Ask The E-mail Diva: Preference Centers

Dear E-mail Diva,

We are currently in the process of revamping our e-mail subscription sign-up page, and I wondered if you had any recommendations for companies/Web sites with good Preference Management Centers. Our model is likely a little different from some, in that we only allow our registered members to sign up for e-mail. Our current subscription page includes the following options for each newsletter:

1) Subscription name, description and frequency.

2) A static sample view of the e-mail newsletter.

3) HTML or TEXT option.

4) E-mail address.

5) Checkbox to opt in or out of the subscription.

Marketing Executive

Large Company

Dear Marketing Executive,

The key to a creating a good preference center is offering options that consumers appreciate and you can deliver.



The best preference centers can be found on sites that are in the content business, like The consumer has many choices, because a publisher has a massive pool of content from which to choose. For a typical business, publishing is not the raison d'etre, so fulfilling consumer desires is more complicated. If you offer options A toZ, and a consumer selects option A only, you need to make sure that you are delivering regular, relevant, option A content to that consumer. Delivering regular content on a variety of topics means a greater investment in e-mail than many companies are willing to make, so the range of options narrows.

Your company has developed different publications and established their content and frequency--now the consumer can simply say "yes" or "no." The E-mail Diva hopes that you conducted focus groups, fielded surveys and/or analyzed site behavior in order to develop the editorial calendars for these publications. If not, is there a way to break the content into categories and offer those as options? Otherwise, you seem to have all the options in your preference center on which you can deliver.

The E-mail Diva does not understand a model that limits your marketing messages to registered members. Since the cost of sending an additional e-mail is ridiculously low, why wouldn't you want to stay in regular contact with potential members as well? It is through this contact that you can build the relationships that turn prospects into customers. If you want to have exclusive benefits, you can still do so and proclaim them as such in the e-mail.

Good Luck!

The E-mail Diva

Send your questions or submit your e-mail for critique to Melinda Krueger, the E-mail Diva, at All submissions may be published; please indicate if you would like your name or company name withheld.

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