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Top Tips for Preference Centre Success

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by: Richard Evans (@rlevans)
23 January 2012

The start of any good relationship requires listening to, appreciating and acting on the preferences and interests of another person. The start of a successful email marketing relationship isn’t any different.

Preference centres are one of many email marketing topics that draw a wide range of responses from practitioners and pundits alike. Some, like me, find a great deal of value in them, while others feel that while good in theory, they aren’t quite as good in practice.

Here are my thoughts on why preference centres do matter—now more than ever. And below, you’ll find 31 tips for creating a world-class preference centre of your own.

Why build a preference centre? To me, email marketers should employ preference centres to accomplish the following three goals, in order of priority:

  • Give more power and control to subscribers.
  • Drive higher relevance and greater personalisation.
  • Help divert unsubscribes and reduce list churn.

I believe preference centres are particularly essentially today, primarily due to the fact that the variety of channels through which we “touch” our customers and prospects is more diverse than ever. And with that diversity comes a shift in consumers’ desires to have increased control over how they are being marketed to in these channels.

Here are five reasons why preference centres matter now more than ever:

  • With email, social, mobile, your website and more, there are more channels available to your customers than in the past.
  • Increasing engagement and interaction with messages now has the potential to improve delivery and inbox placement. Relevant messages, tuned to the preferences of the recipient, have a higher likelihood of achieving this level of engagement.
  • Consumers expect greater control over their relationship with your brand and the marketing messages they receive.
  • Having a central facility to manage all touch points with the customer helps improve cross-channel marketing efforts and improves the likelihood that you’ll deliver the right message to the right channel.
  • By providing alternatives to unsubscribing such as snoozing or changing mailing frequency, and by providing improved change-of-address facilities, you can reduce overall list churn.

Interested in learning more about the specific tactics that go into building a world-class preference centre? Have a look at this presentation, which highlights 31 tips for doing just that—through the lens of real-world email marketing examples.

Where do you stand on the topic of preference centres? Let me know in the comments below.


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