You may know it by many names—Preference Center, Email Preferences, Subscription Management to name a few—but all refer to the same concept: a process for your customers, leads, prospects and anyone else to have control over the emails they receive from your company.
“Why would we want to do that?” you may ask. As marketers, we are hyper-focused on database growth and increasing the number of marketable contacts to target in campaigns. Giving up control over whom you can email—and when—limits your abilities as a marketer! Don’t stop reading quite yet.
First, for many companies, it’s the law. Over the past several years, different governing bodies have issued regulations that apply to organizations that communicate with people under their jurisdiction. In the European Union, there is GDPR; in Canada, it is CASL; in the United States, there is CAN-SPAM; and now, coming in California is CCPA.
This alphabet-soup of legal acronyms could fill a number of blog posts, but long story short, if your organization isn’t complying with the laws for the areas in which it operates, you could be hit with substantial fines.
Before you run off to your legal team, know that implementing a Subscription Management process can yield great benefits for marketers. By putting the power into your customers’ hands, it means your emails are more likely to be received by people who actually want to get them, and will therefore also have a higher response rate and lower unsubscribe rate.
Additionally, by allowing your customers to provide more granular preferences on types and frequency of communication, this provides additional information for targeting, segmentation, decisioning and analytics.
Lastly, without an automated and integrated process for Subscription Management, marketers will still be responsible for manually managing opt-out requests – and no one has time for that.
Now that everyone agrees that Subscription Management processes are a great idea you may ask, “How do I do this?” Before getting into the technical details, first consider the strategy for your Subscription Management process.
Should it only allow for global opt-in or opt-out by providing an email address, or do you want to provide more options, as well as get more information from your subscribers?
In addition to the minimum, you can use this as an opportunity to allow subscribers to specify the type of content they wish to receive, which may prevent them from unsubscribing. Depending on your communication strategy, you may also want to allow subscribers to control the frequency of emails.
Whatever your decision, it is important to honor the preferences provided by your subscribers. By giving your subscribers control of the process, you can use this opportunity to gather profile-level data about the subscriber.
When implementing a Subscription Management process, you will want to map out the user experience as well as the data that is captured to ensure the necessary technical capabilities and integrations are in place to provide a good experience for your subscriber and yourself, the marketer.
In emails, links in the footer should provide one-click ability to unsubscribe or go to a landing page to specify their preferences, but also make it easy to access the preference center by having clear navigation from your company home page. After submitting preference updates, a subscriber should be presented a confirmation – on the website, in an email or both.
For the marketer, consider what data you will need for preference details, but also where you need the data. Is it just in the platform hosting the Subscription Management process, or is it also needed in your CRM, external data warehouse, or other databases? These decisions will all affect the specific technical approaches used to deliver the right solution.
If you haven’t already implemented a process, do so as soon as possible! Not only will you minimize potential legal risk, but the process will improve your effectiveness as a marketer. If you need more help, contact us!