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Email Marketing Automation for Membership Site Customer Journeys


Email is the lifeline connecting you to members before, during, and after signup. That’s why optimizing your email marketing automation is so critical for membership sites.

Strategically timed and personalized email campaigns guide visitors through becoming members, keep existing members engaged, and even win back ones who have left.

This comprehensive guide explores proven email marketing automation strategies across the entire membership site customer journey. We’ll cover:

  • Lead nurturing email campaigns to convert free members
  • Behavior-triggered emails that engage active members
  • Retargeting emails to reactivate inactive members
  • Automating the onboarding welcome sequence
  • Optimizing your messages for opens, clicks and conversions

With the right email automation in place, you can scale your membership site efficiently while delivering hyper-relevant messaging. Let’s dive into tactics that maximize impact at each subscriber lifecycle stage.

Lead Nurturing Emails

Before visitors become paying members, you need to nurture them by delivering value. Lead nurturing email campaigns build trust and incentive to upgrade from a free account.

Give Them a Taste

Send sample content available in paid tiers to show the premium value unlocked by upgrading.

Outline the Benefits

Explain key perks and features exclusive to paid membership they are missing out on.

Share Success Stories

Include testimonials about life/business improvements from upgraded members.

Offer Limited Trials

Provide promo codes for temporary free access to premium content or tools.

Highlight Discounts

Offer lead nurturing promotions like 25% first month discounted to incentivize sign ups.

Remind Them to Upgrade

Send gentle reminders pointing back to the membership upgrade page for those still on free plans.

Make it FOMO

Showcase member-only live events, content releases, or community conversations they are excluded from.

Behavior-Based Engagement Emails

Triggered emails engage active members when they complete desired actions. Target these to their activity.

New Content Emails

Alert members about fresh articles, videos, courses etc. matching their interests.

Achievement Emails

Congratulate members when they complete courses, challenges, or other milestones.

Inactivity Reminders

Check-in with members if they haven’t logged in for awhile to reengage them.

Request for Reviews

Prompt happy members to leave reviews after participating for some duration.

Poll Follow Ups

Share results from recent polls members participated in so they feel heard.

Forums Recap

Send weekly or monthly digests of popular forum topics and discussions.

Live Event Reminders

Remind registered members about upcoming webinars or virtual meetups.

Retargeting Inactive Members

Bringing back disengaged members requires tailored outreach.

Survey for Reasons

Ask specifically why they lost interest to identify areas for improvement.

Address Their Pain Points

If they cite friction or issues, email about improvements made based on their feedback.

Revive Lapsed Accounts

Offer temporarily free access for members whose paid accounts lapsed to resubscribe them.

Highlight New Arrivals

Share exciting new content, features and upgrades released since they were last active.

Reinforce Value

Remind them of the core value proposition and benefits of membership they are missing.

Facilitate Re-Engagement

Offer assistance from a community manager to answer questions and get them participatng again.

New Member Onboarding Sequences

First impressions matter. Welcome new members with a cohesive onboarding sequence:

Instant Welcome

Deliver an instant welcome as soon as they sign up to build excitement.

Onboarding Primer

Send a getting started guide to walk through first steps like setting up their profile.

Platform Tutorials

Share videos or docs explaining how to access key sections of your membership site.

Community Intros

Prompt new members to introduce themselves in the forums to kickstart connections.

First Achievement

Recognize new members for initial milestones like making an intro post.

Feedback Survey

Ask for feedback on their initial impressions and experience while it’s fresh.

Ongoing Value

Over time, share more about ongoing perks, content roadmaps, events etc. they can access.

Optimizing Messages for Impacts

Fine-tuning your email content and delivery ensures higher open and click through rates.

Compelling Subject Lines

Hook readers with urgency, curiosity inducing questions, value statements, and relevance to their interests.

Preview Snippets

Entice opening with brief snippets of content shown in previews.


Include first name, member tenure, interests etc. to increase relevancy.

Clear Calls to Action

Tell readers explicitly the next step you want them to take.

Mobile Optimization

Ensure emails look great and buttons work on small screens.

Good Timing

Send based on day/time open and click rates are highest for each campaign.

Finding Frequency Sweet Spot

Test sending campaigns more or less frequently to optimize for engagement without oversending.


Create emails tailored to member subsets like new users, highly engaged, at-risk etc.


Email marketing automation powers the subscriber journey from lead to loyal member and beyond. With triggers and workflows tailored to each stage, you can deliver hyper-relevant messages that convert, engage, and retain members in your community. Take advantage of email’s unmatched ROI by putting these proven strategies into practice across the entire member lifecycle.

By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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