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How to win in the opt-out era

Cast your mind back to the 2000s. Not to the low-rise jeans and iPod Shuffles. But to the time when ecommerce marketing dramatically changed gears. 

This was the time the customer data food gates opened. Cookies and more affordable digital channels (like Facebook and Instagram) meant marketers could unlock a treasure trove of individual user data. This data became the cornerstone of most digital marketing activities we know today. 

But, fast forward to 2022, and this window of opportunity is closing. 

Privacy updates, spearheaded by Apple and Google, are being noticed by consumers and the cost of digital advertising continues to rise (spending on paid search ads increased 32% over the past year). So where does this leave us in 2022? 

We see 2022 as the start of the opt-out era. Customers will continue to become more selective about the brands they share their data with and marketers who fail to adapt will be left paying the price. They’ll spend more to reach and acquire new shoppers but won’t be able to collect the customer data they need to retain them, build relationships and increase their lifetime value. 

In this blog, we’re going to show you how to be a winner in the opt-out era and what you can do to build trust with your most loyal customers and keep them returning to you in 2022, and beyond.

Overcome the opt-out era with your Insider community 

To succeed in 2022 (and combat the opt-out era) brands must focus their attention on building an Insider community – and moving more shoppers into this customer cohort. 

Insiders are your brand’s biggest fans. They create accounts, share personal information, engage with you on social media, refer others, and spend often. These shoppers are already emotionally invested in your brand and are the most likely to share their personal data with you in exchange for personalized experiences.

But, you can’t just leave it up to them to share their data off their own backs. You’ve got to motivate them to want to. Here are three ways to keep Insiders opting into your brand and to show the rest of your customers it’s worth their while to work towards Insider status too.

1. Connect the dots: integrate the tools in your tech stack

To give the best experience to your Insiders this year, start by connecting all tools in your tech stack. This will give you a full data picture of your customers so you can personalize experiences across every channel.

You can collect your customers’ preferences through on-site notifications or quizzes. For example, the pet food brand, Edgard & Cooper, uses its loyalty program to incentivize shoppers to complete their “pet profile” with loyalty points. 

An example of how Edgard & Cooper, uses its loyalty program to incentivize shoppers to complete their “pet profile” with loyalty points

Understanding your customers and using this knowledge in your tech stack is vital because 6 in 10 consumers say they’re loyal to brands that give them personalized product recommendations. 

You can also connect your loyalty program with your SMS platform and email service provider (ESP) so you can use loyalty data for personalized emails and texts to your most loyal customers. Personalized loyalty emails have a 20x higher click-through rate than regular ecommerce emails. These specific, tailored interactions stand out from run-of-the-mill, promotion-led marketing. 

An example of a digital marketing activity to help you win in the opt-out era - an SMS promotion-led marketing

Once you’ve made your Insiders feel recognized as individuals with personalized experiences, they’ll remain loyal and keep sharing data points in exchange for more of the same in the future. Meanwhile, these experiences will encourage the rest of your shopper base to engage more and move into your Insider segment.

2. No mixed feelings: align with insiders emotionally 

You also need to make sure Insiders feel emotionally connected to your brand so they keep sharing the data you need to retain them. 

A simple way to do this is to make them feel like VIPs and to show them they’ll get something special in exchange for trusting you with their data. With loyalty tiers, you can give Insiders bigger and better perks (like surprise gifts or early access to secret sales) in exchange for more information. This will also mean they have something aspirational to work towards. 

An example of loyalty tiers.

The London-based jewelry brand, Astrid & Miyu, wanted their loyalty program to, “reflect [their] identity and things that are important to building the Astrid & Miyu community”. As a result, they now use custom rules and rewards to give shoppers 1,000 loyalty points for recycling their unwanted jewelry as part of their silver recycling initiative. 

An example of Astrid & Miyu's custom rules and rewards to give shoppers 1,000 loyalty points for recycling their unwanted jewelry as part of their silver recycling initiative.

If you use your loyalty program to support causes aligned with your brand values and customers see that you care about the same things they do, they will be more willing to trust you with their data. 

When brands connect with Insiders on an emotional level they can keep them returning to engage, spend, and share their data. This is because customers know they’ll get an elevated experience in exchange and can trust you with their details. Plus, if new customers see they can connect with you on this level, they’ll create an account and share their personal data to benefit from the experience. 

3. Team players: reward Insiders to grow your community 

One thing that’s special about an Insider community is that they’re your biggest advocates. When treated well, they’ll grow your community more cost-effectively than classic advertising. And, the bigger your community, the more customer data you have to serve up personalized experiences. 

If you want to win in the opt-out era, reward Insiders loyalty points for every successful referral they make. You can also remind them of the benefits they’ll get for recommending you in email marketing, through post-purchase notifications, and in order confirmations.

By rewarding Insiders for advocacy, you’ll grow your community with minimal cost to your marketing budget. This is because referrals are built on integrity: 92% of shoppers trust recommendations from people they know over other forms of advertising. 

When referred by a loved one, shoppers convert quicker as they’re convinced by the quality of your brand and products right away. You’ll then spend less of your marketing budget to get new customers to convert and can invest more back into elevating your Insider experience. 

Plus, once trust is established, you then have the opportunity to nurture those new customers to become Insiders too. You’ll increase their lifetime value as you demonstrate that it’s worth opting into hearing from your brand.

The winner takes it all 

In 2022 the scope and impact of the opt-out era will become clearer. To be a winner, you’ve got to focus on delivering the best possible experience for your Insider community. Moreover, the success of the tactics we’ve mentioned above lies in the business-wide foundations you already have.

To make sure you are delivering the best possible experience to your Insiders check that you are optimizing your tech stack, gaining valuable Insider insights, producing meaningful metrics and approach the whole process with passion and authenticity.  

To learn more about the opt-out era from 10 ecommerce experts download the full 2022 trends ebook

2022 Trends ebook: 10 trends shaping the ecommerce loyalty landscape

About the author

Fiona Stevens

Fiona Stevens is the Head of Marketing at LoyaltyLion. Fiona has over ten years’ experience in Marketing, having worked in-house and agency side across functions including PR, SEO and content. She has specialized in loyalty for retail and ecommerce brands for the past six years.