3 C's For Inbox Winning Preferences

ORIGINAL POST DATE 5/18/2018 | REVISED 2/04/2021

Gaining insight into your audience is a must. There are a number of ways to gather data on your audience from a highly robust DMP implementation to simple subscription settings in email communications. Today we are looking at how consent, control & context can turn your preference center into a customer experience dream and help you win subscriber inboxes.

Your preference center (yes, I said YOUR preference center. Don’t have one? Build one) can and should be so much more than just letting subscribers tell you which promotions or news headlines they want to receive from you. It is a key touchpoint you have to get to know the person behind the email and build a meaningful relationship with your subscribers.

Properly obtaining consent, handing control of the experience over to the subscriber and setting the stage for what you are sending can be the difference between an ROI email machine and just another email or cross-channel experience hitting the promo filter.


In today’s digital climate, consent and needing to obtain it is nothing ground breaking. The important thing to remember here is how you are asking for it. When getting consent from customers, be as forthcoming and clear as you can be. Treat this as your first opportunity to build a trusting relationship with your customer on your way to developing a loyal follower and engaged subscriber.

A great way to bolster how you are asking for consent is to provide a short explanation at the time a customer is giving you any information. Doing this on the front end AND in the footer of your communications explaining why someone is receiving it can go a long way in building trust with customers. You are letting them know that you both recognize the importance of giving out the information and exactly how you are going to be using it. The fewer surprises the better.

Laying your cards on the table across the board tells customers that you are not trying to take advantage of them. This also can act as a gut check for you internally to make sure that you have a reason for collecting the information you are asking for.


Handing the reigns over to your customers can be a scary thing… what if your customers do not see all of the great offers and things that are going on with your business?! … well, it may actually be a good thing. Giving customers control of where and how often they engage with a brand can have a positive lift on overall engagement and subscriber retention.

Your ability to give customers control over their experience is the next step to building a lasting… and better yet, loyal relationship. It tells customers that you are not looking to serve them meaningless content in hopes of driving volume to the bottom line, but that you actually do care about your mutual engagement with the brand.


We are going to consider context from a few different perspectives. First, as we noted in our commentary around consent, giving the customer/subscriber additional detail for each of their selections is key. One area this is very helpful and goes a long way in providing context for the customer is when you are asking them to select what types of communications they want to receive. Not all newsletters, promotions or industry insight emails are created equal. Give the customer detail on what each of these emails are used for and how often they are sent. Help them feel confident with the decisions they are making on what they want to receive.

Lastly, consider how you are going activate the data in your preference center to inform contextual content for your subscribers. Use these insights to begin changing your mindset around email and start delivering well informed communications to your subscribers and ditch the promotional driven batch and blast mentality.

Implementing a successful preference center is all about how much of the guess work you can take out of the ask. A winning approach that will put your email and cross channel efforts in position to work harder for the bottom line.

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