Email list ‘churn’ – that is to say, the unsubscription of customers from an email subscriber list – is a growing problem in digital marketing. Modern day marketers devote a significant portion of their time and resources towards building up an engaged subscriber list, only for many to unsubscribe with one click for a variety of reasons: the messaging may not be relevant to them, they may suffer from email ‘fatigue’ or the messaging may simply not be suitable for them at that moment in time.
Consequently, preference centres are increasingly being seen as a way of reducing email list churn and ensuring customers receive timely and relevant communications from brands and businesses throughout the year. A preference centre is the list of options that customers are presented with when they want to change their subscription options – these include reducing the frequency of communication, choosing a different type of communication or unsubscribing altogether. So, what are the main benefits of a preference centre for a business?
Don’t alienate loyal customers by sending irrelevant communications
You might have a lot of loyal customers on your subscriber list, but if you’re sending them emails that aren’t relevant to their interests then it’s a surefire way to eventually lose them. To get around this, your business could use a preference centre to allow them to choose what type of communications they receive. Do they want to receive special offers? Behind-the-scenes news from your company? Upcoming events and promotions? Divide your communications into different categories and give your subscribers the chance to select the ones they want.
Don’t alienate loyal customers by sending untimely communications
The best way to explain this benefit is by highlighting the example of Thomas Cook’s preference centre. The travel company were sending out promotions to customers all year round, but realised that many customers may only be looking at booking a holiday at certain times of the year. To get around this, they introduced a ‘snooze’ function to their preference centre, which allowed subscribers to pause communications for a specified amount of time until they’re actively looking looking for holiday deals. A simple trick such as this has seen the company achieve the highest engagement rates to date, because customers are receiving the right emails at the right time of year.
The other benefit to the Thomas Cook case study is, of course, the fact that many subscribers will have chosen to hit ‘snooze’ rather than the dreaded unsubscribe button. If they were growing fatigued by messaging that wasn’t timely or relevant to them then they may have been tempted to just hit the unsubscribe button, but a preference centre instead offers them the choice to receive different emails based on their interests. The removal of the one-click subscription button alone is a great way to reduce email list churn, but adding a preference centre takes it a step further.
Steal a march on your competitors
Did you know that only 25% of brands currently offer the option of different email frequency or content types to customers? Despite this, one recent case study indicates that when customers were presented with the option of reducing the regularity of message notifications instead of unsubscribing, two-thirds of them chose the first option. And it’s for this reason that building a preference centre into your email marketing strategy means you’re getting a step ahead of your competitors.
Gather more customer data
Preference customers also provide an opportunity to gain valuable customer insights. By discovering which email format people would prefer, what type of content they want and how often they want to receive it, you can start to build a really clear picture of what your customer wants. And customer insights don’t get much more valuable than that.
Meet legal requirements for email opt-in
There are big changes to the laws that govern email opt-in coming in the next couple of years. The largest change will be that businesses are no longer to allowed to assume consent and instead must obtain explicit permission from contacts to send emails. Preference Centres will play a crucial role in obtaining contact consent, which will help ensure the longevity of your data. Keep an eye out for our next insight article where we will be covering the incoming privacy law changes in more detail.
Preference centres are a growing trend in digital marketing, and if deployed correctly then they could be the difference between the success and failure of your brand’s digital marketing strategy. Make sure you’re on the ball now so you’re not left on your heels later down the line – when effective preference centres are the norm rather than the exception.
HarveyDavid are experts in building bespoke email preference/subscription centres. Contact us today to find out how we can help your business.
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