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6 ways to level up your marketing personalization

Just because you won’t be able to use third-party cookies, doesn’t mean you can’t provide personalized experiences for your customers. You just need to change your approach to data collection.

Personalized offers and communications do more than motivate a customer to a one-time purchase. According to a 2023 study from Segment: “Over half (56%) of consumers say they will become repeat buyers after a personalized experience, a 7% increase year-over-year.”

With the stakes so high, marketers used to rely on third-party cookies to gather the customer data needed for personalization. The problem? They won’t be an option soon.

Zero-party customer data changes everything. Customers submit this data voluntarily, and they expect you to use it to personalize their experiences. And because this data comes directly from the customer, it also tends to be more accurate. 

To level up your personalization efforts, you need to know how to gather and harness  zero-party data successfully in your marketing outreach. Here are six ways to do it.

#1 Build customer profiles with a preferences hub

A preferences hub lets customers add zero-party data bit by bit as they grow more comfortable with your brand and products. In addition to asking by what means and how often customers want to hear from you, a preferences hub can include other brand-relevant information that fuels personalization. 

Here are a few fields to consider adding to your preferences hub:

  • Email or SMS sending frequency (e.g., weekly or monthly)

  • Content type (like new product announcements, blog posts, special offers, or all of the above)

  • Birthday

  • Gender

  • City of residence

  • Shoe or clothing size (if you sell apparel)

  • Favorite products

Suppose you run an ecommerce store but plan to open a brick-and-mortar location in Dallas, and you have a customer who identifies as female, prefers monthly communications, and lives in Dallas. One monthly email can include an invitation to the opening and a special offer on a dress sold in the store.

A word of caution: if you make too many fields required, you might alienate customers who aren’t ready to hand over that information. Instead, include a reminder for customers to complete their profiles for “more personalized offers” either at the end of some emails, or once they log in to your website.

#2 Add an easy-to-answer question to email signups

Typically, the initial zero-party data a consumer will provide is their name and email. This information is likely collected via a pop-up. Use that same pop-up to ask a simple question that lets you start personalizing in the signup confirmation email.

Ideally, ‌customers should be able to answer the question with minimal effort:

Once customers see that you use their freely given data responsibly, they’re likely to give you more. This gradual process of collecting zero-party data is called progressive profiling, and over time, it allows you to personalize more effectively.

#3 Customize product preferences with online quizzes

In school, quizzes were intimidating. But in ecommerce, quizzes can match customers with the right product. Customers get the best product for their needs, and you get valuable zero-party data that fuels personalization and maximizes conversions.

Say you sell makeup and use a six-question product recommendation quiz to match customers with a skin toner.

When a customer completes the quiz, you can offer them the best product for their immediate needs. But that’s not all you can do.

Tailor your quiz questions to learn whether the customer’s skin is dry or oily, like this example from L’Occitane.

This information helps you recommend other products the customer may want, like a moisturizer. 

Customers welcome the use of data they provide voluntarily. According to Salesforce, 74% of customers expect better personalization when they hand over “more data.”

#4 Design post-purchase surveys for feedback and reviews

When a customer voluntarily leaves a review or fills out a post-purchase survey, they’ve submitted zero-party data. This gives you a direct line of sight into which products individual customers like, as well as the products they prefer less. These insights drive personalized messaging.

Usually, you’ll send a product feedback survey a few weeks after a product has arrived and the customer has had time to use it.

Key questions to ask in the survey include:

  • How easy was it to find what you needed?

  • Did [purchased product] meet your expectations?

  • Would you consider leaving a review? Click here.

If a customer raves about a pair of pants, use that information to recommend a similar pair of shorts when you kick off your spring sale. Include a matching belt in the “You might also like” section of the email.

And if a customer sends back a poor product review, send them a one-time discount on their next order. It’s also a good idea to recommend products other than the one they reviewed negatively. Not recommending something is as key to personalization as using zero-party data to recommend a particular product.

#5 Personalize B2B sales interactions with a preliminary questionnaire

B2B sales cycles can be long. With thousands or even millions of dollars at stake, leads often need multiple interactions with sales teams to make a final decision. Zero-party data personalizes the sales process by helping teams know exactly where the lead is in the sales funnel. Here’s how. 

If you manage a B2B sales team, you likely have a web portal where leads can contact sales. To qualify leads or direct them to the right team member or product recommendation, it helps to start with a brief questionnaire. This questionnaire might include the following questions:

  • What pain points are you hoping to solve?

  • What's your budget?

  • What solutions have you tried?

  • How did you find out about us?

  • What's your email address? (We’d love to follow up soon.)

A lead who thinks your solution can solve their problem is at the top of the sales funnel. A lead looking to speak with sales for the fourth time is closer to the bottom. 

With zero-party data gathered from the questionnaire, the lead receives sales-related emails and texts appropriate to where they are in the funnel. The lead saves time, and you don’t duplicate efforts.

#6 Use concept-testing surveys to create personalized loyalty program offers

Concept testing surveys are ideal if you’re planning to invest in a customer loyalty program. The detailed zero-party data from these surveys has two key benefits:

  • You won’t add loyalty rewards your customers don’t want.

  • If enough customers request a certain reward, you can personalize emails with announcements regarding those requested rewards. When you show customers you care about their input, you build trust.

When it comes to “the most important parts of a personalized experience,” according to PwC, consumers said, “discounts and rebates (48%) and flexible loyalty programs (43%) were among the most important … nothing else came close.”

Similar to evaluating a possible new product, ask questions that gauge interest in various loyalty program features, from discounts to members-only events.

Start by sending these surveys to your top customers, whether based on total spend or purchase frequency. Given their relationship with your brand, they might be more likely to complete them.

Segment customers who want the program features you decide to add. Then, send them an email announcing the feature, thanking them with bonus loyalty points.

Don’t forget: if your customer has opted for monthly communications only, you may need to postpone that product offer in favor of the survey request and follow-up.

Level Up Your Personalization Efforts with Typeform

The bottom line is consumers want personalized communications and offers, and collecting zero-party data is now the most reliable way to give them what they want. 

But gathering zero-party data in an engaging manner requires the right tool. In addition to its easy-to-use survey and quiz templates, Typeform integrates with popular tools like HubSpot so you can translate zero-party data into effective personalized communications.

Test-drive our templates with our free plan. Get started today!

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