What are the Best SaaS Email Marketing Strategies?
When you have a SaaS, you need to craft emails the right way
Email marketing is an integrated digital channel for SaaS businesses, covering the entire customer journey while offering one-on-one interactions.
Email helps fuel growth throughout the sales funnel by lead nurturing, lead generation, customer support, and customer retention, making it the backbone of most marketing campaigns.
According to Oberlo, the average ROI for $1 spent on email marketing is nearly $43.
However, SaaS email marketing is more complicated than your average email marketing. It consists of transactional emails, understanding the product lifecycle, and using a blend of marketing strategies.
SaaS email marketing also focuses on customer data, for which an advanced technical setup is needed.
This article will explore email marketing SaaS strategies that will help you attract more leads, convert them into paying customers and increase revenue as more and more users use your software.
SaaS email marketing strategy- What is it?
SaaS email marketing strategy focuses on a particular lifecycle stage- like user onboarding - or a business goal - like customer retention.
The three most essential elements in SaaS email marketing are:
What makes SaaS email marketing so complicated?
To understand everything that goes into creating the perfect email marketing strategy, let's look at different elements of a strategy designed for a typical online business.
Most online stores usually run an email marketing list that contains leads. They nurture these leads to turn them into potential customers. Once the leads become actual customers, the game usually ends. Of course, they strive for repeat purchases, but perhaps are not as aggressive as SaaS businesses.
SaaS businesses usually offer subscription-based services, they don't just focus on converting leads into paying customers but also strive hard to establish long-term relationships with them.
Unlike a typical online store, efforts don't stop after a customer has been onboarded. SaaS businesses work hard to create a relationship with their customers throughout their lifecycle as they must retain the customer month-after-month.
What is the purpose of customer data in SaaS email marketing?
Email marketing uses lead data to send cold or targeted emails to potential customers. Lead data consists of a collection of website behavior and attribution details - depending on if you can collect any.
Customer data is essential and allows the business to have a relationship with the user- based on their behavior. Businesses can track user behavior and understand their likes and dislikes.
The collection of customer data begins when a user starts his trial. The customer's behaviour is tracked based on the pages they visit, how often they use the software, which features they use, etc.
You can then use email automation to send customers relevant emails based on their actions. However, for this, you will have to consider advanced technology integration.
Here is what you'll need to do:
Decide what customer data your business needs
Use data integration; send information from your company's backend to your email marketing platform
Set up campaigns
How to implement SaaS email automation
Previously, we discussed the steps to implementing SaaS email automation- understanding customer data, integration, segments, and campaigns.
However, this order is impossible to follow.
You may miss out on an essential property when you set up segments and campaigns. This means finding your way back to the engineering team and urging them for more work.
One way to stop this from happening is by planning lifecycle segments. These connect email campaigns and customer data. They can help you:
Understand the kind of data needed to set the segments up.
Creating campaigns is neither complicated nor difficult, so you won't have an issue creating one.
Every segment of the email campaign will have a unique conversion goal to streamline with activation - depending on the customer's action.
Elements of a SaaS email marketing strategy
Effective email marketing strategies for SaaS companies include three or more emails sent to users as they transition from marketing leads to trials and customers.
The brand's tone, voice, and style must remain consistent throughout this journey. However, the particulars for each stage are different as various strategies and tools are required.
Here are the three important email types that every SaaS company should consider:
Sent to marketing leads and consists of newsletters, sales campaigns, lead nurture campaigns, and lead magnets.
Sent to leads who sign up for the product. These emails consist of upgrade-to-paid, user onboarding, and customer loyalty campaigns.
Customer service emails such as billing invoices, product notifications, and password recovery emails.
Email marketing tools that are needed
Every email type requires its email automation tool, commonly referred to as an email service provider (ESP).
Most email automation platforms you use, including ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp, are general ESPs that can be used in stage A-sending simple campaigns from the marketing email list.
However, these ESPs do not work well for stage B of the SaaS lifecycle email. Instead, a dedicated SaaS email platform like Customer.io should be considered.
Email automation strategies
Email automation strategies can help businesses engage with more leads in a limited time and send the right message when it is most effective. This is crucial for increasing productivity, automating growth, and ensuring that resources (your team) are utilized to the best of their ability.
Four strategies cover advanced and basic email automation:
Reply to email interactions immediately or after a fixed delay.
2. Drip campaigns
Allow automated email sequences to be sent out after set intervals.
3. Dynamic email automation
Advanced email automation analyzes user actions and sends messages accordingly.
Tailors email messages to individual customers to provide relevant content that would allow them to take action.
If you want to boost the effectiveness of the campaign you are running and your strategy, it is essential to understand the basics of email automation.
1. Email Auto-Responders
One of the essential features of email automation are auto-responders. This allows emails to be sent to users automatically when an action takes place.
For example, when consumers raise a support ticket or new users sign up for a free trial, they receive an immediate response email.
Since leads can lose interest extremely fast or get distracted by competitor products, instant responses are vital to turning leads into potential customers.
Auto-responses are usually static and work when an individual does something that triggers a fixed response.
For example, when an individual types in their email address to download an eBook from a website, they instantly receive the download link in their mail.
Keeping the above in mind, you can also use auto-response as a part of an email sequence.
For instance, if an individual enters their email address to join your newsletter, an automated welcome can instantly be sent out to them.
For a SaaS company, they can use autoresponders to manage customer support. Each time a user raises a ticket, companies can automate the first response so users can access support resources until your team gets in touch with them.
2. Drip Campaigns
Drip campaigns are sequences- you can send emails at regular intervals.
For instance, software companies run a free trial for 30 days to generate leads. Every time a new user signs up, they are directed towards the onboarding process that would allow them to use the software application.
However, you should aim to convert free users into paying customers for your company.
Simply put, you cannot allow users to use your product for free for 30 days in the hopes that they will like it enough to get a paid plan when their trial ends.
Instead, you can create a drip campaign that automatically sends guides every couple of days so the user can understand how to use your product.
Then, towards the end of the trial, you can start posting about some advanced features that users can benefit from if they upgrade to a paid plan.
It is also important to notify users when they are close to the end of their trial period and incentivize them to pay for your product so that they can continue using it.
Drip campaigns are not only for new users and can also be designed for existing customers. You can keep them updated on the latest features and tips on improving their experience with your product.
You can also include incentives that would get them to upgrade to a better plan and higher revenue for you.
When it comes to drip campaigns, you must understand that they are static sequences. This means all you have to do is write the text and decide the intervals between each message.
As soon as an action is triggered, these messages will be sent out automatically.
Some drip campaigns do not take action once the initial trigger occurs, you can set up an exit event.
This ensures that the user stops receiving drip sequence mails once the desired action is completed, like signing up for the paid plan.
A SaaS company can create drip campaigns for the following:
1. Customer support
Every time the support team closes a ticket, a drip sequence is allocated to ask users for feedback.
If users or leads do not finish the onboarding process, drip campaigns can remind them to come back.
3. Account verification
Drip campaigns can send follow-up emails if accounts are not authorized.
4. Welcome campaigns
Drip campaigns are a great way to help new customers understand the processes involved in using your product or service so that they can learn more about it.
SaaS companies can use a drip campaign to send content from time to time to boost user engagement.
6. Loyalty and rewards
An excellent way to incentivize customers is by rewarding them so that they continue using your product.
A drip campaign can prompt users to update their payment information in case of failed payments.
Since these campaigns have a static nature, they are great for set time durations and linear processes, including situations where you need users to perform a particular action.
3. Dynamic email automation
Dynamic email automation involves advanced workflows that are dynamic, depending on customer data and user actions. It allows businesses to create emails for customers and leads at various points of the user journey.
These campaigns are personalized for individuals with varying interests and segmented according to their conversion funnel stage.
For instance, businesses can gather data on their most visited services and send customized emails targeting key interest areas. When the users sign up for a free trial, you can use session data to shift prospects to lists and, depending on user behavior, give incentives for paid upgrades.
Dynamic email automation is one method to reach out to potential customers based on their stage. One idea is to put prospects on lists depending on their Net Promotor Score (NPS) – this is a way to measure the loyalty of each customer.
This will allow you to develop strategies for users who show a drop in loyalty over time or give incentives to low-loyalty scoring customers so that they can increase their NPS score. This will help boost subscription renewals while expanding your customer base.
When it comes to email marketing for SaaS companies, dynamic email automation is the most important. It allows a business to create responsive, advanced, targeted email campaigns that ensure you reach out to your audience across channels and buying journeys.
4. Email personalization
While marketing automation allows you to increase efficiency, there is always the possibility of losing the 'human touch' while interacting with prospects.
However, managing personal email communication with every stakeholder and prospect can be overwhelming for any marketing team.
That is where email personalization ensures you continue delivering a tailored experience while ensuring it is fully automated. According to Statista, personalized emails have a 68% higher ROI than standard emails.
Email marketing software infers details from your database to add a layer of personalization to your emails. It ensures that your emails address individuals directly and personalize emails according to their requirements and interests.
For example, you can send a birthday wish to your customers by utilizing their provided personal data. You can further tweak your campaign to reach out with a gift card or a promotional product to incentivize sign-ups.
Prospects are more tempted if a business offers them a month free from their annual subscription to celebrate their birthday.
Moreover, to avoid getting lost in the spam folder, you can ensure that the recipient is informed about this offer right before their birthday month so that your business's email does not get lost in their already flooded inbox.
Otherwise, you can always use Pribox to warm up your business email domain and increase the chances of your emails landing in the Priority Inbox (the best option).
5. User session data
Apart from personalization, SaaS companies can also utilize user session data to send analytic-based emails. A great way to boost engagement and personalization is to send users performance data, reports and stats to show how far they have come with a product and what they have achieved.
Individuals view this as the value they are receiving from software. You can also highlight areas of improvement, encouraging individuals to upgrade to paid or more exclusive plans.
It also allows you to provide valuable insight into user behavior, further building goodwill. For instance, sending potential customers tips and guides on how they can use your service or product.
Sending guides is the perfect way to reach your marketing goals and educate your customer base on how to use your product. It will help them understand your offering better while encouraging new users to subscribe.
Another technique to boost customer experience via personalization is tapping into information from customer support tickets and then sending follow-up emails until the problem is resolved.
You want to ensure that they are no longer facing any issues and lead them towards relevant content that will allow them not to experience similar problems further on in their journey.
Another benefit of utilizing user session data is that it allows you to understand each customer's needs and deliver targeted emails promptly.
Lead nurturing strategies
Let's now focus on nurturing leads in the sales funnel and how to convert prospects into paying customers. It can be expensive to capture qualified leads, but converting as many leads into paying customers is essential to increase ROI.
Effective email marketing is the ideal way of nurturing leads through each stage of the consumer journey and sales funnel. Here are some strategies that help convert prospects into paying customers:
Helping new users through the implementation and sign-up procedure to ensure that valuable leads do not slip away.
Help leads get through marketing and sales funnels.
Helps turn free plan users into paying customers.
Ensures that consumers continue to pay for and use the product.
Onboarding and free-to-paid upselling campaigns help target two important moments where consumers buy the product. On the other hand, customer retention and funnel campaigns focus on converting leads into paying customers and ensuring that they sign up for the paid plans.
1. Onboarding Email Sequence
The onboarding email sequence help ensures that new users get through the sign-up process and become a part of the company. The worst thing to experience would be that a customer shows interest in the SaaS product, but because of onboarding issues, they cannot convert.
The onboarding process can be simple or complicated based on the design and nature of your selling products. Even though innovation can be great sometimes, too many complications can deter customers from using your product.
Slack has been known for its seamless onboarding process, ensuring new customers can create an account without difficulty. However, this approach only works for models where increasing free users is the number one goal.
For example, a welcome email is sent to new users who sign up so that they can activate their accounts. If the process of account verification is incomplete, a drip campaign is used to help bring back these customers, boost incentives, and ensure they complete the onboarding process.
The first step of onboarding is complete when users activate their accounts. Using automated email sequences afterward ensures that customers continue using the platform, shift to a paid plan, and refer more people to the product.
2. Funnel campaigns
Funnel campaigns refer to a lead nurturing email marketing campaign that helps shift prospects from one part to another part of the sales funnel.
Even though most of these strategies help leads become buying customers, some of them only utilize them to remain in the funnel through:
Each time a user clicks on the website and shows interest in a product, he enters the top of the sales funnel, known as the awareness stage. Prospects then enter the conversion stage to become paying customers – sometimes called the consideration stage.
During this process, you can use your email marketing campaign by taking a consumer's email address with the help of a lead generation strategy.
This part of the funnel can be challenging, especially when purchase intent is insignificant and businesses have to convince consumers to fill in a form with their personal information.
SaaS lead generation strategies can also use free tools to attract qualified leads and email campaigns to help them sign up for paid products.
Using attractive calls to action with relevant forms can help people take action instantly. The key is to tempt consumers psychologically and make them want to buy the product.
Once leads have been captured, your funnel campaign must understand the expectations and needs of the audience when they are at the buying stage.
Since they are still early on in their journey, they will require help to determine which product works best. Moreover, during this stage, customers are looking at competitors, so, as a business, you must ensure that you come out on top.
That means you may have to use product reviews and guides on what makes your product different from your rivals. You can highlight products' essential features and unique selling points for potential customers to choose you.
You can make segmented email lists for each action, such as product views, page visits, link clicks, and emails. These actions can help boost purchase intent and attract customers. Providing incentives is an excellent technique to encourage users as well.
For instance, a segmented list can be created for individuals who visit the same page frequently to send unique content to help them understand the information on the page. Moreover, you can also target consumers who clicked the CTA button but did not complete the conversion.
Lead nurturing campaigns should tailor content toward customers who will continue to pay, renew, and upgrade to higher-paying plans.
Businesses need to understand that the funnel continues even after the conversion stage. This is particularly true for SaaS companies that want to focus on recurring revenue.
3. Free-to-paid upselling
It doesn't matter if you decide to run a freemium model, demos, or free trials to attract leads- SaaS companies struggle with converting free users into paying customers.
Free users can boost a business's growth strategy based on your product type. These users can help promote services, encourage investment, and help enterprises to collect data to optimize their services or products.
Hence, you do not always need to worry about turning every free user into a paying customer.
For example, the non-premium versions of Zoom and Slack are free. However, businesses pay these platforms to continue using their advanced features for better collaboration and communication services.
If your business has a freemium model, the users must be considered while creating a lead generation strategy. You need more consumers to discover your platform by showing them your most beneficial features.
4. Customer retention
When paid customers become a part of your business, most email campaigns focus on customers to ensure they continue to pay for the product and renew their subscriptions.
To boost SaaS customer retention, here is what you need to know:
Product strategies: A business should promote its best services to keep customers informed. These can include updates and features.
1. User Experience
Message customers and ensure that your website is customer friendly.
Customers should have a reason to use your service.
3. Customer Support
Solve problems as soon as they arise so that customers remain happy.
What are the benefits of adopting a sdpecific SaaS email marketing strategy?
SaaS email marketing campaigns may be different and more complicated than regular email marketing efforts but they are definitely worth the effort, time, and cost. Email marketing for SaaS offers similar benefits that it offers to other businesses.
It will not only benefit the business but also make a seamless customer journey- starting with a welcome email for new customers. You can also leverage the following benefits with a SaaS email marketing strategy:
Increase your conversion rates by directing the audience to your website. The visitors already have shown some sort of interest in your services and using consistent emails can maintain engagement.
Emails can significantly contribute to maintaining your ROI.
A well-developed email campaign can continue to educate the customer base and create an advantage over your competitors.
Email marketing SaaS is a game changer
There are thousands of SaaS email marketing strategies that you can use to test different ideas- the key is to find what combination works for your business.
Trying new strategies is scary but there is no rule that says a SaaS business should shy away from trying new things. You can try a coupon scheme that incentivizes loyal customers by providing them with a free month or discounts each time their subscriptions are renewed.
However, remember to inform your customers about the kind of improvements you are making to your platforms so that they are kept in the loop. For example, when you optimize a service to boost speed, send your customers a reminder or welcome email so that they know that they can now enjoy a better experience.
Remember to try Pribox now, to make sure your emails are seen - that's the only way email marketing is likely to work.
Reach more customers with your cold emails