How email marketing can help navigate a web without cookies

At some point in our lives (probably several times already today), we’ve been on the internet visiting our favorite sites, and a few new ones. While we were visiting, busy internet elves have been learning all they can about us and packaging them into neat little bundles called cookies – think fortune cookies with a message inside. Sometimes those cookies stay with the website owner who uses them to trace your path through their site, and send you helpful reminders like: “you left something in your cart”, or “want a free trial of our new technology”, or “you’re only $8 away from free shipping.”

Sometimes, though, a website owner sells those cookies and now you’re more popular with the internet than you ever wanted to be. That’s a problem.

Despite being in the marketing business, we’re also consumers and we know how important data privacy is. None of us should be truly surprised at the demise of the cookie, and the demand from consumers for more data protection.

Surprised or not, we’re now facing The Data Dilemma. Consumers have it. We want it.

First-party data is a good way to collect data, and build trust with your audiences. And email is a great way to gather that data. We’ll share a few of the tips we’re giving our clients for successful email marketing in a world without cookies.

  1. Personalize. This is nothing new. Personalization goes back to the days of postcard mailers that overflowed your mailboxes and caused your mail carrier untold amounts of back pain.Dear Jane Doe: You are a valued customer…Today’s consumers aren’t falling for it. Personalization in email marketing must be authentic and deep. No longer can you simply zip someone’s first name into the salutation of an email and call it personalized.Obviously, you’ll start with a personalized subject line. Then, with the data you’ve already collected, you can customize images for certain profiles. You can target offers to specific personas. Create email cadences that delight the customer who was “just thinking about this.”Personalized email helps consumers feel like you’re a trusted friend. You’ve got their best interests at heart. It’s a good way to reach out to them and invite them to share their information with you.
  2. Progressive Profiling. Strictly speaking, this isn’t really email, but usually an email drives traffic to the landing page or website where you can gather progressive profiling information, so it’s important to note.Progressive profiling takes some time but will yield excellent data collection benefits in the long term. In a sentence: each time you ask a consumer to fill out a form, add a new field or two to collect additional data. This form may be a pop-up on your site, or a required form to access new content.Building the relationship takes time. You rarely ask someone how many children they’d like to have when you’re on a first date. Start with the basics: name, email address, company url.After enough time has passed, perhaps even an interaction or two, you may email a special offer of a free trial that can be accessed by providing a little more information, like: “how many people work at your organization” and “which of the following best represents your industry?” As the relationship blossoms, you’ll work up to questions like: “how frequently do you purchase XYZ” and “how likely are you to purchase a new XYZ in the next quarter?”
  3. Authenticate with BIMI and DMARC. Build trust and watch your open rates increase. Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) allows verified brands to display their logo in the inbox of an email recipient. BIMI’s intent is to encourage brands to use proper email authentication. Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) offers email administrators a level of confidence that the email isn’t from a hacker or from someone spoofing.Authentication matters — and increases open rates. A 2021 survey from the UK’s Direct Marketing Association indicated that brand recognition (68%) was a key factor in deciding whether or not to open an email. A similar test for Yahoo by Verizon Media Group found that brands using BIMI had a 10% increase in open rates of their emails.
  4. Interact to improve CTR. Once you’ve authenticated and built trust with your email subscribers, email will become a workhorse in your stable of marketing tools. Click through rates (CTR) increase when you ask for action. Interaction and superior content drives action. Technology has made it easier than ever to create highly-interactive content for your email subscribers.Ask a question. Not just any question, but one that allows consumers to see how you can help them solve a problem. Let them choose a personalized response to your question that drives them to a product or service. For example, “What’s stressing you out?” If they choose: “email marketing” – send them to your service page for email marketing. If those choose: “content creation” — send them to your service page for content creation. These questions add data to your pool and help you generate more targeted communication.Include user-generated content. A well-designed email template can feature customer testimonial videos; photos of customers with your products; or innovative/unusual uses for your product submitted by customers. This provides social proof and builds trust so consumers are more likely to share information with you and your reserve of first-party data grows.
  5. Don’t forget the landing page. An email opens the door, your landing page gives your customers someplace to come into and sit a spell. While they’re on your landing page, make sure they find it aesthetically pleasing; easy to navigate; and hard to leave without responding to your clear call to action. In that response, they will offer you some of that all-important first-party data you are seeking.

If you’re feeling confused and overwhelmed by how to proceed in this new cookie-less world of digital marketing, let the experienced digital marketing professionals at ACS Creative put your mind at ease. We’ve been navigating these waters for decades and haven’t found a challenge we couldn’t rise to meet. Contact us today for a free consultation and assessment of your digital marketing strategies.