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SaaS email marketing: 9 tips + examples to optimize your campaigns

16 min

SaaS companies thrive on customer retention. The more users you can retain, the higher the customer lifetime value (CLV). Higher CLV helps optimize your overall ROI. 

But how do you promote customer retention? First and most important, you need a great product. None of the other customer retention strategies would be effective if your product sucks.

But besides that, communication is essential for you to retain customers. You must communicate with your customers constantly, helping them achieve their goals using your product. That’s where SaaS email marketing comes into play. 

We already know that email marketing has one of the highest ROIs of any marketing channel. Also, according to a late 2022 survey from Statista, about half of the marketing professionals surveyed claimed an ROI improvement rate of two times! How exactly does that happen?

This guide will take you through 9 tips that’ll help you build a successful email marketing strategy for your SaaS company.

Bonus: Learn how Newspoint uses GetResponse email marketing software to grow their SaaS business using emails, lead magnets, webinars, and more!

Email marketing for SaaS: 9 tips for better results

1. Give value to subscribers

The first step in mastering SaaS email marketing is to provide value to your subscribers. Ask yourself, what can you offer your subscribers to make them excited to open your emails? You’ll establish trust and build a loyal subscriber base by offering something of value.

Here are a few strategies to consider:

  • Exclusive content: Offer your subscribers access to exclusive content relevant to their interests and needs. This could be in the form of industry insights, whitepapers, ebooks, or expert interviews. By providing valuable information that they can’t find elsewhere, you increase signups and email engagements.
Example of an email course offered to AnswerThePublic users
Example of an email course offered to AnswerThePublic users
  • Special discounts and offers: People love a good deal. Consider offering exclusive discounts or special offers to your subscribers. This could be a limited-time promotion, early access to new product updates, or loyalty rewards. These perks increase the value of your marketing emails. As a result, subscribers will be looking forward to your next email. That means higher open rates, engagements, and clicks.

Set a goal that leads to a win-win situation where your subscribers receive valuable content while you achieve your marketing objectives. One of the best ways to achieve this is to prioritize customer value over your own business goals.

Basically, don’t push your products and offers in every email. Focus more on helping the users with an occasional promotional email in between. 

This helps you build an engaged audience of satisfied subscribers and customers. Satisfied customers are also more likely to become brand advocates and refer your SaaS business to others.

Grammarly educates their customers through exclusive webinars that help them run their business more effectively
Grammarly educates their customers through exclusive webinars that help them run their business more effectively

2. Write engaging subject lines

Subject lines are the gateway to capturing your subscribers’ attention. They determine whether subscribers will open or ignore your message. In a crowded inbox, a compelling subject line makes all the difference. 

To increase open rates, craft engaging subject lines that pique curiosity and entice recipients to click.

Check out this subject line, for example. It’s so simple, yet it leaves the reader wanting to know exactly what the email is about.

Email marketing for SaaS – using curiosity in email subject lines.

Here are some tactics and examples of engaging subject lines specifically for SaaS businesses:

  • Create curiosity: Pique your subscribers’ curiosity by hinting at valuable information they’ll find inside the email: ‘Unlock the Power of Data Analytics in 3 Simple Steps.’
  • Use urgency or scarcity: Create a sense of urgency or scarcity to motivate your subscribers to take action: ‘‘Flash Sale ends Friday – 37% off!!’
  • Leverage personalization: Write personalized subject lines tailored to each customer. Use tools like the GetResponse email marketing platform to track user behavior and data. Then, use those insights to craft personalized subject lines. ‘A Special Offer Just for You, Emilia!’
  • Pose a question: Engage your subscribers by asking a thought-provoking question that resonates with their pain points or aspirations: ‘Ready to Supercharge Your Facebook Ads?’
  • Highlight benefits: Focus on the benefits your subscribers will gain by opening the email. Highlight the value they’ll receive: ‘Discover How Our New Feature Can Save You Hours of Work.’
  • Use numbers or statistics: Incorporate numbers or statistics to make your subject lines more specific and tangible: ‘5 Proven Strategies to Skyrocket Your Sales’.

A/B test different subject lines to see which ones generate higher open rates.

3. Analyze and segment your audience

Every subscriber is unique. Understanding their preferences and behaviors is crucial for successful email marketing for SaaS. 

To achieve this, you must take time to analyze your audience and segment them based on specific criteria that align with your SaaS marketing strategy

Here are the most effective mailing list segmentation strategies:

  • Demographics: Segment your email list based on demographic information. In a B2B setting, this would involve segmenting customers based on the industry, company size, location, job roles of the target recipients, etc. This allows you to tailor your email content to their specific characteristics and needs.
  • Engagement levels: Identify your most engaged subscribers and create a segment for them. Pin down your inactive subscribers who may require a re-engagement email strategy. 
  • Past purchases or interactions: Segment your audience based on their past purchases or interactions with your SaaS product. This allows you to offer personalized recommendations or cross-sell/up-sell opportunities to each segment. This is especially important if you have so many tools in your platform. It helps to know the specific tools your subscribers are interested in.
  • Preferences or interests: Use data from surveys or behavioral tracking to segment your audience based on their preferences or interests. Then, you can deliver highly targeted content and promotions that align with their specific needs.

An autoresponder like GetResponse can be invaluable here. The email marketing platform allows you to add custom fields to your email sign-up forms. You can use these fields to collect the data you need for email segmentation.

In addition to that, you can use an onboarding survey to collect more data about your customers and place them in the correct email segments. 

Check this out.

SurferSEO signup page collecting additional information allowing personalized email communication.
SurferSEO signup page collecting additional information allowing personalized email communication

The above onboarding survey helps Surfer collect additional details about the user. This is really helpful because you can never collect enough information on the signup form.

4. Design informative content

Now that you have your audience’s attention, it’s time to deliver informative and engaging content. 

Educate your subscribers about topics related to your SaaS product. How-to guides, tutorials, or webinars can help them better understand your offering and maximize its benefits. 

By empowering your subscribers with knowledge, you not only provide value but also build their confidence in your expertise.

Here is an example from Zapier. The company has a monthly newsletter where they share helpful tips and insights with their subscribers.

Zapier's monthly newsletter sharing valuable information.

Focus on providing valuable insights, industry trends, or expert tips your subscribers will find helpful. Remember, the goal is to position yourself as an authority in your niche and establish a long-term relationship with your audience.

Also, make your email messages visually appealing and easy to read. Incorporate clear headings, bullet points, concise paragraphs, and engaging visuals. Design a clear and compelling call to action that guides your subscribers toward the desired action. 

Lastly, position your CTA prominently in the email, ensuring it stands out and is easy to find. Use color contrast, buttons, or bold text to make your CTA visually distinct.

Read more: Email design best practices 2023

5. Include videos and powerful text

Did you know marketers who add video content to their email campaigns generate 40% more revenue than those that don’t? And emails that contain video in them observe higher click-through rates by more than 32%, as confirmed by the Email Marketing Benchmarks report?

How effective is video in email marketing.

Videos are engaging, eye-catching, and can effectively convey your message. This type of content captivates your subscribers and can leave a lasting impression. 

Here are some of the types of videos you can add to your SaaS email marketing campaigns:

  • Welcome videos
  • Product Demos.
  • Tutorials and How-to Guides.
  • Customer Testimonials.
  • Webinars or Training Sessions.

Here’s one example from GetResponse, where they’ve used a video to invite their subscribers to an upcoming product webinar.

Video email invitation to a webinar.

When adding videos to your emails, it’s important to consider file sizes and compatibility across email clients. Use video hosting platforms like YouTube or Vimeo and include a thumbnail or a GIF image that links to the video. This ensures a smooth viewing experience for your subscribers.

Powerful text can also capture attention, evoke emotions, and inspire action. Here are some strategies to infuse powerful text into your SaaS email marketing:

  • Compelling Headlines: Craft attention-grabbing headlines that instantly hook your readers and make them curious to read more. Use action words, ask thought-provoking questions, or make bold statements that resonate with your audience’s pain points or desires.
  • Emotional Storytelling: Weave storytelling into your emails to evoke emotions and create a connection with your subscribers. Share relatable experiences, anecdotes, or customer success stories that demonstrate the transformative power of your SaaS product. 

Sometimes even your brand story can make for a great email.  The Airbnb email below is an excellent example of this. This email is so heartwarming.

Storytelling email from Airbnb.
Source: RGE
  • Social Proof: Incorporate social proof elements like user reviews, ratings, or testimonials in your emails. Showcase positive customer feedback from satisfied users to build trust and credibility.

The power of videos and striking text lies in their ability to convey information, evoke emotions, and drive action. Have your email marketers use them strategically to create a memorable and impactful customer experience.

6. Align emails with customer journey

Understanding your sales funnel is vital to delivering the right message at the right time. Map out the stages your customers go through, from awareness to conversion and beyond. Then, align your email campaigns with each stage, providing relevant content that guides subscribers through the journey. 

For new leads in the awareness stage, focus on educational content that emphasizes their issue and introduces your solution. Share educational blog posts offering insights, tips, and best practices related to your niche. 

Educational content for content writers from Grammarly
Educational content for content writers from Grammarly

As your leads progress, share success stories and case studies to build trust and credibility. Create comprehensive guides or comparison charts highlighting the unique features and advantages of your SaaS product compared to competitors. Showcase in your emails why your solution stands out and meets your customers’ specific needs.

Product Hunt explaining how LongShot stands out from their competitors
Product Hunt explaining how LongShot stands out from their competitors

Offer free trials or demos of your SaaS product to allow potential customers to experience its value firsthand. 

In the decision stage, customers are ready to make a purchase decision. You aim to provide the final push and ensure a smooth transition from consideration to conversion. 

Offer your prospects exclusive discounts or limited-time promotions to incentivize them to choose your SaaS product over competitors. 

Strava offering a 60-day trial to their free users
Strava offering a 60-day trial to their free users

Showcase testimonials that highlight the benefits and positive user experience others have had with your SaaS product.

Beyond the conversion stage, it’s essential to nurture your existing customers to build loyalty, increase engagement, and encourage advocacy. During this stage, you need to provide:

  • Personalized onboarding guides.
  • Offer tips, tutorials, and resources.
  • Recommend additional features, upgrades, or complementary products.
  • Promote referral campaigns.

Ask for feedback from your customers through email surveys. Use this feedback to improve your SaaS product.

7. Create personalized messages

Personalization is key to creating meaningful connections with your subscribers. It goes beyond simply addressing your email recipients by their first names. Tailor your messages based on their previous interactions with your SaaS business. 

Personalized emails enjoy higher open rates (by 3.71%) and a lower probability of bounce (by 1.21%). 

Consider the following strategies:

  • Product Recommendations: Analyze your customers’ product usage patterns. What features do they appear to use the most? What milestones are they hitting? Use these insights to identify and recommend relevant upgrades and cross-sells.
  • Content Recommendations: Deliver personalized content recommendations based on your subscribers’ interests or previous engagement. Whether it’s blog articles, case studies, or educational resources, offer content that aligns with their preferences and provides value.
Audible providing recommendations in their transactional emails
Audible providing recommendations in their transactional emails

Use data from your CRM and email marketing services to create dynamic content that speaks directly to each subscriber’s needs and interests. Making your emails feel personal reduces the churn rate and foster stronger relationships.

8. Conduct A/B testing

A/B testing, or split testing, is a powerful tool for optimizing your SaaS email marketing campaigns. 

Through split testing, you get to design two versions of the same email with slight variations. The two versions are then sent to different groups. The goal is to see which version will outperform the other in producing the desired result. 

For example, you can run a split test to see which email subject line format produces the highest open rates. Or, split-test your value proposition to see which version generates the highest conversion rates.

Whatever the goal, A/B testing provides insights that help you optimize your upcoming campaigns.

Configuring email A/B test inside GetResponse
Configuring email A/B test inside GetResponse

The different elements you can test include:

  • Subject lines
  • From names
  • Email designs
  • Calls to action
  • Send times
  • Copywriting
  • Offers

You can use GerResponse’s platform to set up email A/B tests in a few easy steps. This should help you make data-driven decisions and continually improve the performance of your emails. Even minor tweaks can lead to significant improvements in open rates, click-through rates, and conversions.

In addition to split testing, monitor your email marketing metrics, comparing your results over time and against the industry average. My recommendation is to compare your results on a quarterly basis. This is a great way to track your email performance and see whether your optimization efforts are yielding any results.

9. Embrace marketing automation

Marketing automation is a game-changer for SaaS email marketing. With email automation tools, you can set up triggered emails, drip campaigns, and personalized workflows that deliver the right message to the right email address at the right time. 

This helps you communicate with your target audience with even greater precision using customer data stored in your account.

That’s exactly what Marketing automation platform from GetResponse can help you with. You can build personalized automation workflows to engage and guide your customers every step of the way to conversion and beyond.

How marketing automation workflows work
How marketing automation workflows work

Automating repetitive tasks saves you time and lets you focus on strategic initiatives. Whether it’s sending a welcome email sequence to new subscribers, re-engaging inactive users, or sending transactional emails, automation helps you manage personalized email communications at scale.

Besides creating automated workflows, you can also experiment with an AI email generator. This will enhance your email marketing strategies, saving time and effort.

Read more: Getting started with marketing automation

Examples of great SaaS email marketing

To illustrate the power of SaaS email marketing, let’s look at a couple of successful email examples. We’ve classified these SaaS email examples based on what they’re trying to accomplish.

1. Welcoming new users

This email campaign from Grammarly is excellent for starters. The email starts with a welcome note inviting new subscribers to learn about the product. It also provides email preferences highlighting that the company doesn’t want to be pushy. 

Since welcome emails have high open and click-through rates, crafting them carefully is necessary. Your intro email must include essential information and leave a positive first impression on readers.

Example of a welcome email from Grammarly.
Example of a welcome email from Grammarly
Example of a welcome email from Grammarly - part 2.
Example of a welcome email from Grammarly - part 3.
Example of a welcome email from Grammarly - part 4.

2. Upselling freemium users to a paid plan

Upgrading freemium users into paid plans is one of the biggest SaaS marketing challenges. Free plans are excellent for customer acquisition. They pretty much eliminate the barrier to entry. Unfortunately, your company will end up bleeding cash in the long run if you don’t have a solid plan for converting those free users into paid customers.

Semrush shows us how to upsell freemium users through an email campaign. This is one of the best emails I have seen of its kind.

Semrush upselling freemium users with an extra free trial of their premium features
Semrush upselling freemium users with an extra free trial of their premium features

Users get a free ride on the “premium experience” train for a whole week before they have to spend a dime. This is a great way to help users experience the value of your paid package.

3. Upselling users to a higher tier plan

Another example is Wix. The brand embraces marketing automation to nurture its customers. With this email, Wix attempts to upgrade its existing paying customers to a higher tier plan. 

50% off sale offered to users who switch to a yearly plan – Wix.
50% off sale offered to users who switch to a yearly plan – Wix
50% off sale offered to users who switch to a yearly plan – Wix – part 2.

By offering a 50% off discount for a limited time only, Wix gives its customers an incentive that is attractive enough to make them act fast.

4. Encouraging feature adoption

Your product team works tirelessly to improve the product and ship new releases. Unfortunately, users might not be as enthusiastic about adopting those features. Email can help you resolve this issue. 

Send out an email blast once your new product features go live. The email needs to explain what the feature is, the reasoning behind it, and why the customers should care. That is, show them how the new features will improve their workflows. 

DigitalOcean does this brilliantly with the email below.

Digital Ocean promoting feature adoption via email
Digital Ocean promoting feature adoption via email

You’ll probably need to do 1-2 follow-up emails after this, targeting users who are still not utilizing the feature.

5. Boosting customer retention

You’ll need various email campaigns for this purpose. The goal of those emails should be to share valuable information relevant to your audience. Help them understand their industry and your product better.

For example, Webflow shares this interesting email that designers will find very insightful. It also features other exciting stuff like a Riddle.

Webflow offering educational content to its email subscribers to increase their engagement and lower churn
Webflow offering educational content to its email subscribers to increase their engagement and lower churn

These emails should be sent regularly too. Just like a newsletter. You can do a weekly or biweekly email. This should help you stay at the top of your customer’s mind.

Time to level up your SaaS email marketing strategy

Email is a powerful marketing tool, but only if you know how to use it right. This guide shared nine tips to help you elevate your SaaS email marketing efforts. 

Your emails need to offer value to their readers. Write engaging email subject lines, analyze and segment your audience and align emails with the entire customer journey to achieve the desired results. Also, design informative content, incorporate videos, and customize personalized messages to keep your readers engaged.

Crafting successful SaaS email marketing campaigns requires ongoing effort. To keep ahead of your competitors, you must continuously analyze your email marketing campaigns, experiment with new strategies, and stay updated with industry trends. 

Now it’s time to put your newfound knowledge into action and watch your SaaS business thrive!

Nico Prins
Nico Prins
Nico is the founder of Crunch Marketing, a SaaS link building agency. The company works with enterprise SaaS clients, helping them scale lead generation globally across EMEA, APAC, and other regions.