A preference center allows your customer to specify what content they want and when they want it, which makes it more likely they will engage with your email. Higher engagement leads to higher inbox placement.
If you decided to create or improve your preference center due to Apple's Mail Privacy Protection (MPP), be sure you follow best practices.
- Prior to creating a preference center, determine how you want to use it, the scope, and what data you need to create a great subscriber experience.
- Sign up for other companies' email both inside and outside your industry to get preference center ideas.
- Consult your legal counsel for details on how to comply with all relevant privacy laws.
- Keep it simple and easy to understand, especially if creating a preference center for the first time.
- Add more options as you learn what content and frequency options resonate best with your subscribers.
- Use opt-in consent instead of pre-selected opt-in within your signup form. This allows subscribers to select only the content and frequency that interests them.
- Be completely transparent with how all data is collected and used by your company and include any information as required by law.
Design and implementation
- Ensure your preference center has the same branding as your company or the specific brand for which the email preference center serves.
- Implement real-time email address validation (use BriteVerify or Everest's List Validation API) in your preference center to help ensure only valid email addresses are added to your database.
- Promote the benefits of more personalized and relevant content as a reason for making content and frequency choices and by disclosing some relevant personal information.
- Don't ask for too much personal information.
- Use your best judgment as to what personal information is required as it relates to your business and content offerings. For example:
- It is reasonable to expect an airline to require a location or preferred airport so they can send specific flight information and deals. An airline might also ask what your favorite type of vacations are in order to match destinations that might interest you, but it would likely be optional instead of required.
- It is less reasonable to expect a retailer to require a phone number for only subscribing to an email newsletter. If the retailer offers SMS text messages as a communication option for upcoming sale notifications, then requiring a phone number for that communication option makes sense.
- Only provide preferences or ask for data related to personalized content that you can support and deliver.
- Offer SMS text messages as an alternative communication option.
- Ensure the preference center is mobile-friendly.
- Ensure the information you ask for is age appropriate.
- If you allow language preferences, be sure the preference center and all email content are translated and sent in the subscriber's preferred language.
- Give subscribers different frequency options. If you can't support different frequency options for the same email stream, disclose the frequency you can support. For example:
- Newsletter (Weekly)
- Monthly product updates
- Allow subscribers to specify the type of content they want to receive. This can be accomplished by selecting a specific email stream, such as "Special offers", "Product news", or "Newsletter". It may also be accomplished by selecting an area of interest or activity, such as "Camping", "Skiing", and "Cycling".
- Provide a preview thumbnail for each mail type so they can easily identify your email when scanning their inbox.
- For e-commerce purchases, provide a simple preference option to sign up for marketing email and follow up with a welcome email and a link to update preferences. Don't assume a customer wants your marketing email just because they buy your product.
- Send a welcome message after sign-up reinforcing their email choices and communicate how they can update their preferences at any time. Promote the benefits of the subscriber receiving more personalized and relevant content in the welcome email.
- Provide an easy way to update preferences without requiring a subscriber to log in.
- Add a link in all email allowing a subscriber to "Update Communication Preferences" in addition to an unsubscribe link.
- If a subscriber clicks on the unsubscribe link, forward them to the preference center with options to reduce sending frequency and change the email content they wish to receive.
- Provide an option to unsubscribe from all communications with a single link, check-box, or button.
- Add a "snooze" option that allows a subscriber to pause emails for a period of time (custom time frame, 30, 60, or 90 days). When it is time to resume sending the subscriber email, send a "welcome back" message and ask them to confirm that they want to resume receiving your email.
- Keep track of subscriber behavior when they resume receiving email. Some subscribers may have forgotten they snoozed your email and mark your email as spam.
- When a subscriber unsubscribes, ask an optional question in your preference center about why they unsubscribed so you can make improvements.