13 SaaS Email Marketing Strategies to Achieve Goals

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Email marketing is not the sexiest marketing technique out there. It’s certainly not as cool as social media marketing, where teams come together to brainstorm dancing ideas for their next TikTok campaign. 

But here is the thing. Email marketing works. The ROI speaks for itself. And as long as you can get as much as $36 for every dollar spent, you owe it to your business to pursue the technique, right? 

So, where exactly should you start?

Email marketing for SaaS businesses doesn’t have to be so complex. I’ll take you through 13 SaaS email marketing strategies that work. They may not be as fun to implement as TikTok dances, but they’ll get the $$ coming in.

We’ll start with putting the building blocks of a campaign in place.

1. Create content to align with the customer journey 

Email marketing is like dating. You get to know the person and do your best to leave a good impression. You know, sending chocolates and flowers after a nice date. Those sweet text messages telling them you had a nice evening.

Only after they feel comfortable should you make a move.

Don’t send an email before the first date telling them how much you want to sleep with them. That’s just not going to work (for most people). So…

Before designing your SaaS email marketing campaign, consider the customer journey. You can divide the customer journey into three basic stages; acquisition, engagement, and retention.

The acquisition stage is when a lead finds out about your SaaS product. They sign up for your email list. You send a welcome email campaign where you say hi, and introduce your product.

In the engagement stage, you get to know your subscribers. Share information about your software and show how you’ll help them achieve their goals. You want to pile on the value here (it’s the chocolate and champagne stage).

Towards the end of the engagement stage, your email marketing content should push them to sign up. You could provide free trials, reviews, and success stories to show the upside to choosing you. 

Hopefully, after some wooing, you’ll convert the lead into a customer.

In the retention stage, you try to keep people using your product or service. The best way to do that is to show how to make the most of your tool.

Here is the visual representation of a typical SaaS customer lifecycle:

Create relevant SaaS email marketing content for every stage of the customer journey. You’ll need to create content for drip campaigns and triggered emails. You’ll be sending this content alongside your regular day-to-day emails that you send to all subscribers.

The welcome email is an example of an automated sequence in the awareness stage. Here is a good example of an initial activation email you might send after someone signs up for your tool.

Activation emails are there to get people using your software. Send people messages about how to use your product. 

Some people will almost sign up. Send reminders to complete the sign-up process. 

Add some pressure to nudge them towards subscribing to your SaaS product if you want. You can send end-of-free trial period reminders, for example.

Here is an excellent example of an email you could send subscribers.

The retention stage is a defining moment for your business-customer relationship. Your content should strengthen the alliance through email content like product hacks, guides, and offers to encourage them to renew subscriptions.

Finally, you want to try to grow your customer base. Here is a great example of a referrals offer by Zoho:

If you do things right, the contents of your email sequences will flow smoothly. That will make it easy to turn your leads into customers.

However, remember that the customer journey isn’t linear.

For instance, you might attract a lead who starts from the awareness stage and directly skips to the activation stage. So pay close attention and ensure you have the content to keep leads engaged.

2. Figure out why people should subscribe

There are two types of emails you’ll be sending to your subscribers. You have regular emails, something you’ll learn about now, and automated emails.

The newsletters you send to subscribers are a means of developing a relationship with your audience. That’s the idea, at least. The problem is that most people’s inboxes are overflowing.

Just think about how many email lists you’re signed up for. The emails you’re getting from these companies and individuals add value to your life.

Now think about how many lists you’ve unsubscribed from in the last year.

Yeah, there are a lot of companies out there sending boring newsletters. These companies understand that email marketing is valuable, but they haven’t figured out how to provide value to their subscribers.

So, what qualifies as a valuable newsletter?

A great SaaS email marketing campaign is built on delivering educational and generally helpful information. You want to provide solutions to your subscribers’ needs or pain points.

Harry from Marketing Examples is a great illustration of someone who has nailed email newsletters. He sends a short email every week with a valuable marketing lesson. It’s a nice Unique Selling Point (USP).

Check out one of his newsletters below.

The email newsletters he sends are unique. They provide value to subscribers.

The email newsletters you send should have a clear USP. Don’t just send subscribers a link to the last blog post you wrote. These types of emails have a habit of getting boring over time. Boring emails get ignored.

You want your newsletters to be appreciated.

That focus on providing value to your audience should be a key part of your SaaS marketing plan, regardless of the channel.

3. Automate the process for a wider reach

You send automated emails to people based on where they are in your funnel and how they are engaging with your company. Automated emails help you connect with your prospects. For example, sending a series of welcome emails to new subscribers.

Or, you might send it to someone who has just signed up for your tool.

That ability to engage subscribers is why you should embrace automation in your SaaS email marketing process. To get started, list all the automated emails your leads might expect.

You’ll want to create the following types of emails:

  • Drip campaigns- The pre-composed email campaigns are sent to leads when they conduct a particular action. For example, you send a series of welcome emails after people subscribe to your newsletter. Or activation emails after people convert.
  • Triggered emails– These are sent when a user performs a specific action. For instance, you might send a reward after someone has used your tool for 100 hours.

Finally, you could also use artificial intelligence to improve your email marketing automation process. AI can help you with details like writing email subject lines, optimizing send times, and cleaning mailing lists. An example of an AI-powered Saas product you can leverage to optimize email subject lines is Phrasee.

With the help of AI, it also becomes easier to process customer data in short periods, making it easier to make quick, informed decisions. 

4. Use powerful subject lines

Your email subject lines determine if your email recipients will read on or abandon the email. So, you must pay as much attention to your email subject lines as other elements in your email body. 

Your subject line should be engaging, creative, and simple, leaving the recipient curious about the email’s contents. The standard word count for a good subject line should be between 7-10 words. “Thanks for Taking Calendly for a spin!” is a good example, which was this campaign’s official email subject line.

A good email subject line should read as if it is addressed to one person, even for mass emails. That’s where advanced email marketing software comes in handy. Such a software solution would help you personalize subject lines, even for mass email campaigns.

Also, in our experience, informal and friendly subject lines tend to perform really well. As a SaaS marketing agency, we send tons of guest post outreach emails every week. And from those campaigns, we’ve noticed emails with informal subject lines performing much better. For example, email campaigns with subject lines that feature an emoji almost always get higher open rates than those without. 

Finally, avoid the spam trigger words like multiple irrelevant capitalizations, exclamation points, and special characters. These will have your emails flagged as spam.

5. Send personalized messages

People love reading relatable messages. Messages that feel like they were written just for them. Only then will they take actions like subscribing or paying for your services. That’s why email personalization is a powerful strategy for successful SaaS marketing campaigns. 

It starts from the salutations in your email. First, you must mention the recipient by name. This will get their attention and get them reading, as shown in the example below:

Ensure that the email’s content is personalized. Use the target audience data to make your content click. You can incorporate locations, professional info, personal interests, and other relevant details in the email.  

You could also add testimonials and reviews from some of your other customers. That gives your emails a more personal touch. So consider adding testimonials from people who share the same pain points as the subscribers who receive your emails. With this strategy, you can encourage your subscribers to learn more about your business. 

Here is an excellent sample email by Skill Share:

Also, remember to use a personal sender’s name. That gives your email some personality. It also helps the reader see that they are interacting with content written by an actual person. 

It may also help to use a professional business email. That means using your business name instead of the @gmail or @outlook. That improves customer trust.    

The welcome email example above the email is sent from a company’s official email address. The email is also from the CEO. This adds a personal touch to the email and builds confidence and trust in the product. 

Also, notice that the email doesn’t just introduce recipients to the products. It also shows the faces behind it. This is a great way to humanize your brand and build that personal connection with your customers.

6. Use videos and power words to improve click rates

I made the analogy that SaaS email marketing is like dating earlier.

You want your date to have a fun time, and look forward to your next encounter. That means keeping the content you’re sharing varied (not going to the same restaurant for every date).

Sharing video content through your emails is a great way to keep your audience engaged. In addition, videos are easy to understand since points can be demonstrated to the viewer. But more importantly, a well-designed video will hook the viewer’s attention allowing you to make your case in full. 

So, attaching videos to your emails is one of the best ways to keep your email marketing campaign engaging. Plus, it’ll boost your email click-through rates. 

Besides adding videos, include powerful words in your email text. Power words are persuasive words that arouse emotions. So, by using them in your SaaS email marketing campaign, you can compel your audiences to take action. 

Some of these words are: 

  • Join
  • Sale 
  • Special
  • Offer
  • Free
  • Get
  • New
  • Rare
  • Introducing
  • Invitation

Most of these words intrigue readers, making them want to learn more. However, avoid misusing the words since this only leads to confusion.

7. Share promotional and educational content

The primary function of any marketing strategy should be to forge strong ties that encourage subscribers to remain loyal to your company. To achieve this, send a mixture of educational and promotional emails.

You want a value, value, value, offer combination.

Providing a lot of value will show subscribers your value as an industry guide and SaaS product provider. They’ll look forward to receiving your content and won’t be offended when you make the occasional sales pitch.

Don’t just send offers because it only annoys subscribers. 

Grammarly is one of the brands that keep this balance in its email content:

For instance, in the example above, Grammarly educates readers about its Premium features. However, this can also work as an upselling tactic for users still using the basic Grammarly plan.

8. Segment your audience

Your subscribers will either lose interest or hit the unsubscribe buttons if they keep getting irrelevant content. That is why audience segmentation is vital to a SaaS email marketing strategy.

You need to logically divide and group your audiences into segments. Then you can send targeted emails that fit each group and encourage them to move to the next stage.

You need good knowledge of your target audiences and subscribers. One way to segment your audience is to develop your ideal audience personas to the most personal details you can get. That includes locations, personal interests, careers, incomes, social status, pain points, and how they want them solved. 

You can use quiz funnels to group your audience according to different interests. It’s hard to do this, but it can be worth the effort. For example, you could send different content to small business owners, managers at enterprise firms, and solopreneurs.

Sharing content that aligns with your audience’s interests will naturally boost engagement.

Another way to group your audience is based on email marketing funnel stages.

Finally, you need to segment your inactive subscribers. You can do this by adding people who haven’t opened an email for the last 60 days to a new segment. You can then send them an engagement sequence. 

Don’t send them your regular content. Having too many people on your email list who don’t open their emails harms email deliverability.

Most SaaS companies create temporary audience segments while keeping everyone on the same list. For example, Canva sends this triggered email to all its subscribers who have created a specific number of designs.

The same automated email goes to anyone that’s achieved the target. They could logically follow up on this triggered email with additional messages to help people make the best use of their platform.

Don’t make things overly complicated. Your goal is to maximize engagement rates across your email list cost-effectively. Remember to track your segments and monitor engagement rates.

9. Conduct A/B and multivariate email testing

The success of your SaaS email marketing is highly dependent on your email messages and design. These two are what attract new leads to learn more about your product. So, you need to run A/B tests to optimize your conversion rate.

A/B testing allows you to test different elements of your email marketing campaign. But of course, you don’t have to split test every single email. At least not at the beginning. It makes more sense to prioritize the most critical automated emails in your campaign. 

For example, the upgrade email is sent to leads when their free trial is coming to an end. Or the occasional upsell email asking users to upgrade to a higher-tier plan. 

To get accurate results, test two fundamentally different designs simultaneously. For example, you can test two email designs, one with images and the other without.

The other email elements you can test are the email subject line, email copy, and the call-to-action buttons CTAs. But, don’t fall into the trap of testing too many things at once. That’ll only make it harder for you to pinpoint the specific element influencing results. So test one or two elements in every test round. 

10. Choose an appropriate time to send emails

To get maximum engagement from your SaaS emails, you must send the right number of emails at the appropriate frequency. Recent research by Sendinblue revealed the best time to send SaaS email campaigns is between 2 pm and 3 pm.

However, these statistics are only a starting point.

Track subscriber email patterns in your past engagement data and reports for more accurate times. It’s also critical to consider the time zones of your email recipients. If you have users spread across different time zones, use advanced email marketing software to ensure your emails are delivered at the most appropriate time for each recipient. 

Despite the many “best times” and “frequencies” published online, you may still need to conduct your own research. That’s the only way to know the most appropriate time and frequency of sending emails for your unique audience.

So you can experiment by sending emails at different times. Then, track the engagement rates. You could also run a survey asking recipients how many times a week they would want to hear from you. You can even use an incentive to increase participation in your survey.

However, ensuring a healthy balance between your mailing goals and subscribers’ preferences is a very crucial email strategy. 

11. Re-engage inactive subscribers 

Every business will have inactive subscribers who no longer engage with your brand. However, if they are still subscribers, there is a chance they are interested in your business. You must figure out how to engage them and turn them into quality leads and then customers.

You need to find out what they want, which you can only do by communicating with them. The best way to do this is through re-engagement emails. The emails will help create new touchpoints that might interest them and capture their attention. 

Start by analyzing their past activity and examining what services interested them. Then, send a series of emails that remind them of the products and the new features. You can also add more details that interest the inactive users and rebuilds your relationship. Follow these tips for that:

  • Use copywriting skills effectively to increase your chances of getting positive responses. For instance, you could employ storytelling to reignite their interest in your product. 
  • Send short email surveys to find out why they are no longer interested. Also, what would motivate them to engage with you once more.
  • Back your efforts through email retargeting. 
  • Provide limited discounts and offers to these subscribers  

Here is an excellent example of a tactfully done re-engagement email:

Send an email series of re-engagement emails to inactive users. But after the email sequences, you should re-evaluate and send post-action emails. For instance, you can send unsubscribe emails to keep your subscriber list healthy.

12. Use a website opt-in form 

Website opt-in forms offer users a quick option to sign up for your SaaS email marketing emails. The tool allows you to get consent from website visitors to collect user data and add them to your mailing list. A squeeze page pops up in the middle or bottom of a page when a website visitor opens the webpage, as shown below.

A study by Mailchimp shows that websites that add an opt-in form experience at least 50.8% email list growth rates. 

You can also implement the two-step double-opt-in form that connects to your email service provider platform. The platform emails the subscription confirmation, proving that the email address used is active. 

The first step is filling in details in the single opt-in form. But the second step is detailed in the confirmation email you receive, as shown below.

Finally, it is possible that once a web user dismisses the opt-in form, they might never sign up as email subscribers. That is why you need to add exit-intent pop-ups. These pop-ups appear when a website visitor who has yet to sign up for the email newsletter is leaving the site.

13. Leverage social platforms

Social media platforms are a great lead-generation and email-list-building resource. You can take advantage of their wide reach to reach your SaaS email marketing goals.

That means that with the right tools, you can easily ensure that as your social media followers grow, you also convert them into your email subscribers. One way to do this is by including links that lead people to a designated sign-up landing page.

You can have it in social ads or add it to your social media profile like in the example below: 

Run lead generation ads, giveaways, sweepstakes, and add a call-to-action to your content. You can also promote gated content like free events and guides, as shown in the example below.  

Such content will grow your email list. Also, remember that since most people signing up are your followers, you are likely to have more conversion success.

Conclusion

Email marketing is one of the most rewarding marketing channels if you know what you’re doing. That’s why businesses invest in email marketing.

Your SaaS email marketing efforts must stand out if you want to grow your list and engage subscribers. Follow the abovementioned strategies to run an effective SaaS email marketing campaign.

Start by creating relevant content aligning with the customer journey. Then automate the process for broader reach and re-engage inactive subscribers. You should also conduct A/B tests, send personalized messages, segment your audiences, leverage social platforms, and use videos and power words. 

Also, incorporate promotional and educative content, use behavioral triggers for new subscribers, and use opt-in website forms. Finally, choose the appropriate time to send emails and use powerful subject lines.

Follow these SaaS email marketing strategies and run successful campaigns to achieve your goals. All the best!

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