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O'Reilly Media streamlines email preference center, boosts results

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O'Reilly Media serves the technology industry, publishing books as well as holding conferences, offering online courses and producing downloadable videos. Email plays a large part in the company's promotion and sales process. Prior to February, the company had an email marketing preference center that it designed and maintained. The center, which lived on the O'Reilly site, was password-protected, making the signup process arduous, said Laura Adair, senior manager-online group at O'Reilly. “We needed to reduce the barrier to signup,” she said. “We also knew just by having [the signup] behind a login prevented us from having signup widgets or quick forms on our site.” Instead of a button or link, people had to click through to a login and then move through to the preference center. Hoping to streamline the process and boost its email signups, the company hired email and digital marketing provider iPost to redesign its preference center. IPost hosts the form and maintains its email lists. Today, the preference center, which incorporates the same colors and fonts as O'Reilly's main site, has a dedicated URL on the company's site. In addition, there's a simple box on the home page where people can sign up for a newsletter by inputting their email address. “You can opt in, but you also get the option to sign up for additional links,” Adair said. Another change: a link to the company's privacy policy at the top of the preference center. “It reassures customers and sets expectations so they understand how we will use their information once they sign up,” she said. O'Reilly's new preference center debuted in February. Before the launch, month-over-month subscriber growth averaged 2.11%; since then, that number has been 3.00%, or a 42.1% percentage improvement. The overall subscriber growth since the launch has been 15.97%. Adair said she expects to add Facebook Connect to the preference center by the end of this year. This should also help to boost subscriber signup, she said. “We'll be able to say, "Hey, 14 of your friends have signed up,' ” Adair said.
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