saas email marketing

Ever feel like you’re drowning in the sea of marketing options for your SaaS business?

New platforms, trends, and tactics emerge constantly, making it tough to know where to focus your efforts.

But there’s one tried-and-true channel that consistently delivers results: email marketing.

Did you know that SaaS email marketing can boast a staggering 42 times the return on investment compared to other marketing channels, according to Forbes, in 2023?

That’s music to any marketer’s ears.

But email marketing isn’t just about boosting your bottom line.

Done right, it can also be a powerful tool for building relationships, reducing churn, and fostering long-term customer loyalty.

As the Director of Digital Marketing at a leading international SaaS company, I can’t stress enough the power of email marketing in boosting revenue, keeping customers loyal, and minimizing churn.

This guide equips you with proven strategies to craft SaaS email marketing content that resonates with your audience, keeping them engaged and clicking to learn more about your product.

 David Newman, CEO, Drift (Source: MarketingProfs, 2023)

  • SaaS email marketing strategy for SaaS is a powerful way to connect with your audience and guide them through the customer journey.
  • You can increase engagement and revenue for your SaaS product by leveraging tailored strategies.
  • Focus on a blend of marketing, lifecycle, and transactional emails to address the unique challenges of SaaS businesses.
  • Personalized emails help connect with your audience at a deeper level.
  • Automated campaigns ensure timely and relevant engagement with users.

The Benefits of Email Marketing for Saas

Almost every industry leverages email to achieve several advantages in marketing, from e-commerce to wellness and hospitality to finance.

But for you, there are four reasons why you should hop on the email marketing train to help boost your SaaS business.

Here are the benefits of a SaaS email marketing strategy:

  1. Lead Generation: For any SaaS business, generating new leads is vital. You can attract and nurture potential clients by creating targeted email campaigns and guiding them through the sales funnel.
  2. Customer Retention: Keep your paying customers engaged with regular updates on new features, tutorials, and customer success stories. These can help in reducing churn and increasing renewal rates.
  3. Personalized Communication: Emails allow you to segment your audience and send personalized messages based on user behavior, which can increase the relevance and effectiveness of your communication.
  4. Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to many other marketing channels, SaaS email marketing campaigns often yield a high ROI, as it allows for direct communication with a large number of users at relatively low costs.

By integrating a thoughtful email marketing strategy, your SaaS company can not only draw in new leads but also maintain a compelling dialogue with existing customers.

Crafting Effective SaaS Emails: A Look at 3 Critical Types

When it comes to SaaS companies, emails are still one of the most cost-effective tools for maintaining user engagement and driving conversions.

But let’s not throw them all in one pot.

You need to know about three distinct types of emails: Marketing, Transactional, and Lifecycle emails.

Let’s take a laid-back stroll through each one.

1. Marketing Emails: Your Digital Flyers

Think of marketing emails like those flyers you find stuck under your windshield wiper – except people actually signed up for these.

  • What they do: These emails aim to persuade and inform potential or current customers about your product, service, or ongoing promotion.
  • Examples to chew on:
    • Newsletters with industry insights or company updates.
    • Promotional blasts touting new features or discounts.

While these emails are about building relationships, don’t be the person who only talks about themselves at a party.

Give your readers something they can use.

Marketing emails, surprisingly, still deliver a ~$42 return on every dollar spent, which is pretty neat for something that feels old school.

2. Transactional Emails: The Paper Trail of the Digital Age

Transactional emails are the acknowledgment nod from your local barista when you order your usual.

  • What they do: These SaaS email marketing examples confirm that an action has taken place. Think receipts, password resets, and account notifications.
  • Key examples:
    • Order confirmations for new subscriptions.
    • Alerts when a user’s credit card is about to expire.

Transactional emails have open rates as much as 8x higher than traditional marketing emails because they contain information users expect or wait for.

Remember, just because these emails are functional doesn’t mean they can’t be friendly. Slip in a bit of brand personality where you can.

3. Lifecycle Emails: The Chatty Friend Who’s Always There At The Right Time

Lifecycle emails are like those check-in texts from a good friend—they know when you’re flying high and when you need a lift.

  • The purpose behind them: These emails are tailored to engage customers at specific stages of their journey with your product or service.
  • A snapshot of examples:
    • A welcome email series that guides new users through your product.
    • Re-engagement emails are designed to win back customers who haven’t logged in lately.

Think of them as the small nudges keeping customers walking along the path you’ve paved.

Lifecycle emails are a bit trickier to pin down with numbers, but considering that personalization can lift sales by 10% or more, customizing these emails for your customers can make a real difference.

8 Steps to Massive SaaS Email Marketing Success

If you want to get a slice of the email marketing pie, especially with its proven ROI, here’s how to tackle your SaaS email marketing strategy.

We’re discussing eight effective steps here, including all the ways to effectively achieve each tactic.

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1. Developing Your Email Marketing Strategy

When setting up your SaaS email marketing strategy, it’s crucial to understand whom you’re talking to, how to organize your contacts, and how to create a profile that embodies your ideal customer.

Identify Your Audience

Begin by pinpointing exactly who your emails are intended for. This isn’t just anyone with an email address—those who are most likely to benefit from your SaaS product.

Consider factors like their industry, job role, and pain points they’re trying to solve. By doing so, you ensure that your campaigns are targeted effectively.

Segment Your Email List

A key step in your SaaS email marketing campaigns is to organize your email list into audience segments that reflect the variety of paying customers you serve.

You might categorize them by user behavior or stage in the customer journey, such as new subscribers or active users. This approach enables you to tailor your campaigns to meet specific needs or interests, often leading to higher engagement rates.

Create a Customer Avatar

Develop a customer avatar to symbolize your ideal customer. This includes assigning them attributes like a name, job title, desires, and challenges.

The purpose of this customer avatar is to guide you in creating messages that strike a chord with your target audience. It serves as a compass, determining the tone, style, and offers of your content.

Customer Avatar Canvas - SaaS Email Marketing

Every piece of communication you send out should be tailored to this customer avatar, fostering a sense of one-on-one conversation. Understanding your customer avatar’s key characteristics, including demographics, psychographics, pain points, and behavior patterns, is crucial.

Creating this comprehensive customer avatar involves a series of steps: conducting research, identifying trends, crafting the avatar, and refining/updating it periodically. One useful tool for this process is the DigitalMarketer’s “Customer Avatar Canvas.”

My Take

Remember, your customer avatar is more than just a concept; it provides valuable insights into your customers’ wants, needs, behaviors, and preferences. Investing time in creating and refining your customer avatar is a worthwhile endeavor that can significantly impact the success of your marketing campaigns and product development.

2. Craft Compelling Campaigns

To excel in SaaS email marketing, your campaigns must hook your audience from the get-go and provide them with real value.

Let’s examine how you can achieve this by focusing on meticulously designed subject lines, insightful educational content, and captivating storytelling through success stories.

Design Effective Subject Lines

Your subject line is the front door to your email marketing campaign. It’s what persuades recipients to click through and engage.

Grab attention by being concise and benefit-focused, and spark curiosity to increase open rates.

For example, instead of a generic “Monthly Newsletter,” try “Unlock Exclusive SaaS Insights for February!” This promises immediate, exclusive value, encouraging a higher click-through rate.

Grammarly, a writing improvement tool, saw a 30% increase in open rates by A/B testing subject lines that included emojis and personalized greetings. They tested subject lines like “Hey [Name], Your writing just got stronger!” and “Did you forget something, [Name]? “. (Source: HubSpot Blog, 2023)

Develop Educational Content

In every marketing email, deliver content that educates your readers and addresses their pain points.

This could range from how-to guides to industry reports. Education establishes your authority and keeps your subscribers coming back for more.

Develop Educational Content - SaaS Email Marketing

For instance, in a newsletter, rather than promoting features, offer a mini-tutorial on optimizing workflow using your SaaS solution, highlighting practical uses and benefits.

Canva, a graphic design platform, created a series of email drip campaigns focused on specific design challenges faced by their audience. These campaigns offered tutorials, templates, and expert tips, resulting in a 25% increase in user engagement with the platform. (Source: SuperOffice, 2023)

My Take

From what I’ve learned, there’s something special about educational content in emails. It’s like handing out a map in a maze; it guides your users, making their journey smoother.

This approach has shown me that people appreciate when you’re not just selling but genuinely helping.

So, by sharing insights and tips, you’re not just reaching inboxes; you’re touching lives and making a tangible difference.

Utilize Storytelling with Success Stories

Incorporate customer success stories into your email marketing campaigns to illustrate your product’s impact.

Real-world SaaS email marketing examples resonate more than just sending out abstract promises.

The Customer Value Journey (CVJ) is a strategic roadmap to transform your potential clients into loyal customers and passionate brand advocates.

The Advocate stage of the CVJ is the perfect place to weave in customer success stories. This stage promotes customers sharing their positive experiences, be it through reviews or social media posts.

Boldly showcase a client’s journey, detailing how your SaaS product solved their problems, and share their testimonials. This not only adds authenticity but also demonstrates the tangible value of your solution.

Slack, a workplace communication tool, featured customer success stories in their email newsletters, showcasing how businesses use Slack to improve collaboration and productivity. This led to a 12% boost in sign-ups for their paid plans from targeted campaigns. (Source: Klaviyo, 2023)

Include Calls to Action (CTAs)

Mailchimp, an email marketing platform, implemented clear and compelling CTAs within their email campaigns. They A/B tested different CTA button designs and wording, resulting in a 15% increase in click-through rates for their free trial offer. (Source: Campaign Monitor, 2023)

Leverage Behavioral Triggers

Duolingo, a language learning app, sent automated emails triggered by user inactivity. These emails offered personalized recommendations for learning activities and reminders to continue their language learning journey. This strategy led to a 7% reduction in churn rate among inactive users. (Source: MarketingProfs, 2023)

3. Automate and Personalize

In the landscape of SaaS email marketing, striking the right balance between automation and personalization ensures that your communication feels efficient and considerate to your users.

Automated systems save you time, while personalized touches make your customers feel valued.

Set Up Drip Campaigns

Drip campaigns are a series of emails sent automatically on a schedule or based on specific user actions.

To start, outline a sequence that nurtures your leads at every funnel stage. With an email automation tool, craft and schedule these emails so they deliver value, build trust and move leads closer to a conversion.

  • Pre-launch: Tease upcoming features or content.
  • Post-signup: Provide onboarding guidance and resources.
  • Engagement: Share tips and tricks for better product utilization.
  • Re-engagement: Win back inactive users with compelling updates or offers.

Leverage Behavioral Triggers

Behavioral triggers are actions users take that prompt specific emails, ensuring relevance and timeliness.

These triggers could be a new sign-up, an abandoned cart, or frequent usage of a particular feature.

Automate transactional email responses for each trigger to foster engagement and minimize churn.

  • Downloaded a resource: Send a follow-up with additional relevant content.
  • Trial expiring: Offer assistance or incentives to free trial users to subscribe.
  • Upsells: Suggest premium features triggered by usage patterns.

Customize with Personalized Emails

Personalized emails stand out in a crowded inbox. Tailor your message using data like name, company position, and past interactions.

Customize content with details relevant to each user, making them feel like you’re directly addressing their needs and interests.

  • Use dynamic content: A user’s name or company could auto-populate based on your data.
  • Segmentation: Group users based on behavior and send targeted campaigns that resonate with their specific use case or industry.
My Take

Honestly, diving into personalized email campaigns opened my eyes. It’s not just about blasting out your message; it’s about chatting with your friends, understanding what they’re up to, and maybe offering a hand.

For SaaS, this means really getting why someone signed up or clicked around your site. I’ve seen firsthand how a well-crafted email, feeling like it’s just for them, can turn a maybe into a ‘let’s do this.’

It’s about making every email feel like you’re reaching out to help, not sell.

4. Improve Conversion and Retention

Email marketing continues to be a cornerstone in the SaaS landscape for bolstering conversion and retention efforts. It’s about striking the perfect balance: drawing to convert leads into customers and ingeniously crafting the customer journey to keep them on board for the long haul.

Optimize for Conversion

Your conversion rate is a telling sign of your email campaign’s effectiveness, and small tweaks can lead to significant improvements.

The convert stage in Customer Value Journey (CVJ) is all about transforming subscribers into customers through enticing entry-point offers and low-risk opportunities. The aim isn’t immediate profit but rather facilitating a seamless transition from subscriber to paying customer.

Consider your email campaign as a strategic tool in the conversion stage of CVJ. Small modifications can result in significant benefits.

Start with A/B testing your emails to understand what resonates best with your audience. Testing uncovers what works, whether it’s the subject line, content personalization, or the call-to-action (CTA).

Remember, the goal is to guide potential customers towards a free trial or freemium model; your email is their map to this destination.

Enhance Customer Value Journey

As mentioned before, the Customer Value Journey (CVJ) is your strategic roadmap towards achieving superior customer satisfaction. 

Each phase of the CVJ, from awareness to promotion, should be reflected in your email communications to ensure maximum impact.

Employ tailored content to progressively transform your user’s perception of the value your SaaS product provides. Incorporating an interactive email journey can significantly diminish churn rates by adapting to your customer’s unique needs and behaviors over time. 

It’s not just about guiding them on their entire customer journey but also about evolving with them, ensuring they recognize and appreciate the true value your product offers at every step of their customer journey.

Here’s an example of the customer value journey worksheet that we use.

Customer Value Journey Worksheet - SaaS Email Marketing

Implement Retention Strategies

When it comes to customer retention, your emails should nurture a continuous relationship.

Regularly check in with your customers through newsletters, update announcements, and feedback requests. Keep these communications valuable and relevant to nurture loyalty.

My Take

In my journey helping SaaS companies, I’ve realized that retention is the backbone of growth. It’s not just about getting users; it’s about keeping them engaged.

When customers feel valued and understood, they stick around. And in the SaaS world, that loyalty is what sets successful companies apart.

Automated email sequences can be particularly effective here, triggering specific events or stages in the user’s experience with your service.

For example, a well-crafted onboarding sequence can significantly impact free trial conversions, turning free trial users into paying customers.

5. Foster Engagement and Relationships

Building genuine connections with your audience is paramount for SaaS growth. 

Your email marketing strategy should prioritize customer engagement and cultivating lasting relationships through various touchpoints.

Encourage Audience Engagement

To keep your audience engaged, personalize your messages. Use data insights to ensure that the content resonates with them.

Regularly analyze your email open and click-through rates to understand what type of content drives user interaction and refine your strategy accordingly.

For further guidance, exploring a strategy for growth in 2024 can provide actionable insights.

Execute Referral and Welcome Campaigns

Welcome emails are your first chance to make a lasting impression.

Honestly, I love receiving welcome emails myself.

Here’s one example of a welcome email I got from a SaaS tool I started using.

An Example of a Welcome Email from Fotor - SaaS Email Marketing

Ensure these emails are warm and inviting while offering clear next steps for engagement.

Couple this with compelling referral campaigns, incentivizing existing customers to introduce your SaaS to others. Learn how 19 Email Marketing Strategies can help you maximize customer value from the get-go.

Collect Feedback and Surveys

Always seek to improve the customer experience by requesting feedback.

Simple yet effective surveys allow you to gather valuable insights directly from your users.

This feedback loop not only informs your product development but also shows customers that their opinions are valued and crucial.

My Take

Starting out in the SaaS landscape, I realized early on that feedback loops are your best friend.

Crafting surveys is less about asking questions and more about starting meaningful conversations. These insights have been my compass, guiding tweaks and changes that genuinely improve the customer journey. It’s a humbling process, really, acknowledging that the best ideas often come from outside the four walls of your office.

By valuing every piece of feedback, you’re not just enhancing your product; you’re showing customers they’re truly part of your team.

6. Leverage Data for Saas Email Marketing

In SaaS email marketing, leveraging precise data can significantly enhance your campaign’s effectiveness.

For example, data power personalization and personalization are crucial factors in providing great experiences to your audience.

62% of Brands Lose Customer Loyalty with Unpersonalized Experiences - SaaS Email Marketing

To avoid this, you must be data-driven or foster a data-driven environment.

To do this, analyze customer data, test your email campaigns, and use CRM systems to send targeted emails that connect with your audience.

Analyze Customer Data

You need to understand your customers deeply to craft emails that hit the mark.

Start by collecting data on user behavior, preferences, and engagement levels.

Tools such as Google Analytics or proprietary SaaS analytics can track customers’ interactions with your emails and products.

Use these insights to segment your audience—divide your users into groups based on their unique characteristics and behaviors.

Doing this allows each email to address specific user needs and pain points, making your campaigns more personal and effective.

Use A/B Testing for Campaigns

A/B testing, or split testing, is crucial for optimizing your email campaigns. It allows you to test variables such as subject lines, email copy, or call-to-action buttons to see which versions perform best.

Using email marketing tools that support A/B testing, you can empirically determine the most effective elements of your email campaigns. Make decisions based on data, not guesses, and continuously refine your emails to improve open rates and conversions.

Apply CRM for Targeted Outreach

A solid Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is the backbone for targeted outreach. With a CRM, you get a centralized database for all customer data, which enables you to segment your audience more effectively.

Tailor your messaging according to your identified segments: new users might receive welcome sequences, while long-term customers get loyalty offers. Implementing targeted emails with the support of a CRM can lead to increased engagement, reduced churn, and better customer satisfaction.

My Take

Through my experiences supporting SaaS businesses, I’ve seen firsthand how data can make or break your email strategy. It’s not just about sending emails; it’s about sending the right emails.

By diving into the data, I’ve guided clients to personalize their messages and the results.

Happier customers and better engagement. It’s all about connecting with your audience in a way that feels genuine.

7. Scale Up with Advanced Techniques

Now, as your SaaS company expands, using smart strategies is key to keeping the ball rolling.

So, how do you keep up with your own growth?

Advanced tools and personalized approaches help boost your email marketing efforts and improve customer relationships, whether it’s B2B or B2C.

Utilize Artificial Intelligence

Andrew Ng. co-founder of Coursera

The first strategy you can turn to is to integrate AI into your operations. AI is also reshaping how you can conduct email marketing.

With AI, you can personalize emails at scale and predict the optimal timing for sending them, thereby improving open rates and customer engagement.

My Take

Don’t shy away from using AI in your marketing strategies. It’s like having a smart assistant that knows your customers better than they know themselves.

But remember, it’s all about balance.

Use AI to enhance your human touch, not replace it. Your customers will appreciate the personalized attention without feeling like they’re just talking to a machine.

For instance, AI-driven analytics can offer insights into customer behaviors, allowing you to tailor email content that resonates with different segments of your audience.

Integrate Advanced Marketing Automation

Effective marketing automation goes beyond basic email campaigns. By integrating advanced marketing automation platforms with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, you can create dynamic, behavior-triggered emails.

These are not only more relevant to each recipient but also save you time by automating routine tasks, thereby enabling you to focus on strategic, high-value activities.

  • Automated workflows: Trigger follow-up emails based on user actions.
  • Personalization at scale: Leverage user data to tailor marketing messages.
  • Segmentation: Group your customers for targeted communications.
  • Lead scoring: Rank prospects according to their potential value.

Expand Through B2B and B2C Strategies

A dual approach targeting both B2B and B2C audiences can significantly expand your reach.

For B2B strategies, focus on creating value-driven content that addresses the unique needs and challenges of businesses.

In contrast, B2C tactics should be more personalized, aiming to build a relationship with individual users.

  • B2B strategies: Whitepapers, case studies, and industry reports.
  • B2C tactics: Promotional emails, product updates, and personal discounts.

8. Measure and Report Success

When you’re getting into SaaS email marketing, you need to measure your success and report on how your campaigns are doing.

If you don’t know where to start measuring your email marketing campaigns, check out our ‘Measure to Optimize’ flywheel.

The Measure to Optimize Flywheel - SaaS Email Marketing

To successfully measure and report your progress in SaaS email marketing, the flywheel can serve as your guide in doing:

  1. Start by identifying the email marketing metrics you want to evaluate in your email marketing campaign.
  2. Measure the email marketing metrics you picked.
  3. Report findings with key team members and stakeholders.
  4. From your findings, identify what worked, what didn’t, and what the next move will be.
  5. Continue to optimize your email marketing campaign when needed.

Knowing which metrics to track and how to use them will also help you make smarter decisions and improve your email strategies for better outcomes.

Track Email Metrics

Your email service provider is a treasure trove of data that can inform your marketing plan. You should regularly check key metrics such as:

  • Open Rates: This indicates how many recipients are opening your emails. A decline might signal that your subject lines aren’t captivating enough.
  • Click-Through Rates (CTR): High CTRs mean your content is relevant, and your calls to action are effective.
  • Conversion Rates: Tying specific actions to your conversion goal is critical. It tells you if your campaign is not just engaging but also convincing.

Leverage tools and analytics built into your email platform to monitor these figures, as they are foundational for understanding campaign performance.

Evaluate Campaign Effectiveness with Reporting

Good reporting revolves around contextualizing the numbers. When you look at your campaign reports, analyze the data about your:

Use reporting features within your email marketing platform to generate visual and detailed reports that make evaluating and sharing insights with your team or stakeholders easier.

Adjust Strategies Based on Data Insights

Insights from your reports will tell you what’s working and what’s not.

If certain emails have high open rates but low conversion rates, consider revising your messaging or offer.

Conversely, if your emails convert well but have a low open rate, you should test different subject lines to improve visibility.

Let the data guide your adjustments to continually improve your email marketing campaigns.

Why is Email Marketing Important for Your SaaS Business?

Isn’t it funny how email marketing still plays a vital role in SaaS businesses despite seeming a bit old-school in today’s digital world?

It’s true, and the numbers can’t deny it.

Here’s why:

  • Relationship building: It goes beyond product features. Share valuable content, offer helpful tips, and engage in genuine conversations. This fosters trust and loyalty, turning subscribers into brand advocates.
  • Driving conversions: Craft targeted email campaigns that showcase your value proposition and guide users toward desired actions. It’s a direct and effective way to convert interest into paying customers.
  • Brand awareness: Regular email communication keeps your brand at the forefront of your audience’s mind. Share industry insights, announce new features, or offer updates to maintain engagement and recognition.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Email offers a significant return on investment compared to other marketing channels. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to reach a large audience and measure campaign impact.
  • Personalization: Unlike traditional advertising, email allows you to tailor your message to individual subscribers. Segment your audience based on interests and behaviors, and send personalized content that resonates more deeply, leading to higher engagement and conversions.

Email marketing isn’t just about sending messages; it’s about fostering connections, providing value, and, ultimately, building a thriving community around your SaaS offering. Don’t underestimate the power of this effective and versatile marketing tool.


Email marketing for SaaS businesses is a strategy to nurture leads, onboard new customers, engage existing users, and reduce churn rate. It involves sending targeted and personalized emails to subscribers about product updates, new features, tutorials, promotional offers, and more. The goal is to encourage recipients to engage with the SaaS product, enhance customer satisfaction, and ultimately increase revenue.

Improving your SaaS email marketing strategy starts with understanding your audience and tailoring content to meet their needs. Utilizing segmentation and personalization can significantly boost your email engagement rates.

When selecting an email marketing agency for your SaaS product, prioritize those with industry experience, a track record of success, and the ability to provide comprehensive analytics to measure campaign effectiveness.

Customizable templates specifically targeted for SaaS can be found on various platforms, making it easier to get started with campaigns that resonate with your tech-savvy audience.

Email automation can enhance marketing efforts by delivering timely, relevant messages to users based on their behaviors and interactions with your service, scaling your outreach efficiently.

Email marketing offers numerous benefits to a SaaS company, including nurturing leads, enhancing customer retention, and providing a high ROI by reaching out directly to your customer base with low-cost campaigns.

Key Takeaway

SaaS email marketing remains an unparalleled tool for connecting with your audience and driving growth.

By implementing a thoughtful email marketing strategy, you can enhance lead generation, customer retention, and personalized communication while maximizing ROI.

Remember, email marketing isn’t just about boosting sales. It’s about building meaningful relationships and fostering loyalty.

If you focus on crafting compelling campaigns, automating and personalizing your emails, and leveraging data insights, you can elevate your SaaS business to new heights.

Don’t underestimate the power of a well-timed, well-crafted email to make a lasting impact on your customers.

Now is the perfect time to implement these proven strategies in your own email marketing efforts. Start building those connections and watch your business thrive.

For more insights and tips on digital marketing, business growth, and mindset, be sure to check out our other blogs. Dive in and unlock even more value!