Give people a chance to share their preferences, make it simple

The funnel preference data to your content team

A well constructed Subscription and Preference Centre delivers a much richer CX and serves as a guide to your Content Marketing Strategy.

Over recent months I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of clients to help them build a Subscription & Preference Centre. The process is much the same, but it varies greatly depending on the size of the business.

All of my clients are using Oracle Marketing Cloud Eloqua, so their options are infinite in relation to how they want to do it.

The one consistent objective is to deliver an outstanding customer experience or CX. The process below is generally how I would approach this conversation with people.

What does Eloqua Provide Out-of-the-box?

“The Subscription Manage Page is a page allowing your contacts to subscribe to and unsubscribe from email groups. Any email group set up to be included in the Subscription Management Page appears on the page. The page also includes an option to unsubscribe from all emails. If a contact unsubscribes to a group, the changes are immediate.”

This out-of-the-box functionality is common to all editions of Eloqua, Basic, Standard & Enterprise. This is not an “add-on”.

Know your Audience

The first step is to have clarity around your audience, who are you talking to and who’s interested in what you have to offer?

Part of this process is knowing where your buyer “hang outs”. Are they on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or somewhere else?

Begin the process early, the sooner you can invite people to share their preferences, the sooner you can begin to tailor their journey with relevant content.

Audience considerations:

  • Should you have an industry focus?
  • Are covering multiple geographies, countries and languages?
  • Will the preferences you capture be visible in the CRM or a platform other than Eloqua?

Define your Subscriptions

In the Eloqua world, a “subscription” typically equals an Email Group

Email groups allow you to configure default settings for similar emails, including default headers, footers, and subscription management options.

If you regularly send brochures and event emails, each of these types of messages can have their own default settings. This makes design and deployment easier for your organisation.

Having an email group defined for each type of email makes it easier to manage and provide customised unsubscribe options instead of simply defaulting to the global unsubscribe list.

Things to consider about your subscriptions:

You need to find a balance between too few and far too many email groups/subscriptions.

Too few and it’s difficult to determine which email group to assign to each of your various campaigns. 

Too many and it’s confusing for your audience. 

Over the years I’ve seen most clients arrive at between six to twelve subscriptions.

Offer Preference choice

Preferences could also be seen as “interests”. It’s a way for you to list various topics that relate to your core business/organisation offerings and invite to people to express their interest.

By providing a mix of subscriptions and preferences you hopefully arrive at a situation where you have a good range of options to segment by on order to reach people. 

You want to avoid offering such a broad and deep set of preferences that you back yourself into a corner where can’t email people a mix of what they want and what you want to send them.

By mixing your subscriptions and the e.g. preferences shown here, you have a baseline for your segmentation.

For example, you may offer a subscription for “Events”. Then, based on your organisation and your products and/or services, you might offer a range of preferences like:

  • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning
  • Sales & Marketing Alignment
  • Marketing Automation
  • Data Analytics
  • Customer Journey Mapping
  • Customer Experience

If you’re running an event focussed on Customer Experience, you invite people “subscribed” to Events and those who have expressed “interest” in Customer Experience.

In summary

The key to building your preference & subscription centre is to create something that is engaging, simple for people to use and clear about what you’re offering.

The team and I at work built a preference & subscription centre to encourage net-new people to subscribe to Marketing Cube campaigns and to also share their preferences. Click here and give it a go.

Hero Photo by Sylvia Yang on Unsplash