Set up a subscriber preferences management page

1. Create a spreadsheet with columns for Type of communication, Friendly name, and Field name, and fill it with all the categories of marketing communications to include in your preferences management page.

In the Type of communication column, list the types of marketing messages that you want to allow your subscribers to opt-in or opt-out of, such as: Ongoing Promotional Emails Daily Newsletter Weekly Newsletter Monthly Newsletter Holiday Specials Flash Sales New Product Launch Emails In the Friendly name column, enter a name for each category that will help your users to understand exactly what type of emails are included. For example, Weekly Friday Newsletter Sent at 12 Noon EST gives a good amount of information; sublist1_weekly_eml gives very little.  

2. Edit the master subscriber list in your email service provider to add custom fields for each type of marketing communication.

Open the Settings section of your master subscriber list in your email service provider (ESP). Add a custom field with Checkbox type for each type in your list that you created above and set each field to be publicly visible. Use descriptive names with no spaces that your team can easily recognize. For example, use weekly_newsletter_fri_12_noon_est field name for the Weekly Friday Newsletter, Sent at 12Noon EST category. Add this field name to your spreadsheet, in the Field Name column.

3. Create a segment for each type of marketing communication and link each to its corresponding custom field.

Open the Segments section of your ESP, create a new segment, and set up a rule for the new segment. Enable the corresponding custom field in the master subscriber list: set it to True or Checked, depending on your ESP’s terminology. Enter a unique segment name in this format: Type of Email + Subscribers. For example, use the name Weekly Friday Newsletter Subscribers for subscribers who have opted in to your weekly newsletter. Save the segment. Instruct your marketing operations team to use the spreadsheet and your segments to determine who receives each type of email.

4. Create a preferences management form in your ESP and customize it to suit your branding.

Open the custom forms section for the master list. Choose an Edit Subscription Preferences form. By default, your ESP will show all available fields in the master list. Uncheck all fields that you do not want your users to view or edit. For example, Source of lead or Signup date. If your ESP allows customization of the forms, make changes to the background color and upload your logo. Save the form and copy the form URL.

5. Test the form by viewing it in your browser and changing your subscription settings, then checking the segments that your email address now belongs to in the master subscriber list.

Open the master list in your ESP. Check that the email address and the preferences you selected have been saved in the database.

6. Insert the link in your email template footer.

Open the settings for Merge Tags in your ESP. Select the tag for Update Preferences or Manage your preferences. Insert the tag in the footer section of your email template. Send a test email to the email address you tested earlier. Click on the new link in the email you receive. Change the preferences to different settings to what you saved earlier and submit the form. Login to your ESP and check that your data has been saved.