In digital relationship marketing, the foundation for trust is built early, step by step along the registration path. Once consumers become engaged in this process, they are acting on a desire to connect with your brand, but they can still walk away.

That’s why it’s important to clearly convey trust throughout the RegPath. As you collect personal information and ensure its safety, you have to pitch the benefits of the relationship, define the boundaries, and ultimately – if all goes according to plan – welcome the consumer into the program.

Adhering to these eight best practices can give consumers the reassurance they need to complete the registration process and activate their relationship with your brand.

  1. Provide a clear statement of the benefits of registration. How consumers benefit as a member of your relationship program should be clearly stated throughout the registration process. At minimum, you should include a benefits statement at the top of the first registration page and repeatedly reinforce the benefits throughout the opt-in process.
  2. Collect only the data that is required for the relationship. All required registration and profile data should be audited to first determine what is required versus what is optional for registration and how the data will be used in the future. This information and insight should be used to guide in the removal of unneeded data fields and to better optimize the overall registration process and scope of questions.
  3. Be clear about reasons for collecting registration data and PII (personally identifiable information). When collecting registration data, you should include links and/or copy that informs the consumer why and how the data will be used.
  4. Clearly explain how often and for what reasons you will be communicating with the consumer. If possible, allow the consumer to choose the frequency of contact and their preferred communication channels. Opt-ins should include links to samples, further detail, frequency, and/or method of communication.
  5. Actively address consumers’ privacy concerns by placing a privacy statement on the first page of the registration process (and where relevant). For example, a privacy statement could read: Company ABC knows that privacy is important to you. We are committed to protecting the personal information we collect about you and upholding our firm commitment to your privacy.
  6. Hyperlink to your corporate site. This is your way of claiming and taking full responsibility for the process. Also, consumers expect to see a link to the corporate site in the terms/bottom copy of registration pages.
  7. Provide a profile page at end of registration process for consumers to review and/or confirm profile data. This lets the consumer know that you are serious about protecting their privacy because you’ve asked them to verify their PII.
  8. When consumers have completed the registration process, clearly tell them and thank them. Also, tell them what will happen next. For example, describe how they can access your online community or inform them that they’ll be receiving a newsletter via email. Then reach out immediately – not 12 hours or 24 hours later – with something actionable, such as an offer, something compelling to share, or an invitation to join a community.

With these best practices in place, you will be able to dramatically reduce attrition or abandonment among your hand raisers during the registration path. The ensuing customer relationship will be built on a foundation of trust.

Author:  Josh Perlstein is president of Response Media, a digital advertising agency specializing in relationship marketing and customer acquisition services.