SaaS email marketing is steadily gaining ground as a viable channel for increasing conversion rates. It’s not that easy though; you have to remember that you’re reaching out to people who already have some technical knowledge in your niche. You need to be accurate and engaging at the same time.
As a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) company, promoting your products through email marketing is a commitment that could deliver great results. So, in this SaaS email marketing guide, we’ll look at some brilliantly crafted campaigns and ponder over the current and future trends of the landscape.
Whether you’re new to this game or you want to optimize your SaaS email marketing strategy, this 2023 complete guide should help you achieve your goals.
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1. Setting Clear Goals for SaaS Email Campaigns
The first step towards planning your SaaS email marketing campaign is to set clear-cut, achievable goals. You can’t reach for the stars right away; there have to be specified goals for each facet of your campaign. Let’s talk more about setting goals for your SaaS email campaigns in the following sections.
Defining objectives for lead generation, user engagement, and conversions
It’s easy to get attracted to the high ROI (Return On Investment) that email marketing brings. The ROI for emails is at $36 for every $1 spent, but the path to getting there is not a straight road. When doing email marketing for SaaS products and services, the three-fold step immediately comes to mind. You have to generate leads, engage your users, and convert as many as you can.
Of course, it goes without saying that you should know where your niche lies beforehand. In a promotional channel that is as personal as email marketing, you want to focus on your niche customer base, rather than rolling the dice with a random audience.
Establishing measurable goals for tracking campaign success
Again, the key is to come up with achievable goals that will take you to the next step. For example, you can say you want to increase your traffic from email campaigns by 10% in the next three months, rather than wanting to improve your conversion rates right away. This way, you’re establishing measurable goals that you can easily monitor throughout a particular email marketing campaign.
Moreover, there are different email marketing tools that can help you monitor and optimize your campaign performance. Mailchimp and HubSpot come to mind, and there are also other email marketing tools that offer free versions of their solutions.
2. Building a High-Quality Email List for SaaS
As we said before, increasing conversion rate is the priority of doing email marketing for SaaS. Website traffic, even organic ones, won’t mean much if you’re not converting actual customers. Growing your newsletter subscribers is not the endpoint; you should focus on actually having a positive impact on the customer journey.
Exploring ethical and effective list building strategies
Efficiency is the name of the game in building a high-quality email list. As much as possible, you would want more ROI with the work and expenses that you’re putting in. If you’re using email automation software, you’re not only paying for the software itself as you also need to pay your engineering and marketing teams.
You want to be as cost-effective as possible, but don’t give in to unethical email marketing practices. The allure of unethical practices is only short-term and will only do more harm to your brand visibility. Purchasing email lists without consent and diving into clickbait strategies are examples of unethical email marketing tactics that you need to avoid at all costs.
Utilizing lead magnets, opt-in forms, and subscription incentives
When doing SaaS email marketing, you don’t just use words and promises to entice potential subscribers. They need some kind of proof, just like the ‘free taste’ strategy that food companies and restaurants sometimes employ.
In SaaS email marketing, this free taste strategy comes in the form of lead magnets. The purpose of lead magnets is to encourage people to provide you with their contact information, essentially getting them into your email list. Examples of these lead magnets include:
- Free trials and product samples
- Free webinar or ebook
- Free audit or assessment
- Exclusive access to new products and features
Your users can know more about your lead magnets through opt-in forms, which are the website pop-ups or buttons where they would enter their email addresses or other contact information. Having said all these, here are two things that you need to make sure of: a highly-visible opt-in form and customer-centric subscription incentives.
Ensuring compliance with email marketing regulations
As is the case in all marketing channels, email marketing is also bound by certain rules and regulations, most of which have minor variations depending on your geographic location. Legal compliance is often overlooked in email marketing, so be careful not to make this same mistake.
Three of the most prominent email marketing regulations include the following:
- CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (United States)
- Canada’s Anti-Spam Regulation (Canada)
- General Data Protection Regulation (Europe)
While they vary in bits and pieces, these email marketing regulations have the similar main purpose of protecting people’s information and rights.
3. Crafting Compelling SaaS Email Content
When doing SaaS email marketing, you’ll be lucky to have a 10% response rate. In the world of cold emails, you must accept that you won’t get a response from a large chunk of your audience. However, even a minor improvement in response rate is a big step forward, and you can achieve that growth by crafting compelling SaaS email content.
Creating personalized and relevant content for SaaS audience
Currently, email marketing is not just a random process anymore. Through the availability of subscriber data, you have useful information to leverage when it comes to personalizing your emails. While email marketing templates are very helpful for the most part, SaaS email personalization still needs your human touch.
For example, segmenting your emails based on audience geographic is something that email templates can’t do. You may already have a niche SaaS audience but remember that they still have different interests based on their age, gender, and buyer persona. We’ll talk more about audience segmentation as we dive deeper into SaaS email marketing.
So, personalizing your emails isn’t about including the name of your subscriber. It’s also about creating content that is timely and relevant for them.
Designing attention-grabbing subject lines and preview text
Consider your email’s subject line as your two-second audition into a subscriber’s attention. No matter how good your entire letter is, it won’t matter if your audience won’t open it. And they will only open it if you have an attention-grabbing subject line.
Don’t be intimidated by this challenge; you don’t have to be overly creative to design an attention-grabbing subject line. The key is to give them what they want right away. Are you offering a free subscription period as a perk? Include that in the subject line. Or are you giving them early access to a new product? Include that too.
Tailoring content to different stages of the customer journey
According to HubSpot, 80% of successful cold email sales happen after the 5th email. You can’t hit the jackpot on the first try when doing email marketing for SaaS products and services. There should be a concerted effort to re-engage with your audience, which you can do by analyzing customer journeys.
Customer journey mapping is such a big aspect of SaaS email marketing. Concisely, you use subscriber data, as well as market trends, to map out a series of relevant emails for your audience. This way, they know that you’re serious about using your product to help their cause, something that could improve your campaign’s click-through rates.
4. Design and Layout for SaaS Email Campaigns
While you can always do everything from scratch, you also have the option to use SaaS email marketing templates. These templates have already proven their worth in the game, and you just must optimize them based on the goals you set.
Optimizing email templates for mobile responsiveness
If you don’t consider mobile responsiveness as a crucial factor in your SaaS email marketing campaign, you’ll lose out on tons of opportunities. Here’s a glaring stat to back up this claim: 81% of people now prefer to open and read their emails via mobile devices.
So, it is understood that you need your email campaign to be mobile-responsive. Having a set of mobile-specific HTML and CSS coding could help make your email layout mobile-friendly, especially if you have multimedia elements.
One thing to take note of is that not all mobile devices will show your layout the same way. Different operating systems like Apple and Android may vary on this, so that’s something that you should also consider.
Incorporating visuals, branding, and clear CTAs
When done the right way, incorporating visuals and multimedia elements will help you hit two birds with just one stone: grab your readers’ attention and boost brand awareness. As much as possible, your email visuals should align with your branding, as this will help people connect to your brand.
In email marketing, these visuals are creative, attention-grabbing boxes that present your CTA (Call to Action). You can be as playful as you want with your graphics, but don’t cross the line of having too many screen elements. We’ll discuss more of this below.
Balancing text and images for optimal readability
Text should still dominate the emails you sent out. People still want to see words to better understand your context, plus there’s always the chance that multimedia elements might not load properly on their devices.
In SaaS email marketing, there should be a proper balance between your text and images. For optimal readability, many suggest the 60% text and 40% image rule.
Moreover, don’t put images that don’t connect with your message. Readers will just get confused by it, so you might be losing out on a potential engagement and conversion.
5. Segmentation and Personalization Strategies
A while ago, we touched a bit on the segmentation topic, which is an effective way to personalize your emails. Opting for email templates is definitely a time-saving resource, but these templates can’t do everything for you. You should also take the time to study your audience, so you could add a personalized touch to the emails you send out.
Segmenting email lists based on user behavior and preferences
There are many ways to segment your email lists based on user behavior and preferences. The easiest way is through demographic data, which includes age and gender. For SaaS email marketing, the important demographics to consider could be the nature of their work and position, along with income level.
Along with demographics, here are other ways to segment your email lists:
- Conducting in-app or in-website surveys
- Looking at customers’ previous purchases
- Studying user behavior on your website
Once you have the data in your hands, the next step is to personalize your emails according to each segment. This way, you’re driving a customer-centric campaign, instead of just hoping that your emails will hit a certain target.
Personalizing subject lines, content, and offers for higher engagement
Do you want a higher click-through rate for your campaign? Include your reward or offer in the subject line. Do you need more engagement and website traffic coming from your emails? Personalize your content according to each audience segment.
Personalizing subject lines, content, and offers will help increase your click-through and engagement rates. Here are several ways that you can give your emails a personalized touch:
- Mentioning the recipient’s name
- Asking a relevant question to drive curiosity
- Adding positive customer reviews and testimonials
- Writing a solution for your customers’ pain points
SaaS email marketing is a two-way street; you need more engagement from your audience, and they need to know how you could help their cause. This should be your guiding principle moving forward.
Dynamic content and merge tags for individualized experiences
By now, you’re thinking that email marketing personalization requires lots of man hours to complete. But you don’t have to do everything manually, like when adding a customer’s name to a personalized email. Merge tags exist to do that for you.
With the help of merge tags, adding dynamic and personalized content just got easier. If you’re using email marketing software, they have merge tag options where you can automate personalization points like customer name and unique discount or referral codes. You can add these merge tags on every part of your email, including the subject line, preview, and the main body.
6. A/B Testing and Optimization in SaaS Email Marketing
The term A/B test is commonplace in the world of marketing, and SaaS email marketing is not an exception. You can’t rely on just one approach and expect that it will work right away. You’ll hit the jackpot if it does, but every email marketing campaign needs to go through stages of trial and error.
Experimenting with different subject lines, content, and CTAs
For the most part, A/B testing in email marketing involves subject lines, content, and CTAs. The subject line is very pivotal, as this is your first and impression to the readers. You might want to try different wordings and length for your subject lines, and monitor which ones are producing a higher click-through rate.
CTAs are also viable instruments for A/B testing, especially if you use multimedia elements as your opt-in form. When doing these testing phases, you’ll be surprised to see how minor variations can lead to major improvements. Simple changes in word order, additions of emojis, and text length might lead to higher click-through rates and engagements.
Analyzing A/B test results to refine future campaigns
The next step after launching your A/B tests is to track the results. There must be a consistent emphasis on campaign monitoring, especially if you visualize similar promotional content in the future. Tracking your A/B testing results offers tons of benefits, including the following:
- Gain data-driven insights of your subscribers’ interests and behavior
- Lessen CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) by focusing your content on products that have higher engagements
- Helps point your product development process in the right direction
Of course, you must give each campaign variation ample time to mature before doing a full analysis.
Implementing continuous optimization for improved performance
With the ever-changing nature of consumer interests and tendencies, optimizing your SaaS email marketing campaigns is also a continuous process. Even if you have found more success in a particular test, you can’t say for sure that it will still be successful several months later.
Along with monitoring your email subscribers’ behavior, there’s also the need to align your strategy to the current movements in the market. There’s no shame in getting brilliant ideas from your competitors if you bring something more unique to the table.
7. Automation and Drip Campaigns for SaaS
When considering your customer journey, an email drip campaign could do wonders. Drip campaign is a modern email marketing strategy that sends automated, timely emails to your subscribers. Read more below to find out how drip campaigns could help you achieve your SaaS email marketing goals.
Implementing automated workflows for lead nurturing and onboarding
When you successfully generate leads, obviously the work doesn’t stop there. You must nurture these leads and communicate with your potential customers in a timely and relevant way. You can offer free trials, access to exclusive posts, or informative solutions to their pain points.
This is where drip campaign enters the picture, as it can integrate automated workflows to help you streamline lead nurturing and onboarding. These workflows could include actions that will guide your email subscriber into an actual purchase or product subscription.
Drip campaigns for targeted user engagement and re-engagement
Another benefit of having drip campaigns is to increase your engagement rate. In a SaaS business model, it’s more efficient to encourage existing customers to purchase or subscribe again, as compared to the acquisition costs of onboarding a new customer.
Drip campaigns could help you automate messages for customer re-engagement. If one of your previous customers hasn’t subscribed or purchased for some time, a simple nudge could get them back on track. Through a drip campaign, you can provide these customers with information on new product features or special holiday discounts and deals.
Behavior-based triggers for timely and relevant email delivery
Your drip campaign is based on behavioral triggers that make your automated messages more personalized and relevant. Also termed as “behavioral segmentation”, these triggers are based on the actions that your customers take, most particularly on your website.
So, when doing SaaS email marketing, you must take note of these particular user actions:
- Form submissions
- Product clicks
- Purchase history
- Survey answers
- Conversations with customer support
Monitoring these behavior-based triggers will help personalize your messages, which would then make your drip campaign more effective.
8. Analyzing Email Campaign Performance
As we’ve mentioned before, it’s exceedingly rare for your email campaign to work at an optimum level on the first try. Successful campaigns go through growing pains to address weak links, which you can identify by analyzing your email campaign performance.
Tracking key metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversions
As much as you identify key metrics when promoting your product, the same action takes place in analyzing your SaaS email marketing campaign. You can’t optimize everything in the first phase; you need to address initial pain points that will take your campaign to the next step. For example, you should prioritize optimizing the rate at which subscribers open your messages, then move on to focusing on your content.
Having said that, here are several key metrics that SaaS companies typically monitor in their email marketing campaign:
- Delivery rate
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Bounce rate
- Forward rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- Subscriber behavior
- Conversion rate
Measuring ROI and attributing email marketing impact to revenue
It takes a portion of your resources to launch a successful SaaS email marketing campaign. Of course, you’d want to justify this marketing spend and you can do that by measuring your ROI. However, measuring your email marketing ROI is not as straightforward as it seems.
With multiple marketing channels in the digital space, you need to pinpoint your measuring tools in the right direction. Fortunately, there are tools that offer revenue analysis as one of their solutions. Tracking solutions like Google Analytics allow ESP (Email Service Provider) integrations so you can monitor your ROI.
Using data insights to make informed decisions and adjustments
Now that you have tracked your marketing spend and other key metrics, the next step is to make your adjustments. Measuring and analyzing your SaaS email marketing campaign’s performance would be useless if you’re not willing to adjust and adapt.
This is why A/B testing is so crucial in email marketing. It gives you a chance to test different variations simultaneously, allowing you to analyze performances in the same context.
9. Adapting to Future Trends in SaaS Email Marketing
As is the case in other digital marketing channels, SaaS email marketing will also go through various optimizations thanks to technological trends. AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) will be at the center of these trends, as you’ll find out in the sections below.
Exploring AI-driven email personalization and predictive analytics
The value of AI in SaaS email marketing is that it can recognize patterns. This capability allows AI to automate your email personalization process based on customer data and behavior. Moreover, doing A/B testing with AI could streamline your analysis and produce more accurate results. Its ability to do predictive analytics could help you plan a more efficient strategy for future email marketing campaigns.
Embracing interactive email elements for enhanced engagement
Interaction is still at the topmost focus of email marketing, especially currently where many people receive thousands of emails in each period. The future of email marketing lies in interactive elements, which is more than just incorporating multimedia elements to your messages.
As guided by your segmentation data, crafting an interactive email involves actionable strategies. Offering small rewards when your subscribers participate in mini games or quizzes could help increase your engagement rate.
Staying updated with evolving email marketing regulations
Abiding by email marketing regulations becomes a “trend” because you must keep an eye on any changes. Information confidentiality is at the heart of these regulations, the main reason GDPR took effect in 2018. Building an email list based on unethical practices will only do you more harm in the long run, so it doesn’t hurt to have a steady growth centered on regulated practices.
Doing email marketing for SaaS products will take you through different phases that will test your creativity and patience. Crafting a customer-centric campaign takes months of studying trends within your niche audience and the market itself. Moreover, you also have to consider the technological trends that surround SaaS email marketing.
But then again, the only way to optimize a campaign is by going through various trial-and-error phases. Once you have polished and streamlined every bit and piece, you’ll see your email marketing campaign take off in no time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is customer data so important for SaaS email marketing?
Personalization, which is at the heart of SaaS email marketing, needs customer data to drive dynamic content. A good email marketing campaign should be driven by customer interests and needs, and customer data gives you access to these insights. Most importantly, customer data is not just used for marketing purposes; it also gives you useful information for product development. Developing your product in the right direction is a topmost priority in any SaaS company, and you can use customer data to help you out in this area.
What are the benefits of segmentation and personalization in SaaS email marketing?
Even if you have successfully identified your niche audience, your subscribers still differ from each other in terms of specific interests and needs. For this reason, you need to segment your subscribers based on their interests, preferences, and behavior. Segmentation helps you dig deeper into your subscribers’ individual personalities, a strategy that could improve your SaaS email marketing campaign’s click-through rates and engagements. Moreover, segmentation helps make life easier for you, particularly in making your emails unique to each subscriber.
How do I measure the success of my SaaS email marketing campaigns?
While there are different tools that could help you track your SaaS email marketing campaign, it’s still far more important to know which components you need to measure. This is generalized for the most part but identifying your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) beforehand could help boost your campaign’s efficiency. Are you aiming to drive more website traffic from your emails, or are you targeting more form submissions? Depending on the needs you want to address, the most important KPIs in SaaS email marketing are delivery rate, open rate, click-through rate, bounce rate, forward rate, unsubscribe rate, subscriber behavior, and conversion rate.