First-Party Data for One Person Marketing Teams
The digital marketing world has been in a state of transition since Google announced the deprecation of third-party cookies and iOS 14.5 essentially cut the signal between consumers and the brands advertising to them. The way things have always been done no longer works, and favor is falling to those who have first-party data. Is it possible for businesses with limited marketing budgets and resources to utilize first-party data? We think so. Let’s get you started.
Small Businesses are Data Poor
Small businesses simply don’t control the amount of first-party data enterprises do. Leaving them to the whims of big tech and walled gardens to reach their customers. However, many don’t have the budget for the broad targeting Facebook and other advertising platforms are recommending now. Unfortunately, they also don’t have the first-party data to create targeted audiences themselves. Which is quite the pickle to be in.
Small businesses have no choice but to start building and using first-party data, or they risk being unable to reach their audience online.
The Value of First-Party Data for Small Business
First-party data is valuable in more ways than one.
It’s High Quality
First party data is collected directly from a customer’s interactions with your brand. They either enter the information themselves or it’s gathered from the actions they take on your website. The problem with third-party data (which has its place) is the data is often inaccurate, fragments, or decayed.
First-party data is up-to date. Reaching an audience using old data is difficult and can result in wasted dollars advertising to people who have moved on.
It Provides a Direct Line of Communication to Your Audience
This right here is what draws most people to first-party data – the ability to communicate with customers without paying for advertising through walled gardens
You Own It
You own the data you collect. Unlike social media audiences, where your ability to reach your audience is controlled by the platform. You own the customer data you collect and can use it through any channel you wish.
First party data allows you to build the highly targeted audiences you’re used to, as opposed to increasing your spending and targeting broadly, like many platforms are now suggesting after iOS 14.5. Small businesses simply don’t have the money for broad targeting.
Ok, it’s valuable, you want it. But how do you collect it?
The Myth of Expensive Data Tools
In the past, first-party data tools were only available to enterprise level companies with large budgets and data scientists. But with seismic shifts come new players to the market, and there are now options for budgets and teams of all sizes. Some products still require data scientists and developers but others, like RAEK, are truly a plug and play option and take less than 5 mins to set up.
Many companies offer a free plan enabling you to try the product out before you commit or stay on the free plan indefinitely.
Either way — you can afford tools which collect, organize, and allow you to utilize your first-party data. Tools you don’t need a data scientist to use.
How to Start Using First-Party Data with Limited Resources
Start with a Specific Use Case
The biggest mistake we see people make when they start thinking about their first-party data strategy is they realize how much data is available, try to collect it all, and then figure out what to do with it.
Things to remember when it comes to data:
- Unorganized mounds of data is chaos.
- Quantity does not equal quality.
- Having a lot of data doesn’t mean you have a lot of information or understanding.
More data is not always the answer.
Start with one use case, collect the data you need for that specific use case, and only collect that data.
Most marketers consider first-party data because they want to build custom AD audiences and retarget website visitors with ads and through email. Let’s use that as an example.
What data do you need to create a Facebook lookalike audience or send emails to website visitors. You need an email for both. The data you need for this use case is the contact information of your website visitors. Not too hard to do with a digital marketing tool.
Once you’re comfortable collecting and using this data, you can move onto collecting more data for other use cases.
Set Realistic Goals
As with anything, progress can’t be measured unless it’s measured against a goal. As a small business, having a goal of exclusively using first-party data to reach customers by the end of the year is not realistic. But lifting sales by X amount, with in x amount of time by creating highly targeted audiences with first-party data probably is. At the end of the time frame, you can evaluate where you are and if your marketing is actually becoming more efficient, or it needs a bit of work.
How Small Businesses are Using First-Party Data
Small business marketers are using first-party data to:
Using the data to create target audiences based on your current audience’s first party data. Think of the customers you don’t want as much as the customers you do want. You can exclude audiences and those like them who are not your ideal client.
Level of set up/difficulty: Easy
Personalized Email Marketing
Using first-party data to segment email lists and send targeted emails to each list. For more information on how to use first-party data to personalize email marketing, click here.
Level of set up/difficulty: Medium (Segmenting is easy. Writing different email for segments takes more time than writing one email, but the ROI is worth it.)
Triggered Email Marketing Automations
Triggering email marketing communications based on on-site behavior. This is a highly powerful use case, sending the right message at the right time. For more information on what customers really want from personalized marketing, click here.
Level of set up/difficulty: Advanced (Requires involved set up, but will pay huge dividends. Hiring a freelancer if you don’t have the time is worth it!)
Gain Audience Insights
Do you really know your audience? With first party data you can, and align your messaging to their problems, needs, and wants.
Level of set up/difficulty: Easy
The best way to use the data is in a way that is automated, easily manageable, and positively impacts your bottom line. Start small and build as you see results.
Wrapping it up
If you’re a one-person marketing team or a business owner who wears the marketing hat, it is possible for you to build and use first-party data to make your marketing more effective.
Need help building a first-party data strategy? Contact us here or start collecting your first-party data for free with RAEK.
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