Marketing Copywriting, Maslen on Marketing

Parting is such sweet sorrow. (Actually, it’s just sorrow)

Magazine, journal and newsletter publishers know that existing subscribers are far more profitable than new acquisitions. That’s why they spend so much time, money and effort trying to hold onto them.

Think of your customers as subscribers and you can use many of the techniques publishers use. One of the most common is the renewal series. This is a set of letters mailed to subscribers as their subscription comes up for renewal. The timings vary, but a typical series might last for a couple of months.

If you’re marketing any kind of service where people sign up for a fixed period, you can use a renewal series. Here are seven things you can do to write a good one…

Seven ways to hold onto your subscribers

  1. Remind them of all the things they’re about to stop getting. Using a phrase like ‘Extend your subscription (or membership) and you will still enjoy all this…’ is a great way to start.


  1. Suggest that they will be missing out on things other people will still be getting. Nobody likes to feel left out and if you play, subtly, on this fear, you can make people feel that they ought to renew.


  1. Make it easy for them to renew. Don’t stick complicated forms in front of your subscribers/members. Make it as simple as possible for them to renew and don’t confuse them with too many options.


  1. Use ‘extend’ instead of ‘renew’. Extend carries the sense of a continuing relationship, rather than one that comes to an end and has to be restarted each year. Really, we’re only interested in how long they’re going to renew for, rather than whether they’re going to renew at all. In other words, our old friend the assumptive close.


  1. Make an offer for early renewal and explain that there won’t be any further better offers. You could use a phrase like ‘this is our best offer for existing subscribers.’ People will sometimes hold off on the renewal because they’re convinced a better offer is just around the corner. You can push them off the fence by stating explicitly that this is the lowest price they’re going to get.


  1. Use a packshot or other illustration to remind them what they get as a subscriber. It might seem a bit obvious, but showing people what they get is a great stimulus. It also gives you the chance to use a caption, which, as we know, is an ideal place for some under-the-radar selling copy.


  1. Include at least one letter using a regretful tone of voice. Explain that, although you personally would like nothing better than to continue having them as a subscriber, unless you receive their order it really will have to be goodbye.

And my point is?

Subscriptions marketers know all about keeping their customers. The renewals series is a classic tactic. Whether you have subscribers or members, it’s a technique you should explore and test for yourself.

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