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SaaS email marketing strategy

14 Tips to Make Your SaaS Email Marketing More Effective

Coming up with a good SaaS email marketing strategy isn’t that easy. With the average inbox getting more than 100 emails a day, yours need to stand out. Struggling to get people’s attention? Read on to learn some simple and effective tactics that will boost your ROI.

Contrary to what some may say, email is not dead. In fact, marketing through the medium has helped businesses drive leads, boost conversions, and generate revenue over the years.

Email is one of the most effective tools in every marketer’s arsenal, delivering an impressive ROI of $42 for every $1 spent.

In 2020, more than 306.4 billion emails were exchanged each day, and the number will reach 376.4 billion by 2025, Statista estimates.

From nonprofits and retail to manufacturing and entertainment, businesses across industries send marketing emails to connect, nurture and convert leads into customers.

Why SaaS email marketing is worth it

It’s safe to say that the rise of social media, chatbots, and other engagement tools hasn’t blurred the brilliance of a well-designed email plan. The same holds true for companies in the SaaS market.

Beyond maximizing the ROI of your marketing efforts, an effective SaaS email marketing campaign helps build a loyal customer base.

Typically, software has an email open rate of 21.29% and an average click-through rate of 2.45%. That doesn’t mean your SaaS company can’t get a better response. 

With these 14 top-notch email marketing strategies, you can increase engagement, grow customer loyalty and boost sales for your SaaS project. 

#1. Determine the goal for your SaaS email marketing campaign

First things first: define goals for your email marketing campaign. What do you wish to achieve by sending email newsletters to your customer base?

Some reasons could be to:

  • attract leads 
  • increase sign-ups for trial versions 
  • convert free users into paying clients
  • improve the overall customer experience to boost retention rates.

Once you have a clear picture of your end goal, you can start to capture email addresses. Thus, you’ll build a mailing list including your target audience for the campaign.

#2. Personalize your SaaS email marketing with segmentation

After defining the goals of your email marketing campaign, you can segment your audience. This step helps you structure your email copy accordingly. The content and Call-To-Action (CTA) of each email will be based on the customer segment you want to address.

For example, if you want subscribers to sign up for a free trial, a “try for free” CTA would be relevant. If you aim to inform buyers about a new feature, the CTA “learn how it works” works better. 

Segmentation helps improve email open rates and click-through rates (CTRs) while reducing unsubscriptions

There are different ways to segment your list. Here are some ideas to get started. 

Purpose Action 
New subscribers A welcome email series.
Preferences Do subscribers want to know about a blog post or are they interested in sales notifications? 
Interests For example, email vs. social media marketing.
Inactivity Remind inactive subscribers about your best features. 
Lead magnet Send emails personalized according to the topic of the lead magnet they opted for. 
Location If you’re having a local event, notify subscribers in that area. 
Offers Reward the most engaged subscribers with a special offer. 
Shopping cart abandonment Remind subscribers who have added items to the cart but have not checked out yet. 

For example, Basecamp, the popular project management tool, sends clear yet compelling emails to subscribers at the end of their trial period.

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Their email gives an option to continue or cancel the service with just a click. It indicates the payment process and how you can easily access your projects. The email puts the customer at ease by giving them all the information they would need.

#3. Automate with auto-responders

Arguably, autoresponders are the most powerful SaaS email marketing tools. Autoresponders deliver relevant information to nurture your leads and convert your prospects into customers.

So then, what is an autoresponder? 

In simple words, an autoresponder is a series of automated emails sent to a segment of readers on your email list. It is triggered by a specific event. 

You can set up emails to go out to customers based on specific events.

For instance, if someone subscribes to your service, signs up for a free trial, or abandons a shopping cart — you could trigger a personalized email. You can either acknowledge their activity or remind them to come back and finish the buying process.

The best part is once you have created it, your work is done. You create the content of the series in advance and set these messages up to go out when you want.

Online design tool Canva is a great example. As you spend time on their platform and achieve certain milestones, their autoresponder sends appreciation emails.

The content is exceptionally motivational in nature and nudges you to use the platform by setting a new goal.

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Canva’s CTA encourages you to share your achievements on social media, thus helping the platform reach out to a broader audience.

Now, you might be wondering, how do you create an autoresponder series? 

Here are the 4 steps you can follow.

Step 1 – Choose the objective for the autoresponder. 

The four most common goals for an autoresponder series are: 

Goal Example 
Sending new subscribers a welcome series A link to your latest blog post  Simply “thank you for subscribing”  A discount coupon
Using it as a lead magnet A mini-course   A free challenge
Making sales on autopilot A series of educational videos  Pre-recorded webinars Educational emails Promo offers
Promoting up-sells and cross-sells In the case of SaaS, up-selling could be in – customers upgrading the plan.  Freemium to premium. Think of Dropbox. 

Step 2 – Map out the sequence. 

You will have to figure out – how long do you want the sequence to be. How many days? How many emails?

The number of emails doesn’t matter as long as they add value. 

Step 3 – Write an autoresponder series that converts. 

This is the hardest of the four steps. Keep in mind: 

  • Focus on the reader – Your emails should address the needs of the subscribers and not yours. 
  • Personalize – Tailor the content of the emails based on people’s buying journey. A customer relationship software such as EngageBay CRM can tell you where each lead is in the customer journey to customize the email. 
  • Write great subject lines – Would you open an email if the subject line doesn’t catch your attention? The same is the case with your recipients. The best email lines invoke curiosity, are personal and highly relevant to the reader. 

Step 4 – Improve and monitor 

When you are analyzing autoresponder campaigns, pay attention to: 

  • Open rates 
  • Click-through rates 
  • Unsubscribe rates 

#4. Take the help of cliff-hangers

The cliff-hanger technique can help you increase open rates and boost your email engagement. Tease through value and invoke a sense of excitement in your audience.

A teaser of an upgrade or an upcoming resource can keep your subscribers curious till you email them the next time. That increases their chances of actively participating with your SaaS or at least keeping you in mind until they plan to restart using you service.

#5. Leverage rewards and incentives to speed up sales 

Use your customer data creatively to boost your email click-through rates.

For example, make a record of all critical events – such as your customer’s date of birth, sign-up date, or any other milestones. Then, create reward campaigns around them to thank your loyal users on these special dates.

You can also incentivize your customers when they recommend your SaaS solutions to others. For example, Wistia is a video creation and hosting platform that sends a congratulatory email when users create their first video.

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The email surprises their subscribers as it rewards them with few additional features to improve video quality. This not only motivates them to explore the tool further but also engages them for the long haul.

Alternatively, you could engage prospects with personalized rewards, leading to improved response rates. For example, for sales enablement, using a digital rewards platform like Xoxoday Plum you can send a “thank you” gift when a subscriber signs up. 

Furthermore, engage your prospects at various stages of your SaaS email marketing funnel with personalized rewards. It’s a way to make them feel special and show your gratitude with surprises right from your CRM. 

#6. Use videos for interactivity

Videos are simple yet effective means to connect with your audience, and they’re easier to create nowadays as there are plenty of free editing software available online. Emails with videos have better engagement and improved CTAs — as high as 65%. In addition, you can make your emails interactive by embedding links to your videos from YouTube.

Videos capture your subscribers’ attention and make your communication more exciting.

InVision’s workflow management platform sends a welcome email to its subscribers. This post-registration email offers links to their explanatory videos to help new users make the most out of their platform.

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As you can see, each CTA is unique and describes what the user can get started with. Finally, the closing line evokes an emotional connection by offering help instantly.

Here are useful tips to nail your video email marketing: 

  • Rather than allowing people to only watch the video within the email, also set up an irresistible landing page your subscribers can visit. This means not one, but two CTAs that will push subscribers further down the sales funnel. 
software as a service company
  • Share customer testimonials with a video. When your prospective customers see a real human talking about their experience with your products or services, there is a genuine chance of trust developing.

    The potential of a sale happening is going to be much higher. And what better than delivering these powerful customer testimonials right into the inbox of the email subscribers? 
touch bistro example
  • Add GIFs to your video marketing emails to make them stand out. Get your creative juices flowing to come up with GIF ideas to spice up your emails and spark the interest of your readers. This could range from words jiggling across the page, a funny dance, or even a cartoon display. 

Video creation tool InVideo helps you convey your message clearly and concisely over email. Videos are a great way to show instead of tell. Lastly, depending on your style, videos allow the audience to see real people behind the SaaS brands they love. 

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#7. Avoid spam filters

Your SaaS email marketing efforts will be futile if your emails land in your customer’s spam folder. Engage a reputed email marketing service provider to avoid such situations. Also, send emails only to subscribers who have opted for them.

Furthermore, give them the option to stop receiving your emails through an unsubscribe button. Remember to share emails through a clean IP address and verified domains only.

Want to see how ZeroBounce works? Give it a try!

Besides, keep track of the number of sales words you use – such as buy, clearance, hidden charges, lowest price, and so on, as they trigger spam filters. Instead, experiment with power words to see which attracts the maximum engagement from your target audience.

Bynder, the cloud-based asset management platform, does it brilliantly through engaging copy and CTA. It captures the attention of its readers through a catchy headline. The CTA button asks the recipient to confirm they want to keep receiving the emails.

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Bonus tip: An email server tester such as ZeroBounce allows you to verify mailbox providers around the world to quickly determine the placement of your campaign. 

#8. Make your emails valuable

Customers who have shared their email addresses with you expect value in return. Therefore, do not make all your emails about yourself. Instead, analyze the stage of your buyer’s journey and send them useful content.

Think of how you can ignite the “What’s in it for me” factor – from the reader’s viewpoint. 

For example, your subscribers won’t care about the upcoming webinar unless it benefits them. So, highlight clearly what’s in it for them. 

If you are looking to use webinars to grow your email list, suppose you are sending them a registration email. How do you make it effective?

Here’s an example of an online event by LiveWebinar and LearnWorlds

Take a look at the title “The power of webinar: How to teach live classes and sell more courses.” It highlights how collaboration technology can shorten the distance between people and bring more value regardless of where they live. 

increase b2b sales

Bonus tip: Once you write an email, read it as if you were the recipient. Would you care about the email or take the desired action? If not, re-write. 

Also, send a mix of promotional and educational emails. 

  • If you send only promotional emails, you’re bound to see an increase in unsubscribe rate. 
  • If you send only educational emails, you may not generate any sales.

You could try using a ratio of 3:1 for educational: promotional emails. 

This helps you position yourself as a go-to guide in assisting your audience in solving their problems. 

#9. Sprinkle social proof wherever possible

It is essential to learn from experiences — they may be your own or someone else’s. This practice can improve your sales big time.

If you show people how many users are happy with your SaaS services, they will be more inclined to purchase from you.

Use your SaaS email marketing strategy to create authority, promote your bestsellers, and collect ratings and reviews for your services.

FreshBooks shares client testimonials over emails to build industry authority.

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As you can see, the client review and awards they’ve won make their emails more influential.

#10. Personalize your content based on the buyer’s journey

Remember the goals you had set for your SaaS email marketing? To meet them effectively, identify the stage of each customer on your mailing list.

Your target should be taking the reader to the next level.

So, address the needs specific to each stage of the buyer’s journey, as a part of building the perfect content marketing funnel for your business

Here are some of the stages of the customer lifecycle and the kinds of content you could use for each stage of the SaaS buyer’s journey. 

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This means that if the subscriber is in the consideration stage, you could send them emails with how-to guides highlighting how your product can solve their problems.  

Keep in mind that it’s important for these email sequences to be relevant. For inspiration, here are the most common types of emails depending on the different stages of the customer journey. 

Stage Types of emails 
Awareness Introductory  New offers  Welcome emails  Getting started 
Consideration Encouraging to use the free trial  Customer reviews and testimonials  Reasons to buy your product 
Purchase Customer success stories  Free trial ending reminder  Thank you emails  Abandoned cart reminders 
Retention Product hacks and tips  Discounts to renew subscription  Surveys to improve customer satisfaction 

#11. Re-engage inactive subscribers with smart copy

Anyone who has joined your list was interested in your SaaS product at some time. They might be inactive because they don’t need your product right now. But re-engaging inactive subscribers will help them recall your brand.

As a part of SaaS onboarding email series, create value for them by giving them reasons to stay connected with you. If they still unsubscribe, you get a filtered email list.

The online writing assistant Grammarly uses gamification interestingly in their re-engagement emails.

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They send a ‘Wrinkle in Time’ badge to inactive users and ask them to restart by using a prominent ‘Go’ button. Is it not fun and engaging?

Here are some ways to re-engage inactive subscribers:

  • Ask a question: “Have we broken up? Please say no.” Effective copywriting can (re)gain their attention and interest in your product. 
  • Limited-time offers could nudge them to make the purchase. 
  • Give the reader reasons to engage with your product. Remind them why they signed up in the first place. 
  • Send them a survey to understand why they no longer use your product. 
  • Examine the subscriber’s past activity to send tailored content. 

You can create user experience surveys with SurveySparrow to collect their feedback, measure your customer feedback index and understand customer perception. 

#12. Integrate emails with social media

If you’re not using social media to boost the efficiency of your SaaS email marketing, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity. Social media can very much influence consumer buying decisions.

So, start integrating your email and social media marketing. To begin, entice your customers to connect with your brand on social media platforms. And vice versa: make it worthwhile for people to subscribe to your emails.

This strengthens your bond by allowing you to connect with your audience where it likes to hang out.

You can also upload your mailing list on social media to target subscribers through social media ads. As you reach your audience through multiple channels, you’ll amplify the performance of your marketing message.

For instance, e-commerce platform Shopify sends welcome emails to new free-trial subscribers with links to its social media accounts.

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They include all their social media platforms to maximize community engagement. It gives customers the option to connect on whichever platform they like the most.

#13. Do not forget mobile-friendliness

Your customers probably spend most of their time on a smartphone and probably read your emails on it. With the multiple distractions, customers may quickly bounce off a poorly formatted email.

So, design your email and resize your content to support mobile readability. Format-It! fits your emails into different mobile screens.

Here are some tips to optimize your SaaS email campaigns for mobile devices: 

  • Implement a responsive email design. This ensures that the user experience is optimized irrespective of the device or screen the reader uses. 
  • Keep the subject line and pre-header text (also known as snippet text) short. 
  • Make the CTA big, bold, obvious and simple to click. 

#14. Allow subscribers to choose what they want to receive

Hyper-personalize your email content by allowing each subscriber to pick what interests them. 

There are two benefits of allowing the customer to fine-tune their preferences. 

  • Increased engagement rate as they receive only those emails they care about.
  • When you get a better idea of their pain points, you can tailor your content and increase your conversion rate. 

For instance, Medium has a preference center that allows you to change your email settings based on what you want to read.

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Test, optimize and re-test

Your audience must be receiving numerous emails throughout the day, but they hardly open all of them. So, optimize your sending frequency to find the best engagement time.

You would also need to decide on the right email frequency. If you send too often, you end up annoying subscribers. Send too few and they will forget about you. A great way to determine the frequency is by asking your subscribers. 

It’s free to start a ZeroBounce account

At the same time, keep a tab on the type of content your audience is most receptive towards. Every once in a while, revisit your copy and email template design to make sure they’re fresh and a pleasure to experience.

To make your SaaS email marketing campaigns work, follow best practices and strive to give people what they expect – and more.

Author: Priyanka Desai is the founder of iScribblers, a content marketing and writing agency for B2B, technology and SaaS companies.