6 Tips for using your preference center

June 23, 2015  |  
By The Pedowitz Group (TPG)
  |  Technology
June 23, 2015
By The Pedowitz Group (TPG)

So you have an unsubscribe link, think that’s enough? Think again. Many people think that an unsubscribe link and a website/landing page that confirms you have unsubscribed is enough, but from the standpoint of user experience and the desire to better engage with your audience, it is barely scratching the surface.

Why is it important to have a preference center? Beyond the obvious benefits of allowing you to segment your email based on what someone tells you they are actually interested in, it allows your audience to opt-down instead of opting-out of your emails.

Here are some tips for creating your own preference center:

1. Be specific.  Offering choice in communications preferences isn’t enough. Be clear as to what those relevant communications will be and how they will be presented. Four key options to consider for opting-in:

Content – News, products, offers, events

Frequency – Weekly, monthly, quarterly, or alerts

Channel – Email, direct mail, phone or SMS and smartphone

Format – Text-only, HTML or mobile

2. Watch and listen.  Utilizing progressive profiling, you can make informed decisions around the types of communications your audience members might prefer for those who have generically opted-in to all communications or who have not yet provided detail on the preference center. Remember, when you make those decisions use language in your email to show someone where they can manage their preferences to better tailor the communications to their needs and interests.

3. Only ask what you’re prepared to deliver.  Using your preference center in hopes that one day you will offer some type of communications (for example, a newsletter that doesn’t exist today) will only create confusion. Add things to the preference center only as they come into being, not prior to. Don’t confuse preferences with market research; your preference center isn’t to gather data on what people might want to hear about.

4. Tell subscribers what to expect and why they should give up personal information.  Just like #3 says, only do what you say you are going to do. Tell people what you are going to do to make it easy! Use hover-over text or descriptions of the types of communications so that people see the value in providing you their data and their permission to communicate with them.

5. Use welcome and thank-you communications to continue the conversation. Now that someone has told you about themselves, use that information to begin the conversation the right way, with personalized content geared toward keeping them engaged. It’s easier to keep a contact engaged than to re-engage someone who has gone quiet.

6. Make your preference center an acquisition tool.  Encourage social sharing – either after form completion in the preference center or in welcome emails. Use your preference center as a starting point for communications, not just a saving grace when someone wants out.

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