This article is useful for gCast users who are looking to implement the use of member preferences for existing members.
Member preferences help you to more effectively target your campaigns or where, for legal reasons, you might want to gain stronger and clearer consent. Asking your members for their preferences around communication based on frequency, content, or something else can help immensely with list hygiene and also helps you stay relevant and reduce your member 'churn'.
In this article:
gCast offers some basic opt-in code snippets for including iframe and html opt-in code in your webpage which is great for new people signing up, but what about your existing database? A targeted campaign, based around preferences is only as good as the preferences you've collected and your opt-in form on your webpage won't capture your existing database.
In gCast, getting smart with your content and using a combination of demographics and gCast's survey tool, you can target your existing members (without re-engaging your new members who may already have provided their preferences at opt-in) and have their responses link straight back onto their gCast profile ready for targeting, all without the need to export that data and reimport.
All of the features and functions you need to do this are readily available to all gCast accounts and hinge heavily around getting smart with your demographics - and most gCast users should be familiar with demographics and how they work.
Step 1 - Create your demographic questions
Before you can ask your existing members to update their preferences, you'll need to create your demographic questions in gCast first. If you're not familiar with creating demographics, you can read more information here.
Once you've created your demographics, you're ready to start inserting them into a survey that you can then send to your existing members.
Step 2 - Create your 'update your preferences' survey
gCast has a survey tool that you can use to gather more information about your members. Usually used for 'feedback' style questionnaires, the survey tool can easily be turned into a powerful method of collecting other important information about your members that can help you get a lot more targeted around your communication pieces. All without needing to leave gCast.
To learn about creating surveys in gCast, click here.
The major point of difference in an 'update your preferences' survey is the way in which you add the questions.
Remember, we don't want to create brand new questions, we want to use the demographics we created in step 1 and have those answers directly attribute back onto the member's profile record in gCast.
To do this, when you arrive at the 'Questions' tab in your survey, instead of clicking 'Add new question', you need to select 'Copy question' as this will then enable you to search through your existing demographics and 'link' them to your survey.
Click on the '+' symbol to expand out the list first by your account name, then next to 'demographics' and you should see your demographics listed below.
You can bulk-select multiple demographic questions at a time by clicking into each checkbox next to the relevant demographic you want to include, then, when you're ready, click the 'Link' button (not the 'Copy' button).
The 'Link' button is the important element here. It creates a direct 'data funnel' or 'shortcut' from the survey to the member's profile. If you were to select 'Copy' (or even 'add new question' earlier in the creation stage), the survey will have it's own stand-alone version (like a copy and paste) of the question but the answer will never go any further than the survey.
So 'Link' is like gCast's version of a desktop shortcut - the version in the survey isn't the original but it does give you direct access to the original, whereas 'Copy' is just like copy and paste - two separate versions of the same thing, operating independently of each other.
When you've linked your demographic questions, complete your survey as normal, and don't forget to put in the start and end dates and to activate it!
Step 3 - Create your campaign to existing members
For this step, you would create your campaign as normal, but in the content you need to include a link to the survey you created in step 2. gCast allows you to easily insert surveys into your campaign content and the WYSIWYG editors have a dedicated button for survey insertion.
Insert your 'update your preferences' survey, target your campaign (don't forget to exclude new members from a particular date if you have already modified your opt-in page to include preferences) and activate it and you're done.
Step 4 - Target your other campaigns
Don't forget, for preferences to be useful, you will need to review any current campaigns you have running (including auto-responders and set and forget campaigns) to ensure that they're targeting based on the preferences you've collected. Any future campaigns you create may need to take consideration of the preferences too.
You may even want to think about having different welcome emails and distinctly separate campaigns per preference, if your preferences are significantly different in nature.