Membership renewal emails are a critical step in your customer retention and relationship process. These emails should be carefully designed to resonate with a specific audience group: one that’s already engaged with your brand. Inviting them to continue their relationship with you—whether by renewing, upgrading, or subscribing—should be well-crafted and thoughtful. Here are some easy tips on how to do it.
1. Keep the message simple
Membership renewal emails should be direct and clear. Most are structured as letter-style emails, addressing a reader directly and sometimes including a personal sign-off from the sender, like in this email from SquareSpace, the website builder, which includes an e-signature.
Simplicity is crucial in membership renewal emails because:
a) A reader’s action is time-sensitive. If they don’t renew, upgrade, or extend, the offer will expire. To get this point across, it’s important to convey it clearly.
b) Since readers have already engaged with you in some way, you already have a captive audience. Don’t waste space “grabbing attention” with an image, animated GIF, or beautiful header. Just communicate concisely and effectively.
Here are must-know design tips for simplicity:
- Use a white background
- Make sure your text is easy to read in a high-contrast color, like black, gray, or blue
- Get your message across in no more than a few sentences
- Include headers to help make text scannable
- Spot illustrations can help communicate visually
2. Personalize your greeting
Recipients of membership renewal emails are a valuable audience. They’ve already shown active interest in your site or product. To help recipients continue engaging with your site or product, addressing them by name will make your message more personal, and it may help them pay attention. Plus, emails aren’t written and designed by robots; they’re assembled by a team of real people—so being more personable helps readers connect with your brand.
This example from Weebly, another website builder, makes sure to personalize its message by starting off with “Dear Kelly.”
3. Give readers a reason to renew or upgrade
Alerting readers that it’s time to renew is only half the battle. The other half is to give them a reason for why they should. Renewal emails are a lot like invitation emails: when you request readers to renew or upgrade, you should present the associated value proposition clearly.
The Weebly email above, in addition to adding personalization, also includes four “awesome features” to entice readers to renew. And this email below from Doodle, the scheduling app, also lists five key upgrade features (in addition to being personalized). Both emails state the benefits simply in just a few words in list format, which makes everything easy to read. This is an efficient way to show readers what they’ll get.
Another email below, from LinkedIn, uses a more nuanced design to show readers why they should invest in a free trial on Lynda (a skill learning site). The icons and short headers (like the lightbulb and “Improve your skills” text) make the list easy to scan and understand. Even with the simple illustrations and colorful header, the email remains short and direct.
4. Create a sense of urgency
Subscribers typically have a small window of time to act if they want to renew or upgrade an offer. Make this short timeframe evident right away to encourage action. From the subject line to the body copy to the call to action, creating a sense of immediacy gives readers a reason to act now.
In this email from Indiegogo, the crowdfunding site, employs a bright pink header with a clear and urgent reminder message (last chance; don’t miss out; it’s easy) that’s hard to miss or misconstrue. The email also incorporates other elements of a great reminder email: a personalized greeting and sign-off, and an extremely short plain-text message.
5. Use a standout, bulletproof call-to-action button
One of the most important components of membership renewal emails is the CTA button. Once you’ve greeted subscribers in a personal way, extended your offer clearly, explained why the offer is valuable, and created urgency, the CTA button is where the action happens. A button is the clearest, easiest way to show readers (in less than a second) where and how to act. The CTA button is most likely the first thing readers will see after opening a message, so make it stand out.
Spotify uses color to make its CTA button pop on the screen. And because the language is so clear—Get 30 Days Free—readers don’t even need to read the rest of the email to understand the offer.
Likewise, DropBox also employs a bright color and clear, action-oriented language for its CTA button.
6. Create a drip campaign
Capturing the attention of an engaged audience shouldn’t fall on the shoulders of a single one-off email. Build upon the initial relationship you have to provide multiple opportunities, by setting up email drip campaigns, so readers can act.
After trying a one-month trial of SquareSpace, the site sends a (short) series of reminders to users that their trial is expiring (Email 1). Even after the trial expires, SquareSpace wisely continues to engage its audience with an opportunity to extend the trial for another week (Email 2). Finally, if readers still haven’t responded, SquareSpace presents one last opportunity for them to extend for free. For readers who don’t upgrade, SquareSpace also invites to respond to a quick in-email survey to indicate why they aren’t upgrading (Email 3).
By doing all this, you can test to see how subscribers react.
Wrap-Up: Design Tips for Membership Renewal Emails
- Keep it simple. From your subject line to your message to your design, membership renewal emails should be straightforward.
- Be personal. Address readers by name, and include a personal sign-off. You want to make a connection to this engaged audience.
- Explain the benefits. Give readers clear, value-added reasons for upgrading (or else why should they renew?!).
- Instill urgency. Encourage readers to seize an opportunity during a limited amount of time.
- Make a standout CTA. An immediate and noticeable CTA is one of the most important parts of any email.
- Create a drip campaign. Give readers more than one opportunity to act with a scheduled series of emails.
What methods do you use to engage readers and get renewals? Let us know in the comments. As always, you can draw inspiration from these emails and build one of your own for free in the BEE editor. It’s online and requires no registration. And for even more features and templates, upgrade (for a low price) to BEE Pro.
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