Most publishers do not make any profit on a subscription until it has been renewed. A high renewal rate of 50% to 75% is essential to the economic survival of print or digital periodicals that do not derive most of their revenue from selling advertising space (such as children’s or consumer magazines that don’t accept advertising, or magazines that are sold only by subscription).
Most renewals are sold at the full undiscounted basic rate, in contrast to new subscriptions that are sold at discounted rates. The prior sources of subscribers who renew at a high rate are carefully tracked so that efforts to recruit new subscribers will be concentrated on those sources. Renewal orders may be received from sources of business other than the publisher’s own renewal promotions, resulting in lower renewal revenues.
Renewal promotions are sent to current subscribers soliciting renewal of those subscriptions. Renewal promotions consist of a series of promotions called efforts that begin about seven months prior to expire and continue for two or three months after expire. They may also include advance renewal offers and/or renewal-at-birth offers.
The renewal promotion copy usually begins with a soft-sell approach such as “Renew now before our price increase is effective” and ends with an approach such as “We don’t want to lose you, but this is your last chance.”
Often even for digital subscriptions renewal promotions are direct mail packages utilizing many of the traditional direct mail, or print, advertising techniques, but the series may include a telephone, email or retargeting effort as well. Renewals received in response to a renewal promotion are called identified renewals. Most renewals require cash with order, but credit offers are also used successfully.
Synonyms: renewal promotion, renewal series