07 July 2020

How To Respect User Privacy Without Slowing Down Your Growth

Why using less tracking scripts can accelerate your growth and make your business stand out against the competition.

I recently talked to the business owner of an established online shop in a competitive market (HiFi) and he told me how he was able to grow the revenue by 50% in just a couple of years with barely any tracking script.

Everyone in the company is passionate about the products they are selling, and they go the extra mile to ensure customers are satisfied and come back.

It's just one of many examples showing tracking customers isn't the only way to sustainable growth.

The downsides of tracking

Tracking what customers do inside and outside your product allows you to personalize their experience and analyze precisely what are the best growth factors. But there are downsides.

Customers worry about their privacy. And if you don't deliver great value from tracking everything, they might go somewhere else.

Tracking can be costly. The growth tool stack recommendations can be expensive for small businesses. And its proper configuration requires expertise.

Finally, ad and script blockers have been on the rise for quite a few years, already reducing the accuracy of data. And open rates for emails often miss the mark with new services such as Hey blocking tracking completely.

You already have subscribers who don't enable tracking pixels in Gmail, use incognito browsers when they click through, and generally disregard all of the tracking we try to do anyways. So who cares?! 

Hey is not killing email. It's making email better.

Source: Tweet from Val Geisler

Develop relationships

You can either spy on your customers like a stalker on Facebook, or you could actually talk to them and understand how they feel.

Not every interaction needs to be about solving their problems through support or trying to upsell them.

Interviews are a great way to understand them more profoundly and get to know their emotions on things that are not directly linked to your product.

Casual webinars may help too. They can act like online meetups with small presentations and lots of time for Q&A and informal talk.

And of course, surveys are a great alternative to tracking solutions. Customers explicitly consent to give information, and those who don't can keep their privacy. But don't overuse them and follow-up when it's needed!

Use privacy as a part of your positioning or strategic messaging

More and more people are looking for solutions with minimal tracking. Using privacy as the value proposition can attract customers.

That's what Fathom is doing. Their analytics software is privacy-focused, and a lot of the content of the landing page is centered around privacy. They have clear messaging, and that way stands up against the competition.

Be more transparent

Because tracking can have a real value, the alternative can be transparency. GDPR already forces companies to do a number of things such as listing all the cookies used.

But it's not enough. Intercom tracks the activity of customers, and most of them don't know exactly what it does.

Make it clear and straightforward in your privacy notice what each tool is collecting and why it's essential to their experience.

What do you think?

I'm not against tracking. In fact, I love crunching data! So much that I feel I waste too much time compared to the value I get.

And as a customer, personalization is such a delight, but it's very rarely done to the extent that I feel the collection of my data and activity was worth it.

Do you think we should use less tracking, and if you do, what solutions have you put in place to grow without them?

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I write weekly marketing & growth playbooks. Get the processes I use with my clients to identify bottlenecks, deflate churn rates, and optimize conversion.