Subscription Management for Email Lists 

 April 27, 2020

Regardless of your email marketing tool, subscription management is a critical component of your account setup.

Subscription management allows for your contacts to pick and choose what communication they want, and do not want, to receive.

This often overlooked component of your account have detrimental impacts on your stats, when not used properly.

In this blog, I’ll go over four key strategies for implementing subscription management with your list.

What is Subscription Management?

Subscription management is the strategy behind your email marketing that allows a contact to opt-in/out of different email campaigns.

Regardless of your list size, subscription management is extremely important in ensuring that your contacts receive the information they want when they want it.

Without a subscription management strategy in place for your contacts you are more likely to experience spam complaints, delivery outside of the inbox, and reduced open and click rates.

From SmartInsights.com, offer choice in communications preferences to the customer to ensure more relevant communications. Some customers may not want a weekly e-newsletter, rather they may only want to hear about new product releases. Remember opt-in is a legal requirement in most countries.

Subscription Preference Forms are Simple to Implement

In order to get started with subscription management for your email marketing platform, you will need to determine how you want your contacts to manage their preferences:

  • by list: contacts can subscribe/unsubscribe to different lists such as your weekly blog, customer only communications, and special offers and promotions.
  • by type/topic: contacts can subscribe/unsubscribe to different types of emails or topics within a single list.
  • by time/frequency: contacts can identify the timing of when they receive emails such as daily, weekly, or monthly.

Four Ways to Setup Subscription Preferences

Example 1: Communication Types

The Communication Types form, is the broadest method of subscription management. This form, allows users to select the lists they they are subscribed too.

Subscription preferences by list
With this subscription management form you are subscribing or unsubscribing contacts from a list.

This format is best used when you are just beginning to grow your audience and just beginning to create a weekly content strategy.

Subscription form preferences by list.
Example subscription form that is based on individual lists.

Example 2: Interest Type

The Interest Type form, allows your contacts to select the categories of communications they receive from your, within a given list.

Subscription preferences by topic
Subscription preferences by topic

For example, your Weekly Blog and Other Free Content list may send out content in four different categories. Using this form, contacts can select what categories they receive emails on.

With this subscription management form you add a tag to a contact based on their preferences that allows you to segment your list when sending an email campaign.

This format is best used when you have a steady content stream and are able to email out content on each topic at least once/week.

Example 3: Frequency Type

The Frequency Type form, allows your contacts to select the frequency of communications they receive from you, within a given list.

Subscription form by frequency
Subscription preferences by frequency

For example, if you are emailing out three new blog posts each week, you will want to allow your subscribers a choice between receiving them daily, weekly, or even as a monthly digest.

With this subscription management form you add a tag to a contact based on their preferences that allows you to segment your list when sending an email campaign.

This format is best used when you are sending content out to a list at least once/week.

Subscription preferences form by frequency along with an unsubscribe
Subscription preferences by frequency
Subscription management by frequency
Subscription preferences by frequency

Example subscription forms that allows a contact to completely unsubscribe or select email time preference.

Example 3: Combination Form

The Combination Type form allows your contacts to make multiple selections from a single form.

Form example by topic and frequency
Subscription preferences by topic and frequency

For example, this can be used to select a topic area along with a delivery frequency.

With this subscription management form you add a tag to a contact based on their topic and frequency.

In addition, you leverage conditional content to display content in your digest emails based on the selected preferences of the contact.

This format is best used when you have a high performing list, with a consistent content stream and are able to email out content multiple times a week.

Where to Start with Subscription Management

If you are just getting started moving beyond the basic unsubscribe action on your emails, start with Communications Types form. It is the easiest to implement and the least challenging to maintain because there is no list segmentation invovled.

As you further develop your content strategy and segmentation tactics you can further develop out your subscription management forms.

It’s Your Turn

Setup subscription management for your email marketing platform and share a link below!

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Lindsay Kirsch
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