30 Aug Using Email for Renewals
Many organizations, including land trusts, are beginning to use email to carry the first renewal message. Follow-up to non-responders is carried by more traditional first class postage letters. Here are several things to think about if you are beginning to experiment along these lines:
- First, your website should be ready to receive renewal responses and donations before you send email asking for electronic renewals. Test the system yourself to make sure everything works. Then the email carries a hotlink to the renewal form and payment options.
- Email marketing experts, such as www.responsys.com, report that you have 8 seconds to capture your reader’s attention, preferably even in the preview pane. In that time, the reader should have a clear idea:
- What the email is all about,
- What s/he is being asked to do, and
- Why it’s important to something now.
- The only indication that they got the email is a response from them, so don’t replace your renewal letters with email. Wait two weeks or so, and then send out the renewal mail as usual.
- Keep in mind that having members click through to a renewal form might be better for renewal rates than for upgrade success. For example, asking a member to “renew” at the upgraded level of $250 could well be undermined if the renewal form starts at $35. Instead, consider setting up multiple renewal forms starting at different amounts, and have the embedded hotlink set to the form most appropriate for the ask in the email.
- Finally don’t let requests for money be the only email you send to members. Use email to pass along important news items, upcoming events, and general announcements. Don’t send so much as to be bothersome, but try to keep the ratio of asking email down to 1:5 or lower.
Are you experimenting with electronic renewal programs? Can you share your story?