Private Eyes are Watching You

Private eyes watching you represents the Internet privacy concerns and the need for Internet marketers to address those concerns in order to be successful marketing online. Internet users are more sensitive to privacy issues based on, at least in part, the focus of media attention on Facebook privacy concerns and other issues related to tracking Internet users.

Internet privacy concerns driven in part by concerns over Facebook privacy coverage by the media
Internet privacy concerns driven in part by concerns over Facebook privacy coverage by the media

Internet privacy concerns affect businesses whether they are an e-commerce company leveraging Internet marketing services to increase sales and drive down marketing cost per sale, or a services business using the Internet to market to prospects and generate leads through different inbound marketing techniques.

A great technique used by most successful Internet marketers is to capture lead information through what is called an “opt-in” form on your website to capture visitor information. This is a tried and true Internet marketing technique used by service businesses to feed and grow their sales funnel. The barrier to success is often instilling sufficient confidence in your web site for a visitor to submit their name, email address and other personal information online.

Internet privacy concerns must be address through a privacy policy to earn trust online
Internet privacy concerns must be address through a privacy policy to earn trust online

Online Trust is Earned and Should Never be Assumed

Visitors are much more likely to provide personal information such as name and email on websites that have an obvious (translated to “easy to find”) privacy policy. A privacy policy should be accessible from any page of the web site and provide easy to understand information about what information is collected (personally-identifying versus non personally-identifying information), how it is collected, what it will be used for, who it will be shared with and under what conditions.

Some of the readers of this post will no doubt say hogwash, who reads those privacy policies anyway? While that is a semi valid point given that most people will not read too deep into a privacy policy, some not even looking at it at all. But, and there is always a but, not having a prominently accessible privacy policy is both noticeable to visitors, even the ones who won’t read it, and speaks volumes about how visitors personal information is likely to be handled (translated “mishandled”). Having a privacy policy on your web site is an important component of any Internet marketing strategy, especially for services businesses built on trust and focused on Internet marketing for lead generation including doctors, lawyers, accountants and financial advisers.

Users must be incentivized to overcome online privacy concerns and share personal data
Users must be incentivized to overcome online privacy concerns and share personal data

Internet Marketing Model – Give and You Shall Receive

In Internet marketing, the model is give first before receiving. Sort of like the old water pumps used in older water wells where you primed the pump with a little bit of water, using it to get more water than you needed. In other words, people need some kind of incentive to share their personal information with companies they come in contact with on the Internet. Typically the kinds of incentives that work well are providing easy and in some cases, exclusive access to high quality, specialty content delivered periodically via email. Many times, people will be reluctant to share their email address based on negative experiences they have had in the past where their email address and possibly other information was sold to third parties by unscrupulous Internet marketers collecting their private data.

The good news is that writing a privacy policy is not like a creative writing assignment from the six grade. In fact, not much creativity at all is required to write a simple and easy to understand privacy policy for a business website. A method commonly used is to review privacy policies of companies that are large well respected brands. If they are trusted brands, why not model a privacy policy after theirs? Also be sure to include an email address and/or physical mailing address where questions and concerns can be sent, then be sure to respond in a timely manner. These are a few Internet marketing best practices to ensure that privacy concerns don’t inhibit visitors from participating fully in your online initiatives.

About

Rick Noel is an experienced digital marketer enabling businesses and organizations to grow through the Internet, while maximizing marketing ROI (Return On Investment). Rick is the CEO and Co-Founder of eBiz ROI, Inc., a full-service digital marketing agency located in Ballston Lake, NY.

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