Have you ever signed up for a membership subscription, and only realized you were charged a renewal fee when it appeared on your bank statement?
Been there, done that… and it can feel a bit jarring when you aren’t prepared for the expense.
People often forget their membership renewal dates, especially when it comes to annual subscriptions. If you sell a lot of annual memberships, this can be a huge problem for a membership site owner that is counting on that revenue stream.
Membership site owners have to do a lot of things in order to keep their membership sites profitable. One such task is sending out renewal reminder emails to members that are close to expiring.
In this post, we’ll share the best practices and strategies, as well as, two membership renewal email templates and subject line ideas you can use to increase retention rates for your membership site.
Membership Renewal Letters
Implementing a membership renewal reminder email series as part of your membership retention strategy is one of the easiest ways to invest in your existing members and build trust between them and your business.
Not only will it build trust in your business by showing that you’re being proactive about your client’s financials, but it also reduces the number of refund requests from possibly irritated clients that your customer service team has to field.
A lot of times, users aren’t aware of their renewal date, and getting hit with a charge they weren’t expecting or aware of can blindside them and create a bad experience for that person with your business.
Offer Member Renewal Incentives
Offering an incentive to your existing members if they renew their membership is a great way to increase retention and engagement, especially for your annual subscriptions.
Here are a few ideas to help inspire you in crafting your membership renewal incentive offers:
Discounted renewal rate:
Offer a discounted renewal rate for members who renew ahead of their expiration date.
One way to do this is to create a subscription replacement using your membership site software. This can be positioned as an upgrade to their existing membership.
Bonus coaching calls:
Offer a free 1-on-1 or small group coaching call with you or a member of your team to provide additional value, and help keep your members on track.
This type of incentive can be especially beneficial if the member hasn’t been as active towards the end of their membership. It’s a great strategy to reengage them with your content and offerings.
Host a virtual event:
Offer a live virtual event exclusive to members who have kept their membership active for more than 1 year.
Your virtual event can be anything from a workshop, book club, or lunch-and-learn with guest experts. Just be sure this incentive provides enough value and exclusivity that members will be excited to participate in.
Bonus content access:
Provide additional membership privileges that your members wouldn’t have access to otherwise, like exclusive online video courses, content reviews, or 1-on-1 feedback directly from you.
Free physical products:
As a thank you for renewing their membership, offer your members a free physical product that they can’t get anywhere else.
Receiving a gift in the mail is a great reminder to the member that you value their membership. This can vary based on your membership, but some popular options are t-shirts, personalized or custom journals, and exclusive member mugs with coffee or tea.
Loyalty reward points:
Offer loyalty rewards as an incentive to maintain your long-term members.
These points can be redeemed for physical products of their choice, gift cards, or to unlock bonus content and other exclusive incentives.
This is a great way to incorporate gamification into your membership site to enhance the user experience.
The sky’s the limit so get creative, and make your membership renewal incentive so irresistible your members won’t think twice about extending their membership.
Send a Renewal Reminder At Least Two Weeks Ahead of Time
A good practice is to automate your renewal reminders emails in your marketing automation system or CRM so you don’t have to manually track your member’s renewal dates.
The timing of your renewal reminders is just as important as the content of the emails so you may want to test it out and adjust based on the response and feedback you receive.
Membership Renewal Letter Timeline
To start, plan on sending out 2 to 3 membership renewal reminder email notifications before the member’s renewal date. At a minimum, the first notification should be sent out at least two weeks ahead of time, followed by a notice 24 to 48 hours before their payment will process.
For subscriptions that carry a larger price tag, sending the first renewal reminder 30 days in advance is more appropriate. You’ll want to follow up again around the two weeks to renewal date, and again 48-72 hours in advance.
Track and Optimize Your Membership Renewal Letters’ Performance
If you find that you’re receiving a lot of customer support emails in the 48-72 hour window before the member’s charge date, you may want to add in an additional email a few days sooner around the one-week mark to reduce the number of last-minute inquiries before the renewal date.
Giving members more time to make their decision, especially for larger investments helps them plan for the membership renewal expense.
Membership Renewal Email Subject Line Examples
When sending out membership renewal reminders you want to ensure your members don’t miss these email notifications.
Use a subject line that stands out in their inbox and really grabs their attention.
Here are some examples of popular renewal letter subject lines that work:
- Your membership automatically renews in 30 days!
- Your “membership name” renews tomorrow, click here to confirm now.
- Exclusive bonuses with your “membership name” renewal
- Don’t forget, your membership is about to renew
- Your “membership name” renews in 30 days!
- Don’t lose access, your membership is about to renew
- Renew your membership now and save “x%”
- Renew your “membership name” now and get one month free!
- Another year of membership rewards could be yours
- Last chance to update your “membership name” subscription before it renews
- [Your membership site name] Here’s to another great year together!
- It’s time to renew your “membership name”
You’ll want to keep track of your open and click-through rates on your membership renewal letters so you can optimize them over time if you’re not seeing the results you hope to.
Membership Renewal Letter Template
Automating your membership renewal letter reminders is a great way to save you time, and increase your bottom line.
When you automate your membership renewal reminders, you don’t need to create and send a new email every month or year. Members will be queued into the automated follow-up at the time of their original purchase with a specified delay in place to send near the date they will be charged for their renewal.
If they happen to cancel or request a refund before this date, they will not receive these notifications.
The great thing about this type of marketing communication is that the content is relatively short in nature so you won’t have to invest a lot of time in crafting your renewal reminder emails for your membership subscriptions.
You can even swipe the templates below to get started!
What Should Your Membership Renewal Reminders Say?
Your membership renewal reminder emails should contain the following:
- The customer’s name and membership type or name of your program.
- A clear call to action, including a link that directs the customer back to your membership site so they are easily able to update their subscription, manage their card on file, or cancel their membership if they choose not to renew.
- Information about why this email was sent, as well as any additional benefits or incentives they receive for staying on board with you
Be mindful of the tone used in your membership renewal letters as it can greatly impact the decision your members make about whether they will renew or not.
Use your membership renewal letters to get your existing members excited and re-energized about your membership. You want the fear of missing out to outweigh any hesitations they have about continuing to invest.
Renewal Reminder Email Examples
You want to ensure the renewal process is as simple and clear as possible for your members. Any hiccups in this process could lead to potentially lost sales. A great membership management software can make this process seamless for your members.
Here are a couple of membership renewal letter templates to get you started crafting your own. Be sure to weave in any incentives you plan to offer in these membership renewal emails if offering an incentive is part of your renewal retention strategy.
This will also help create a sense of urgency so they aren’t waiting until the last minute to make any changes to their account.
Take a look at these membership renewal email examples:
Renewal Reminder Example #1:
Subject line: Time flies when you’re having fun!
Hey [Contact First Name]!
Can you believe it’s almost time to celebrate our 1-year anniversary?
We’re looking forward to many more to come and if you’re ready to take this relationship to the next level, there’s nothing for you to do.
Here are some exciting things you have to look forward to as a loyal member of [your membership name or program].
Your card will automatically be charged at your existing rate for [your membership name or program]. If you would like to use a different credit card, you can update it here:
[link to manage their payment method]
If you’d like to upgrade or downgrade your subscription, you can manage it here:
[link to subscription management page]
Here’s to another incredible year!
With so much gratitude,
Renewal Reminder Example #2:
Subject line: Annual renewal coming up
Hello [First Name],
It’s about that time! As you approach your annual renewal date (30 days from today) for [Your membership or program name] take some time to reflect on how [your life/business/etc.] has transformed, and how you want it to evolve over the next 12 months.
It’s time to renew, so we thought it was a good idea to give you a heads up.
Don’t let your membership lapse! Make sure your card on file is up-to-date and your renewal will automatically process on [renewal date].
[link to manage their payment method]
Don’t forget your membership access includes the following:
- [Member Benefits #1]
- [Member Benefits #2]
- [Member Benefits #3]
Plus, as an incentive for renewing your membership for another year, you will also receive:
[Add in any additional incentives offered here.]
We’re looking forward to another great year together!
If you have any questions, just hit reply and we’ll get right back to you.
Membership Expired Message
When a user’s membership expires, it’s a good practice to send a membership expired message prompting them to log in and manage their card on file or cancel their membership if they no longer wish to continue.
The two main reasons that your members will receive membership expired messages are:
1. Your membership isn’t set to auto-renew and your members are responsible for updating their membership each month or year, depending on their membership terms.
When your users receive the notifications that their membership has lapsed, your ultimate goal is for them to renew their membership. However, this is also an opportunity to engage with them and find out if anything prevented them from renewing this time around.
2. If your membership renewal process is automated, your members will only receive this type of message if the method of payment on file is no longer valid, or unable to process.
Keep each of these scenarios in mind as you craft your membership expired follow-up messages to your members.
How to Manage Subscription Renewals and Failed Payment Follow-Ups
Leveraging a series of automated membership renewal letters is a great opportunity for you to recoup failed payments and reconnect with those potentially lost sales.
You can even sweeten the deal and offer an additional incentive to entice these existing customers to update their accounts and continue their membership.
Investing in a membership management tool that can make your subscription renewals and follow-up communication as easy as possible for your existing members will be key to the success of your renewal emails. You want your members to renew and hopefully, these email templates made it easy to write your own personal reminders.
Your CRM or marketing automation system should seamlessly integrate with your membership platform or plugin. When you have this type of integration between your two systems, your members will be able to easily click through from their inbox to their account pages distraction-free.
This distraction-free process will maximize the number of conversions for your membership renewals and reduce your customer support load for managing member accounts.
Be sure to share your biggest takeaways in the comments below.