spend time marketing to non-core readers in the hope that they will eventually convert into valuable, loyal readers. Our advice: don’t bother!
Wherever you decide to begin your search for new readers; trade show follow-up, social media campaigns, list purchase etcetera, if you are accurate in your initial targeting, it will ultimately lead to better outcomes. Extra time spent researching and sourcing good data with the appropriate permissions from the get-go, will pay dividends as you seek to transition these individuals from your prospect list through to active, happy and ‘renewing’ readers.
Organise your data so it can begin to work for you
If you are dealing with large disparate data sets with complex relationships, it is important to get all of your records into one place so that it can start working for you. Having a single customer view (SCV) will provide you with a clear and comprehensive understanding of what you already know about your audience, and what you don’t. A SCV will be central to your engagement strategy moving forward and will help you to better prepare for proposed new GDPR and ePrivacy legislation.
It is not uncommon, for example, for print, online and digital data sets to be kept separately; where this is the case, a reader considered ‘active’ – by virtue of the fact they have not unsubscribed to their print copy – could be revealed through using a SCV to be digitally ‘inactive’, as they don’t visit your website, receive your weekly newsletter or follow you on Twitter. The missed opportunities for you and your advertisers are clear.
Let your readers choose
The opportunity to move from siloed data sets and potentially unengaged readers, to a SCV and readers able to actively choose which content they would like to receive, represents a more sustainable, two-way and permission-based relationship with your audience. You should aim to enable your readers to set their own preferences from the moment you onboard or renew them. In allowing your readers to tell you what they want – whether that is by selecting preferred content topics, email frequency or website paywall choices – the message is clear: this is your content, intended for you, your way!
Empowering your readers like this ensures relevancy – your readers get to receive the content they want, when they want it. Allowing your audience to set their preferences when they sign-up, and ensuring those choices are actively kept up-to-date through a combination of print and digital touch-points, will result in your consumers receiving the best possible user experience. This is especially true as you roll-out new products and brand extensions; if you ask your readers first if they wish to receive or take part in something, they are much more likely to permit you to send them future updates. After all, now more than ever, people expect an equitable quid pro quo for being asked to divulge their data.
Don’t underestimate the power of email marketing
In the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) ‘Marketer Email Tracking Study 2017’, 95% of respondents stated that email was either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to their organisation’s strategy. In the same survey, B2B marketers listed ‘engagement’ as the top objective of their email marketing campaigns. In our experience, regular email communication between B2B publishers and their audience remains one of the most powerful tools in maintaining the trinity of continuing to deliver relevant content, updating preferences and creating a great reader experience.
Our roadmap to an engaged and loyal readership:
- Take time to target, research and source potential new readers from the beginning.
- Organise your data into a SCV so it can start to work for you.
- Enable your audience to regularly update their print & digital preferences.
- Use your data intelligently to create the best possible user experience.
- Make email marketing a central pillar of your B2B communication & content strategy.
"You should aim to enable your readers to set their own preferences from the moment you onboard or renew them."