Rethink Commerce Blog

How To Write Strong Renewal Emails That Boost Revenue

Posted on November 23rd, 2015 by

According to a 2015 Marketing Cloud’s latest State Of Marketing Report, 20 percent of primary business revenue stem directly from email marketing. It’s clear that a result-driven email marketing strategy is a powerful tool—perhaps critically so in the SaaS world. As smart and carefully crafted renewal emails increase retention and create the stable revenue SaaS companies rely on, periodic review of your emails should be a key part of your engagement strategy. 

When was the last time you did a strategic review of your emails?

When you do, don’t overlook the essentials. To help you, we’ve provided some of the key criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of your renewal emails.

  • A genuinely compelling subject line. Avoid the temptation toward click-bait or obvious advertising language. Instead, stick with the facts and substantial claims, and whatever the message make sure it relates back to the body copy of the email.
  • Clear and concise body copy. From the beginning to the very end, be clear about what action you want the customer to take, and make it an easy decision for them by providing the information they need to renew.
  • A motivating call to action. The heavy lifting should have already been done through the body copy. The call to action is the final piece of the puzzle that makes everything click and gives the customer a clear place to go when they are ready to renew.

Beyond the basic features, there are still five actionable items your SaaS marketing team can take that will improve your renewal rate.

  1. Dont get complacent with A/B testing.

Even if your past emails tested well, don’t rely on those results to predict future success. Pay attention to changes in your market or customer base, and test and adjust your approach frequently to ensure your keeping pace with current trends.

Also, don’t fall into the A/B testing trap that places the test above the methodology. An A/B test is only as effective as the hypothesis behind it. Think through your strategy, and only test those elements that have the best chance of moving the needle. Don’t just test the subject line. Try to narrow down what messaging works best, what time of day yields the most click-throughs, or what incentive was the best motivator.

  1. Language matters: Be clear and direct, not aggressive

Renewal emails are motivating and direct—and the same rules apply here as the ones you use for motivating employees and speaking to colleagues. Nobody likes the feeling of being coerced. Avoid doomsday language and aggressive sales tactics. Instead, focus on the value of your service and action the customer needs to in order to continue getting the help they need. Clearly explain what renewal-package options are available, and give the customer several different methods of contacting your customer service team for questions.

Use data about the customer’s usage or information collected during your email testing phases to personalize the message, so that the customer feels valued. Thank them for selecting you as a business partner, and let them know that you are interested in the success of their business. Again, an important component of motivating employees and colleagues is by making them feel appreciated. Your customer will feel the same.

  1. Mobile optimization isnt an option anymore: Be flexible.

A growing number of people use their mobile devices for work. In fact, 72 percent of adults in the U.S. send and receive emails via their phones each week. If your renewal emails are not mobile optimized, you’re undercutting your own marketing efforts.

Again, testing is imperative. Make sure that the call-to-action links operate smoothly and that graphics render appropriately, but also think in terms of what an effective call to action on a mobile device looks like.

Immediacy is key in mobile marketing. You have the opportunity to encourage a customer to make a quick decision while you’re in their mind, so make renewal convenient and easy.

  1. Dont be afraid to offer great incentives.

Everyone loves to feel like they got a good deal. So, offer your customers something valuable for their renewal, especially if it’s a limited offer that creates a sense of urgency. Plus, the goodwill you’ve earned may convert the customer into a brand ambassador and more likely to spread the work about your company or service on social media or with colleagues..

Also, use A/B testing and customer data to find out what incentives actually work for your customer demographic. A free month of service, a discount on an annual contract, or a free add-on for a limited time are popular options for encouraging renewal rates.

  1. Strategize and start early.

An effective renewal email strategy starts long before the renewal period, and should be part of your overall email campaign.
Build trust with the customer throughout the digital lifecycle by using email to offer valuable resources, advice, and links to guides and helpful tips. When it is renewal time, use the email to convey that you want to continue adding value, as you’ve already been doing throughout the relationship.

When effective, email marketing builds credibility and increases the value of your service. The renewal email is the culmination of all that hard work. Ultimately, these five actions point to the fact that renewal emails are subtle, part of an ongoing relationship with the customer, and need to be constantly fine-tuned. By being clear, strategizing early, and by keeping in mind what the customer ultimately wants, you can craft an effective renewal-email campaign.

Avangate powers modern Digital Commerce, solving the complexity of online commercesubscription billing, and global payments for SoftwareSaaS and Online Services companies. Backed by a proven cloud platform, unmatched expertise and a depth of digital commerce services, Avangate helps digital business leaders drive the fastest path to revenue, maximize the value of every customer, and expand global reach. Contact us for more information about how our digital commerce services can help you grow your business.

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Raj Badarinath

VP, WW Product Marketing and Alliances

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