Email Preferences Make Readers Happy

Email marketing blogs are constantly buzzing with talk of value; they go on and on about all of the different ways you can add it to your campaign.

But how can they possibly know exactly what readers find valuable? As Mark Brownlow attests, “value is defined by the reader and not by you.” It doesn’t matter how valuable you think your messages are. If a reader doesn’t find your content to be of interest, they’re going to stop opening your emails.

In fact, a recent survey found that 85% of consumers prefer that companies ask about their e-mail preferences at sign up. So instead of playing the value guessing game, read on to learn how to use email preferences to let your subscribers decide what they deem to be valuable.

Give Them What They Want

The easiest and least time consuming way to learn what information subscribers want to receive is to simply ask. Hershey’s Chocolate does this exceptionally well on their email subscription page.

They require only the most basic information…

Hershey's Newsletter Sign Up

and then leave the important choices of which emails to sign up for up to the subscriber:

Hershey's Sign Up

You Can Do This With Your Web Form, Too!

Your potential subscribers are accustomed to making choices both on and offline, and they’re used to having things their way. After all, they can customize everything from their cars and coffee drinks down to the sneakers on their feet online with Mini, Volkswagen, Starbucks and NikeiD.

Since they are used to the convention of customizing the things they are most interested in, your prospective readers will be way more likely to fill out your form when you offer preferences because they’ll feel like they are in control.

Decide What Messages You Want to Send

This might be as simple as breaking up your content into a monthly newsletter, a weekly special and a daily deal. Or, your content could be entirely different for each choice, but that will depend on your business offering.

Regardless, you have to commit to sending these messages, so don’t give yourself an impossible workload. Choose a manageable number of messages that you can easily keep up with without becoming overwhelmed.

Create a Web Form with Checkboxes for Each Message

Each field on your form will represent a different email. This way, when the selection comes in with a new email sign up, their preferences are saved in your account and you know exactly which emails they want to receive from you.

Save a Segment for Each Email

With the choices saved as fields in your account, you’ll then create segments that automatically update whenever someone is added to your list.

Screen shot 2010-06-11 at 10.59.15 AM

When searching for fields that were added via checkbox, you must enter “yes” to indicate that the box was checked.

Send Specific Messages

As sign-ups start rolling in, you’ll send your separate messages only to those subscribers who checked certain boxes when signing up.

Send to Segment

This way, readers will get what they asked for, and your content will be right on target and true to what they requested from you.

Will You Try This Tactic?

By offering a few simple preferences, your email campaign will be more professional and customizable and your website visitors will be happy to subscribe to it because they can control what they’ll be receiving.

Let us know if you’ve tried this before, or what kind of response you get when testing it out!