E-Commerce Link: Preferential Treatment
Preference centers are an important part of any good e-mail program. In fact, I believe they’re a must-have component. Building good preference centers starts with the registration process and the information collected when individuals sign up for communications. Then, their power really comes into play with ongoing e-mails. Typically, the e-mail footer contains a link to the recipient’s personal preference center where one can modify or update his personal information and preferences.
Why They Are Important
As a marketer, you want to maintain relationships with your e-mail list, and one critical aspect is the individual’s ability to update an e-mail address. Keep in mind that 20 percent to 25 percent of your list will change their e-mail addresses annually. Without a preference center, the only option for someone with a change of e-mail address is to unsubscribe and sign up again. That’s a hassle, and few are dedicated enough to do this. Additionally, without an easy way to update e-mail addresses, you lose all their promotional and clickthrough history.
You have the ability to save those who may opt out. Many times I click on an opt-out link either out of curiosity or thinking it will take me to a preference center and that I’ll be presented with the option of choosing how often I’ll receive e-mails. Often I am immediately unsubscribed, which is not my original intention. Then I have to go through the cycle of signing up again. While it should be easy for someone to opt out, it should be thought of as a process. In my experience, you may be able to save up to one-third of those who click an opt-out link by bringing them to a preference center, particularly when presented with a choice to change how often they want to receive e-mails.
Even better, allow customers to tell you specifically what types of e-mails they’re interested in. For example, an apparel marketer might ask if the recipient is interested in men’s, women’s, girl’s or boy’s clothing, and if she is interested in sales notices. That allows the marketer to think about tailoring offers and content to the recipient’s interests.