Email is the foundation of marketing automation, thus keeping your list active and opted-in is a critical task. New Marketo users (and even experienced ones) need Subscription Management built in to their instance.
Building a subscription management system will increase your active and marketable database as well as help you stay compliant with local privacy laws.
References to legal situations are not intended as legal advice. Seek counsel in your jurisdiction.
One of Marketo’s key advantages for the marketer is the ability to integrate and manage contact preferences for all modes of communications, marketing channels, and more. Many of my clients request help creating subscription management workflows to graduate from the universal Unsubscribe to a system where the Lead can select the type, mode, and frequency of communication from their firms.
Developing a system from scratch can be fairly simple or fairly hard. More complicated workflows will require an SFDC Administrator and possibly your web programmer, depending on your needs.
There are 7 components to building a successful subscription management system.
- Privacy and Communication Policy
- Subscriptions and Communication Channels
- Database Fields and Campaigns
- Marketo Lists
- Marketo Form
- Marketo Page
- Marketo Workflows
What is Subscription Management?
Subscription Management is a replacement for the standard “unsubscribe page” that is required by most jurisdictions, and in the United States under the CANSPAM rules. Instead of letting people opt-out entirely from your list, you invite them to subscribe to the communication types and channels they want. This nicely follows the Golden Rule while ensuring you comply with the law.
“Offer subscription management to your audience: it’s how they want to be treated.”
Now take the following steps to develop your working Subscription Management page in Marketo.
1. Privacy and Communication Policy
You should have a policy clearly explaining to your audience how you will communicate with them, when, and for what, while providing the option for your audience to change those methods.
2. Subscriptions and Communication Channels
Which channels do you currently use to reach your audience? Are you sure those are the right ones? Make sure you create a nice grid describing the Channels and the Content or subscriptions available through those channels. You will need this understanding to program the system correctly.
3. Database Fields and Campaigns
Once you have your grid, you can then update the fields, checkboxes, and SFDC Campaigns necessary to drive the entire system. If you don’t already keep track of certain channels or subscription content, here’s your chance to upgrade your system.
4. Marketo Lists
Now create the relevant Marketo Smart Lists and Static Lists corresponding to each channel+subscription for both opted-in and opted-out Leads.
5. Marketo Form
Now create a corresponding Subscription Management Form with the proper fields and data you need to collect. Remember to make Email Address mandatory. Also make sure that your default options are Blank. It is now against the law in Canada to “pre-check” the opted-in status, so I recommend letting the Lead choose what they want and avoid pre-seeding their mind.
6. Marketo Page
Of course, you will need a Marketo landing page to place the form on. If you can, you might consider pre-filling the form with the current preferences. Make sure the confirmation page shows the selected preferences if you can.
7. Marketo Workflows
Now you need to program the logic into Marketo using the proper Data Value Changes triggers to modify SFDC Campaign Member Statuses which ensure you have a clear opted-in and opted-out list which is updated instantaneously.
How Do You Build Subscription Management in Marketo?
You might check out my other post on building subscription management in Marketo. My upcoming Subscription Management chapter will provide exquisite detail on building a system as well.
Marketo often recommends a double opt-in process where a lead subscribes to your list, then receives a follow up email asking them to click a link to confirm their subscription. This process avoids improper prank sign ups as well as demonstrates the Lead’s engagement by having them take a positive action. Creating such a system in Marketo isn’t too hard, but it isn’t obvious either. That’s why I am sharing an excerpt from the Subscription Management chapter here, just on the double opt-in process.
Download the special double opt-in system example on Additional Tips & Tricks for Subscription Management in Marketo [PDF]
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[Updated: Jan 6, 2018 typos and bad links]