Best Practices for Digital Marketing in an Era of Online Privacy

what is online privacy
best practices for digital marketing

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ICYMI: Online privacy is a big deal and you don’t want to be found messing with your customers’ data in the name of marketing. 

The digital marketing paths in recent times need you to tread carefully, that’s why it’s important you read this blog. 

We’ll show you some of the best tips to guide your digital marketing strategies to ensure compliance to data privacy regulations. 

Before we get into all that good stuff, let’s take a look at what online privacy entails. 

What is Online Privacy?

what is online privacy

Online privacy is simply being in control of your digital footprints to prevent third parties (online platforms, websites, web applications, and social media platforms) from using them.

Every individual leaves a little bit of personal information about themselves, finances and other kinds of personal data every time they use the internet. 

Digital brands are exposed to lots of information at their fingertips as online users visit their websites, social media pages, sign up for their newsletters, and purchase from their e-commerce stores

This information is good for marketing and research purposes.

They help brands better serve their audience as they know what they are searching for, the kind of questions they ask, location, private information such as passwords, credit card details and personal data. 

However, online privacy is breached when marketers exploit this data. The consequences are grave both for businesses and individuals.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one of the data privacy laws that regulate data collection and usage.

The rules entail consent before every data collection, some terms and conditions as well as options to opt out at whatever stage of the data collection. 

Complying to these rules and providing a clear and concise privacy notice would bring lots of benefits to digital brands. We’ll see some of these benefits in the next section.

Why do you need privacy compliance in digital marketing?

The reasons for privacy compliance in digital marketing are endless but there are a few very important reasons you must pay attention to especially if you run a digital business. 

  1. It increases brand trust and credibility. 
  2. To prevent the legal consequences and financial losses that will arise from non compliance. 
  3. Improves customer loyalty to your brand as they’re sure their data is safe with you. 
  4. Prevents future risks like bankruptcy from financial penalties.
  5. Increasing brand reach and market value due to positive user experience. 

Now that you know why you need to comply with privacy laws, the question is how?

We’ve put together ten best practices for safe digital marketing to prevent privacy breach. 

Let’s get started. 

Ten best practices for digital marketing to ensure privacy compliance 

a mac with google analytics on the screen

Source: Unsplash

Practice safe SEO

In a bid to get your brand rank high on Google SERPs, you may end up breaking online privacy rules in your link building, keyword research, local SEO and other SEO strategies. 

Especially for SaaS brands, one way to make sure you’re on the right path is by using an SEO SaaS agency

They help you create valuable content that naturally appeals to users and causes organic traffic without having to exploit customer data. 

You can also get increased visibility on the algorithm without compromising on user privacy by focusing on user intent, organic, memorable content and gaining referrals.

Improving your SEO using less intrusive methods already puts you ahead of the competition and prevents too much access to user data in the first place.

Use Google Consent Mode 

As the name implies, Google Consent Mode is a tool that automates the management of user consent for Google services. 

It helps you to send out detailed consent forms to your users to ensure they know what their data will be collected for and who is using their data. 

They can choose to consent for some services and leave out other services. This makes the consent process transparent and personalized. 

It also ensures that consent management is flexible and you can easily track customers who don’t give consent and process their data differently. 

Google consent mode also ensures that marketers design experiences for users tailored to their initial consent agreements. They have a personalized ad experience and serve users within the boundaries of their preferences as recorded by the tool. 

Adopt transparent data collection policies

Whether on your website or not, transparent data collection policies should always be your watchword. 

Before any user provides information, you must put in processes that ensure that they’re sure about what they’re signing up for, the processing and storing of their data. 

Even when using a lead magnet, users should still be aware that the information you collect to grant them access to your lead magnet will be used to create a waitlist or opt into a newsletter. 

Bringing them along with you in any process, makes them confident that you’re complying to the rules and this doubles their trust for your brand. 

Create opt-in and opt-out options

Data collection should always be a choice. Every customer, irrespective of their previous engagement with your product should be able to opt-in voluntarily and opt-out if need be. 

Most importantly, the opt-out option should be available at each point of the data collection process, irrespective of how much data they’ve already given away. 

You must make sure they know they can always decline if need be. 

Always ask for consent 

Asides from the consent before digital data collection, ask for consent before sharing reviews, and even user generated content. Ask for consent before sharing social media user generated content (UGC) and make sure to include credits when you repost.

Practicing consent taking in the simple things makes it easy to ask in complex situations. 

When organizing surveys and research, always ask for thorough consent. This means consent for every process from the data collection to processing and storing. 

Use safe personalization strategies 

One very important need for user data is to offer personalization marketing. However, there are lots of ways to ensure personalization without breaching user privacy. 

First, invest in quality user experience and user interface even before personalization. Ensure that you create personalization strategies using generally available data.

Include customization options in your services and products for improved customer engagement and interaction. 

Integrate ERP in e-commerce

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a system that centralizes data from various sources, automates the processing and stores data in a secure system that can’t be accessed by unauthorized personnel. 

ERP systems play a pivotal role in safeguarding sensitive customer data and ensuring compliance with privacy regulations. This is especially important for e-commerce. 

For example, using ERP in e-commerce for manufacturing companies will not only enhance operational efficiency but also strengthen their digital marketing endeavors, offering a competitive edge in the market.

Beyond compliance, the integration of ERP empowers marketing teams with real-time analytics, enabling them to craft personalized and targeted campaigns. 

By leveraging the capabilities of ERP in e-commerce, companies can enhance data security, centralize customer profiles, automate consent management, and facilitate compliance with privacy regulations.

Use privacy-friendly social media marketing strategies

 Social media engagement should be voluntary and should be encouraged not coerced.

Follows, subscriptions and joining communities should be at a person’s own volition and call-to-actions (CTAs) should convey that consent. 

Avoid social media stalking as a marketing strategy. Excessive tracking, intrusive ads and improper tracking of individual user behavior shouldn’t be your method. 

Also, share content encouraging users to protect their data. This increases the trust your audience has in you and makes them even more aware for their own benefit.

Finally, ensure that direct messages on social media platforms are transparent, less intrusive and are protected from potential breaches. 

Monitor and respond to privacy concerns

Individuals who feel like their data is not protected or have worries will bring these concerns to you. 

Whether on your website, blog comment section or even social media posts and inboxes, make sure to address their concerns to the best of your ability. 

Explain how their data is stored, encrypted and managed. Allay their worries and reinforce their trust in your brand. Also, find alternatives if they’re still not comfortable with sharing certain details with you. 

This may mean creating a transfer option instead of credit cards or including an email option instead of a phone number. 

Adapt to evolving privacy trends

Privacy compliance requires regular privacy audits to ensure you’re on the right path and are not defaulting any privacy compliance standards.

You can appoint employees who will research, attend workshops, webinars and do social listening to ensure that you’re up to date with trends and are constantly evolving in ways to ensure that your customers’ data is protected and secure. 

Once you’ve put these ten practices in place, you’re on your way to safe and effective digital marketing

Market your digital brand the safe way

Your digital marketing efforts would be wasted if you eventually have to pay for data privacy non-compliance. 

Hence, it’s best to spend time learning the basics of the privacy regulation and making sure that your marketing strategies steer clear of defaulting the laws. 

If you follow the practices listed above, you’ll be sure to have a safe marketing experience and get high returns on your marketing investments. 

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