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Email Preference Center Best Practices

Type: Blog

What Are Email Preference Centers?

Email preference centers are a tool that can help your consumers decide how they want you to interact with them. Instead of just sending out emails on a regular timed basis, having a preference center allows customers to have more control, able to specify the type of communication they receive, the content they receive, and how often they receive it.While many customers are open to the idea of receiving important communication from companies, issues like getting too many emails or seeing irrelevant content over and over can drive subscribers to hit the unsubscribe button. By implementing a preference center, you can:

  • Reduce attrition rates: while a certain level of attrition is common with any email marketing campaign, giving users control of the frequency and type of content they get means they’re less likely to unsubscribe or report your content as spam.
  • Help users find other email offerings: preference centers can help users identify potential topics and receive content that they’re more interested in. 
  • Improve your customer engagement strategy: instead of relying on segmentation or analytics, you can find out what your customers want by simply asking them. When you allow subscribers to choose their own topic of interest and frequency, you can deliver personalized email campaigns.

By letting customers set their preferences, you set up a transparent and respectful method of communication that most customers will appreciate. It creates a foundation of trust with your customers that allows for a better and more productive customer experience. When the customer feels heard and respected, they are more likely to stick with your brand – increasing lifetime ROI and facilitating more enriched relationships. 

Preference Center Options

There are various types of email preference center options, and each option allows subscribers to control different aspects of their subscription preferences. Each option has its strengths and weaknesses, and you need to make sure that you choose the right type or types based on your marketing strategy.

Frequency

Some preference centers allow users to set their email frequency or choose a specific day or time to receive emails.

This type of email preference option works well for companies that send out similar emails regularly, such as daily deals or specials. While some people may want to receive these emails daily, others may want them only once a month and will unsubscribe if they receive them more often. 

You can vary your frequency options but also allow users to choose a specific day on which they receive their mail. Another good choice to include is the option to temporarily pause emails for a given time period, after which they’ll receive emails based on their frequency choice. 

Content-Based

Content-based preference options are great for companies that produce a wide variety of content on different subject matter types. For instance, a travel company will have posts on hotels, car rentals, flight bookings, and day trips. Allowing customers to choose their preferences will ensure they get the relevant information they need without anything extra. For example, at a local home-and-garden supply store, a customer may want to receive information about lawn and garden deals but not about major appliance sales. 

Content-based options offer the additional advantage of generating plenty of segmentation data that you can apply to a segmentation model. Doing so will allow you to target specific groups and tailor your content to their specific needs. 

Channel

Some customers prefer to receive communications via email. Others may want notifications via text or SMS. Some others may prefer a phone call. Allowing your customers to pick their preferred channel(s) of communication ensures that you aren’t reaching out to them in ways they don’t want. It also lets customers know there are multiple ways that you can get in touch with them – for important notifications, customers could select to receive an email as well as a text for instant notification. 

Hybrid

A hybrid model takes all of these options into account, and more. A robust preference center will let your customers choose what content they receive, how often, and how they receive it. This method of managing your communications lets your customer know that you care about their preferences, and it will drive fewer global opt-outs for your company. Customers more often choose to opt-down than opt-out when given an option to do so. 

When they are provided with a robust set of options that they can use to tailor their preferences to match their needs, they trust that your company truly has their opinions and interests in mind.

Email Preference Center Best Practices

As you embark on launching a preference center, you need to follow some best practices to ensure that customers use it and gain value from it. If they find value in it, so will you, as they become more engaged with your content. 

Email preference centers can provide you with a wealth of information about your contacts. By planning ahead and keeping some important considerations in mind, you too, can reap the benefits of engaging with your customers and giving them what they want, when they want it. 

UI Design Best Practices

With several preference options available, be sure to follow best practices for UI design. 

  • Keep the text short and to the point
  • Make sure the options are simple and easy to understand
  • Ensure the preference page is mobile-friendly
  • Avoid having links that take the customer off the preference center page. 

There are plenty of email preference center examples where the options fit on one page, making it easy for customers to complete without sacrificing on information collection.

Our platform MyPreferences is a perfect example of a platform that provides robust preference center capabilities – completely customizable by frequency, content, channel, locale, and more, your company can tailor MyPreferences to your brand’s complex and unique requirements. This will enable you to engage your customers with content that is relevant and customized to their wants and needs, respecting their preferences and building a mutually beneficial relationship. Additionally, MyPreferences is a central repository that collects and shares customer preferences across your organization so that all departments and brands have a single view of customer preferences.

Make Your Preference Center Accessible

You won’t get much value from a preference center if your customers can’t find it. Be sure to include a prominent link in welcome emails, marketing emails, service emails, on your website and in your opt-out pages. 

Another good idea is to put your unsubscribe option in the email preference center. That way, customers can see they have a wide variety of options that they can use to control their email preferences. Most customers want to have control over how many emails they receive, and they are more likely to adjust their preferences than to opt out entirely. 65% of communication opt-outs occur because the customer does not consider the email communication to be relevant or timely – not because they never want to hear from you again.

You can also use your email preference center as a way to re-engage with absent customers. Giving inactive customers the option to update their preferences may provide the spark needed to get these customers back on board to your active email list. 

Establish Your Objectives

The two main objectives of an email preference center are to help customers control their content experience and to provide marketers with valuable customer profile data. 

In terms of collecting data, you need to decide what information is important to you. While it may be faster just to get an email address, it won’t add information about product interest or any other valuable customer metrics.

Conversely, you should avoid going asking for information that you don’t need and won’t use. Any form with too many fields can lead to abandonment or information that is essentially useless. 

Data needs change over time, and it may be in your best interest to reevaluate your objectives from time to time. Legal requirements and personal preferences can change rapidly, and you need to be ready to do the same. 

Make Form Completion Easy

A good customer preference center can help companies do more than alter email frequency. It can also help you gain a better understanding of which of your services or products your customers want.

While you may want to collect a lot of information, presenting a multi-page form is a great way to lose customer interest. Only collect information you will use. Minimize form length and make fields optional. In this way, you can still gather data from willing customers while retaining reluctant customers as well. 

Deploy a Progressive Profiling Strategy

Customer preferences should be collected over time. Just like any relationship, you learn things at natural points in the relationship. For example, you should collect specific information when a prospect first expresses interest, at time of sale, during onboarding and when they have a customer service event. The more time you spend together, the more personalized your communications become and the more trust grows.

Keep Consumer Intent in Mind

The best customer email preference center is one that keeps customer intent in mind. No matter what the customer wants to do, they should be able to do it with minimal fuss. 

For example, if a customer wants to change their email address, they should get a link directly to a form where they can do so. If they want to unsubscribe, they should be able to do so in one click. This ties back to keeping the user interface clean, easy to read, and easy to navigate. A good customer experience is paramount to encourage your customers to utilize the tool. 

You can also use this page to engage further with your customers. Once they’ve made their changes, a simple message like “Thanks for updating your preference!” can help them feel appreciated and respected. 

Remember Responsiveness

Your preference center should follow the same principles as the rest of your website in terms of responsiveness and accessibility. Both the mobile and desktop experience should feel easy and simple, with no compromises on either device. 

One key aspect of modern responsive design is to include social signup, which makes signing up for an email list convenient and easy. Be sure to remind users that their data is secure throughout the log-in process. 

Conclusion

An email preference center is an excellent way to show your customers that you respect them. By allowing them to control how and when they receive communication from you, you give subscribers what they want.

There are many preference center options that work well for different types of email marketing. Be sure to choose the right one for your content, and provide options for customers to choose the frequency and channel of their communications. Our platform MyPreferences is the industry standard for preference centers, taking into account options for email frequency, content, geography and locale, and more.

If you’re not sure about your current setup, get in touch with PossibleNOW. Our industry-leading services will ensure your email preference options are on-point in terms of providing customers with the variety and flexibility they want. See what makes us the best in the business, and schedule an appointment today!

What Our Customers Say

We could go on forever about the benefits of preference management, but sometimes it’s better to let our customers do the talking.

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