Prove To Customers That Your Website Is No Cookie Monster

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Anyone who’s anyone online is near enough sick to death of cookies by now. We’ve been gorging on the things for so long that it’s no surprise many of us feel sick of them. Cookie laws and legislation like the GDPR in Europe have been bringing these features to our attention for a few years. And, it’s fair to say that many internet browsers have about had their fill.

Believe it or not, though, internet cookies are nothing new. In fact, these babies have been behind the scenes since the web began. Without them, websites literally couldn’t function. After all, the internet depends upon the sharing and transference of information. And, that’s where cookies come in.

What has changed are the ways companies use methods like these. Nowadays, cookie functioning goes far beyond the basics of website transmission. For business owners, cookies can help with everything from targeted advertisements to judging where traffic comes from. In short; they are about the best analytical tool any website could hope for. And, if you’re in business, it’s past time you became something of a cookie monster.

The trouble is that, with attention so high, many customers are at their wit’s end with methods like these. Many will click straight off a website which advertises the use of cookies. Others are demonizing these methods, or boycotting companies altogether. Facebook has undoubtedly experienced backlash for their contribution to the cookie clash.

But, if you want to see success in 2019, you need to get onboard with methods like these. Whether you develop cookies onsite or trust offshore php developers to take care of them for you, these could be the things which give you the edge. They could certainly see you hitting the mark with a whole load more of your leads. But, annoying customers in business is never a goal you should work towards. So, how exactly can you have your cookies and impress customers too?

Be upfront

We’re all fed up to death of having to click cookie consent forms when we enter a website. It’s annoying and mainly seems pointless. But, it is worth noting that those little tick boxes have the benefit of being upfront. Customers might find them inconvenient, but you can bet that they prefer them to no notifications at all. With regulations varying across the world, you may even find that a failure to state cookies could leave you in breach of cookie laws. And, there’s nothing sweet about the prison sentence you could face as a result. Without question, then, you should always make it clear that your website uses cookies. You don’t need to make a song and dance of this or even stop people from browsing to provide the notification. But, a banner at the bottom of your website ensures that every visitor knows the deal. And, that’s one of the best ways to protect yourself from both the law and the annoyance of your trusting customers.

Provide some level of browser power

As well as stating your use of cookies, you should give browsers some power over how far that cookie usage goes. Again, you don’t need to interrupt their browsing to announce this. Many sites simply provide checkboxes next to their cookie notifications. These allow people on your website to choose whether they want you to track things like their activity. Of course, these are all things you want them to agree to, for your sake and theirs. Make this easy for them, then, by starting with every box ticked and giving them a choice to opt out if they want to. Bear in mind that cookies also come in handy for things like auto-filling forms in the future. Again, though, you can’t just assume that this is something your customers will want. Make sure to ask for permission and give them the option of opting out if they want it. This may seem like a small thing, but it can go a long way towards retaining the trust between you and the people with the real power. It’ll certainly work better for customer relations than a blanket cookie which leaves them without choices.

Make it worth their while

We’ve already gone into a fair amount of detail about why cookies can benefit your business. But, it’s crucial to note that they can also do a great deal for your customers. Though they get a terrible reputation, website cookies are convenient for everyone involved. By highlighting this, you can ensure customers aren’t half as irritated by  them. Sadly, this is much easier said than done when it comes down to it. You may well find that the current prejudice against anything to do with cookies works against you. But, you may benefit from outlining precisely what you use your cookies for on a separate page of your website. Part of the fear is, after all, a lack of knowledge. Include examples of how you use your cookies to help your customers, such as doubling campaigns in high-traffic areas or helping browsing ease by retargeting advertisements. Make it clear, too, that things like auto-filling forms are entirely for your customer’s benefits. Be clear about how little access you or anyone else has to the information stored through these methods. In short; state your cookie case to the jury. We aren’t going to lie; you probably won’t win any fans overnight. But, you could do enough to see customers accepting your love of cookies for the time being.

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Build trust in other areas

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that we’re more forgiving to companies who have earned our trust. We’re certainly more willing to help them out with things like the data we share. By comparison, a company which we don’t know or care for are sure to get our backs up with things like cookies. If customers are waiting for an excuse to slam your company, you can bet this will give it to them. By comparison, winning customers over is sure to see them looking past cookie notifications. At the very least, it should ensure that they value and trust your company despite them. The main thing to do here is to focus on improving customer engagement in other areas. Social media is a hotspot for building trusting relationships, so you should focus your efforts here. Speaking and joking with potential leads is sure to help develop long-lasting relationships. When they do come to agree to your cookies, then, they’ll already like you enough not to be all that bothered by it.

Be aware of the boundaries

In many ways, successful cookie use comes down to respecting customer boundaries. The trouble that companies like Facebook have faced is primarily due to boundary transgressions. At times, they collected information and used it in ways that were by no means respectable. Though they don’t necessarily break any laws doing this, they do destroy all customer trust. In the alleged case of selling collected information to other companies, they may have broken the law. Learn from their mistakes. Keep cookie use within as respectable a limit as possible. Use data to improve your services, not for personal gain. Target advertisements to a reasonable degree. Whatever you do, don’t make customers feel that you’re breaching their privacy. As soon as you do that, you’ll never be able to shake the cookie monster label.

Cookies needn’t make you the bad guy. They could actually bolster your relationship. It’s all about how you approach them.

By John-Shea

Internet Marketing Entrepreneur

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