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How to build your anonymous user engagement strategy

Cookies will soon be a thing of the past. An anonymous user-engagement strategy will help you collect data, meet your goals, and protect visitor privacy.

No one enjoys going on a diet, especially when someone else says they have to.

For marketers, the cookie-free diet is officially happening in 2024. You might miss that sweet, sweet third-party data—it’s great for identifying users on your website and tailoring your ads to their preferences. But, with the right anonymous user engagement strategy, you won’t need any cookies. You’ll have your cake and eat it, too.

See, with an intentional anonymous user engagement survey, you’ll collect valuable zero-party data to build better relationships with your users—no cookies necessary

Zero-party data is built on trust and transparency. Users trade their information willingly, often for something of value, such as access to a tool or a discount. You don’t have to rely on another site or organization to pass the data on to you and hope that it’s accurate. It comes directly from the source.

Take the first step and provide fun, on-brand, and intentional opportunities for anonymous users to give their information. Here are six steps to building your anonymous user engagement strategy.

1. Identify when to ask for data from your anonymous users

The first step in creating an anonymous user engagement strategy is identifying when you want to engage with these users. Get friendly too early, and you could scare them away. Wait too long, and well, you might just miss them entirely. 

It’s best to wait to ask for customer data until you’ve piqued their interest. Bring them in, offer them something interesting, educational, or that just speaks to them—and then ask. 

But how do you know when an anonymous user might be ready to hand over their data? Use your website analytics to set up triggers based on the user’s behavior. For example, you might have a survey pop up after a user visits several product pages without putting anything into their cart. Or‌ you offer a white paper when they’ve read three-quarters of a blog post. 

Regardless of when you ask for your anonymous user’s data, recognize the value of what they give you. If they provide their contact information, be prepared to give something of value in return, like a resource or a coupon code.

2. Prompt your anonymous users to take a survey

One of the first (and easiest)  ways you can engage with your anonymous users is with a quick and fun market research survey. By simply asking for their opinion—and not their contact information—you can nudge them earlier in their site visit. This could be a pop-up survey on a popular product page or a sticky sidebar that travels down the homepage with the user.

Keep this survey short—two or three questions—and choose questions that'll inform your strategy. Let’s say you’re toying with the idea of launching a popular product in a smaller size or a different color. You might ask your anonymous website users for their age range and which size or color they prefer. Compare that to the same questions posed on your social media channels or in your loyalty program to see if you might have an untapped market. 

Make your survey engaging by using a casual, conversational tone that reflects your brand voice. Stay authentic to your brand, but don’t be afraid to have a little fun with the style and framing of the questions.

3. Ask them to subscribe to your newsletter

If a user has found their way to your website and has browsed a few pages, there's a good chance they'd want to continue learning from you. Newsletters are a low-pressure, non-salesy way to earn contact information while providing informative and educational resources.

Insert your newsletter sign-up as a call to action (CTA) on your blog or resource pages, or as a pop-up after a user has scrolled your site for a certain amount of time. Run a few tests to find the time frame that performs best with your anonymous users. 

Improve your newsletter sign-up by being clear about what a potential subscriber will get when they enter their email address. Let them know how many emails they can expect—one a week or every other week, for example—and link to your archive so they have an idea of what’s included. Use integrations to send an automatic thank-you email and add the contact to your CRM.

Plus, each newsletter sign-up you earn helps you collect valuable data to personalize your message for your audience later. As users engage with your emails, you’ll learn more about their concerns and interests. That data helps you share articles, insights, or products that better match their goals.

4. Entice them to make a purchase

Use incentives or recommendations to move your anonymous users from “just browsing” to “here’s my credit card.” With a purchase, you get their contact information, establish a purchase history, and get demographic data, such as where they are located. 

If your user has visited a few product pages but hasn’t added anything to their cart, try asking them to fill out a product recommendation quiz. Based on the information they provide, you can personalize a product recommendation. A specific recommendation from the quiz helps your customer avoid analysis paralysis. It could also introduce your anonymous user to a product they didn’t know you had. 

Then, offer a coupon code or discount for the product you’ve recommended. You can also put a timeframe on the code—it's only good for the next 24 hours!—to encourage them to act quickly.

5. Highlight your loyalty program

It’s tricky to know how general or specific to be in your language, or how hard you need to sell something, without knowing if someone is familiar with your brand or products. Until they’ve logged in or otherwise indicated that they’re a returning user, you just don’t know. As your anonymous user gets closer to making a purchase, like after they’ve added an item to their cart, show them the benefits of joining your loyalty program. 

Highlight all the benefits they’ll get with a sign-up—whether that’s points towards savings on a future purchase or discounted shipping—and make sign-up simple. When they do, be sure to thank them generously, for example, with enough points to get them halfway to their first reward or a discount on their next purchase. 

Another way to give your visitors a glimpse into what it’s like to be a customer is to invite them to join your user community. They can create a profile, hear from actual users, and see how you respond to questions.

Make your zero-party data collection simple

Any speed bump on the way to an anonymous user’s end goal might cause them to click “X” instead of “Next.” Cut down on friction by making your forms fun, simple, and on-brand. Then tie your form to your CRM or other tech so it integrates smoothly with your communication strategy. 

The cookie-free diet starts in 2024. Get started collecting your own zero-party data now so you have time to fine-tune your data collection process and create your workflow integrations.

Whether you are creating a survey, poll, or product recommendation quiz, Typeform provides beautiful and mobile-friendly templates that make filling out forms more fun. Try Typeform for free today.

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