Should I develop a custom preference center?

We have been using CM for the last couple of years and have accrued a database of over 40000 live subscribers.

The topic of our domain is quite specfic and we are going to start using the custom segments ability much more thoroughly in order to properly segment future campaigns.

What we have found is, due to the large number of custom segments and the limitations offered by the Label for each field (only 25 chars) we have decided that it might be a good idea to abandon the CM preference center and write a custom preference center that will allow us to guide the user better.

The new preference center will be hosted on our custom domain and will tie into CM using the API,

Some perceieved advantages:

1.  Will be more on brand
2. Can be better designed to guide user through the process of entering data.
3. Use of Javascript user interface techniques in order to show certain fields at a time, based on previously entered values.
4. Multi language support, as many of our subscribers are international, a custom center will allow us to personalize the user experience by showing the descriptive and label text in the subscriber home language
5. Possible marketing / communication opportunities in the future.

Security is an issue, as I want to link directly to our new PC from emails (as CM does) I will need to create a custom field with a unique code which correlates directly to each email address. How I think I will address this:

A webhook is created so that on signup or email address change a call is made to a custom page on my domain, which creates a custom code for the users email and sends that back to be stored in a custom field on CM, this way we can use a tag e.g. [pref_center_code] in the emails.

Can anyone offer any advice, ideas or tips on how to proceed with this task and anything I may not have thought of?

roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 5 years ago

Hi ashleyward, welcome to the forums! First up, it's only possible to update subscriber details at present by passing their email address. Therefore, you can't assign a unique code to each subscriber, then update their details based on this code.

As a result, you can create your own preference center by either linking back to a subscribe form on your site (preferably with email and existing custom fields pre-populated), or using a Wufoo form. Wufoo offers excellent integration with us, including notifications, custom field support and the ability to pre-populate their forms. When an existing subscriber updates the form/re-subscribes in either instance, their custom fields will be updated, too.

Note that the label for each field in the generated HTML subscribe form code is simply HTML and can be edited. For example, if you have a custom field called 'Birthday', the HTML code will display 'Birthday', but there's nothing  stopping you from changing this to 'Please enter your birthday:'. I may have misunderstood your concern, so please let me know if I'm off the mark.

Thanks ashleyward! I hope you've found this to be useful :)

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roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 5 years ago

Hi again, Phil on our team and myself discussed this issue a little further. I think I misunderstood the question somewhat, so please pull me up if this is the case.

His notes were:

- There's no need to use webhooks, when you can sign up a new subscriber and add a pref_center_code using the API
- A single-click preference center may not be an ideal security precaution, as it's possible that the recipient could forward this email (with the unique code and all) in their email client.

Just a couple of points to think about there. Keep us posted on how you go :)

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ashleyward, 5 years ago

Hi roshodgekiss

You're right, there's no need to use webhooks, we can create a custom code when a user signs up through the API of course. I'm not sure what I was thinking.... hopefully I would have figured that out !

With regard to the second point, yes, it's true that someone could forward the message on but this is a risk I will have to take I think, also - this is how Campaign Monitor works and we haven't had a problem thus far so I think we should be ok.

Thanks for taking the time to respond, we will keep your posted how we get on.

Thanks, Ash

jayc jayc, 3 years ago

Hi Ash,

Just curious to know if you ever got this working? I'm wanting to create a similar setup, but the inability to retrieve a subscriber by any other detail other than their email address is a stumbling block.

At first Ros indicated this wasn't possible, but it doesn't seem that it deterred either of you from thinking it was achievable, from the comments above.

If we pass the email address to the custom preference center, it means that anyone can tamper with the URL and potentially modify someone else's subscription. Many of our customers compete with each other, so it's not entirely unlikely that they may try to do this!

kareljanvh, 1 year ago

What's the status of this? Is there a way to find a user through the use of an ID? It's how the CM pages are working. If you get a snapshot of a user, it's called by an ID. So why can't we use that in the API? I really need a decent Preference page, and you can't do that with the email address.

I hope to hear from the support team soon!

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