Retaining customers is priority number 1 for any successful recurring revenue practice and renewal email campaigns remain the most effective way to stay in touch with customers and engage with them as their contract expiration date approaches.
Organizations that are focused on increasing contract renewal rates often build or buy a contract management solution to help organize their upcoming renewal opportunities into actionable business intelligence. Your renewal sales program should include ongoing collaboration with key sales and marketing stakeholders to create strategies that capitalize on this business intelligence with smart, automated renewal email campaigns.
Increase renewal rates by following these best practices when building your next renewal email campaign:
1. Timing is Crucial
Because timing is everything when it comes to contract expiration dates and renewal sales, timely opportunity identification and a means by which you can take that information and effectively reach the customer with their options for contract extension is critical. Your contract management solution should be integrated with your email campaign engine so that renewal emails can be set up and delivered quickly and seamlessly at the 60 and 30 day mark prior to contract expiration. Furthermore, the best times to send are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 8am and 12pm.
2. Automation is Essential
Given a company’s customer base can grow to the thousands and its SKUs can reach into the millions, a strategy of relying on the sales team to manually identify and prioritize accounts that are approaching the end of their service agreements can be ineffective. Your contract management solution and campaign engine should deliver renewal quotes to market with low-touch or even no-touch required from the sales team to ensure you address the low-dollar, high-volume revenue opportunities that usually get left on the table. Accounts nearing expiration should automatically feed into your renewal email campaign from the database when the time is right so that your campaign engine can proceed with nurturing the desired action of service renewal. Your sales team is then free to go after the big fish.
3.Test a Variety of Renewal Email Templates
Build a standard email template but continuously test different variations to find which small adjustments in copy or layout may lead to increased renewal rates. The goal of your email is to provide all the relevant information an end-user or channel partner would need to renew their service contracts online. If they need to dig through lots of clutter they may abandon the transaction so make sure you communicate all of the important details but in an easy-to-read format with a clear call-to-action.
4. A Little Personalization Goes a Long Way
Your renewal email campaigns may share a standard email template but you should insert the recipient’s name in the salutation and personalized product and service agreement information where possible. Also, include the client’s account manager as the email sender and in the email message signature. A customized experience, tailored to each individual recipient will result in a higher rate of click-through to the shopping cart page. Personalizing the email requires that you pull customer and product info from your database using merge code. This can become very complicated if the data you’re merging is contained across multiple databases and is one reason why it’s so important that your contract management solution does the data aggregation work for you and pulls this information into one single record.
5. Make it EASY to Renew
The reason why renewal email campaigns can be so effective is because, when done right, they make the renewal process EASY for the recipient. Personalizing the renewal email is a good step in the right direction but make sure that the entire renewal process from email to the online shopping cart is simple. The email recipient should be able to click the “Renew Now” button in the email and link directly to a personalized landing page on your website where they can find all of their product and contract information prepopulated and ready for quick review prior to submitting payment. Asking the user to hunt for the log in button on your website and navigate to the appropriate page to renew will kill your conversion rate.