Managing Marketing and Data Privacy as a Small Business

In recent years, there’s been a marked push back on how businesses access and user consumer’s personal information. For small businesses looking to run effective marketing activity, it’s really important to understand how to navigate opt-ins and your customers’ marketing preferences, ensuring you’re staying on the right side of privacy rules. If you’re reading this and still not sure where to start, why not try following some of our tips below?

1. Get your website’s cookie policy sorted

If you’re looking to grow your business online, your website is going to be the focal point of much of your marketing and e-commerce activity. As a result, you’re likely going to be relying on a multitude of different ‘cookies’ (small code snippets that contain identifying data) to help things run smoothly. Everything from tracking digital marketing campaigns to streamlining the checkout process for online customers needs a cookie to work effectively, which makes the policy that governs their behaviour incredibly important to your website.

It’s vital that your cookie policy is crystal clear and gives visitors full control of how they want to share their data with your business. A great way of doing this is to provide clear cookie options to your visitors: Do they just want your site to remember what they’ve added to their basket, or are they happy for you to use their data to help with your marketing as well? A simple ‘checkbox’ pop up at the start of each new visit will ensure no-one is in the dark when it comes to how you’re using cookies on your website and in all likelihood, will help keep more useful data flowing into your digital marketing channels as well.

2. Engage proactively with your customers

Many small businesses find that one of the most effective ways to market themselves online is to prioritise the personal elements of their business. This can be as simple as taking the time to get to know customers during the sales process, or encouraging key team members to be active on social channels when it comes to answering questions or offering advice.

Having these up to date and open lines of communication makes managing data privacy much more straightforward. You can keep your valued clients and customers up to date with how you’re using their personal data and give them the opportunity to update their privacy preferences at any time. Even better, this kind of open, proactive approach should fit perfectly with the online brand image you’re already working hard to cultivate!

3. Focus on creating great content

When it comes to digital marketing in an era of increased data privacy, it’s often
best to strip back your strategy to its most basic principles: Are you creating content that your audience wants to engage with? If your customers are excited to find out more about your business and your products, they’re going to be much more likely to share their personal information with you.

Focus on what makes your small business unique in your marketing: Is it the products you offer, the way you make them, or the ethos you bring to the marketplace? Customers will want to know more about why you’re different and with a bit of luck, will want to be a part of what you’re creating. If you can design

marketing campaigns & content that encapsulates this, whether that’s through social media, product promotions, or brand storytelling, you’re far more likely to create an actively engaged audience of potential customers.

4. Be open about your marketing & privacy policies

Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes a small business can make when faced with
challenges around data privacy is to drag their feet when explaining to customers how their data is being used. Customer data can be incredibly valuable to a business, so potentially losing out on a significant chunk of it can feel like a real setback, but in the long term, being transparent about your data practices is going to be far more beneficial.

Even if it does mean some advertising and tracking cookies become less effective, giving your customers genuine choice about how your business uses their data is going to build a greater degree of trust and respect than endlessly trying to extract more information from them. As software giants, browsers and end users all take steps to better protect personal information online, there’s never been a better time to overhaul how your small business approaches marketing and data privacy, and build a more open, user friendly approach.

We hope you enjoyed our guide on how small businesses can rethink their approach to marketing and data privacy. For more insights and articles designed to help small businesses unlock their digital potential, you can visit our Insights hub 

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