If you’ve been a SendGrid Blog subscriber for a while, you have probably read the mantra, “Send the right email, at the right time, to the right person, with the right frequency.” It’s easy to remember and helps our customers send wanted (and in many cases, loved) email to their subscribers.

But it’s inevitable that some of your recipients might fall out of love with your email or start to feel some email fatigue (with the average person receiving up to 100 emails/day it’s no surprise!)! No matter how helpful your content is or how impressive and creative your templates are, unsubscribes are just a fact of life in the email marketing world.

Even though it’s sad to say “goodbye,” every world-class email program has one thing in common: an easy to use unsubscribe feature. Having an unsubscribe feature is mandated by law in most countries, but recently we’ve seen even more marketers providing an even more powerful tool to manage emails with their recipients: preference centers.

An email preference center is so powerful because it gives your subscriber an option other than removing themselves completely from your marketing list. Keeping marketable leads in the mix is a win for your business and, more importantly, it’s an overall better experience for your subscribers. There are three common kinds of preference centers broken down below.

Time-based preference centers

This type of preference center give your subscribers the option to receive email less often, on a specific cadence, or a chance to take a set break from receiving email for a set amount time. West Elm has a great time-based preference center.

You can see that they give their subscribers the option to opt-in to email, slow their email cadence, to take a 90-day break from email altogether, and finally the option to unsubscribe.

Content-based preference centers

Where time-based preference centers help your subscribers pick the cadence at which they receive your email, a content-based preference center lets them pick the types of communication that they do or do not want you to send them. NextDoor provides content-based preference page that includes the option to receive all, some, or custom email updates.

NextDoor breaks communication down by the categories their users post in on their site and let subscribers choose all, some, or just the categories that are important to them.

Time and content-based hybrid preference centers

Hybrid preference centers break out preferences by both time and content types.  This is the format that SendGrid’s own preference center uses.

We first give subscribers an easy way to unsubscribe altogether, pause marketing emails from us all together for 90 days, and finally, offer them the choice to “customize” the content in the email we send to them. If you’re not familiar with our emails, our content covers a wide range of topics such as email best practices, product updates, and customer newsletters–so lots of options for customizing.

Since SendGrid started using a preference center instead of a single option to unsubscribe, we have been monitoring things closely and the results are positive.

The preference center has caused a 20% drop in total unsubscribes from our email program.

This shows that while someone might need a breather from our email, or just might not want to learn more about new SendGrid products, they do value some marketing communication from us and would otherwise not be able to receive it with a simple unsubscribe page.

If you are a SendGrid Marketing Campaigns customer and are looking for an easy way to get started with a preference center, take a look at setting up various content groups with our Unsubscribe Groups function. Unsubscribe groups are a great way to help your customers pick the content that they don’t want to receive. Remember to let your recipients decide how much email they receive from you and you should see a rise in engagement!



Ellie Johnson

Ellie is SendGrid’s Marketing Operations Associate. She works closely with customers to make sure that they’re getting the most out of their SendGrid experience. As an email veteran, Ellie enjoys testing strategies in SendGrid’s own email program, so she can bring the latest best practices to our customers. A Colorado native, you can find Ellie exploring the mountains year-round or enjoying live shows across Denver and Boulder.