The Best Place to Get Data About Customers? From Customers Themselves!

Just as making an outstanding meal takes the freshest, most flavorful ingredients, creating an exceptional marketing campaign starts with the newest, most accurate data. But what is the best way to get that data? You can purchase a mailing list and third-party data, but it’s always more effective if customers are willing to provide it themselves.

Here are five ideas for getting your target audience to share more information about themselves.

1. Just ask — and offer an incentive. People are more willing to share personal details when they think it will benefit them. For example, if you’re a clothier, you might woo them with the promise of customized style suggestions. “Take this quiz and find out more about your style!” Once you know what clothes they like, offer to keep the tips coming. “Want more like this? Sign up for new introductions you’ll love!”

2. Let address updates do double duty. When you ask people to update their contact information, ask them to provide other demographic or lifestyle information, too. “Tell us a little more about yourself so we can personalize your experience and better serve you.”

3. Ask in the moment. What better time to ask people to provide more information than when they are already on your website looking for something? “Help us get to know you, so we can give you exactly what you need!”

4. Follow up on the sale. People love to provide feedback, whether positive or negative. Follow up the sale with a short questionnaire. “Thanks for shopping with us. How did we do?” Then throw in a few demographic or lifestyle questions while you’re at it.

5. Understand the mindsets. Understanding how consumers think about sharing data helps you craft your messaging. Different studies have developed different categories of consumer attitudes. Regardless of which you follow, just understanding that not everyone feels the same way about providing data helps you be sensitive to different personalities and motivators when you ask.

Learning more about your target audience is an achievable goal, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes it can be as easy as, well, just asking.