Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Improve Customer Experience and Email Deliverability With a Preference Center

Most people like to be given a choice. Sure you can fit them all into one bucket and no one will know better, but for how long can you get away with that? Eventually they’ll find greener grass and you’ll be left wondering where you went wrong.

Let’s not wait for that day. Be proactive about improving your email deliverability today, and let your subscribers help you do it.

A Preference Center is something that email marketers have been implementing for years. It’s a way to collect more information about your subscribers, get to know them better, etc,. The concept seems like a no-brainer for marketers whose main goal is to be more relevant to their subscribers.

Take Another Look

Unfortunately, too many marketers never implement a Preference Center. Maybe it’s that one item that always seems to get pushed aside in favor of higher priorities. Well, I’m here to urge you to take another look at this. I promise it will be worth your while.

The truth is a Preference Center helps you optimize engagement and increase your brand’s loyal customer base.

  1. Allow subscribers the opportunity to tell you when and how often they prefer to be emailed. Over time this reduces email fatigue and preserves long-term relationship with the customer.
  2. People know what they want and don’t want to hear about, so let them help you fine-tune the content they’ll be presented. A creative message with a call to update preferences will allow you to learn more about them. Send it periodically to gradually develop the relationship and trust without the risk of overwhelming by asking for too much information at once.
  3. Once you have some subscriber data, you can be more dynamic and target using more personalized messaging versus simple batch and blast. The messaging will prove more relevant, generate higher opens, clicks and conversions. It also means less likelihood of subscribers getting bored and abandoning your program.

Keep in mind that the annoyance factor with generic, high frequency messaging is what leads to many spam complaints and opt-outs. The vast majority of spam complaints and opt-outs happen within the first 2-3 mailings a subscriber receives email from you. After that, recipients are likely to delete without opening, or never open and mass delete all of your messages at a future date.

Minimize Risks 

Both of those actions can have negative impact on reputation and deliverability. Using the additional data points collected from your preference center, you can minimize these deliverability risks and begin the real marketing work to keep subscribers engaged for years to come.

You can also create the opportunity for multi-channel touch points with a well designed Preference Center. Enable your brand to continue the conversation wherever the subscriber prefers it. Email is still extremely popular, but your subscribers have a life outside of email so why shouldn’t you?

The preference center could be the gateway to acquiring mobile opt-in for SMS campaigns, and don’t forget your mobile app with push notifications. Leverage behavioral data from these other channels to perfect the timing and relevance of your emails. If a recipient checks your email from a mobile device, send a campaign letting them know about your mobile app for a better experience.

Timely and relevant messaging like this will drive more opens and clicks, which has a long-term positive effect on your brand, and an immediate boost for sender reputation and deliverability.

Single Biggest Contributor To Success

Having the appropriate opt-in permission is the single biggest contributor to deliverability success. We’ve found there is a six times higher likelihood of deliverability issues for senders without without clear, explicit consent. Fortunately, consent can be obtained and also updated via the Preference Center at any time.

The more a subscriber is aware of your subscription management practices, the better your chances of consistent deliverability over time. For example, you may be sending monthly product updates (educational or informational in your view), but the subscriber might not be enjoying them. Instead of an all or nothing scenario, allow them to update subscription preferences and tell you they still love receiving those weekly sales promotions.

A simple web form can help you retain more subscribers, and improve deliverability at the same time. Recipients today expect a level of control over what, when and how they are being messaged. Start off that relationship on the right note before it’s too late. 

The Experience Is Broken

Much of the customer experience is broken because the marketing experience is broken. But it’s not marketing’s fault. With legacy technology, marketers only get a distorted view of the customer because data silos cannot be shared across channels. 

Download Customer Experience Simplified to discover how to provide customer experiences that are managed as carefully as the product, the price, and the promotion of the marketing mix.

from Oracle Blogs | Oracle Marketing Cloud