Use Case: Customer Retention and Renewals

  • Updated

Use Act-On’s marketing automation tools to keep your members engaged and build a loyal customer base. You can build Automated Programs specifically for your existing customers to create dynamic retention and renewal campaigns.


Industry: All industries
Primary Actor: Act-On Administrator
Stakeholders: Account Managers, Marketing Team, Sales Team
Reason: Encourage existing customers to renew subscriptions to your services or products
Goal: Keep customer retention high 



Your customer renewal rates are decent, but you’re interested in solutions for improving them to retain a higher number of existing customers. You’d like to create a campaign that engages customers near their subscription renewal date and encourages customer retention.


Create a segment of contacts from your All Contacts list (or marketing list) who are existing customers, then build a dynamic Automated Program to send an array of marketing materials to customers near their renewal date.


A. Create a Segment for Existing Customers

First, you’ll need to segment current customers based on the amount of time they’ve been a customer. Your All Contacts list (or marketing list) should have a column with a Renewal Date field to keep track of each customer’s subscription renewal date with you (For Act-On Contacts, see Customize List Columns and for Marketing lists, see Managing List Columns in Act-On).

To do this:

  1. If you are using Act-On Contacts:
    Go to Contacts > All Contacts, and at the top right, click New Segment.

    If you are using Marketing Lists:
    Go to Contacts > Marketing Lists and find your primary marketing list (or the list with your customers’ data). Click the dropdown arrow to the right of your list and select Create a Segment.

  2. Give your segment a Name and select Query for the segment Method.

  3. For your query’s logic fields, enter the following:
    • On the left, select  Profile for your query type
    • Select your Renewal Date column/field from your list
    • Select is between or equals for your operator
    • Enter two relative dates. We recommend using one month ahead and the current date to capture customers whose annual renewal date is one month away.
    • Set the date format to MM/DD/YYYY
      For example:


  4. At the top right, click Save.
For more on creating list segments, see Creating a Segment.


B. Create Marketing Materials for Your Renewal Campaign

Now that you’ve made a list segment of customers who are due for their account renewal, it’s time to create targeted Emails to remind and encourage them to renew their accounts. You should create at least three emails for your renewal initiative, which you’ll schedule later with an Automated Program.

C. Build an Automated Program for Your Customer Retention Campaign

Once your segment and targeted marketing materials (retention/renewal emails) are ready, build an Automated Program for your retention and renewal initiative. This will help you schedule emails that encourage your current customers to renew their subscriptions.

  1. Go to AutomationAutomated Programs and at the top right, click + New Program.

  2. In the Settings tab, under Contact Sources, click Select Sources, select the segment you created in section A above, and click Submit. This applies the Automated Program to the contacts that have their subscription due for renewal:


  3. In Options, select Suppress entrants on suppression lists
    This ensures that contacts on bounce lists or suppression domains are blocked from entering.
    It’s highly recommended that this option is selected.

  4. At the top left, click Build > Program Flow the Automated Journey Builder appears.

  5. Click Add and select Send Email

  6. Select the first email for your retention and renewal initiative (created in section B above) and click Submit.

  7. Now click the AutoProg_04.png under the Send Email Message step, and select Wait. Set your program to wait a specific amount of time or until a specified date to send the next email.

  8. Repeat the last 3 steps to add each email in your campaign to the program.

  9. At the top right, click Save.
  10. If desired, create Branch steps to resend emails to customers that did not open or click on them – learn more here.

Next, you’ll need to update your program’s settings to allow customers to re-enter your program each year when they’re close to their renewal date. To do this:

  1. In the Settings tab in Automated Journey Builder, scroll down to Options.

  2. Click the checkbox for Allow contacts to re-enter:

    Don’t see this setting? Contact Act-On Support or your Account Manager to turn on this feature.


Need additional help with building and running your Automated Programs? See the Automated Journey Builder User Guide and Using Act-On's Automated Programs Dashboard.



You’ve created a quick and dynamic Automated Program to help you target existing customers and increase your renewal rates.

Next Steps

If you have found this useful have a look at the Campaign Playbook: Customer Renewal Campaign.

FAQs & Troubleshooting

Why aren’t contact records entering my segment?

If you’re not seeing contacts entering your Renewal Due segment, make sure that your list column’s date formatting matches the date formatting used to set up your segment query. For US customers, we recommend using the MM/DD/YYYY format in your list and segment query. Learn more about how contacts enter your segments here.

Can I test my Automated Program and emails?

Yes! You can test your automated program before officially starting it and sending retention/renewal emails. See Test an Automated Program.

Where can I find reporting for my emails?

You can find reporting and metrics for any email in the Sent Message report:

  1. Go to Automation > Automated Programs.

  2. Hover over your automated program and click Show Dashboard.

  3. In the Report tab click Email performance.

  4. Under Individual Emails, click on your email to open the Sent Message report.

  5. View the results for your retention/renewal emails, including engagement and unique counts for sends, bounces, and clicks.

For more information, see How to View Sent Message Reports.

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