Email Marketing

How to Write A Successful Renewal Email [Examples Included]

8 minutes

How to Write A Successful Renewal Email [Examples Included]

Renewal emails are a great way to continue engaging with your customers and reinforce your brand’s value. Renewal emails help you encourage customers to continue working with you and give you a chance to upsell and provide special offers. Marketers use this opportunity to retain customers and drive long-term value for their company.

This guide will expose what it takes to write successful renewal emails and look at some brands that have created winning campaigns. Let’s go!

What are renewal emails?

A renewal email is an automated email sent to your customers to remind them that their contract, membership, or subscription with your company is ending. The customer has to renew their association, typically by making a payment. Renewal emails have an engaging call to action and include all the information a customer needs, including payment details, contract guidelines, and where they can go to renew their service.

These kinds of emails are typically used for subscription-based services as well as products with recurring payments. For example, streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ may remind you to keep paying monthly or yearly, depending on your package, to continue watching content on their platform. Renewal emails are also commonly used by software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers and membership sites.

Just because a renewal email is an automated reminder to pay doesn’t mean it has to be boring. As a marketer, you can use this opportunity to reinforce the value of your products to retain customers. In the next section, we will look at some ways you can leverage renewal emails in your marketing strategy.

How to write successful renewal emails

A good renewal email goes beyond just giving the essential information. It also provides customers with a strong reason to stay with your brand. Using crisp, targeted emails, you can ensure that you retain customers. Pro tip: Brevity is always good in email since most people spend just seconds skimming through the content before deciding whether to act or not. Make concise, to-the-point content a part of your content style guides.

The way you strategize for your renewal emails differs slightly from your average marketing automation practices that answer the question “why should you buy our product?” Instead, it should aim to give recipients a tangible incentive for why they should continue with you.

Let’s see how you can use renewal emails in your marketing efforts.


A great way to engage with your users right off the bat is to use their name in the subject line and email body. This creates a bond with the reader as it makes it seem like personalized communication rather than an automated email blast. But you can also go further. Segmenting your mailing list allows you to send customers targeted messages based on their interests, behaviors, and demographics.

To take things to the next level, you can even use personalized images and GIFs in your renewal emails.

Personalization also means that the email should seem to come from a specific person. The sender should be someone from your team and not just the name of the brand — “Nicholas at Writer” rather than just “”

renewal email example
A renewal email example from Squarespace; source: Really Good Emails

Check out the above example from Squarespace. Notice how it uses the customer’s name, builds a connection by inviting the customer to get in touch with any issues, and signs off with a real person’s name.

By making your content engaging, you increase your open and click-through rates, which helps you stay out of the spam folder. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t leverage powerful sales automation tactics. In fact, it’s just the opposite! Modern email marketing software lets you automatically place your recipient’s name in the email subject line and body with ease.

Give the recipient an incentive to renew

Sending a renewal reminder email is not enough; you have to give your customers a strong reason to continue with you. A key component of retaining customers is to remind them of the value that your business provides. You can also add an offer or discount as a thank you for renewing or updating to a longer-term membership.

This is even more vital when the renewal email is coming at the end of a trial period. The customer has seen the benefit your services provide but still needs to enter their credit card information to continue with you. Here, you are not just retaining customers but adding new users.

Membership renewal emails can also be a great way to hold on to wavering customers by reminding them that they stand to gain by continuing their relationship with you. Since this is a customer who is aware of your product, leave out the promotional language, and clearly state the benefits.

renewal email example
A renewal reminder email from CLEAR; source: Really Good Emails

Take a look at this great example from CLEAR, which clearly explains the benefits of their services — “speeding through security.” This email serves to remind the customer why they signed up in the first place.

Keep it short and sweet

One of the benefits of a renewal email is that your customers already know your product well, and the objective of the email is clear to them. Skip the long promotional material and keep the content short and simple for this kind of email.

If your users have questions about the process or your product, direct them to the right team to find out more. In other words, make sure that no fluff gets through. Users need a gentle nudge to continue with your services, and a longer email may make your brand seem pushy.

renewal email example
A membership renewal email example from Birchbox

Birchbox has the right idea for its membership renewal email. The copy is short and to the point, there is a clear call to action, and enticing pictures of upcoming products encourage consumers to continue their annual subscription. It’s always a good idea to use high-quality images in an email to bring the content to life. Notice how the tone is friendly, and there is a prominent CTA.

The company has not tried to cram in information but instead gently nudges the customer in the right direction. The headline is cheery, straightforward, and adds the nice touch of thanking the customer for their membership so far.

Write a great CTA

You’ve created an excellent renewal email. The content is crisp, the images appealing, and the email body is not too cluttered. But if the recipient can’t immediately locate the call to action button, you have lost them. The CTA button should be in a bold color, prominently placed, and use clear but exciting wording that will stand out. A good CTA is not usually more than four words long.

It should create a sense of urgency and encourage consumers to follow through with their renewal. Phrases like “renew now,” “upgrade me,” “act now,” and “save today” make great CTAs.

renewal email example
A renewal email example from Apple Music; source: Really Good Emails

This renewal email from Apple Music creates a sense of urgency by giving the date by which the customer must renew their subscription and uses a clear CTA that emphasizes the benefit to the customer. Apple also mentions that automatic renewal will save the customer time and prevent any interruption in their service.

Leverage urgency and FOMO

People are more inclined to push through with a purchase if they think the offer will not be available later or is a rare opportunity. Simply put, they do not want to miss out on an offer or deal that promises to be the only one of its kind or has an expiration date. This phenomenon is known as the fear of missing out (FOMO) and is particularly common among millennials, with a study estimating that almost 69% of this demographic say they experience it.

As a marketer, you can use FOMO in your renewal emails to create a sense of urgency, encouraging the consumer to go through with the purchase now because it may not be available later. It can be useful, especially when you send reminder renewal emails when the customer still has a little time remaining before they need to renew. Effective limited time offers can help you tap into FOMO and drive sales.

renewal email example
A renewal email from Grammarly

A popular grammar checker places a bright yellow button on its renewal emails that offer a limited chance to upgrade. They couple it with the strong CTA, “Claim this offer,” and include the words “final days” in the copy. All of these elements invoke a sense of urgency, showing customers that this is a rare opportunity, and providing an incentive to upgrade.

Create a sequence instead of a single email

Renewal emails work best when they are sent as a part of broader campaigns. In fact, by sending just one additional email, you can double your results.

Typically, three mails in succession is enough — one before the subscription runs out, the second to notify the customer at the end of their subscription, and the third after the membership is over to seek feedback and encourage them one more time to renew.

Such email sequences are also called drip campaigns, and they help you create a smooth flow of communication rather than a single abrupt “renew your subscription” email. By seeking feedback, you can also understand where you went wrong to inform future campaigns.

Use online tools to verify emails to better target your audience. A high bounce rate can be disastrous for your sender score and result in your emails being relegated to the spam folder.

renewal email series
A drip renewal campaign from Squarespace; source:

Squarespace shows us the power of drip renewal campaigns with three emails designed to address the consumer at different times. Notice how the second email asks the question “Need more time?” This is a great way to give the consumer some options other than making an immediate purchase.


Renewal emails don’t have to only be about the “renew now” button. They can also be an excellent opportunity to remind the customer about your value. Get creative with your renewal emails by making them personal and fun. Most importantly, remember to keep it short and sweet with a catchy call to action. You can also use multiple emails in a sequence to create a complete campaign that adds a sense of urgency to your email.

These tips can help you retain customers and give you a chance to build long-term value for your subscribers. Your next campaign awaits!

Date of publication:

29 Dec. 2020

Nicholas Rubright

Nicholas Rubright is the communications specialist for Writer, an AI writing assistant designed for teams. Nicholas has previously...

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