Personalization is key to any email strategy. That’s why you have to take every opportunity to get to know your customers beyond a simple click. Take a moment to profile your customers and collect relevant data points that will help you customize the user experience.

To get started, create a preference center. A preference center provides a centralized location for customers to manage and update their information. This can include the basics like name, subscription, and email address, or you can expand to mailing address for location-based communications or interest categories to send more targeted messages. The key here is to only collect data that you will actually use. Remember, it’s okay to start small. As your capabilities to provide customized content become more sophisticated and/or important to your business, you can ask your customers for more information.

Also, include links to your preference center in every email you send especially since it serves as a great alternative to unsubscribing. Instead of hitting the spam or unsubscribe button, a preference center gives subscribers the power to decrease frequency, change the type of email they receive, or modify their interest categories in order to receive more relevant messages from you. Check out how outdoor retailer REI asks customers to help them maintain a healthy database.

REI Preferences Email


  • Clear Subject Line: “What are your favorite outdoor activities?” For subscribers who just signed up to receive mail from an outdoor sporting goods store, this catches their eye–hook, line, and sinker. It’s personal and will encourage the subscriber to provide this information if they want help identifying what’s right for them.
  • Strong Branding: Beyond the logo, REI incorporates the outdoor theme in their email through strong imagery and reiterates their value near the footer with 100% satisfaction guarantee and membership rewards. Together, this sends a powerful message about how they treat the customer relationship.
  • Strong Call to Action: REI wants one thing – to get to know you better. Therefore, they include one prominent button to update your preferences backed by smart copy that invites you to “custom-fit’ your Gearmail.

REI Preference Center


Thumbs up to REI for creating an effective marketing email that has high transactional value. While serving a dual purpose as a list hygiene tool, this email is a great way to ensure your customers continue to receive high value content by involving them in the process.

Find out more about how you can fine tune your transactional email program by downloading  our free guide: Leveraging Transactional Email for Success.

Carly Brantz
With more than 15 years of experience, Carly Brantz is an email deliverability and inbound marketing veteran. As the VP of Revenue Marketing at SendGrid, Carly empowers her team to transform marketing from a cost center to a revenue generator. With a key focus on funnel optimization, Carly leads the team responsible for content creation, lead nurturing, SEO/SEM, and website optimization. An accomplished speaker, Carly shares her email delivery and revenue marketing tactics as a headline speaker on SendGrid’s international roadshow as well as other Marketing conferences.