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Growing Subscription Revenue With Triggered Emails and Online Renewals: How Three Companies Did It

by Winston Bowden  |  
September 22, 2009

Publishers, membership-based organizations, and anyone who manages subscriptions can benefit from triggered emails by using date-based triggers to remind customers to renew. Automating this process saves time and money. Even more important, using triggered emails can significantly boost your response rates on renewals.

The following case studies illustrate how three organizations applied best-practices for deploying triggered emails to drive renewals—and what tips and tricks you can use to do the same.

Case 1: Magazine-Subscription Renewal

Magazines drive revenue from several sources, but the two most prominent are advertising and reader subscriptions.

Although many print publications must use snail mail as their primary vehicle for renewals, adding email and online renewals can decrease cost and boost renewal rates. Here's one potential scenario:

A subscriber signs up online for a one-year subscription to his favorite music magazine. His email address is captured as one of the fields on the subscription form. Though the magazine is a print publication, it need not confine itself to print renewal notices. Why not first send an online renewal?

For example, once a reader subscribes, the reader is automatically added to the triggered email campaign (also called a drip campaign). In 12 months, when the reader's subscription expires, the date-based email is triggered. Here's an example of what your campaign structure might look like:

  • Campaign 1: 30 days before subscription expires, send Reminder 1
  • Campaign 2: One week before subscription expires, send Reminder 2
  • Campaign 3: The day of expiration, send Reminder 3
  • Campaign 4: One week after expiration, send the Final Reminder


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Winston Bowden is marketing and sales manager at Durham-based Contactology ( Reach him via

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