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Being Social—and Still Getting the Info You Need

by: Bryan Brown (@getvision)
14 September 2011

Many marketers are excited about all the new communication channels at their disposal and the opportunity to make their website, emails and other marketing efforts more social. To that end, they’re taking advantage of new technology to make it easier for social visitors to a site—those who arrive via a Facebook post, Tweet URL or blog link, for example—to register or download materials using their social login.

But how do you balance the desire to enhance the visitor experience and gain trust with the need to collect valuable data that enables you to send more relevant messages that build engagement, nurture contacts through the buying cycle and drive revenue? The answer lies in combining social sign-in options with progressive profiling— posing new questions each time a contact visits your website or landing page, steadily gaining deeper insight into their interests—and understanding that you can build a profile around each contact that doesn’t have to begin and end with email.

That’s because today’s powerful Web tracking capabilities enable you to get a contact’s Twitter handle first, pay attention to his or her website behaviors second, and then get an email address third.

Here are a few suggestions for different tactics you can use when you want to collect key data but also give visitors social sign-in options:

  • For highly valuable content: You want to eliminate barriers to your content—but not without getting anything in return. Offer social sign-up and then immediately ask for the person’s email address to complete the process before getting access to the content. This is perfectly acceptable for people using social sign-in for a Webinar or event—of course you need their email, and they’ll gladly give it to you if they want to attend the event.
  • With Twitter sign-in: You don’t get their email address when visitors uses a Twitter login to access your site or materials, so it’s a no-brainer to follow up with this question by using progressive forms. And if you’ve utilized Web tracking in the interim to collect information on a person’s interests, you can then use that data to populate the first email you send with relevant content.
  • With Facebook sign-in: What do you do if people are accessing your thought capital via their Facebook login (good), but you’re concerned that the email address attributed to their Facebook account may not be the one they want for business email (bad)? Don’t panic. Instead, simply populate future progressive Web forms with the question, “Would you like email at this address?” Or, you could use dynamic content to only populate a progressive form with this question if the contact had an email address typically associated with a private account—e.g. Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.

Got a question about combining the power of social sign-in options, progressive profiling and Web tracking? Post your inquiries below.


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