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The SAAS Email Marketing Playbook: How To Dominate Digital Marketing With Emails

The SAAS Email Marketing Playbook
Reading Time: 17 minutes

SaaS marketers swear that emails are the best way of reaching potential customers. According to them, when properly executed, a single campaign can significantly increase a company’s customer base with minimal investment. 

 

“Unlike SEO and SMM projects, an email marketing campaign allows you to connect with leads that are usually out of your reach.”

 

You can contact large business owners directly without going through secretaries, mid-level managers, and other employees. This makes the whole process more targeted and, thus, more profitable.

Another significant benefit of email campaigns is that you can rely on marketing automation. Tools such as MailChimp and HubSpot allow you to send hundreds of messages simultaneously across the globe. So, as long as you can quickly scrape email addresses and write awesome templates, you can do some heavy lifting with this marketing strategy.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll share tips to help you create a compelling email strategy. We’ll also analyze how this type of outreach compares to other marketing approaches.

What Is the SaaS Email Marketing Playbook?

The SaaS email marketing playbook is a list of steps and best practices that would help your software company market its products via email. It consists of numerous steps, including 

  • market analysis 
  • creating an email marketing strategy 
  • executing the project,
  • measuring the results. 

Although every SaaS brand can create a playbook, that doesn’t mean all these businesses will succeed. You need lots of experience with this marketing approach to get relevant results.

In his marketing book “Email Lifeline,” Anik Singal mentioned all the difficulties of converting your email readers. Most notably, he wrote how emails are the best source of traffic on the web. And while we don’t necessarily agree with that, we think that SaaS brands can benefit from these campaigns.

 

“To achieve email marketing mastery, you need lots of A/B testing and great content marketing. Your copies must be persuasive and, most importantly, address the leads’ pain points.”

 

n the end, they’ll never purchase if you can’t demonstrate why your SaaS is suitable for solving their issues.

Hiring the right content marketing agency will help your SaaS email marketing efforts. However, a lot of companies prefer creating an in-house team as a way of gaining more control over the process.

Benefits of B2B SaaS Marketing Playbook

benefits of email saas marketing

Implementing different SaaS email strategies can boost your growth marketing. Not only are these messages great for reaching out to leads, but you can also utilize them for retaining the current ones. Here are all the benefits of having an email marketing checklist:

  • You can use emails during the entire customer lifecycle. Furthermore, these messages can significantly increase customer lifetime value.
  • Given how cheap email marketing is, it can help you reduce customer acquisition costs.
  • The method helps you sell different subscription plans, upsell, and cross-sell.
  • It’s especially fantastic for increasing trial conversions. Having said that, it also decreases the cost of an average trial.
  • Reduces churn rate while increasing the number of annual subscriptions.
  • The marketing strategy makes it easier to predict recurring revenue.

As you can see, using an email marketing program isn’t only good for generating leads and helping your sales team. You can also use this powerful channel to get more from your clients. For example, sending your current customers a brochure with your newest SaaS features can help you squeeze more money from them.

An occasional email to a high-value customer can help build loyalty and improve customer experience. They can also be a powerful tool for customer service, helping fix various issues.

How To Create a SaaS Email Marketing Strategy?

Based on everything said, you can entice any business with email marketing.

You can use emails for outbound or inbound marketing, depending on your goals. This tactic is used for inbounding when sending messages to your subscriber list. On the other hand, the outbound approach is for cold email campaigns and affiliate marketing.

In this section, we’ll focus on emailing as an outbound marketing tool. In the end, this is what most email marketers refer to when they talk about outreach. Here are the steps you need to take to create fantastic campaigns and effective emails:

Determine SaaS Marketing Goals

Before doing anything else, you should set your marketing goals. As it usually goes, it’s much better to focus on things you can easily measure with key metrics. 

 

“If you’re a serious SaaS business, saying that you want to make more sales simply won’t cut it.”

 

When talking about email marketing, you can’t go by focusing on click-through rate, response rate, and conversion rate. A high response rate indicates that you’re on the right track even if you didn’t sell any products. Of course, you might also use less common metrics, such as weekly subscription conversions.

Keep in mind that outbound email marketing campaigns aren’t ideal for increasing brand awareness. They might sometimes create an adverse effect, given that potential clients often see them as intrusive. 

Despite being one of the better outbound tactics, email outreach doesn’t always provide good results. This is why it’s vital to curb expectations and keep your goals within realistic limits. Whatever the case, an email campaign should be seen as beneficial as it increases your profits.

Analyze Your Target Audience

Unless this is your first rodeo, you know how important it is to find the target audience. Most SaaS businesses inherently understand who their ideal buyer persona is. For example, if you’re selling a digital marketing tool, you want to sell to digital marketers. Video editing programs are great for influencers, etc.

However, this is much more nuanced than you might think. First, you must decide whether to sell to B2C or B2B clients. Then, you need to determine how old these people are and how they would potentially react to initial emails.  

According to experts, one of the better ways to tackle the issue is by organizing a series of interviews. You further analyze this data based on customer engagement and revenue:

  • Top customers – This class is reserved for the top 1% of users.
  • Second-tier customers – The class is reserved for the top 2% to 10% of users.
  • Bottom customers – The last 10% of customers in revenues and engagement.

By analyzing your potential customers, you can learn more about their tendencies and responsiveness. People in specific industries only do business via email, while others prefer social media discourse. And while you might think that emailing shows professionalism, it’s not always the optimal approach.  

Here are some of the best questions you might consider asking them:

  • How did you realize you have a problem?
  • Do you have to consult someone else when making business decisions?
  • Have you tried other SaaS?

There’s even a chance that email marketing is a bad fit for your product marketing strategy. So, you need to invest some time and money in planning.  

Determine Team Roles

Generally, email marketing campaigns aren’t seen as massive projects. This is especially true when you can send thousands of messages with software.

So, one person usually is in charge of creating templates and sending emails, and one employee monitors the process. Regardless, you still need to establish responsibilities. Ideally, you should also use team communication software that would make things smoother.

During this step, it’s also good to set dates. Sometimes, email campaigns might take way longer than expected, especially if your account gets flagged. In such cases, you must take breaks so your emails don’t end up in recipients’ spam folders.

Brainstorming customer journey

Customer journey is a term marketers overuse t but for a good reason. You can’t simply create content and hope people will close themselves. It needs to be a well-guided process where leads will come to certain conclusions by themselves.

In other words, you shouldn’t use emails in isolation. They need to be a part of a larger whole, with each message being connected to one other. So, when assessing your communication, you need to pay extra attention to the following:

  • Transactional emails
  • Transactional receipts
  • Trackers send to customer service

A brand must understand all the ways they reach out to prospects. A company should know how the potential clients interact with their website, from awareness stages to signups.

Many B2B SaaS businesses make the mistake of spamming their targets. Alternatively, you might struggle using the same story throughout your copies. 

 

“Always remember that consistency is the key, especially because leads are distrustful during the initial communication stages.”

 

Among other things, you should apply segmentation during different customer journey stages. If a person has already subscribed to your newsletter, there’s no point in asking them to leave an email address once again, right?

Segmenting leads into different groups is fantastic for reporting, tracking, and messaging. It’s something that should be done as soon as possible before you start sending emails. If you’re unsure you did segmentation correctly, you can do A/B testing before executing a full-scale campaign. 

Create Templates

One of the common mistakes is being too dependent on templates. Although these pre-defined messages can help you reach numerous leads, they don’t provide great results. This is especially true when sending to veteran business owners who can easily differentiate between templates and hand-typed emails.

Still, you can’t do everything manually. So, what’s the solution?

Nowadays, marketing companies often rely on modifiable templates. They’ll use the same text repeatedly but introduce a few customized sentences. That way, readers can tell that this email was for them. This extra step helps build goodwill and increase the likelihood of a positive response.

 

 

A marketer should use email persuasion to leave an impression. 

 

“You can also use social proof, customer success stories, and references to other users to increase authority.”

 

The biggest issue with emails is that you have limited time to make an impact, which is why every sentence needs to count! When creating these messages, we suggest that you emphasize the following:

  • Start by checking out successful competitors’ emails. In particular, you should analyze their design, CTA, and writing.
  • What are you trying to accomplish with each email? How does it relate to your overall goals?
  • Does the email make sense for a lead during a specific customer journey stage?

So, what is the best way to perform the competitive analysis? 

 

“We suggest you subscribe to some of the biggest SaaS brands, such as MailChimp, Shofipy, and Trello.”

 

When you start receiving messages, you can analyze these emails to draw valuable insights.

Here are a few other things to consider during your campaigns:

  • Find the right pacing. Sending emails too often or infrequently can severely hinder your conversion.
  • Ideally, you should try to send as few emails as possible to achieve maximum results. Even though email sequencing presumes sending several messages, you shouldn’t overdo it. 
  • Define your end goal when you start a sequence. Are you looking for direct conversion, referral, activation, or re-engagement?  

Perform Optimization 

Your journey doesn’t stop by finishing a template. Instead, you should constantly tweak your messaging to achieve better results. In particular, a B2B SaaS brand should optimize the following:

  • Deliverability  
  • Email opens
  • Body
  • Landing page

Deliverability

Many things affect email deliverability, including format, volume, reputation, relevance, spam history, and complaints. In other words, before you create the first template, ensure the platform is good enough to help you reach clients.

B2B SaaS companies use tools like Blooklist Lookup and ReturnPath’s Sender Score to assess the likelihood of email delivery.

Email opens

The best global marketers can get email open rates of 30% to 50% email open rates. So, this should also be your benchmark.

Probably the best way to increase your open rate is by having a fantastic title, but we also shouldn’t neglect the importance of preview. Timing can also be crucial, as you want to reach clients when they’re most relaxed.

You might also consider changing your name if things are not going your way. Another good approach is contacting the lead at a different email address.

Body

The email body is crucial for high conversions. Everything revolves around the excellent offer. Let’s face it; a client will never purchase unless you offer great value.

SaaS brands should also experiment with greetings. Some people love simple “Hi!” while others will give an advantage to “Good Day.” It’s all relative and varies from client to client.

Aside from these factors, you might wish to optimize your CTA, the tone, and the email’s first paragraph. 

Landing page

Lastly, we need to consider the quality and optimization of the landing page. Even if you master everything else, a poorly designed product page can completely ruin your chances. 

In this case, you want to implement the best optimization practices. Make sure that the page can open properly on mobile devices and that it loads quickly. You also shouldn’t neglect writing, images, and design. 

Check Key Metrics

Analyzing metrics is the last step of our email sales playbook.

Ideally, you should analyze different data sets to gain the best insights. Always remember that these statistics work in a vacuum and conjunction. Sometimes, the information might seem convoluted, but there’s usually sound reasoning behind it.

For example, you might have a high click-through rate but low responses. This indicates that your title line was fantastic and eye-catching, but people were not interested in what you offered.

You can also determine whether it makes sense to continue going by analyzing key marketing metrics. As mentioned in the previous section, you should be patient with your emailing and try to create real contacts. On the other hand, you also shouldn’t flog a dead horse.

10 Best SaaS Email Examples

There were times when this marketing method was much less popular. SaaS companies struggled to incorporate this approach, often suffering major losses at the end of campaigns. 

Today, we’re witnessing a new email revolution. 

 

“Brands have figured out how to use this type of outreach to maximize their inbound and outbound marketing efforts.”

 

Managers are becoming more creative with their campaigns, using emails to notify current company clients about promotions, new SaaS features, the introduction of favorable pricing plans, etc.

In this section, we’ll share numerous email ideas that can benefit your SaaS business. The list includes methods to help you score new clients, retain old ones, and increase brand awareness. Keep in mind that we’ve omitted the traditional outreach emails, as we’ve already mentioned this method in the previous section.

Without further ado, here are a few examples of how SaaS companies can benefit from this market strategy!

1.     End of Trial Email

ahrefs end of trial email

We simply love this one! Upon finishing a trial, a person will receive a “Thank You!” email from the SaaS company. The message will have valuable links, allowing users to delete their accounts or contact customer service.

Even if a tester doesn’t need the tool, they’ll still appreciate the assistance. They will likely remember the positive user experience, which might prompt them to buy a paid version later. And if the client doesn’t want to buy because of some minor issue, they can always contact the support to resolve the problem.

Of course, you can also add a link to payment plans. This would help convert a trial user on the verge of purchasing the product. All in all, you can manipulate behavioral sequences to sway how users think and act.

Keep in mind that the cost of a trial for specific software is high, so it’s in the company’s interest to persuade anyone who has shown interest. If executed correctly, these messages can become essential to your marketing funnel.

2.     Achievement Email

saas email example of achievement email

One of the strategies that have become more common lately is achievement emails. These are periodic messages that brands send to their users.

Software giants such as Grammarly and Canva use this approach to show clients how they have progressed. For example, Grammarly will show you how productive you are in comparison to other users. People often unknowingly use this data to challenge themselves, which results in a bigger desire to use SaaS.

It’s a sneaky way brands manipulate their client base. However, the results of this gamification show us that there’s something to it. Both companies have low churn rates and high customer lifetime value.

3.     SaaS Product Updates

saas product updates email example

Nowadays, it has become common for brands to send updated messages. Whether talking about new features or company policies, these emails are an excellent way to notify users before sending a product to market.

With these emails, you can also estimate product-market fit. Although most people don’t react to these automated messages, you might still receive some feedback from loyal customers. The active users can share whether they’re satisfied with the update and how it affects their customer experience.

That way, you still have a chance to modify the SaaS before it’s fully rolled out on the market. This tactic is suitable for testing public opinion before fully committing to a solution.

4.     Welcoming Emails

shopify welcome email example

When you buy a SaaS for the first time, you probably have numerous doubts and questions. Even if a friend recommended a platform, there might still be some skepticism on your side. Different people have different expectations of products, and this one may not be the right for you.

Welcoming emails are a fantastic way to break the ice and set the basis for future relationships. According to our data, companies that can efficiently implement this tactic have higher retention rates and customer loyalty. Furthermore, it’s much easier for them to upsell and cross-sell.

Keep in mind that your welcoming email doesn’t have to be excessively long or in-depth. However, it would be nice to add a few links to tutorials, and other resources would be nice. This makes customer onboarding much easier, as they won’t have to scour your site for info and harass customer service with endless questions.

5.     “Server Is Down” Message

Even the most durable machine needs an oil check from time to time. Although SaaS is updated in real-time, allowing companies to work week after week without downtime, there are situations when companies have to perform server maintenance. This might happen due to power losses, network card problems, and operating system issues.

Anyway, it’s nice to receive a message explaining the situation. This can help set your mind at ease while allowing you to reorganize the day. SaaS products are so reliable that existing customers often panic whenever they encounter any minor problem.

It’s a small move that can significantly improve your reputation in the eyes of the consumers. Like the previously mentioned “Welcoming emails,” these messages can significantly reduce the churn rate.

6.     Customer Experience Email

zapier email example for digital marketing

These emails differ slightly from the previous two. They aren’t necessarily great for improving the customer experience or retention rate. Furthermore, most people will perceive them as an annoyance, quickly deleting the message upon receiving it. Still, customer experience emails are an effective marketing tactic for several reasons.

First, it’s an excellent method of assessing different internal processes. If you’re worried your customer support team isn’t up to snuff, you can ask loyal clients about their performance. Alternatively, you can check their satisfaction with the latest features.

Remember that you can send these messages every few months or annually. They can serve to benchmark your performance over time. So, this type of email never loses value and has enormous flexibility.

Another significant benefit of these emails is that they can help you establish customer loyalty. If 10% to 15% of users decided to fill out the survey, this is a clear sign they care about your brand. Among others, they probably see the value in improving the service, so they don’t mind being proactive. 

7.     Live Events and Webinars

live events and webinars email example

You can use emails to invite customers, leads, and partners to webinars and other events.

Companies use these gatherings to boost brand awareness and establish themselves as thought leaders. Most businesses also sell their SaaS during events. So, there are lots of reasons why a company would invest in this type of promotion.

The much harder thing is finding people willing to attend. This is especially true if you’re a new SaaS business with limited “street cred.” So, the best way to attract attention is by featuring renowned experts or providing freebies.

Whatever the case, emails allow you to reach a much bigger audience. They can also serve as a reminder for people who have already decided to visit the meeting.

8.     Round-Up Emails

These types of messages are commonly used during SEO and PR campaigns. SaaS companies create blog articles where that feature numerous experts from the industry. In their emails, they usually ask colleagues a few quick questions, after which they share answers in the article.

Round-up posts work both ways. Featured experts get free publicity and a link to their site. You, on the other hand, get a fantastic piece of content. More importantly, many experts share this post with their fans on social media. You might even get a few links at the end of the day!

All in all, round-up emails are a tool for larger promotional campaigns. Due to the nature of these posts, they are also excellent for connecting with the industry’s influencers in an unobtrusive way.

9.     Discount Email

discount email example for saas businesses

Discount emails are fantastic for reaching any individual who has (willingly or unwillingly) left their email address on your SaaS website. They obviously had some sort of interaction with your site, so they’re well aware of your offer.

These guys might be at different stages of their buyer’s journey. They were perhaps only testing the waters, looking for optimal software but aren’t exactly serious leads. Some were just getting ready to make an order but had, for whatever case, decided not to do so.

Discount emails, especially limited-time offers, might force their hand. Even if this is a bit sneaky approach, it allows you to showcase all of the software’s features.

10.  Relationship Building Emails

relationship building email examples

These messages differ slightly from your usual sales emails.

Unlike outreach messages, where you are direct in your intentions, relationship-building emails are used to slowly establish a rapport with an individual. These are people who aren’t necessarily your customers. Instead, they might be influencers, experts, potential partners, and other people of interest.

Although SaaS companies rarely think about cordial emails as a part of a larger project, you can use this method for your campaigns. Relationship-building emails can help your digital marketing efforts by securing links, getting featured on other blogs, and receiving partnership opportunities.

Like other email campaigns, it’s something that you’ll need to do at a scale. Contacting just one person isn’t enough. Instead, you should establish a working relationship with as many people from your niche as possible.

Email Marketing vs. Other Marketing Approaches

Many SaaS companies quickly abandon their outbound email marketing plans because of poor results. They send marketing materials to thousands of leads resulting in a handful of negative responses. We don’t have to tell you how excruciating it is to get answers such as “I’ll never buy your software” or “Delete me from your email list!”

If you’re not getting any results, you should consider a different approach to help you reach the ideal customer. Here are a few other marketing methods that might work better in your particular case:

SEO or Search Engine Optimization

SEO is an amalgamation of different marketing strategies and processes in many ways. It involves different types of content marketing, including landing page content and long-form content creation.

 

 

Besides that, a company should also master different outreach methods to boost off-page SEO (link building). For example, if you wish to guest post, you must pitch numerous websites. This is why SEO companies often need a good email strategy.

Pros

  • Optimization is fantastic for brand building.
  • It’s excellent for product-led growth strategy.
  • Allows you to achieve different marketing goals.

Cons

  • Unlike emailing, organic traffic from Google attracts many wrong users.
  • Your website might suffer from low conversion rates
  • It’s much slower than email outreach.

PPC or Pay-Per-Click

PPC has the most straightforward sales process. A SaaS company just has to invest some resources in these ads, and it can target the market of its choice. PPC is more transparent than SEO, as you always know what you get when hiring a marketing team. Furthermore, you can easily measure the results against the expenses.

You’re probably wondering why some companies prefer emailing and search marketing. Unfortunately, although PPC makes customer onboarding a breeze, it might not always provide excellent results. Even worse, it requires a hefty initial investment.

Pros

  • One of the SaaS marketing strategies that provide the quickest results.
  • An excellent choice for just about any SaaS business.
  • Compared to email outreach, it’s fantastic for demand generation and visibility.
  • Quickens customer journey.

Cons

  • You need awesome content to turn potential customers into paying clients. 
  • More complex than email outreach.
  • PPC is considerably more expensive than email marketing.
  • Your SEO and blog content will affect the price of marketing campaigns.

 

 

SMM or Social Media Marketing

Nowadays, most SaaS brands use SMM. One of its biggest benefits is that it doesn’t require as much training as other methods. For example, it’s simpler than PPC and SEO, although it has a similar level of complexity as email outreach.

On top of that, you can easily combine SMM with other marketing methods. For example, when you create a blog post, you can easily share it with your followers on Facebook and Instagram.

The approach is fantastic for companies that have an excellent content marketing strategy. Social media marketing is good for product positioning, increasing customer retention rates, and improving the overall onboarding experience.

Pros

  • Lots of different marketing channels at your disposal.
  • You can use SMM as a part of your sales funnel.
  • Fantastic for sharing different pieces of content.
  • Generates ample opportunities for connecting with other influencers and potential partners.

Cons

  • It takes a long time to get large followership.
  • Although using numerous social platforms increases your reach, it can also be distracting.
  • It’s sometimes hard to assess customer satisfaction because people are usually cordial. By comparison, with emailing, you always know where you’re at with a lead.

 

Although we could mention a few other methods, such as influencer campaigns, these are the basic marketing approach that SaaS companies use.

Keep in mind that you can use these practices in conjunction with email campaigns. You’ll most likely need email outreach for processes such as SEO and SMM.

 

 

FAQs

 

What is SaaS email marketing?

SaaS email marketing refers to a set of processes where a company tries to increase sales, improve brand visibility, and achieve other business goals through emailing.

 

What makes SaaS marketing different?

Unlike marketing campaigns in other industries, SaaS start-up brands try to sell with free trials and the introduction of new features.

 

What are the 5 Ts of email marketing?

To create an effective marketing campaign, a SaaS company needs to follow five basic principles: Tease, Target, Teach, Test, and Track.

 

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