Here’s a template for a simple subscription management system using Salesforce.com and Marketo.
Ultimately how you do this is based on your business, your audience, and what messaging you think they will want.
Step 1: Establish privacy rules internally as well as in compliance with CANSPAM and other local laws.
Step 2: Translate these rules into standard operating procedures for staff (Sales, Customer Service, and Marketing) and place these rules into your CRM.
Step 3: In your CRM, Create checkbox fields or Yes/No/Blank picklists corresponding to each channel, topic, or newsletter you intend to offer.
For example, Newsletter 1=T/F; Webinar Invitations=T/F and so on.
I prefer human readable fields using the Yes/No/Blank option in Salesforce. If you use this field option, your label can say “Newsletter Subscription: Yes” so it is clear to everyone.
Some marketers recommend offering Topics rather than specific emails or channels. That’s up to you. Personally, I like to know what I’m signing up for, so a Topic choice is less appealing. I’d much rather sign up for “Webinar Invitations” or “Special Events” than a topic on “China” because I’m not sure what I will get with “China.”
Step 4: Create corresponding SFDC Campaigns to each checkbox. Then add Member Status=Opted In/Opted Out with both set to Responded. Remove the other options. (Keep in mind you could create a Channel Tag called Subscriptions with similar progression statuses. Then you can control a Lead’s preferences using a Program.
I believe this link should be available from your Privacy page as well as from your email unsubscribe link. Make life easy for people; let people sign up as they please or you risk nasty emails and FTC complaints which could have been avoided.
Write clear copy explaining what the Lead can expect from each channel. For instance “Newsletter” is not as good as “Economics Newsletter Delivered Each Thursday”. Many recommend copy encouraging the Lead to stay on the lists.
You can also add a “throttle option” that enables Marketing Suspended for a period of time; or alternately, restricts the number and frequency of emails from your company.
Restricting the frequency or number of emails is a little harder to manage on the backend. For instance, at EIU, the company policy was to send no more than 2 promotional emails per month (this excluded opted-in content). To do this properly would require a clear naming scheme or counting system in the database.
Step 7: create one or more workflows which are triggered by a Fills Out Form on this page. If someone changes their Newsletter flag to “Yes” then the Change Campaign Member Status changes to “Opted-In” while changing Webinar Invitation to “No” changes their Member Status to “Opted-Out”.
Step 8: Setup standard Smart Lists based on the Opted-In/Out member status for each channel. Train your team to use these lists as part of their targeting efforts. Remember you can nest these lists with your Segmentations or Geographic lists.
Step 9: test this. A lot.
Step 10: Migrate your records to the new system using Marketo flow actions.
For instance if your previous system simply had Unsubscribe=True/False then you will need to invite your database to opt-in to each channel. (This is the only legal option).
If you had an existing series of fields, simply use a Marketo Flow action to move a checkbox=True to Newsletter=Yes along with the corresponding Change Campaign Member Status=Opted In.
Step 11: once you are ready to go live, add a link to this page on your Privacy page. Then go to Admin>Email and adjust the Unsubscribe links with the correct page URL.
Example Subscription Pages Using Marketo:
- Marketo’s Subscription Management Page – what people often look to as the template for doing this in Marketo.
- Economist Intelligence Unit Subscription Management – this is my basic system with a standard Marketo Form and Landing Page.
- Bersin’s Subscription Management Page – also a good example of using standard Marketo Forms and Pages.
- Useful LinkedIn discussion on Subscription Management
- Another useful LinkedIn Subscription Management discussion
- Marketo’s Email Deliverability Q&A and Webinar
- Technical Tips for Killer Deliverability (2012 Summit)
- Email Deliverability Checklist [pdf]
- A LinkedIn Discussion on deliverability
- ReturnPath – good resource on the technical aspects of deliverability
- SenderScore – find out more about your IP and domain score.