Email Applied: How to Implement an Email Preference Center
To start, implement an email preference center to make your emails more relevant to your audience. In my mind, this is a must-have adjunct to your email program. It allows your subscribers to update their personal information, change frequency schedules and even select what content they'd like to receive from you. All this is accomplished by allowing them to link directly to a preference center from your email. Typically, marketers include this link as one of the choices in their email's footer.
A preference center starts with the information you collect during the registration process, but its power really comes into play with ongoing emails.
Today's consumers are in control. It's important to give them a way to modify their choices on how and when they want to receive emails from you. Most email service providers (ESPs) offer this ability; marketers can vary their approach from simple to complex. Here's a look at various approaches:
Simple Preference Centers
This model limits everything to a few easy choices:
➜ Change or update email address. One-third of all email addresses change each year. Give interested subscribers the opportunity to provide you with a "better" (i.e., more accurate) email address. Without this functionality, a subscriber who wants to update their email address has to opt out and then resubscribe. That's a lot to expect, and the odds are you'll lose the chance to communicate with them going forward.
➜ Reduce frequency. This is most applicable to e-commerce retailers. If you typically send multiple emails per week, consider allowing recipients to tell you how often they want to hear from you. Remember, this is a better alternative than having subscribers decide to opt out from all communications.
➜ Local store preferences. This option is most applicable to cross-channel retailers. We live in a mobile society; marketers with a retail presence must provide pertinent information based on subscriber geography — namely, where its closest brick-and-mortar store is located in relation to the subscriber's physical address.