Let the buyer beware.
Here’s we go with one last discussion about online privacy, before we get back to precision marketing methods and technologies. This week, I wanted to shed light on privacy policies and statements, and on the methods you can use to educate your customers about privacy.
Most people shy away from no-name web companies, and they don’t trust sites that don’t get right out in front and vigorously protect their security and privacy. Of course, the ultimate goal is to decrease customers’ fear over providing personal information, in order to encourage their participation in your one-to-one web marketing efforts.
Better Safe than Sorry
Make your customers feel safe and secure by establishing privacy policies and displaying them prominently on your web site. Make your privacy statement available from your home page, and also make it accessible from any page within your site — especially at the point where the user will be handing over information. The obvious choices are the registration page or the beginning of an order-entry page.
So, privacy policies are not hard and fast. What it comes down to is twofold: What information the site wants to collect and what the site wants to do with that information, and how much control a customer wants to maintain over his or her own personal information.
Not sure which policy to adopt? Here are some resources for privacy practices and statements:
Amazon.com’s privacy statement is a good model because it presents the policy in easy-to-understand language. Amazon uses a question and answer format that makes it personable and readable, and it is fully and clearly accessible from the bottom of their home page. (I’d offer up extra points here if Amazon made it available on all web pages.) Amazon gives the customer the choice to restrict the bookseller from selling or distributing his or her personal information to a third party.
Other important points to convey to the user are the specific benefits and services they will receive when they provide personal, preference and interest information. For example, look at CDnow.com, which has created a special service called My CDnow.
Essentially, CDnow dedicated a page to communicating the benefits of its personalized services. It allows a user to register as a guest, or lets them see a demo of the one-to-one web marketing features on the site so he or she can see the services in action. Users can then evaluate whether or not the service is of value to them.
Web sites that require a user to register using personal information, without letting the user try it out first, will irritate (and probably scare away) many customers. Some of the benefits that you could convey include:
Next Week: Delving deeper into online profiling and precision marketing.