Los Angeles SkylineOn October 22, I was delighted to co-lead the first Marketo Virtual User Group with my co-leader Madhu Gulati. Since Los Angeles is a large area with lots of traffic, we thought it would be great to offer everyone the LA area a chance to learn about one of my favorite topics, Subscription Management.

I will summarize our presentation and I invite you to the next LA Virtual User Group on December 4 (registration page will be up soon).

Subscription Management is a replacement for the standard “unsubscribe page” that is required by most jurisdictions, and in the United States under the CANSPAM rules. Instead of letting people opt-out entirely from your list, you invite them to subscribe to the communication types and channels they want. This nicely follows the Golden Rule while ensuring you comply with the law.

The Key Elements of a Subscription Center, or Email Preference Center, are:

  1. Give control of communications to your audience.
  2. Be able to share relevant, wanted messages with your audience.
  3. Reduce the unsubscribe rate by providing alternatives.

What are those alternatives to unsubscribing?

In Marketo, the default system is set to ask someone to Unsubscribe entirely. This sets their Unsubscribe flag to TRUE. Once that happens, you can never email that address again unless the person re-subscribes.

So what you want to do, as Madhu put it, is make them an offer they cannot refuse. Instead of “unsubscribing,” you offer “Manage Your Preferences.” Now, you still do have to offer a quick opt-out option, and it is easy to get people to focus on the preferences.

When you think about how your preference center should be setup, you should consider these items:

  • Your Audience – who are they and where are they? Legal jurisdiction may matter.
  • Frequency of communication – each week? every day? What does your audience expect from you?
  • Communication channels like email, SMS, phone, mail, etc.
  • Type of Message: blog, invitation, text, mail, phone calls, etc.

This way you can build the appropriate fields and subscription page for your audience. These options now let you easily select the leads who desire the relevant message in the right mode of communication, and at the right time. I believe in sending messages only to the people who want them and expect them. In fact, having a good subscription management system will help you maintain a better email reputation because your unsubscribes and spam flags will go down, precisely because leads only receive what they requested.

How do you set up a system in Marketo?

Great question! It is usually pretty easy as long as you took the time to plan it out as I suggested above. Here are the basic components from my Subscription Management Tips.

  • Subscription media (newsletters, webinars, etc)
  • Channels (sms, phone, email, etc)
  • Database fields in CRM and Marketo
  • Marketo Smart Lists and Static Lists
  • Marketo Form – Subscription Management
  • Marketo Page – for the form and to link to in your email footers and privacy page.
  • Marketo workflows – you will need to add people to Lists and set their preferences if they Unsubscribe All.

Here are other resources for you:

Here are the slides:

Image Credit: USDA