Marketing Strategies

4 ways for finance companies to design better preference centers

One of the biggest challenges the finance industry faces is remaining in compliance while also sending customer-centric marketing communications. Email preference centers let customers self-identify the communications they want as well as provide you with the data they are comfortable sharing. This is invaluable when it comes to keeping first-party data up-to-date and remaining in compliance with data privacy laws such as the GDPR and CCPA.

What is a preference center?

Preference centers help keep hard-earned subscribers happy by allowing them to decide what, when, and how they would like to hear from you.1 A survey by Campaign Monitor found that 60% of consumers will unsubscribe from an email list because of too frequent communications. Despite this, only 30% of marketers use email preference centers,2 indicating a missed opportunity for many brands, especially financial brands for whom email is a core marketing channel.

How can preference centers help with marketing efforts?

Preference centers allow your subscribers to keep their contact data up-to-date, which means your records on the customer will be accurate. With the end of the third-party-cookie in sight, companies will need to rely on accurate first-party data more than ever. Also, by providing you with data, the subscriber is consenting to their data being used in remarketing campaigns, which means you can more easily market to them.

Design an effective preference center

We’ve outlined some tactics to help you fend off dreaded unsubscribes, and develop better insights into your audience’s preferences.

1. Give subscribers comprehensive options

In a recent survey of North American and UK consumers, 42% said they feel like an individual when companies enable them to customize and control their brand interactions.

Smart financers go beyond enabling subscribers to pick email frequency; they allow their audience to choose the type of content they receive. For example, some brands let subscribers opt into ‘special offer’ emails, news/industry alerts, and new product/service notifications in addition to setting email frequency. When you give your subscribers control over how they hear from you and what content they receive, you reduce the risk of unsubscribes.

Brand example: GM Financial

GM Financial, the finance subsidiary of General Motors, allows customers to cherry pick the type of content they want emailed to them from GM Financial. GM Financial lays out each option, with a summary underneath explaining the content to give customers a better understanding of the benefit of each type of content option. They also offer the choice to opt-out of all notification content, for customers who don’t want to hear from them at all.

2. Design with intention

A well-designed preference center page is crucial. Your preference center should not require the customer to have to scroll down the page to view all their options. Financial companies can minimize unsubscribes using design principles to draw the eye to choices that change their content preferences or reduce communications frequency, rather than the unsubscribe option. Many customers like to check their account information on their mobile apps, so make sure your preference center is mobile responsive; design for the smallest screen first and work out to larger screen sizes.

Brand example: Wistia

Wistia isn’t a financial company, but they are a good example of a company that was able to incorporate design in a way that helps illustrate their content without being unprofessional or intrusive. The copy also focuses on the subscriber choosing the content the want to receive, as opposed to unsubscribing completely.

3. Keep your brand voice consistent

There’s a reason the consumer subscribed to your emails in the first place – they connected with your products and brand. This should carry through to your preference center. If your subscribers are no-nonsense and to the point, keep the copy short and sweet. If audiences connect with your fun and cheeky style, make sure that shines through. For example, Millennial and Gen Z targeted online banks and investment apps like Ally Bank, Acorns and Robin Hood tend to use more emojis and fun graphics, while more storied institutions like Bank of America will stick to it’s red, blue and tan color scheme.

4. Clearly explain your subscribers’ choices and the benefit of each one

Each item on your preference center should be clearly explained. Do not expect your users to know what you mean by a “Daily Digest” or “Monthly Newsletter.” Add a sentence underneath each option that conveys the benefits of remaining subscribed and link to an example of each to provide further context for the subscriber. Is the daily digest a roundup of industry news? Is the monthly newsletter full of exclusive offers or new rewards and points programs? Make sure to let your audience know precisely why they would want to continue receiving communications from you.

Brand example: TD Bank

TD Bank shows which communications their audience currently receives and clearly shows how subscribers can easily opt-out. Each newsletter option is clearly defined and fits on one page, eliminating the need for the viewer to scroll.


When it comes to keeping customers engaged, finance companies have a tough hill to climb, but a strong preference center can help make it a little easier. The best preference centers will be transparent, make the subscriber feel a sense of empowerment, and encourage them to sign up for relevant content through effective copy and design. To sweeten the deal, make sure you’re designing for mobile and offering channel preferences.

For more best practices that are sure to increase engagement and customer acquisition, check out our whitepaper:

Download the whitepaper
The finance industry's playbook for customer acquisition
How to create an acquisition program that attracts high-value customers and lowers average acquisition costs
Natasia Langfelder
Content Marketing Manager

As Content Marketing Manager, Natasia is responsible for helping strategize, produce and execute Data Axle's content. With a passion for writing and an enthusiasm for data management and technology, Natasia creates content that is designed to deliver nuggets of wisdom to help brands and individuals elevate their data governance policies. A native New Yorker, when Natasia is not at work she can be found enjoying New York’s food scene, at one of NYC’s many museums, or at one of the city’s many parks with her two teacup yorkies.