Prologue

Setting up an email preference center is an essential pre-requisite for marketers to optimize their email marketing endeavors. By asking the subscribers about their preferences, the marketers tailor their email marketing endeavors to suffice the needs of their customers. In an era of multichannel marketing, the subscribers of the email newsletters are often only looking for the topics of relevance to them. 

Marketers spend quite a lot of time shaping their email lists. They want it to grow and do their best to stop it from being stale, stagnant & worthless. Having an email preference center ensures that the open rates for emails are pretty high, their bounce rates are considerably reduced & the total number of unsubscribes dwindle. 

According to a report by the Experian Marketing Study, 60% of the marketers don’t give the subscribers the option to select the types of emails they want to receive & according to Campaign Monitor merely 30% of the marketers allow their subscribers to decide how often they want to be emailed. This is where a preference center can pitch in for help. 

Having email preference centers helps in measuring how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass the expectation of the customers & the prospects alike. Abiding by some of the best email preference center studies, the marketers can optimize the customer satisfaction & the keep on delivering high-quality pieces of content to the inboxes of the prospects which resonate with their diverse areas of interests. 

As the prospects are supplied with highly-tailored pieces of content that resonate with their pain-points or with their interests, the subscribers not only show higher engagement but also quickly proceed towards further actions aligned with the optimization of the website conversion rates.

Status quo Post-GDPR

Optimizing the customer experience Index (CX-Index) helps in elevating the sales conversion which lies at the heart of any successful email marketing campaign. 

Furthermore, in a post GDPR era, the data protection in terms of data collection, processing, storage & export has become more significant than they have ever been. The GDPR is just over a year old now and has a profound impact on the entire marketing process especially the automation process. 

Abiding by the norms of GDPR is inexplicably important like it has never before because not only the defiance of the norms can lead to hefty fines but can also deteriorate the reputation of a particular brand. 

The email preference centers usually fall under the following four categories:

  • Opt-in:  This one comes into play when someone is asked to join your email database
  • Update: When someone clicks a link such as “Update Preferences”
  • Opt-out: This one is designed specifically to offer alternatives to unsubscribing, such as decreased frequency, snoozing subscriptions, etc.  
  • Purchase/Account Registration: These preference centers are specifically designed to be used in account registration & purchase process, email subscriptions being a typical option in this process. 

According to imaginepub.com, emails remain the third most influential source of information for B2B customers, only behind colleague recommendation & reviews from the industry experts. Additionally, content.myemma.com concludes that 59% of the B2B marketers consider emails to be the most effective channels for lead generation.  

Many marketers might believe that they don’t generate enough customer data or activity to justify the effort & expenses required in establishing the email preference centers. However, with the right cognizance, amendments, & customizations, a preference center can be one of the best tools for marketers to create long-lasting & useful relationships with their prospects & customers. 

Ways to set-up a Strong Email Preference Centre

Email preference centers have been designed as a means of having the best of both the spheres viz. both the prospects as well as the customers control what communications they receive & can even help them unsubscribe as per their will. 

Preference centers help marketers send better & more targeted communications to their prospects. With clear norms on how businesses can use the personal data of the prospects, GDPR has made marketers more sensitive to the needs & preferences of their target audiences

In addition to mastering the traditional preference centers wherein data is collected on the basis of subscribers providing demographic information, the modern preference centers are being designed to capture the implicit signals as well which also includes the behavioral data of the prospects that is generated throughout their journeys on the web, including their browsing habit, email activity & even offline engagements that are aligned with the subscription data amassed through email addresses or other details.  

The following are some of the ways to set-up strong email preference centers:

1. Drawing clear Boundaries to Define what Type of Preference Data is required & What’s Not

Unless the customers begin their research online in some way or the other such as by browsing, clicking or downloading, the preference data is the only information that the marketers can rely upon. Preference options help marketers optimize the experiences of their customers more effectively. 

While collecting data the marketers shouldn’t compromise upon the richness for agility & should stick to a progressive form to capture data from diverse fields for minimizing the threat of unsubscribing. 

Collecting old information such as address histories of accounts may not be beneficial unless the marketers decide to split-test & optimize the preferred designs of the prospects such as their color preferences, preferred brands, etc. The collection of the intent data of the prospects further helps the marketers in optimizing their email marketing campaigns by creating highly-tailored & intelligent pieces of content.

The preference data types which the marketers need to stick to or exclude over a while is subject to legal scenarios across the globe, market situations & a host of other factors that keep on evolving. 

Hence, what the marketers need & needn’t use is a dynamic subject that needs constant monitoring of the multichannel being employed for marketing & split-testing of several methods being employed for the optimization of sales revenues of marketers.

The marketers can follow the following steps while collecting the preference data: 

Step 1: The marketers should focus on capturing additional details along with the email addresses, all the details needn’t be necessary; options must be in place to minimize the risk of process abandonment.

Step 2: Along with the explicit preferences, the marketers should also focus on collecting the implicit preferences of their prospects such as their behavioral insights & other psychographic motivations

Step 3: The marketers should carefully analyze & introspect what data they want to use & shouldn’t waste their time on collecting irrelevant data across the digital footprints of the prospects

Step 4: They shouldn’t use outdated options such as “HTML versus text” 

2. Facilitate Simpler Conveyance of Users’ Preferences for a healthier Database:  

Making every field in the opt-in list mandatory might piss the customers off or may cause them to unsubscribe soon after they sign-up. Making the fields in the form optional allows marketers to embrace those prospects as well who don’t want to share their vital details with you but still want to do business with you. 

Providing more options is an impactful way for structuring a user-friendly preference center. The prospects can be provided with alternatives to unsubscribing such as receiving only certain types of emails. Options must be in place to allow prospects to change their email addresses, receive fewer communications overall or only receive specific types of email messages.

3. Employ Responsive Design & Optimize for Multiple Device Platforms:

The preference centers need to deliver seamless users’ experiences across multiple devices including desktop as well as mobile phones. As a matter of fact, an impactful design can make sure that users see fewer form fields at one while encountering the form on a smaller screen & desktop experience too, should remain infrangible. A social sign up can be optimized for mobile users to opt-in.

4. Consider Implicit Preferences & Intent Data:

Traditionally, the preference center interactions are based on subscribers providing demographic information & some other information to help define what type of emails they wish to receive. Marketers, however, should also take steps to look into the implicit preferences of the prospects as well as their intent data collected from n number of referral channels & online research methodology employed across the web. 

Pairing up the explicit preferences of the users with their implicit preferences ensures that the marketers have a holistic view of the preferences of their customers & accordingly they can provide them with the 360-degree all-encompassing, phenomenal customer experiences. 

For capturing the implicit data of the prospects online, the marketers need to do the following things: 

Marketers should understand in what ways their prospects interact with their brands. Looking beyond the email engagement, the marketers should gauge the activity of the prospects, using the marketing automation tools to track the online purchase data, social media interactions & additional details. Establishing a pattern by mapping the behavior of the prospects online, helps the marketers in connecting the dots to fill in the loopholes in the deliverability of their services & allows them to take strategic steps towards optimizing the customers’ experiences (CX).

To understand from their prospects what they want, the marketers can design surveys & other forms of messages to delve deeper into the preferences of their customers. 

Based on the interactions with the prospects on multiple platforms and by capturing the preferences gathered by the prospects across omnichannel, the marketers can focus on creating intelligent pieces of content (based on the principles of artificial intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML)), & can deploy the intricacies of precognitive & predictive pieces of content to optimize users’ experiences. Delivering dynamic content is another paradigm shift that helps in optimizing the users’ experiences (UX) beyond conventional strategies such as employing market segmentation & personalization for optimizing users’ experiences.

Wrapping It Up

Email marketing is one of the most common & rewarding ingredients of B2B marketing. Post-GDPR, the email marketing endeavors have been entrenched & consequently, the preference centers have been transcended to maintain their vitality for a healthy number of relevant subscribers & for elevating the customer experience Index (CX-Index) as essential pre-requisites for bolstering the Return on Investment (ROI) for the brands

GDPR has set clear guidelines for marketers on how they should behave, putting the interests of their customers first. Email preference centers are excellent ways for marketers to deliver phenomenal customer experience. GDPR compliant mailing lists & email marketing should be viewed as an essential step to reduce the vulnerability associated with the misuse of customers’ data, rather than viewing them as enforced legislature having a ricochet mechanism for imposing hefty fines on businesses.

As was quoted by Oksana Chyketa, the marketing specialist at Albacross:

“All marketing activities are likely to be affected by GDPR in one way or another – that much is obvious…That being said, we see GDPR having an exceptionally large impact when it comes to email marketing”. 

The current situation demands the marketers to rise above laboring under dilemmas & improve their email preference centers by implementing the strategies that will have a profound impact on their businesses, split-testing & improving them for flawlessly optimizing the experiences of their customers.

We, at Valasys Media, are making constant endeavors to optimize the experiences of our B2B customers by delivering them hyper-targeted campaigns & other services to help them achieve their core bottom-line endeavors such as optimized sales revenues, improved users’ experiences & bolstering return on their marketing investments (ROMI).

Our GDPR compliant services include lead generation, lead nurturing, account-based marketing, list-building services, business intelligence services, contact discovery, content syndication, event promotion & appointment setting services.
For the protraction of perennially healthy sales pipelines or for optimizing any of your B2B endeavors, feel free to reach out to our team of experts

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