Effective Email Preference Centers Help Keep Subscribers Active and Engaged

In last month’s feature, we gave you tips on how to build a high-quality email list. So, as you continue to grow your list of subscribers, you want to encourage subscribers to keep their preferences up to date – for their email address, name, desired frequency of emails, and more. Read more about how to create an effective email preference center that helps you keep your subscribers active and engaged.

What Do You Want from Your Preference Center?

An email preference center – also known as a subscription center – typically starts with collecting information during the email registration process. It’s a place where your subscribers can add or update information about themselves and their email preferences. By giving your subscribers choices and control over what information and how much email they receive from you, your preference center can have a powerful impact is on the success of your company’s ongoing email campaigns.

As you set out to design your preference center program, you should start by determining what you want to accomplish. Do you want to find out the frequency and type of content subscribers are looking for? Do you want information to help you segment your email list, such as geographic location and product purchase history?

A simple preference center, for example, typically includes:

  • Update an email address – There are many circumstances that can change in a subscriber’s life, such as moving or switching companies. Give subscribers a chance to quickly and easily let you know about the changes to avoid losing them completely.
  • Frequency options – Consider giving subscribers the opportunity to choose/reduce the frequency in which you send emails to them, such as daily, weekly, or monthly. If you have multiple newsletters, for example, they may also prefer to select the one(s) they want to receive.
  • Opt-out – The opt-out option is a requirement for compliance with CAN-SPAM regulations. And it may be why subscribers came to your preference center in the first place. But perhaps if they see the other choices – to reduce the frequency of emails or change their email address – they may choose one of those options instead.

In addition to the choices offered above, a more sophisticated preference center would also give subscribers the opportunity to provide the following:

  • Personal data – Name, gender, address, company, phone numbers, and product purchase history are examples of the types of personal data you can collect in preference centers.
  • Information about subscribers’ interests – To help you target subscribers’ personal preferences for the product/service information and promotions you send to them, you can provide a short checklist of interests.

Creating an Effective Preference Center

As you set up a preference center – or review your current preference center program – consider the following questions in determining just how effective it is:

  1. Does your preference center ask subscribers for too much information? Asking too many questions in a preference center can result in subscribers abandoning the form before completing it. A good rule of thumb is to keep your preference center form to one page. If you want to capture more information about your subscribers, consider creating additional preference centers for subscribers during subsequent visits.
  2. Can subscribers easily find your preference center? Include prominent links and calls to action for your preference center on all your emails and on every page of your website. Click here for more information about ways to help subscribers find your preference center quickly and easily.
  3. Are you keeping your mobile subscribers in mind? Be sure to provide a mobile version of your preference center for your subscribers who are using mobile technology to read your emails and visit your website.

Preference centers provide a great way to collect the important information you need to create relevant messages that ultimately keep your subscribers actively engaged. They also let your subscribers easily update their contact information and preferences. Do you have an effective preference center program? Have you updated it recently? FulcrumTech can help. Email or give us a call at 215-489-9336 today and we’ll help you fine-tune your preference center program to optimize your email marketing results.

Do Subscribers Want Marketers to Know Their Preferences?

The answer to that question is yes, according to data found in the Email Experience Council’s white paper Manifesto for Email Marketers: Consumers Demand Relevance. In fact, subscribers who visit preference centers tend to be more tolerant of frequent mailings, according to research presented in the paper.

In the following data,* consumers indicate what they want marketers to demonstrate that they know:

The types of products or services they like 64%
The types of offers they like 61%
Whether they’re a new or returning customer 54%
Their communication preferences 47%
Their name 39%
Their shopping habits (e.g., if they search online) 36%
Whether they’ve visited the company’s website 23%
Their gender 20%
How much money they spend with the company 12%
Where they live 10%
Their age 9%
Whether they’re a fan/follower on a social media site 4%

* This data is based on an online survey of 2,038 adults in the United States and the United Kingdom conducted in December 2009 by Forrester Consulting on behalf of e-Dialog.

Sign Up for NewsLever

Our free, monthly email newsletter

NewsLever is our free, monthly e-newsletter for B2B and B2C professionals who want to develop and implement powerful email-marketing campaigns that build relationships with prospects and customers.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Privacy Policy|Learn More|Current Issue