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Benefits Of A Website Preference Center

Posted on 1.03.2013

There are many elements to consider when designing a website to market your business, products or services. You want awesome creative and a design that will resonate with site visitors. And, of course, you must consider search engine optimization so that potential customers can find your site.

Chances are that you also developed ways to gather information from site visitors, such as signing up for an enewsletter. But have you considered the benefits of providing a preference center to enable customers and prospects to indicate their preferred means of communication or the products or services of interest?

Any commercial website can benefit from a preference center. Knowing the desired contact preferences of your customers and prospects will enable you to communicate with them in ways that are meaningful and relevant.

How does an online preference center work?

A preference center enables you to capture a consumer’s preferences for desired communication channels or message content. The idea is to provide a persistent preference center where prospects and customers can opt in to what they wish to receive about your company’s products or services. The simplest and most effective way is to offer an online preference center that makes it easy for your website visitors to express detailed opt-in and opt-out preferences based on product or contact method. The preference center provides your business with a centralized, single view of the site visitor’s preferences.

How can you design and organize your preference center?

Let’s say that your website sells sporting goods. You can set up preferences by sport — softball, soccer, golf, tennis, and so on. Then you can set up preferences by the communication channels that you offer — phone, email, catalog, text message. You can let consumers select whether they want to hear about new products, special promotions, clearance sales or all of the above. Finally, for communication channels, such as email and text messages, you can let the consumer choose the frequency in which they wish to receive messages from your company.

Without a preference center, you run the risk of an ever-shrinking marketing universe. When a consumer opts out of a communication channel and no other options are provided to opt into, that consumer falls out of the marketing mix altogether.

With a preference center, your customers can decide to change the frequency of communication or perhaps opt into a different marketing channel such as direct mail. You avoid losing contact with a prospect or customer by giving them the choice to receive your messages in the manner and frequency that they desire.

Establishing a persistent online preference center is a critical path for any commercial website — and for channels beyond email. By making the message relevant to the recipient, your business can provide personalized communications, build loyalty and help extend relationships. As you consider a preference center for your website, be sure to look for a technology solution that was built with consumer regulatory compliance and privacy management in mind.

About the Author: Scott Frey is the President and Chief Executive Officer at PossibleNOW, the leading provider of customer experience and preference management solutions. www.possiblenow.com.

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