(2023) Actionable SaaS Email Strategies to Grow Your Business

Denis Shatalin
Founder of SaaS Camp
How you plan your email campaigns and what approaches you take matter a great deal. For instance, according to Invespcro, personalized emails offer an almost 30% higher unique opening rate than impersonal emails. This is just one of many ways that email strategies can shape email KPIs.

Today, I’ll discuss my ten favorite email strategies for growing your SaaS. With the right steps, you can increase your activation rate, click-through rate (CTR), customer lifetime value, and more. I’ll also touch on how the SaaS camp can help you achieve this. Let’s dive in!

What is a SaaS email strategy?

Put simply, a SaaS email strategy is a specific approach you take when marketing your SaaS by email. A strategy may relate to the planning stage or how you execute marketing emails.

Examples of SaaS email strategies include automated email marketing, audience segmentation, and using power words in subject lines. What strategies will work for you will depend on the current scale of your SaaS and the type of leads/customers you’re trying to reach.

The best SaaS emails strategies

Make clear email marketing goals

In the words of former New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”

You must plan with concrete goals to make the most of a SaaS email marketing campaign. And you can try breaking these goals down based on the following:
  • The audience - Think about the ways to reach your audience most effectively. Audience segmentation (more on that later) is one way to achieve this. Here, you send different emails to different cohorts (e.g., users currently on a free trial or long-term subscribers). If you take this approach, you want to dedicate enough time planning out how you’ll differentiate your emails for each cohort. As part of the planning phase, you may wish to send out a survey to find out more about your leads/customers.
  • What your email needs to include - Expanding on the points above, you need to draft and redraft what your email(s) will include. You must ensure your email hooks the reader, conveys a message, and has a call-to-action.
  • Call-to-action (CTA) - You need to include a CTA button toward the end of your email so that the reader can take ‘the desired action’. For instance, this may mean that the reader clicks on a button allowing them to sign up for your SaaS as a paying subscriber.
  • Key performance indicators or KPIs - Determine what metrics matter most to your business. Once you do, it’s time to set realistic goals. For instance, Growfusely claims that, overall, SaaS emails convert one in five visitors to paying subscribers (i.e., 20% of follow-up emails tend to succeed).

Automate your email marketing

Preparations can only go so far. After all, with a busy schedule, you and your team will only have so many hours in the day to manage your email marketing campaigns. That’s where marketing automation can make a huge difference.

In the context of email marketing, this means using a service that sends an email or several emails once a subscriber takes a certain action as part of the customer lifecycle. For example, an automated email service may send out an email when someone first becomes a paid member or if they are suddenly among the most active users of your SaaS.

Even if you run a small SaaS, email marketing automation can prove very useful for your business. Not only that, but as you grow, such a service can make it easier to scale your SaaS effectively.

Some of my favorite email automation tools include:

Aside from creating useful automated emails, email marketing automation generally offers list segmentation. This means that it can separate leads/customers into many categories based on a variety of factors. Some tools can also resend emails to those who don’t open the initial email.

Planning life cycle segments

You also need to determine at what points in the customer lifecycle you want to send out emails. An onboarding email is the obvious one. However, many SaaS fail to consider future lifecycle segments.

Other lifecycle segments include:
  • Converting free trial users to paying subscribers.
  • Upselling to higher payment plans.
  • Getting in touch with dormant users.
  • Sharing referral links and promotional codes through automated emails at the right times.
  • Customer cancellation surveys to reduce churn.
  • Automated dunning emails (i.e., contacting customers when a payment fails).

By setting up a whole host of automated lifecycle emails, you will likely increase various KPIs. For instance, converting free trial users can increase your conversion rate, while upselling to higher payment plans can mean more revenue and a better customer lifetime value (CLV).

SaaS emails for teams, companies and individuals

Since your service will likely serve plenty of teams (perhaps more so than individuals), you must consider this when drafting up future emails.

With the right automated tool, you can categorize companies, teams and individuals separately so that they receive unique emails. Similar to planning a customer lifecycle, you need to prepare for a company lifecycle. This may include account onboarding, promoting advanced features, and sharing pro tips. Of course, though, it will depend on what email automation service you use. Make sure to do your research so you can choose the right tool for you.

Analyze your email data frequently

Reviewing your email metrics is critical to success. These figures will allow you to see how your campaign is performing and whether you are meeting your goals. If any of your KPIs fall below expectations, you can then take appropriate steps to increase them by adjusting your campaign accordingly.

To analyze your email data, I recommend tools such as:

As for KPIs, these are the ones you really want to focus on:
  • Delivery rate
  • Open rate
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Unsubscribe rate
  • Bounce rate
  • List growth rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Total return on investment (ROI)

As part of the SaaS camp, you can learn far more about how to generate sustainable cash flow by analyzing your metrics. I cover this on week seven out of eight of the accelerator camp. Of course, this will cover KPI analysis for your entire SaaS and not simply email campaigns.

Keep campaigns simple initially

You may find it tempting to run a complex campaign from the get-go. However, if you are new to this and particularly if you are first dipping your toe in the world of email automation, I recommend keeping it simple at first.

Over-automation can backfire, especially if you are a small SaaS trying to capture your first customers. When your SaaS is new, I recommend starting with just several automations. These might include:
  • SaaS onboarding emails for new customers.
  • Straightforward email automation for lead nurturing.
  • Email flows to retain, upsell, crossell, and reduce churn.

You can start with ideas like the ones listed above and wait till your SaaS grows before trying more advanced solutions like customer and company segmentation. Give yourself time to increase subscribers and become more confident with email marketing automation before trying fancier approaches.

Audience segmentation

As your SaaS email campaigns evolve, I recommend using audience segmentation for automated emails. This means categorizing your leads/customers based on varying factors. As a result, you can send more tailored emails to your leads or customers.

You might base audience segmentation on:
  • Demographics (e.g., 18-24, 25-39, 65+, etc.)
  • Industry
  • Language (e.g., English, Spanish, French, or Mandarin)
  • Phase of customer lifecycle (e.g., onboarding or inactive subscriber)
  • Individual vs. company

By sending more tailored emails to your leads/customers, it will likely result in improved KPIs. For instance, pet retailer Doggyloot increased their click-through rate (CTR) by 750% with email segmentation. The business achieved this by categorizing three groups based on the size of their dogs.

In another case, ticketing website Eventful used email segmentation to quadruple the reactivation of inactive subscribers. As you can see, audience segmentation can really pay off when used in the right ways.

Focus on conversions

With email metrics, you can determine what stages your SaaS has its highest drop-off rates. I recommend starting at those points when it comes to your email marketing campaigns due to the potential for significant growth.

Power words in subject lines

Just as it’s critical to optimize the content of your emails, the subject line can also prove instrumental to the success of your email campaigns.

Considering that the subject line is what a reader sees first, using power words can be a make or break as to whether they’ll open an email. I don’t suggest using power words all the time but include them where you think appropriate. Of course, with email metrics, you can find out which subject lines perform best.

Example of power words:
  • Incredible
  • Invitation
  • Sale
  • Unbelievable
  • Free

The number of words the subject line includes is also relevant. According to Invesp, 6-10 words is the optimal number for an email subject line, with an open rate of about 21%.

A/B testing SaaS emails

Last but not least, I also recommend using A/B testing as a strategy for your SaaS emails. By sending two versions of the same message (one to half of your recipients, the other to the rest), you can see which performs the strongest. A/B testing is also known as split testing.

I suggest only differentiating these emails by one factor, such as what you include in the subject line or how you word the content of the email. After all, if you were to distinguish both emails by more than one factor, you might find it difficult to tell exactly why one performs better than the other.

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✋ Hey, it's Denis! Thanks for reading :) If you want my help with your startup, the quickest way to reach me is at denis@saascamp.com. I upload my best content on YouTube. Let's connect on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.