Renewal reminders are an integral part of any membership retention strategy, but many membership managers neglect to enjoy the full value they can offer. Used strategically, a proper renewal reminder campaign is guaranteed to provide a substantial, measurable boost to your membership retention rates.
You don’t have to be an expert email marketer to take advantage of tried-and-tested techniques. Below, we’ve picked out a few favourites for membership managers. Pick and choose any, or all, of the following tips to incorporate into your renewal reminder strategy this year!
1. Automate Everything
If you aren’t automating your renewal reminders, this is your first step. Email automation is a bare minimum standard for any serious renewal reminder strategy.
You have a lot of members. If you’re manually managing renewal reminders for each and every one, you’re investing significant time and energy into work that could be performed faster, better, and more easily by software.
Membership renewal reminders ought to go out on a scheduled, consistent basis. Your membership email automation ought to help you do this by knowing when each of your members is due to renew, and automatically sending them email reminders to do so. Manually checking each of your members and sending them emails not only takes time, but is subject to significant human error. You can’t always know when each and every member is going to renew, and the ones you lose are inevitably going to cost you more than basic email software!
Many membership management software platforms (like Member365) include email automation tools. If you’re using membership or association management software, you ought to check if you’re taking advantage of them!
2. Send Multiple Emails
One email isn’t enough to get good results from renewal reminders. After all, we’re talking about renewal reminder campaigns.
Your renewal reminder campaign ought to know when a member is due to renew, notify them well in advance, and give them an opportunity to renew early.
As time goes on, more emails should be triggered to send, increasing in frequency as a member’s renewal date approaches.
Of course, you want to avoid spamming your members with renewal reminders, but sending multiple as renewal approaches is important to keep renewal top-of-mind for your members. It’s all to easy for reminders to get lost in a members inbox, and easier still for renewal to fall down (and eventually off) a members long to-do list. Multiple reminders gives your organization the best chance of guaranteeing successful renewal.
A word of caution however – you want to strike a healthy balance with the frequency of your reminders. Send too many, too fast, and you’re likely to have your organization’s email flagged as spam by email algorithms. Worse yet – annoying your members is a great way to lose renewals and have your reminders sent straight to junk! Be sure to balance your message frequency, and be certain that members stop receiving renewal reminders after they’ve renewed!
3. Offer Incentive to Renew
Members are a lot more likely to renew if you can give them something of value for doing so. It doesn’t even have to be something very significant!
Promotional discounts, limited-time-offers, special membership status, a branded mug, $5 giftcard – the options are only limited by your imagination. Consider brainstorming a list of potential gifts that you could provide members for early renewal, and offer them in your renewal emails to enjoy an immediate boost to your renewal rates.
Small gifts like these are insignificant in terms of cost, but can offer a lot of meaning for your members. Receiving a gift – even a small one – gives members a desire to reciprocate. Consider offering free access to whatever gift you decide, whether a member renews or not, and watch as renewal rates soar.
Of course, you can also provide access to your gift after renewal. While not likely to be quite as impactful, this tactic is less risky and so might be more palatable to your organization. Simple gifts like 10% off for early renewal can boost your renewal rates, and save you countless hours come renewal season, as fewer members will need chasing down by your membership management team!
4. Make Renewal Quick and Easy
Have you ever gone to purchase something online, only to abandon the purchase while entering your payment or shipping information?
Digital marketers study this phenomenon, and have come to recognize that the more steps a person has to take to make a purchase, the less people will do so.
Businesses have entire departments devoted to optimizing their purchase processes to make it easier and faster for customers to purchase products. In some cases, a single unnecessary click can have an ultimate impact of millions of revenue dollars lost. While you might not be losing millions, the principle works just the same for membership renewals.
From the moment they receive your reminder email, to the moment they receive renewal confirmation, how many clicks must a member make to renew? How many forms must they fill out? How many pages must they navigate to get from the beginning of the process, to the end.
Every time you require a member to take an action, you’re competing with the exit button. Attention is short these days, and every second a member spends renewing is an opportunity to re-think the decision. Reduce the time and steps required to renew, and you optimize the impact of your renewal process.
5. Collect Feedback From Churned Members
It’s a simple fact that you can’t win them all. But there’s nothing that says that you can’t enjoy some value from the members that leave.
After all, everyone leaves for a reason, and these members can help you understand what their reason is. With luck, you might even be able to address it, and bring them back into the fold after all!
Included in your renewal reminder campaign ought to be a message that goes out when you are confident that a member has truly churned – probably sometime around 3 months after their lapsed renewal date.
This message ought to include a message of thanks, and a request to complete a quick survey that you’ve made to collect feedback from churned members. Be sure to use a good mix of true/false, multiple choice, and text-box form fields to collect as much data as possible without overwhelming your lost member.
In the event that you find common causes among churned members, consider using this feedback as a method to build email lists you can use at a later date to retarget these churned members for re-application. It could be that your members left due to a problem you can solve. With all these members in a convenient email list, you can notify them when you’ve fixed the problem, and perhaps offer them a promotional rate for re-application.