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If you overwhelm your customers with too many messages, you’re going to lose some of them. That’s where preference centers come in. These powerful solutions let users decide things for themselves—and help you create more meaningful communication.

With the rise of mobile, brands have more ways than ever to communicate with their customers. Timely push notifications, informative in-app messages, and email are just a few of the ways digital marketing teams keep today’s users engaged.

But with great messaging power comes great messaging responsibility. And if you overwhelm your customers with too much messaging, you’re going to lose some of them. After all, 78% of users will opt out of push notifications or uninstall the app completely if they’re getting too many unhelpful push notifications. If you aren’t careful, you could end up alienating a large portion of your customer base.

That’s where preference centers come in. These powerful solutions help customers decide for themselves how they want brands to communicate with them. They put power in the hands of users, so that you can establish a pattern of communication that works on their terms.

Getting Started With Preference Centers

Part of the power of preference centers is how simple they are. In short, a preference center is a page on your app and/or website that lets a user decide what sort of notifications and messages they’ll allow from your brand. The user’s response will let you know what channels, message types, and more they’re willing to receive, what subjects they want to learn more about, and how often they want to hear from your brand.

For instance, a news brand can use preference centers to let users specify which push notifications they wanted to receive during elections. Political junkies seeking up-to-the-minute election news could opt in for plenty of push notifications while more casual watchers could opt in for news about the races that interested them most. This strategy also ensures users in Ohio, for example, don't get inundated with news about a local congressional race in Colorado. They only receive the news that feels relevant to them—and aren’t annoyed with the app by the end of the cycle.

Preference Centers Ensure You Lose Fewer Customers

Now we know what you might be thinking: Don’t preference centers give users the ability to tune out your messaging? Couldn’t that completely ruin the effectiveness of your messaging campaign?

Not necessarily. The power of preference centers lies in their ability to appease dissatisfied customers. Instead of blasting someone with ten push notifications a week and tons of emails to the point that they uninstall your app, a preference center establishes respectful communication from day one. You may not get to message a user quite as much as you’d like. But you at least don’t risk completely losing the ability to message them at all. Most marketers would take that bargain any day.

The Path to Self-Personalization

You and your team likely put in a lot of time trying to understand what your customers respond to. You pore over open rates and run frequent A/B tests to get your messaging just right. And it’s all in service of a great experience that feels personalized to the user’s preferences.

Preference centers are another way to get to know what your customers want and deliver it to them. By letting customers choose exactly what they want to see, you ensure the messaging they receive is relevant. You don’t have to worry if every piece of content is personalized to that user, because the user is telling you what they are individually interested in receiving.

This is just one part of the considerate advertising experience. Messaging that’s attuned to a user’s preferences never feels annoying—because the user set the terms of the agreement from the start.

One Way to Get Started with Preference Centers

Say you decide you first want to build a preference center to help users decide which emails they want to receive from your brand. To do so, you’d simply create different Subscription Groups for each newsletter. Maybe one Subscription Group receives emails related to new promotions and deals. While another Subscription Group receives info about the newest items available in your online store. Each Group you create gets added to the Preference Center list. You can then fully customize the look of your Preference Center, then sync it using the Braze platform’s APIs.

When building your preference center, try not to overwhelm your users with options. Just a few messaging options to choose from is probably best. And remember that a preference center doesn’t have to be exclusive to the onboarding process. Brands that check in periodically with the option to tweak preferences do a lot to maintain a customer’s trust and let them know you’re always making their experience a top priority.

And it goes without saying, but make sure you actually respect your user’s preferences after they opt out of certain messaging. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Next Steps

With a phone in every customer’s pocket, digital marketers have endless opportunities to engage with their audience. Back in the day, the conversation a brand had with a customer ended after they logged off their computer, shut off their TV, or drove past a billboard (...yeah, we’re talking really low-tech advertising here).

Now the conversation never has to stop. But that doesn’t mean you can abuse that privilege. As our Mobile Marketing FAQs explains, engaging today’s users requires personalized messaging. You can’t just send a million push notifications and hope something sticks. You have to learn what your customers are looking for, then get to work engaging them in a memorable way. Preference centers are one simple, effective way to start building that meaningful customer relationship.