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Craft Successful Renewal Emails

Encore! Encore! – A Guide to Sculpting Successful Renewal Emails

Retain your existing customers by crafting a winning renewal email. Read this blog to learn how!...

No business or marketer out there wants to see any of their customers retracing their steps, do they? And this hesitance is rooted as much in sentiments as in economics- the cost of acquiring a new customer is nearly five times that of retaining an existing one. Much effort goes into acquiring a lead, nurturing them, and developing a robust relationship with them. So, naturally, the matter of customer retention is tended to with great care at every organization. 

In this context, renewal emails assume particular importance. Mostly deployed by SaaS providers and companies offering subscription-based services, a renewal email seeks to prolong a customer’s association with the brand. Besides nudging buyers to recommence the existing contract, renewal emails, on occasion, host cross-selling and upselling attempts, too. Hence, if you come to think of it, a lot rides on a renewal email. This, then, is all the more reason for us to curate it as carefully as we can. Want to know how to go about it? We’ve got you covered! Today, we talk at length about a host of techniques that go into writing an impactful renewal email. Let’s find out what they are!

1. Look to Personalize

As inboxes are getting more and more crowded by the day, embracing personalization is a must for brands to get noticed by their subscribers. This applies to all types of emails they plan on sending out: welcome, abandoned cart, milestone, survey, product recommendation, and, of course, renewal.

Many brands miss the trick by treating their renewal emails as cursory reminders. Sure, they have a very definite purpose, but that doesn’t mean they have to sound robotic, right? Even if you have set up an automated workflow for your renewal emails (as you should, and not just for renewal, but for all your other emails, too), there’s no need for your audience to pick up on that. 

Now, the question is: what can you do to personalize your renewal emails? Let’s take a look.

  • Address your subscribers by their first name; it’s the oldest trick in the book, is the easiest thing to do, and works like a charm! Apart from the email body, you could include the subscriber’s name in the subject line as well. 
  • Look to include information that is relevant to the customer. Suppose you are a video streaming service. In your renewal email, you can mention the number of videos they streamed during their subscription period. These small personal touches can go a long way toward capturing the subscriber’s attention. 
  • Part of personalizing the email templates also includes tweaking the sender’s name- make it appear as if the email has been sent from an individual rather than the organization (for instance, if we have to send a renewal email, we’ll keep the sender name as Kevin from Email Uplers instead of just Email Uplers).

This email from AllTrails is an ideal example of a personalized renewal email.

2. Create FOMO

One of the ways in which you could nudge your customers into renewing their subscriptions is by shedding light on all the things they stand to lose by deciding against it. The market is rife with competition, and at the end of their subscription, your existing customers can’t be faulted for wanting to test out the offers of your competitors. However, during this juncture, if your renewal email does a decent job of highlighting your value proposition, you have a great shot at retaining them. More importantly, while talking about the salient features of your subscription, ensure that you make it about the customer. Instead of talking about them in isolation, mention how they add value to your buyer’s lives. Only then will you be able to engage them successfully.

YouTube’s renewal email over here(for its YouTube Premium service) aptly illustrates the arguments we just put forward.

3. Offer an Incentive

While the unique merits of your service might be sufficiently compelling for users to sign up for your subscription, it might fail to convince them to go for a renewal, particularly when there’s no dearth of options in front of them. So, what can you do to prop yourself slightly above the rest? Place an incentive in your renewal email. It could be anything- revised, lower pricing, exclusive limited-period access to another one of your services, or even a couple of free additional months of service. Think of it as a means of expressing your gratitude to them for subscribing in the first place. By offering them extra value beyond your subscription, you make it extremely tough for them to resist your renewal request. Some businesses choose to place their incentives against a ticking clock in a bid to accelerate their customer’s decision-making process by instilling a sense of urgency in them. 

Here’s a renewal email from Namecheap containing an incentive for the customer.

4. Stitch a Sequence

Earning a renewal from a subscriber can be a tricky affair. And sending a solitary renewal email is unlikely to get the job done. Amidst the barrage of emails that would already be flooding your subscriber’s inbox, what’s one more email for them to lose sight of, right? Therefore, to have a realistic shot at getting noticed as well as convincing your customers to do what is needed, the wisest course of action is to send out a sequence of renewal emails. A series of 3-5 emails would be ideal. Take care to space out the emails appropriately so that you don’t end up overwhelming your customers. 

The first email in the sequence could be sent well before the service expiration date- perhaps a month prior. Then, the subsequent ones could each be sent within a span of 5-7 days of the first one. Also, make sure to include something unique in each of these emails to prevent the sequence from becoming monotonous. Maybe in the first email, you could talk about the salient features of your subscription and generate FOMO; then in the next one, you could shed light on the various ways in which the customer in question benefitted from your subscription; in the following email, you could place an incentive; you get the drift, don’t you?

5. Avoid Promotional Language

The customers whom you’re trying to persuade for a renewal have already had a taste of your service; keep this in mind while drafting your renewal emails. Because if you happen to take the promotional route with your renewal emails, these customers have every reason to disengage from you. Keep things crisp and to the point. As mentioned earlier, renewal emails have a very focused objective, and you’d do well not to digress. Moreover, putting forward an exaggerated plea for renewal makes you appear desperate and could potentially rust your brand reputation.

Take a look at this renewal email from Apple that perfectly embodies the “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” philosophy.

6. State the Important Details Clearly

In a renewal email, two details assume utmost importance- the renewal date and payment details. You could add other information on top of this (like the incentive or a brief summarization of the service’s USPs, as we discussed earlier) so that these critical details are not overshadowed. To facilitate a hassle-free renewal process, clearly conveying the expiration date to your customers is an absolute must. And along with stating the payment amount, also offer ample clarity on all the various means they can use to complete their transaction.

This renewal email from Reincubate puts the important details in bold text to avoid confusion. Moreover, they have included a link to a site a customer would most likely frequent in connection with account renewal in the email body itself- an excellent move to enhance the customer experience.

7. Write Impactful CTAs

Hitting the right notes with your CTA is crucial because that will help elevate the appeal created by your copy and visuals in the email body, ultimately compelling your customers to take the desired action. Now, CTAs in renewal emails are best written in an affirmative tone; this will heighten the chances of the subscriber going ahead with the needful. Equally vital is to pay attention to the CTA’s placement and visibility- it should immediately catch the reader’s eye the minute they open the email. And as far as the CTA phrase is concerned, avoid sounding vague; that’s more or less the only guideline!

This renewal email from Bynder has a lovely CTA. Take a look.

Wrapping It Up

Renewal emails are invaluable because they shoulder the important responsibility of retaining existing customers. When done right, they can help you foster long-lasting customer relationships and maximize customer lifetime value. We hope the insights shared above will help you write pitch-perfect renewal emails and minimize your churn rate.

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Rohan Kar

Rohan Kar works as a Content Writer at Email Uplers, An engineering graduate, he was quick to realize that his calling lied in other pastures. When not writing, he can be found participating in elaborate movie marathons or aggressive book circle discussions.



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