When your team works so hard on various email campaigns, the effort to get people to opt-in is significant. A simple “global opt-out” can be a killer. How about offering people choices about how they hear from you?

Capture a supporter’s preferences

Most organisations will run a variety of campaigns and these campaign will generally fall into a few groups. When you provide supporters with the ability to choose the type of communications they’ll receive from you, you have a far better chance of keeping them engaged and reducing your global opt-out rate.

Some examples of “groups” or “preferences” could be as follows:

    • Event invitations for fun runs, community activities etc.
    • Calls for donations or a membership drive
    •  Subject specific campaigns e.g. The Heart Foundation may have a series of communications around healthy eating, a series of communications with recipes and tips for making better choices around meals.

By grouping your types of communication, your donors or members have the ability to control how they hear from you. This also takes a paradigm shift in thinking from your marketing team. In the past the focus has been on emailing as many people as possible, regardless of their expressed or implied levels of interest. This is email marketing.

Marketing Automation is the ability to not only understand what people may be interested in, but acting on those expressed or implied areas of interest. This can often mean running a campaign with 8,567 recipients instead of 123,457 recipients. That’s a paradigm shift for many marketers.

Don’t make it difficult for people to express their preferences

We’ve all been at the receiving end of complex and invasive opt-out scenarios. Most only provide you with two options, you’re in or you’re out. Simple as that. This probably explains why some organisations make it so hard to opt-out.

In his October 2014 blog post “Six degrees of separation – making it difficult for your supporters to opt out“, Stephen Mally of Fundraising Force shared his experience trying to opt-out of various communications:

Like you, I receive heaps of Email daily. I get a lot of Email. I find myself repeatedly deleting Emails each week from the same companies and non-profit organisations without reading the Emails. I needed to get the volume of unwanted, or unread, Email under control.

I thought, if I am deleting these emails each day, why don’t I simply opt out of the lists so I do not have to deal with the volume in my inbox?

I spent quite a bit of time trying to opt out of the Emails and found for some organisations, it is actually quite difficult, and time-consuming, to get to the end point. Many ask me reasons I want to opt out and others try to convince me to better state my communication preferences while trying to maintain me in the end.

I cannot blame these companies because they should be trying to keep me!

Are you supporters faced with the same experience that Stephen Mally faced? If you’re unsure about your legal obligations around providing people ways to opt-out of your communications, visit the Association for Data-driven Marketing & Advertising – or ADMA to find out more.

What can a Preference Centre look like?

This is the Marketing Cube Preference Centre. It provides a range of groups or topics and a brief explanation of what people can expect should they choose to subscribe.

The preference centre is accessed via a link in all email footers and opens in the person’s browser. The email footer link is generally better worded as “Click Here to Unsubscribe or Manage your Subscriptions“.

Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud Preference Centre

Keep these items in mind when thinking about building an email subscription / preference center:

> Just having a global opt-out is too restrictive and may result in a higher opt-out rate
> Email recipients want increased flexibility and control into what communications they want to receive
> Allowing more granular subscription options to email recipients will allow you to better segment your communication resulting in higher response rates