Email preference centers are a secret weapon for email marketers. Just when you think you may have lost your subscriber’s interest forever, you have a chance to put them back in the driver’s seat…and back in your good graces.

Why You Need a Preference Center

Every white hat sender should implement a preference center for their email program. When a new subscriber signs up for your list, ask them then and there how much they want to hear from you and about what content. Asking this up front establishes a trust between sender and recipient. It’s the perfect way to start off an email relationship.

But what if a user doesn’t set their preferences and you start to see their engagement decline? Consider sending an email like this stellar one from Henri Bendel.

A Perfect Example

Henri Bendel realized that I wasn’t engaging with my emails as much as I had previously, so they sent me this upbeat email that basically says “Hey, we get it, you’re busy. Let’s get our sending frequency on a schedule that works best of you.” Love it. They’re speaking my language and they anticipated the exact communication I wanted to hear from them. The emotional appeal is great and the CTA is direct and effective.

I also like that they offer up a secondary CTA—if I decide to limit the amount of emails I receive from them, I still have the option of interacting with their brand via social.

I love it when brands put me in control of my inbox, and Henri Bendel did just that with this re-engagement email. They don’t want to lose me as a subscriber, so they smartly got in touch to ask me to set my preferences. And not only do they ask me to determine how frequently I want to be emailed, but they also give me the option to unsubscribe altogether.


Remember having a non-engager on your email list is worse than not having them on your list at all. Quality over quantity!

Key takeaways:

  • Start off on the right foot: Allow your recipients to set their email preferences with you at the point of sign up.
  • Closely monitor your engagement metrics: If you see a decrease in engagement from your subscribers, ask them to set their preferences.
  • Keep your ask short: If you’re already seeing decreasing engagement from your subscriber, recognize that their time is valuable and get to the point quickly.
  • Make unsubscribing an option: If your subscriber continues to not engage with your emails, unsubscribe them. Their non-action is telling you all you need to know.

For more tips on how to keep and grow an engaged subscriber list, check out our guide: How to Authentically Grow Your Email List

As Twilio SendGrid's Sr. Director of Content, Jillian is responsible for ensuring that SendGrid provides valuable thought leadership content through the blog, whitepapers, webcasts, and more. When not writing and editing, you can find Jillian frequenting Denver restaurants in search of the best queso.