I just stumbled across one of the more impressive email marketing programs. Not surprisingly, it's from Amazon.com. Of course, I've been getting Amazon's regular "You might also be interested in ..." messages for years, but this is something different. It's called "Amazon Delivers."
Last week, Amazon sent me an email saying that my regular purchase of DVDs indicated that I might also want a monthly newsletter on the latest and upcoming DVD releases. For me, that's a no-brainer so I clicked.
Boom. I was in the middle of one of the most sophisticated preference centers I'd ever seen. (I actually had to log in first.) In the right corner of the screen was the total number of my email subscriptions (zero at that point, but it was about to change). The main area of the screen listed the subscriptions for which I had signed up, including a description of the newsletter, its frequency, and when I signed up for it. I quickly found myself with a monthly DVD release newsletter, a monthly electronics bargain newsletter and a monthly "early adopters" newsletter.
Selecting the newsletters was cool, but a bit techy. Listed were 17-18 categories with a plus ("+") sign next to each one. By clicking a category, I could see all the newsletters in that category, as well as how often they're sent. By clicking the subscribe button next to a selected newsletter, I could add that newsletter to my subscriptions, and Voila! Unsubscribing is just as easy. The initial list has an unsubscribe button next to each subscription. Click it and you're off.
Notably, the first newsletter for which I signed up required a double-opt-in. According to Amazon's help page, this is to verify my email address. Amazon did tell me that a message would appear shortly in my inbox, but neglected to advise me to add the sender to my white list or address book. (The verification itself didn't ask me either, but hey, who's perfect?). Each of my subsequent subscriptions resulted in a confirmation message but no more double-opt-ins.
In a perfect world, Amazon would have given me the option of receiving my subscriptions via RSS, and it would have had better samples of what I would be subscribing to.
All-in-all, though, this is a great program... at least for me. It got me to sign up to receive three more, purely-promotional newsletters in my already-crowded inbox, and that says a lot. I'd love to hear from other folks that have tried this. Is this kind of preference center the way to go in the future?