4 ways to improve prospect opt-in and opt-out

Managing opt-in and opt-out for your marketing lists, programs, and databases is often seen as tedious, annoying, and a necessary evil.

But it’s actually quite a useful, strategic exercise if done well.  If you set things up right, your prospects will help you out by segmenting themselves into topics of interest, degree of interest, or many other things you’d like to know about them.  There are also some pretty significant negative implications if you make it too hard for your prospects and customers to opt out.

Here are 4 ways to improve your prospects’ ability to opt in and out of your marketing efforts:

1. Theme-based choices.

Offer multiple theme-based list choices for opt-in, and allow prospects to edit their subscription preferences at any time.  The more control they have over what they want to receive and when, the more relevant your campaigns will be when they receive them.  Use these preferences as segment lists and build campaign content to suit each.

2. Prominent links from emails.

Include prominent, obvious links to managing email preferences and 1-click unsubscribe at both the top AND bottom of your email templates, or even in the sidebar. There’s no better time to capture updated email preferences than when you’re delivering an email!

3. Prominent links from website.

Make it easy to find your email preference center on your website, too. (this is ours if you want to see an example) Make it easy to see, and link to it or embed it anywhere that makes sense: Contact Us pages, in your Resource Center, etc.

4. Ask in other places where it’s top of mind.

Offer your opt-in/opt-out choices as an optional field in other web forms and pages. We include our main lists as an optional multi-select field on most of our short forms.  If you can pre-populate with existing preferences via your marketing automation tool, even better! It shows you take your prospect’s preferences seriously.

    What other tricks do you use to keep your prospect data current and valuable?  Or how horribly dirty is your data? Is it affecting your campaign effectiveness?  Share your tales in the comments below!