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3 Keys to Success for Any Renewal or Re-Order Campaign

One of the very first marketing pieces I ever wrote – back when I was a marketing assistant – was a “special renewal” solicitation.

I was still just a kid, maybe 24 years old, and I was in charge of the renewal effort for one of our company’s financial newsletters.

We had a standard, timing-based renewal series that went out to subscribers…but we also would send out “special” renewal efforts every month or two to try and entice early renewals.

At the time, when I was still learning the business, I was shocked to find out how many people would just keep renewing their subscriptions over and over again in order to get whatever gift or discount we were offering.

This was nearly 30 years ago and I’ll bet some of those subscriptions still haven’t run out.

Ever since that time – as I’ve moved through my career and focused on copywriting and marketing consulting exclusively since 2001 – I’ve continued to enjoy writing renewal or re-order campaigns the most.

From that very first renewal effort (which offered a free copy of a book the company had over-printed and needed to get out of storage) all the way to today, I’ve learned quite a bit about what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to renewal/re-order marketing.

Here then are 3 keys to success in renewal/re-orders:

Key #1: Build on the relationship – In the case of a newsletter, the reader has likely formed a bond of some kind with the editor. They likely look forward to reading each new bulletin as it arrives…and that type of relationship has value. So rather than sending a renewal letter from a “marketing manager” or some other faceless person in the organization, have the letter come directly from the editor. And the more personal you can make the appeal, the better.

Subscribers love to relate on a deeply personal level with the editor. (We had one financial newsletter with a mediocre track record where I’m certain many of the subscribers only stuck around for the editor’s movie reviews.) But an editor telling a personal story of some kind and then reminding/asking for the renewal is far more powerful than some standard letter from a marketing person offering a discount.

Key #2: Offer something of value – Many of the subscribers or buyers that figure to be your best candidates for re-ordering are still way too early in the process to need more of your product. (Or too early in their subscription to renew.) So you need to offer something of value to this customer in order to get a re-sale.

In the case of a subscription, it’s likely another information product of some kind. A message selling a book, special report or even a new service can be very persuasive as a bonus for an early renewal. And in the case of, say, a nutritional supplement there are many options. First, you could offer a free 30-day supply of a complementary product. Or an extreme discount on the re-stocking price for the existing product.

Key #3: Have a reason for the offer – This is a common theme across all types of marketing. Just look at the advertisements for new cars or furniture – have you ever known so many people to celebrate President’s Day so exuberantly? The same idea applies for your special renewal or re-order offer. You’re intruding upon your customer with a potential too-early solicitation.

If you’re following the first two ideas from this post, you’re doing so with a good relationship and a strong offer…so to complete the trifecta you just need an excuse. It could be a warehouse inventory sale…an offer tied to a holiday…a “lock-in” offer prior to a future price increase…or an offer tied to the direction of the stock market. But having a compelling reason to reach out does carry weight with your customers and provides you with a reason to get your message read…and that’s half the battle.

Jody Madron is a results-oriented copywriter with 30 years of breakthrough marketing experience.  To learn how Jody can deliver results-boosting copy — ahead of your deadline — visit


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"7 Mistakes to Avoid in Hiring a Copywriter"