Based on the recent post about patio11’s training on emails I thought I’d share my experiences in my quest to improve my customer support renewals for a desktop software product. It’s along a similar vein to his training and may be of some use to you. Up until June 2014 my support renewals were sent out manually via a desktop program I’d written years ago. Emails were plain text, subject line was not optimised, and renewals were only sent out on expiry. It was kind of a hackish solution but it was working so I ignored it for far too long.
In June 2014 I spent a couple of days automating the process with PHP, CRON, and my in-house email templating system. The copy was re-written, the subject lines of the emails were developed with best practices gleaned from the web, and the emails themselves and the CTA’s within are much more attractive and obvious. Emails are now staged, with two reminders prior to expiry and one after expiry. Time was also spent ‘one clicking’ the support renewal cart process to remove as many cart steps as possible and pre-fill as much customer information as I could.
Since the implementation I’ve tested various subject lines for conversion as well as continuing to fine-tune the cart process. All up, it’s been very worthwhile, with conversion rates improving in the order of 80 to 100%. January this year is approaching double the conversion of the previous 12 months and quadruple the conversion rate of 2011 through 2013. I’ve probably spent a full week of time on this in the last 6 months, and it’s been time well spent.
Lesson learned is don’t ignore these automated processes, especially if you’ve got a large existing user base. There’s money to be made out of that email list. I should add to this, I don’t lock users out of the software if they do not renew support. They are simply not eligible for email support, free upgrades, and don’t get access to some minor online features the software includes.