Why should marketers confirm email recipients' preferences?

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Email recipients' engagement is key to a high deliverability rate; and, to achieve positive engagement, email marketers should confirm preferences right away. Letting customers decide which types of email they receive and how often they receive them drives engagement. Internet service providers give priority to email that's highly desired by their communities. The last thing you want is for recipients to tune out your messages and, ultimately, opt out of your email list. So which preferences should you give recipients access to change? Here are a few:
  • Communication type. Is the recipient interested in newsletters or just promotions?
  • Content type. What type of information does he or she want to receive?
  • Frequency. How often does the recipient want to receive your emails?
  • Hiatus. Do you offer the option to temporarily suspend email delivery?
  • Communication channel. Does the recipient prefer postal mail? Cell phone? Email?
Include a link to the preferences page in a welcome email. In order to better engage your audience, offer the ability to join your social media channels on the preference settings page. Make sure to offer the option of “liking” you on Facebook or subscribing to your Twitter feed or YouTube channel. Use what you know about your recipients to tailor messages to them. Consider the obvious: A general sales announcement will likely lose to an offer of a 20% discount on new running shoes to an individual who previously purchased athletic wear. Marketers can also include a link for recipients to change their communication preferences in every email. Doing so means that some recipients might choose to reduce the frequency of emails instead of opting out altogether. John Murphy is president of ReachMail (, a provider of email marketing services, solutions and advertising.
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