Obtaining comprehensive consent for the collection of personal data in marketing is one of the most important challenges in direct digital marketing. The aim is to gain insights about users (e.g. product interests) from this data, which can then be used to individualise the online dialogue. However, it is not recommended to ask for comprehensive consent to personal data collection (profiling) directly at the same time when you are obtaining the opt-in for direct digital marketing.
When users are interested, e.g. in a newsletter, they generally wish to subscribe in a quick and straight forward way. Each additional input field they need to fill in increases the risk of aborting the process. Furthermore, you may instil fear of data misuse by asking for detailed personal data at this point. More comprehensive opt-ins may be obtained later in the dialogue, e.g.in the context of the welcome series or via targeted opt-up campaigns. Generally, it is important to understand what makes users give opt-ins and what hinders them from doing so. Our article Determinants of Email Marketing Opt-ins from a User Point of View deals with this topic.

Data Acquisition Through Self-service

One option for obtaining opt-ins to the comprehensive use of personal data or to generally obtain more details on users, is to let the user administrate his profile himself (self-service). In a transparent interface, he can choose for himself which data may be collected (e.g. response data in email marketing or terminal devices used) and possibly amend details, such as location, position (in B2B communication), age, etc. The profile should be linked to each sent email, e.g. in the pre-header). Furthermore, it is recommended to specifically motivate the user to manage his own profile.
In addition to the individualisation through user insights, it is also possible to let the user determine for himself how he would like to be approached. The profile management can include selection options such as topics, channels (email, SMS etc.), times or send frequency.

Unsubscribe Management in the Profile

The self-service profile management can also be used to decrease the risk of unsubscriptions. Perhaps the user is only unhappy with some factors, e.g. send frequency. When clicking the unsubscribe link, he could first be taken to his profile where he can amend these factors for himself.