Who would have ever thought we would be in this position this time last year?
A Prime Minister down with another barely in office for a year calling for a snap general election, the country amputating itself from the European Union, a reality TV star in the White House… It’s fair to say if the last twelve months were published in a book then it’d be dismissed as total fantasy.
Last year was, well, a bit complicated. Yet, here we are; with a general election only a few weeks away (and looking like a formality according to a lot of commentators), the conversation has moved away from Brexit and its ramifications.
Don’t worry, it’ll be all we hear about again soon, but with all the clamour there seems to be something very important that a lot of small business owners have forgotten about which they can’t afford to ignore if they want to grow their business.
Some EU laws will still apply
This is something we mentioned a while ago that has somehow managed to slip under the radar. It’s the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is set to come into effect on 25 May 2018.
GDPR is one of the biggest regulation shakeups in history and will change the way that people across the globe do business. Despite that, and with it being just over a year before its implemented, nearly a quarter of all UK businesses have cancelled preparation for the regulation.
At the same time, 44% of businesses don’t believe that the regulation will apply to them post-Brexit while 4% haven’t even begun preparation for GDPR.
They’re desperately wrong. GDPR will come into play while the UK is still negotiating terms to leave the EU. Even when we’re out, we’ll still have to comply with GDPR in some capacity in our new trade deals as it’s the way that the EU is set to do business forever more.
The UK is thought to be preparing its own similar mirror bill to GDPR to counteract that latter point and bring our businesses up to compliance and make it easier for them to trade in the future.
So long as businesses do actually comply in regard data collection, that is. With potential fines of 4% of your company’s global annual turnover or 20 million Euros, it’s worth your while to make sure you’re collecting, storing and using consumer data in ethical, transparent ways.
What it means for your small business
As you should be anyway. We’re massively in favour of GDPR; it gives the average person more power than ever before when it comes to their personal data, and should be one in the eye for irritating cold callers the world over as they’ll have to specifically give you the choice to remove your information from their lists if they get in touch.
Collecting consumer data and using it effectively in creative ways is an essential part of business growth, and cultivating it with an inbound marketing strategy is one of the most transparent and ethical ways to collect targeted data.
Not only that, but inbound marketing is also essential to attracting and nurturing those leads through a combination of content marketing, social targeting, marketing automation and other techniques.
The best bit about a creative inbound marketing campaign is that not only can it help your small business grow almost immediately if you put some of your budget into paid search and social, but it can also be a fantastic way to build strong relationships with new customers who will keep coming back to you time and again.
4 ways to futureproof your data collection techniques
So, what creative ways can inbound marketing help you to attract specific data from targeted leads in clean, ethical ways?
1: Have a clear and visible data collection policy
One thing that all companies should have on their website is an easy-to-digest data collection policy. At the same time, whenever people look to leave their data with you, you need to make it absolutely clear what you’re doing with their personal information and how it will be used.
It also helps to give people a clear choice for extra security on your part when people are consenting to submitting their data to you. Having tick boxes on your forms that are an agreement to how you expressly plan to use their data can be valuable to you and act as a thumbs-up to the consumer.
2: Offer incentives for people to leave their data
We’ve covered lead magnets before, and they’re still and will continue to be a hugely effective way for companies to attract data submissions if you create an incentive for people to leave their data behind.
That can be a catalogue they can download, vouchers or specifically-created knowledgeable content that they’d be interested in keeping if they submit an email address or other contact details so you can keep in touch with them and nurture them into long-term customers.
3: Use competitions and give away stock products
Competitions are a highly effective way of collecting consumer data, but it’s still often seen as a way to increase lead volume instead of improving quality. Implementing the right inbound marketing strategy can help with the latter part, though.
Choose a product you can afford to lose and push the giveaway across social media by putting some budget into targeting specific personas through Facebook, Instagram and other platforms with deep targeting options that allow you to target people based on location, age, gender and more.
4: Produce creative content on a regular basis
By employing a creative content marketing strategy and producing entertaining, knowledgeable blogs, videos, infographics and more, you can build up a steady stream and audience of potential leads desperate to hear what you have to say.
The better the content you produce, the more likely people are to leave their data behind and subscribe to newsletters and for regular updates, especially if you utilise features like pop-up windows encouraging people to leave their contact details behind when they visit your website.
Find out more about inbound marketing, the future of data collection and how it can help grow your business by contacting a Webpresence specialist today.
Working as a Digital Marketing Consultant since 2004, Lee helps SMEs win more business through developing effective digital marketing strategies. He is a dedicated Liverpool FC fan, dog lover and loves long country walks (and a cheeky pint) with his dog, Banjo.