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Convert anonymous users into loyal customers

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Convert anonymous users into loyal customers


Kurt Holloway explores how marketers can convert anonymous website visitors into loyal customers.

For every brand offering any type of product, there are a hundred others offering the same thing. Just step into the supermarket and look at how many different types of laundry detergent there are. The prices don’t vary much, making it even more difficult for customers to make decisions.

Similarly, brands are continuously competing with one another for more eyeballs, with most content available for free and shared widely across social media. But little is known about these customers. Research shows that more than 98 percent of website visitors are anonymous.

To convince a one-time visitor to return as a bona fide customer, we’ve found that the most successful brands first fully understand their audiences and then personalise their messages. The difficult part for marketers is customising content when they know absolutely nothing about the user. There are steps you can take to increase the likelihood that an anonymous visitor will make a purchase, subscribe to a newsletter or register for a mailing list. And it all begins with data.

Leverage known data

Are you focused on collecting more data vs. using the data already at your disposal?

In our experience, the first thing marketers should do is leverage their known data (permissioned first-party data) that is already available within the organisation. There are a number of tools to tap into to do this, including customer relationship management systems, data management platforms and customer data platforms.

The key is to find all of the data that exists amongst your systems. You can then unearth insights about users and determine whether or not someone has visited the domain before, what pages they visited, whether or not they purchased and more. When it comes to users who have never visited a website before, these tools can also gather data from a number of second- and third-party sites and applications. This includes data from partners and other sources. Such as subscription data, social media, CRMs, enterprise resource planning software, content management systems and other analytics systems.

These technologies allow marketers to uncover if a specific topic or product is trending amongst a group of similar people. Or if it is being consumed by others in a look-a-like segment. They can then extrapolate the data points about those other similar customers to form a clearer picture of the anonymous user.

Collect consent

You know the number one way to collect more rich first-party data from your users? Make it appealing for them to give their consent for marketing purposes. 

We’ve found that the more consent you get, the more data you can collect. This leads to more personalised content and offers for your users. The value exchange you provide should start at that very first moment of request for opt-in.

We’ve seen successful marketers gather more consent by making some design and technical adjustments to web properties. Dependent on the audience, you can even show some personality. There are things like making sure that the consent banner is not disturbing what else is on the page, using textual influence and offering incentives like newsletter sign-ups. You can also ask for consent along the user journey by requesting it ‘just in time’, such as when a user wants to see a specific video.

Analyse intent

Once users have spent some time on your website, are you analysing their behaviour and history to start predicting their intent? If you’re not, it’s a big missed opportunity to start anticipating the needs of users who could become your most loyal customers down the road. 

Current website visitors are providing plenty of fresh data in real-time to help you understand their interests. Analysing and collecting that data in real-time will help you push more personalised content, offers and ads their way. Are there certain categories they are frequenting, for instance? You can also test out teaser campaigns to show visitors what they could get if they paid for the service or product brands are selling. This helps to drive them further down the conversion funnel.

Personalise experiences now

Having this rich data available in real-time makes it possible for you to create a personalised experience for customers every time they come to your website, increasing user engagement as a result.

Where we’ve seen marketers sometimes struggle is in simultaneously analysing and taking action on the data. If the data is stale, the user won’t get the right, relevant experience. And if marketers don’t personalise users’ experiences, the data collected serves no purpose. Combining the two will give marketers a full picture of user interests. This helps to nurture relationships that will create customer lifetime value. Create different offers and experiences for different tiers of customers. Exclusive interviews, events, newsletters, podcasts and other content about their interests can keep them coming back for more. 

Even if you know absolutely nothing about the user, it is possible to develop a customer journey that is tailored to his or her personal interests using data. Using first-party data and supplementing it with second-and third-party data to develop user profiles. Profiles allow marketers the chance to really customise each and every interaction. Whether it is the first or tenth time a visitor has come to the site.

It’s all about getting a 360-degree view to create a personalised journey that will encourage them to sign up for or renew a subscription or otherwise financially support your site time after time.


Kurt Holloway is the director, ANZ, at Piano, a global analytics and activation platform.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels.




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