The best tips for data enhancement and data validation for your online business – Part 1/2
Internet business needs data in the same way a baker needs flour. Companies working successfully on the Internet appreciate well-structured and comprehensive customer data. These include contact data as well as information about hobbies, preferences, profession, purchase behavior, etc. Detailed and correct product data are also essential to online shops.
Whether customer or product data, the following always applies: The more, the better. However, people want to keep their data private. Product data are not always as available as they ought to be. This post will show you how you can nevertheless obtain usable data sets.
In Part A, we are looking at the data enhancement and data validation of customers and prospective customers information. In Part B, we focus on the product data. In Part C, we briefly explain how to proceed with further types of data.
A) Enhancement and validation of customer data
Before presenting our customer data enhancement tips, let us make two basic remarks.
Beware of dubious methods
Some methods of obtaining data sets are illegal or dubious at the least. In addition to legal or moral problems, they all have a snag: The people whose data have been acquired this way are not aware of it. If the companies do establish contact, the person contacted will obviously wonder why they are getting in touch with them? Even if they are interested in the services or product offered, they will be skeptical towards the provider because of this lack of clarity.
In the case of business takeovers, mergers and similar, the customers/interested parties must be informed about it. This helps avoid the above-mentioned impression. Furthermore, it is also a good way of validating previously existing data. Simply inform your customer about the takeover. At the same time, you can ask them to check their data so that you are able to continue to provide the best possible service.
Perspicuity creates trust
Skepticism disappears when the person being contacted knows where the company has acquired their data and why the company is getting in touch at this particular time. This creates a basis for a bond of trust and is perfect for a business relationship.
Let’s get started:
1. Check the data while entering them
As a rule, the person interested or customers directly enter most of their data on the Internet. These can also make mistakes. The zip code is often distorted or the name of the street is incorrectly abbreviated. A module similar to Google Autocomplete can help: Users enter the first letter of their street or their zip code and it suggests the correct address. This also makes it easier for smartphone users to enter their data.
2. Validating existing addresses
Addresses in existing data sets do not necessarily have to be validated through external service providers. Often just a few clicks are enough to delete doubles or incomplete addresses.
In our post „Address validation online – getting the right address for next to nothing“ we provided hand-on instructions for Tip 1 and Tip 2.
3. The form must not be too demanding
Regardless of the data you want to acquire, the user must know where to enter them. A logically structured and clearly designed form is therefore absolutely essential. Do not ask too much of users the first time you get in touch with them. Anyone who only wants information about a specific product does not want to provide more than an email address.
More tips about optimal form design is provided in the Konversionskraft blog (literally “power of conversion”) „21 Best Practices for form optimization (incl. checklist)“.
4. Selection of topics
Other areas of interest can be requested once users have registered themselves on a website. For instance if they subscribe to a newsletter about a specific topic, a form on the next page can ask what other interests they have. This can also occur in the mail confirming the successful registration. You simply need to place the link to the topic selection form and ask the user to choose.
5. Determining the use of data oneself
Users want to be responsible for their own data. Giving them a user account can ensure this. Users then have the possibility of entering and changing information details themselves. They can also decide what they want to share. They can even define the frequency with which they receive the newsletter. The more control users have over their data, the more they are willing to share. This way you will obtain more details than by using tricks to tease information out of users.
6. Ask for help
Explain what you want from the user and ask for their support. They will be glad to help. For instance, you want to improve your service. Ask the user what else they are interested in, how much money they would be willing to spend for something, or similar questions. Clearly explain your interest in the information. The User must never be given the impression that they are simply being sounded out. In addition, this gives you the opportunity to find the weak spots in your services or products.
In the course of the survey, you can ask users to check whether the data they have provided are correct.
7. Inquiry in the case of longer inactivity
Has there been a long period of inactivity on the user account? Have there been no reactions to offers or contact attempts? Then don’t hesitate to ask why. You might want to offer a small reward for signing-in to the user account. If the user does get in touch, you definitely ought to validate the contact data. If the user does not get in touch, it is best to delete the non-active member. This ensures a current database.
However, it is important to carefully define the inactive period of time. It must not be too short, but also not so long that the user can barely remember you. A year is generally an adequate amount of time.
8. Small steps
Do not immediately request all types of information from your interested people. Proceed with care, for instance, by sending a friendly email inquiring about their date of birth. In this case, mentioning a birthday surprise can be helpful. Further information can also be acquired bit by bit in this way.
9. Connecting downloads
If users want to download something on your site, redirect them to their user account before the download starts. Ask them whether the information on their user account needs to be updated. But please avoid forcing users to provide additional data only to perform the download. This almost always discourages users.
10. Asking users to explain why they are unsubscribing
Most users do not unsubscribe. Most of them simply let their account be orphaned and redirect your notifications to their spam file. However, if users should unsubscribe, take advantage of the opportunity. Ask them to explain why. Point out that you want to improve your service. In some cases, a discount offer or a bonus can prevent deregistration.
11. Other options
The items mentioned above can be implemented on your website, landing page or in social media. However, there are data validation and data enhancement areas that can only be achieved with a lot of effort. These include existence checks, matching death records or risk index request. These can be handled by specialist service providers.
In the B2B area, it can be difficult to obtain full information from customers. Data of potential customers can be interesting for the acquisition of new customers in this case too. Contact data in the B2B areas can be ideally completed and validated through the clickworker „Address Enrichment“ von clickworker ergänzen und validieren lassen.