For owners of membership websites, email automation can make much easier. To connect with your members and subscribers, emails are the most effective form of communication. Even with the scope of digital marketing expanding daily, email still remains a highly efficient marketing medium. In fact, depending on how well you use it, your returns on investments can be up to 4400%

Despite this, there’s still a significant issue with email marketing. Most of the time, messages and tasks sent out can seem repetitive. For digital marketers, course creators, and people handling a membership website, there really isn’t any time for this. Imagine having to manually send out the same welcome emails to hundreds of subscribers. It’ll only leave you drained and unproductive.

However, there’s a simple way you can use emails to your advantage — email automations. Email automation describes the process whereby emails are sent out automatically to members based on their actions. This is in stark contrast to sending out one-off emails or email blasts from time to time. 

All you have to do is set the parameters for a particular email to be sent out. Then, when your subscribers trigger these parameters, your email automation tool will send out a specific message. 

With certain email automations, you can enjoy maximum return on investment without any extra work.  All of the hard work comes when setting up the automation. After that, you can focus on other tasks and still get conversions from your members.

For membership website owners and course creators, the concept of email automations begs a simple question. What emails do I need to automate?

This is the core subject of this blog. Over the next few paragraphs, we’ll discuss the essential email automation actions your membership site needs. 

Renewal Reminders

For a membership website, churn rate is a concept that requires close monitoring. Your churn rate is the rate at which you’re losing subscribers. When subscribers cancel their subscriptions or refuse to renew their subscriptions, your churn rate increases. 

If your churn rate is more than your membership growth rate, you’ll only end up losing money. As a result, it’s important to make sure that your members renew their subscriptions before it expires.

The best way to get them to do this is to send them a renewal email. Sometimes, members forget about renewal dates. As a membership website owner, it’s up to you to remind them before it’s due. The best part is that you don’t have to do it manually.

With email automations, you can send reminders about renewals to members whose subscriptions are about to expire. This process is made easier with the use of the right email automation tool. Also, a WordPress membership plugin can prove useful.

Depending on your preferences, you can set these tools to send out a renewal reminder a week before subscriptions expire. Or you can set it up to send a reminder with the membership expiry a month away. 

The best email automation tool will automatically send out a renewal reminder based on the filters you set. This way, you can hold on to your members without worrying that they may forget about their renewal dates. 

Re-engagement Campaign

For a membership website, this type of campaign targets members who cancel their subscriptions too early. There are many reasons why members may decide to cancel their subscriptions before it expires. 

For some, it may be that your website is too technical for them to handle. If your membership website is aimed at teaching with courses, it may be that the course outline is too rigid. Some members can even cancel their subscriptions due to content overwhelm.

However, there’s still a chance to get this category of people back. This is where a re-engagement campaign comes in. Typically, it’s a series of emails that you send out with a view to doing two things. First, you find out why the member canceled their subscription. Secondly, you make the necessary changes and show them how they can benefit from your membership.

In truth, nobody has the time to monitor who canceled their membership in the first 30-90 days. Furthermore, remembering to send out email after email over a period of time is a huge ask. This is where email automations are useful.

There are tools that membership website owners can use to monitor cancellation rates. Then, with email automations, you can set the messages to be sent to this category of people. You can also determine the interval at which emails will be sent. Remember, you don’t want to overwhelm prospective members. 

Cart Abandonment

Cart abandonment is a real issue that membership website owners have to contend with. In fact, 3 out of every 4 prospective shoppers don’t complete the checkout process. As a membership site owner, if you choose to do nothing about these 3 people, you may be losing huge business.

The truth is that anybody who reaches the checkout page for your membership has an interest in your service. Due to distractions, some people forget to complete the checkout process. Similarly, it may be that your checkout page is too complicated. Whatever the reason is, as long as you capture leads from this category of people, you can get them to complete their membership. 

Recapture.io is a great cart abandonment service that works perfectly with Restrict Content Pro.

Email automations can help you send out messages to people who don’t complete the registration process. You don’t have the time to monitor everybody who visits your website and doesn’t register fully. However, with an email automation tool, you can send out carefully curated “cart abandonment” messages to them.

If they’re really interested in your service, they get a nudge that reminds them to complete their membership. You may even get feedback that tells you why prospective members are abandoning the checkout process.

Weekly “What’s New” Messages

To ensure that members continue to renew their subscriptions, you must build a relationship with them. Engaging with your members builds brand trust and loyalty. These two factors are key in making sure that your churn rate reduces. 

Additionally, if you’re the type that constantly upgrades services, you need to let your members know about it. Weekly newsletters to your members can serve these purposes.

With a weekly newsletter, you can discuss happenings related to the service you offer. It can even trigger a friendly back and forth between your brand and members. More importantly, you can use them as an avenue to inform members of site upgrades and changes.

With email automations, you can make sure that you never forget to send out a weekly newsletter. All you have to do is write 3-4 newsletters ahead of time. You can write more if there are no drastic changes in the future. 

After preparing newsletters, simply configure your email automation tool to send them out at specific times. For 2-3 months, you can focus on improving your service. While you do this, your customers will still be getting weekly correspondence from you. That way, they know you care about them and are more likely to renew their membership when the time comes.

Refer-a-Friend

Digital marketing may be all the rave now. But, referral marketing still remains relevant. With email automations, you can get your members to do referral marketing for you.

First, make sure the quality of the service your membership website offers is great. With this, your members are more likely to tell others about it. However, a critical look at customer behaviors shows that most people won’t tell others about a great deal without a prompt or an incentive.

As a membership website owner, it’s your job to provide an incentive for members to refer your site to their friends and family. Just like in the previous paragraphs, emails will do the job effectively. 

The first step is not to overload your members with a request for referrals in the early stages of their membership. Perhaps, you can wait for up to 4-5 months before you do this. Then, send out a message offering discounts or other incentives in exchange for a referral.

Instead of doing the hard work of monitoring when a member is 5 months in before sending a request for a referral, let email automations take over. Simply set your automation tool to the required time and watch those referrals pour in!

Milestone Emails 

We all love to celebrate milestones. From yearly birthday dinners to presents that mark a promotion at work, milestones offer a sense of positive growth. Membership site owners and content creators should not be left out of celebrating milestones with members. The odds are high that you celebrate the anniversary of your membership site. So why not celebrate milestones with your members?

Milestones that you can celebrate include 30 days of membership, 3 months of membership, first referral, join date anniversary, and more. Of course, you can’t celebrate a milestone in person. However, you can send out an email to show your member that you remember. More importantly, it shows that you care enough to take the time to send out an email to commemorate the occasion. 

With email automations, you can set your tool to send out specific messages when a member attains a particular milestone. For the best results, these messages should include freebies. It can be a T-shirt, a mug or a certificate. If you have the capacity (and the milestone is worth it), you can give them discounts. Let your members know they are an important part of your community with email automation for milestones.

Birthdays

For most people, birthdays are a very happy day. They want to celebrate it with the people they love most in the world. However, there’s no rule that says your membership website can’t be a part of that celebration. 

We believe you should capture birthday leads. Furthermore, you should use them by using email automation to celebrate with your members.

Many email automation tools can be integrated with your lead generation system. Therefore, when you capture birthday leads, it is automatically entered into the system. Consequently, email automations will send out celebratory messages when the time comes. 

Taking the time to do this fosters trust between your brand and members. It’s a win-win for everybody!

Content Reminders

A good number of membership site owners make all of their content libraries available to members as soon as they subscribe. Conversely, other content creators drip feed content to their membership base. This means they make new content available on a periodic basis.

If the operations of your membership website fall into the second category, you have to let your members know when content is available. With email automations, you can set up a drip campaign that tells them new content is available on the website.

Remember, not all of your members will have the time to check for new content on your website. Therefore, to make sure they enjoy maximum benefit from your website, use automated emails to show them there’s new content!

Live Event Reminders 

The appeal of a membership website is in the community it offers. Most people that will sign up for your membership website do so because of the service or content you offer. However, they also want to relate with others that have the same needs as themselves. In fact, they want to be able to get support and answers from you — the membership website owner.

Live events like webinars are a great way to foster the spirit of community among your website members. You can also organize social media hangouts too. But, you have to let your members know that these events are taking place. In fact, you may have to send out 2-3 reminders well in advance.

Imagine having to send out reminders to all of your members on a weekly basis. If done manually, it will prove to be a mammoth task. However, with email automations, you can simply set the reminders to be sent at specific intervals. Make life easier with email automation.

Wrapping Up

Whether you’re using a WordPress membership plugin or an automation tool, you have to know which tasks to automate. With the information above, you can make full use of your email automation tools. Get maximum returns out of your investments!

AJ Morris

About the author: AJ is the product innovation and marketing manager for iThemes and leads marketing efforts for Restrict Content Pro. He has years of experience working with and development membership sites.

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