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Manage subscription preferences

Giving your recipients access to edit their subscription details makes it easy for them to modify how you interact with them. For example, when someone is considering unsubscribing, it might be because they'd prefer it if you didn't send so many emails. Or maybe they like your event reminder emails, but don't want the product updates.

If you can encourage your contacts to provide these kind of preferences, it will help to keep them on your mailing list. It also means you don't have to update contact records for them.

Access to manage preferences

All Emma accounts include a default signup form, which doubles as the "Manage your preferences" form, linked to from the footer of email templates. When you send a mailing, recipients can click "Manage" to update their personal details or change subscription settings:

A standard email template footer containing the manage preferences link

The form fields and options for manage preferences are identical to what's on your signup form. The only thing that changes when someone clicks "Manage" is the form description, which is automatically changed from whatever is used in your signup form description, to: “Update your contact information and email preferences using the options below.”

You can encourage people to update their preferences by sending a manage preferences campaign.

Preference settings and subscription details

As mentioned above, your signup form doubles as your manage preferences form. If you have not customized the signup form in any way, your manage preferences form will only include an "Email" field for contacts to update their mailing address:


By providing more options, you put your subscribers in charge of the relationship, which helps to show that you value their input, and care about sending content they're actually interested in.

Below is some advice on how to collect useful data through the form, and what to do with it.

Email frequency

Avoid email marketing fatigue, and reduce opt-outs, by giving your contacts the option to choose how often they hear from you. For example, daily, weekly, or monthly.

We recommend setting up a contact field for this preference. Choose either “Drop down menu” or “Radio button menu” as the contact field type, because these multi-option fields allow only one option to be selected.


After the contact field has been created, follow our instructions to add it to your form.

To start sending to your contacts based on their preferred frequency learn how to create a frequency segment.

Contact data

Contact fields can be used to collect all kinds of information. The more you know about your audience, the easier it is to send more relevant and personalized messages that get results. For example, if you know your contacts' city or company name, you can use that to add personalization to a mailing, either in the body copy of the email, or the subject line.

Data stored in contact fields can also be used to create segments, allowing you to send more personalized content to specific groups of people, based on common traits or demographic data.


Another way to send more relevant content to your contacts, is to ask them what they're interested in. You can do this by creating audience groups, then making them available to your contacts to join.

To do so, add the groups to your form, and select the "Display" checkbox to make them visible. The groups will be displayed below the title "I'm interested in", as shown here:

Interest groups: graphic design, photography, print and textiles

Send a manage preferences campaign

Some recipients will never scroll to the footer of an email to read its contents, so they may not know it's possible to update their subscription details. You can let them know about it by sending a "manage preferences campaign" to point people to the form.

This is also an opportunity to let your contacts know that you want to learn more about them, and their interests, so you can send the kind of emails they'll look forward to.

As mentioned earlier, your signup form doubles as your manage preferences form. If you have multiple signup forms, make sure you select the right one when finalizing your sender and recipient details for a mailing.

To link to the manage preferences form from the body copy of an email, use this tag: [% manage_url %]

When the email is sent, the tag is converted to a personalized link for the recipient. When they click it, it will open the manage preferences form prefilled with any existing data, or subscription preferences, they've previously submitted — either when they originally subscribed, or the last time they updated their preferences. If they have never submitted extra details, it will just be their email address prefilled in the "Email" field.

The manage preferences tag [% manage_url %] can be inserted into your email content the same way your would add a URL. For example, you can create a text link by adding the tag to the URL field, as shown here:


You can also add it as a link for an image in your email:


Or, another option is to use a button as the call-to-action. Again, just put the manage preferences tag in the URL field:


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