When thinking about data and the customers’ journey, it can be quite cumbersome to wrap your head around all the do’s and don’ts. Let’s break subscription management for destination marketing organizations (DMOs) down into easy-to-chew bite-size pieces to understand what it means and why it’s essential to have this set up properly.

Subscription management is essentially the process of managing your customers’ subscriptions to ensure that their experience with your newsletter is a happy one. Let's be real — no one wants to subscribe to a newsletter that doesn’t cater to their interests or easily give them control over their subscriptions. It’s important they can manage how they receive emails from you and choose what content interests them.

4 Benefits of Subscription Management

Listicle 1 - Update Increased engagement with email campaigns (more opens, more clicks, and more conversions)

Listicle 2 - Update Decrease in unsubscribe rate

Listicle 3 - Update More control over the data 

Listicle 4 - Update Your contacts will have more control over their subscriptions

You’re probably thinking, “Does this need to be complex?” Honestly, no, it doesn't. In its most basic implementation, contacts are either subscribed or unsubscribed — meaning they want to hear from you or they don’t. However, suppose you’re managing and offering more than one newsletter to different groups of contacts (i.e., Consumers, Sports, Meeting Planners). In that case, you want to be sure that when someone updates their subscriptions, these align with the subscription options on your website.

Your Questions, Answered

Your marketing automation experts are here to help DMOs understand subscription management, so let's dive into some of the most frequently asked questions we tackle:

blue Q What is an email subscription preference page?

An email preference page allows contacts to update their subscriptions. It should link from the footer section of your emails. 

blue Q What sets the subscription preference page apart from an “unsubscribe” page?

Subscription pages allow contacts to update their contact profile, not just unsubscribe.

blue Q What happens if you ignore your contacts’ subscription and profile preferences?  

They end up unhappy and unsubscribe altogether!

blue Q What happens when your email subscriptions don’t align with your newsletter sign-up form on your website? 

When your data isn’t aligned, accurate, or easy to manage, it could result in unsubscribes or sending emails to someone who didn’t subscribe to receive that communication from you.

A benefit of having accurate and up-to-date contact information is that you can better target messages and utilize dynamic content. Seeing as how email preferences are still rudimentary despite industry maturity, an unsubscribe just doesn't cut it most of the time, especially if you don’t want to lose the contact altogether.

It’s also a good idea to describe the type of information that will be sent along with how often when setting up your subscription preferences (or interests) since 34% of contacts surveyed about their reasons for unsubscribing said that they unsubscribed because emails came too frequently. To prevent 34% of your contacts from unsubscribing, make sure you set up and adhere to an effective email cadence.

Remember to promote valuable and relevant content and links that subscribers will find appealing in your email campaigns.

Key Considerations When Developing Your Strategy

As you set up your email subscription preference strategy, here are four key considerations: 

Listicle 1 - Update Changing subscription preferences for your contact list — Your subscriber should be able to manage their subscriptions independently. Administrators should also be able to update them manually or use a bulk update process. This is where matching your subscription options to your form subscription posted on your website is important. 

​Note: If you’re using Simpleview CRM that integrates with Act-On, you can find the contact by email and remove or add interests, contact tags, or user-defined fields (UDFs) for that subscription. Having your subscription names set up properly in your subscription management center will make it easy to locate those names (i.e., tags, UDFs) when making updates on a contact level in CRM. If you need to send the list for a large update within the CRM, the developers need to have this aligned so they can create a script using these identifiers to map those updates to. If they aren’t aligned, you may need to work with an analyst to get your data set up and aligned for a seamless process for updates in the future.

Listicle 2 - Update Maintaining subscription updates and sending to the correct lists — If users unsubscribe, their preferences should be maintained unless they manually update. This keeps you compliant with current laws and regulations. In addition, it’s crucial that you send the proper communication to the correct recipients. Remember that just because someone has opted into email communications from you, it doesn’t mean they’re opting into everything.

Listicle 3 - Update Subscription names should answer the following three questions — What? When? Why?

Listicle 4 - Update Subscription options — The more subscription options, the better. More choices reduce the likelihood of them unsubscribing from everything. Additionally, it allows you to better target your list with matching content and email personalization. Emails that include relevant content are always more likely to be clicked and interacted with, and receiving irrelevant content is one of the most common reasons why contacts unsubscribe.

I’ll end this article by emphasizing that subscription preference management goes far beyond just "subscribe" or "unsubscribe.” It’s intended to provide a good user experience, which will, in turn, result in an engaged and loyal subscriber base.