The preference center: the gateway to the customer experience

Our viewpoint

The preference center is the ideal tool for permission marketing. It keeps your messages deliverable, ensures a quality customer experience for your subscribers and… becomes a must-have in these times of GDPR! Discover the advantages of the preference center by Merlin/Leonard.

Prevent your prospects from becoming exasperated

Do you regularly ask yourself what is the right frequency for sending marketing emails? How to optimize your unsubscribe rates?

You might be interested in a Hubspot study that ranks email overload as the #1 reason for unsubscribing from a mailing list (54% of respondents). 49% of respondents go so far as to say that email marketing content becomes “too repetitive or boring over time.”

You don’t want to end up in your prospects’ spam. And be forced to revert to the crow or carrier pigeon method?

There’s no need to resort to magic formulas to bewitch your prospects. You simply need to:

  1. Respect the rules of good marketing of Mr. Seth Godin and
  2. Equip yourself with a preference center.

Today, the GDPR almost literally forces you to equip yourself. But in reality, the advantages of a preference center are so obvious that any serious company should have already equipped itself… 15 years ago!

We don’t blame you for being late, but today you shouldn’t miss out. Download the Preference Center checklist to learn the 5 golden rules to follow to create a good gateway to the customer experience.

What is a “preference center”?

A preference center is a space where your prospects (the recipients of your emails) can manage their subscription settings for all your marketing campaigns (newsletters, events, feature articles, offers…). The preference center is the essential ingredient to obtain the Grail of permission marketing: the consent of your prospects.

Consent, the true Privilege of the King
The Privilège du Roy was essential under the Ancien Régime to print a book: once obtained, it guaranteed freedom of action and… exclusivity. On the contrary, without the Privilège du Roy, it is impossible to do anything!

It must be accessible :

  • from a link placed on each of your emails,
  • around your forms,
  • or even directly at the time of subscription
  • or in free access on your site.

It allows you to edit, modify and enrich several elements:

  • the personal profile data of your prospects,
  • the preferences related to the frequency and formats of your email reception,
  • the preferences related to the content of the newsletters.

Choose the rate of communication

This tool helps establish a healthy communication cadence. Consider that when you speak on two topics of your expertise, not both will be of interest to your audience. Getting these communication preferences will ensure that your future messages are relevant and well-targeted.

Permission marketing

In 1999, far ahead of his time, Seth Godin introduced the notion of “permission marketing“. He invited us, before speaking, to ask permission from our recipients.

The idea behind the preference center? Obtaining consent by communication objective. Because it’s no longer possible to collect global consent and then send everything and anything… (Try it, you’ll see!) And since a picture is worth a thousand words: come and discover the Merlin/Leonard Communication Preference Center.

The Merlin/Leonard preference center

You can visit our preference center on video here.

With our preference center, we have ensured that we have obtained the overall consent of our recipients (“I accept the Merlin/Leonard Privacy Policy”). Failure to provide consent is equivalent to the right to be forgotten. We must then anonymize the user’s data.

Second, the goal is to obtain “sub-consents” by campaign type (event, newsletter, feature articles).

Most of the time, with our clients, we see that the consents are related to the types of campaigns. But we can imagine what we want, for example a more thematic organization (centers of interest, preferred product or service category, etc.).

The Leonard technique
From a practical point of view, to collect this information, we use a text field that has the value NULL (the subscriber did not respond), YES (I have explicit consent), or NO (I have a prohibition to communicate this campaign).

Why you need a preference center

Here are the top 5 benefits of a preference center:

Benefit #1: Reduce unsubscribes and spam reports

A user may decide to unsubscribe from your emails for many reasons, often beyond your control. A preference center provides alternatives to those who would like to unsubscribe for reasons that are under your control. When faced with an incoming email that they were not expecting, the recipient has 3 options:

  1. Unsubscribe
  2. Report the message as spam (this is the drama to be avoided at all costs as it is extremely damaging for your overall deliverability)
  3. Manage their preferences

By asking subscribers what content they want to receive and how often, you give them control and strengthen the quality of your relationship.

Benefit #2: Personalize the experience you offer

Today’s consumers expect a personalized experience. It’s no longer enough to put the recipient’s first and last name at the beginning of an e-mail. It’s not enough to send out mass mailings indiscriminately: focus on engaging your readers with attractive, expert content that adds value for your recipients.

Benefit #3: Refine your content and distribution strategy

The preference center allows users not only to remove themselves from unwanted mailing lists, but also to select the ones they are most interested in (frequency, content relevance). Be sure to have enough content to meet all subscriber expectations. If someone says they want to receive tips every day, you need to have a good content strategy in place to keep the promise!

Benefit #4: Generate engagement through transparency

A preference center is the key to managing email/sms/notification deliverability and establishing a transparent and respectful relationship with subscribers.

Advantage #5: Be in compliance with the GDPR

The European Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which went into effect in May 2018, is designed to give users back control over their personal data. Companies must collect the consent of individuals before collecting and using their data. But also be able to erase them completely (right to forget) or inform about their use (right to information). The preference center is the ideal tool to meet these new challenges.

The preference center is a particularly suitable space to optimize the customer experience. And manage your own actions in a content marketing and inbound marketing logic. Want to know more? Start by discovering our scroll that presents the 5 essential rules for an efficient preference center.

Image credits : Vecteezy

Posted By Sylvain

For the past 20 years, Sylvain has been choosing and assembling the best technologies for his key account clients, to help them create a successful end-to-end customer experience. Surely the Leonard of the team, he is a fan - and expert - of Marketo! He sits next to his clients, drives them forward and makes Marketing Automation projects succeed with his team.