This year, we have been working very hard to make Emercury more useful to SaaS. And from the experience I have learned quite a bit about what most SaaS need to hear about using email marketing in general and how to make the most out of it.
So today, I have decided to distill this down into a set of 15 points. These are roughly the top ways in which you need to leverage a powerful and SaaS-friendly email marketing platform such as Emercury.
1) Track the customer’s journey using events
Tracking the customer’s journey along their lifecycle is absolutely essential if you want to make the most out of your marketing efforts.
The good news is that a powerful modern email marketing platform like Emercury makes it possible to track and trace that journey at every move. In fact, it might just be the only kind of platform with which you can follow a customer’s path almost perfectly.
This is primarily to do with the recent introduction of event tracking where you can configure Emercury to detect custom events on any of your web assets.
And, it also comes on top of all the existing ways of tracking the customer’s engagement, such as basic page hits, opening your emails, and clicking on your email links.
You can now define fully custom events
That means if a customer flips a switch on your pricing page, you can have an Emercury add a tag for that subscriber. Perhaps they use one of your features? Well, you can define that as a custom event inside of Emercury as well.
Using our robust and super-customizable system, you can utilize Emercury as your single-source of truth and have it gather all the major data points that define a customer’s journey. Whether this is based on touchpoints inside of your emails, or any of your web properties.
But that’s not all. As of recently we have also implemented incoming webhooks (more on that later). I don’t even know other platforms that offer this. You can actually have events that happen in any of your other systems send data to a custom Emercury incoming webhook.
With this, you can now truly gather all of a subscriber’s journey data in one place. And Emercury is the perfect place to do so, as you can use this data to create a perfectly personalized experience that nudges them to make the most of your product and offerings.
2) Build automations to help your users make the best of your product
If you’re in the SaaS space you are probably tired of hearing about onboarding. But there is a reason everyone tells you to focus on onboarding. This is because onboarding is in fact one of the most important things you can do as a SaaS to scale your business.
However, I want to expand your viewpoint a bit today. While it is useful to think about “onboarding sequences”, they are just a starting point and a first step in a much larger context.
What you really need to think about is “how do we help our users leverage our software as best as possible”. The fact is that even if you spend half of your budget on things like making the interface “more intuitive”, most users will never even discover the bulk of your most powerful and useful features.
Why spend so much time building great software, if most of it is going to end up unused? This is where automation can help. With a clever utilization of our events tracking system, you can actually track how your users are utilizing (or not utilizing) your software.
Further, if you’re collecting data about their customer profile, you have everything you need to drive some highly intelligent feature-adoption automations.
That is, you can build automations that nudge different types of users towards trying out (or understanding the power of) certain features. And you can do this based on whether they have tried the given features out, and whether someone of their profile or type would find such features useful.
3) Improve conversions
Let’s get frank here for a second, the main reason that most SaaS end up trying out email marketing is because they learn it is the best way to convert trial users into actual paying customers.
And this is absolutely 100% true. Now, part of this begins with having a proper onboarding sequence, but that’s just a prerequisite.
In order to convert free and trial users into paid users, you want to actually “ask for the sale”, but do so in an intelligent and well-timed manner.
This is where email automation comes in. If you are tracking how the user is utilizing your product and gathering information during their trial (or free) usage, you have all the data that you need to know when to nudge them into upgrading.
Your options will depend on your model, free trial or freemium
If you are only offering a time-limited trial, you are a bit more limited. This is why most SaaS these days offer a freemium plan, as it gives you more time to sell the person on upgrading.
If you have a limited trial, I would suggest you put most of your effort into a great onboarding experience that gets them to make the most out of their free trial. And then just ask for the sale at the end of the free trial.
If you are on the freemium model you can cater the journey based on their unique engagement with your product. In fact, with a freemium model you have more time to gather all sorts of useful data points that you can use to sell them on your paid plans.
You can design your automations to gather the necessary information about how these free customers utilize the different features, what kind of things they are interested in, and which of your paid features they are interested in. For example you can tag them if they look up, or read up on feature x. In this example I am assuming that this is a feature only available in your paid plans.
Based on all of this data you can have intelligent automations that send both educational and promotional emails personalized to that subscriber’s unique situation. This is the best way to both build a great relationship, and simultaneously boost conversion rates.
4) Use broadcasts to do quick research
If there is one thing that I see newbies to email marketing consistently underutilize, it has to be broadcasting.
This is because of some weird notion that people have where they think that automations somehow “supersede” broadcasts. Just because we invented broadcasts before we had invented automation.
I find this problem is even larger among SaaS when they get into email marketing, they just want to focus on the email automations.
The truth is that all the most profitable email marketers use a fine mix of both, as they both serve a role. And an elite few even know how to utilize broadcasts to make their automations stronger and better.
And this is a trick I want to share with you right here and right now
Aside from all the regular ways to use broadcasts, there is one more special reason to use broadcasts. And this is because sometimes it takes a bit too long to gather data using automations.
Imagine the following. You have worked really hard to set up your automations to gather data and build up a profile based on email opens, clicks and events.
Further, you even set it up so that it tags people as being interested in one thing over the other based on how many times they’ve clicked links on the topic, or visited pages regarding said issue.
What if, however, your marketing or product team comes to you and says they have a great idea. They think you can pivot to make your SaaS product more appealing to XYZ-type people. And you need to build a sequence to cater to, and upsell those kinds of people. But you have no idea how many of your users fall under this category.
Well, this is where broadcasts can come to the rescue. You can use broadcasts to cast a wide net and get a sense about interest in something rather quickly. Just come up with a broadcast centered around XYZ and build an automation to tag people based on people’s responses to that broadcast. This is a really good way to do quick “research” and “data gathering” with a single email.
5) Send the right product updates to the right people
If you’re a SaaS you probably do a lot of little tweaks, some minor, some rather large. Some of your users want to know about every little tweak you make, whilst others only care when you have a big announcement. And then some might only care if you announce a feature that they were looking for before cancelling their account.
With the power of fully segment-able and personalized email marketing, you can treat all of these in a different way. Just remember that feature announcements are the perfect scenario where you will generally almost always utilize a broadcast.
If you’re used to associating personalization with “automations”, this is the perfect situation to learn more about advanced segmentation. This nifty feature is how you “personalize” your broadcasts.
For example, it is a big feature announcement, you can just send it to all of your lists for the most part. If however, it is a smaller tweak or feature update, you might want to build an advanced segment based on more engaged subscribers and broadcast it to just those people.
There are multiple ways to build an appropriate segment. You might build this segment based on engagement with your emails (this is a bit easier). Or you might have our system automatically assign tags to people based on how they engage with your product. And then build the segment off of those tags.
And of course, if you need help and advice with what to do, the Emercury team is there for you. Be that in terms of how to warm up the audience for a broadcast, or knowing how to build which kind of segment for which type of announcement.
6) Nurture and reward advocates
One of the other beautiful things about email marketing is that it revolves around engagement. In fact, if you haven’t done so, please read our guide on the link between engagement and profitability.
This also means that any solid email marketing platform will have a lot of good ways to track engagement. With the simplest way being centered on open rates and click rates. And more advanced ways being based on things like setting up events around your web properties.
And do you know what stage in the customer journey is related to the highest levels of engagement? That’s right, it is the advocacy stage. And if you have studied marketing at all, you would know that rewarding, nurturing and encouraging advocates is a great and easy way to grow your business.
Now, the good news is that since good email marketing is entirely based on tracking engagement, it also means that you are tracking who your biggest fans and advocates are. You can utilize this to reward and nurture those people even further.
7) Upsell and cross-sell on autopilot
If you’ve been reading most of the points in this article, I’m sure you’re starting to pick up a pattern by now. You can do a ton of stuff on autopilot if you just implement our event-tracking system and gather data about how your users engage with your product.
You can use this in order to build intelligent automations that trigger customized sequences that upsell a customer based on all of this. For example, if a person checks out enough of the features of a higher-level plan, enroll them into a sequence that gets them to book a meeting with your sales team, or nudges them to consider this higher level plan.
Alternatively, it can be as simple as having a simple automation that sends them a booking link anytime they flip a switch on your pricing plan. Just build an Emercury custom event tied to that switch on the pricing plan. Then, build an automation that sends them a link where they can book a call with your sales team.
Or, here’s an even more fun implementation idea. You can have it so that whenever they hit a certain custom event, it both sends them an email, and (using the power of webhooks) it adds their name to a google sheet. This is a google sheet that your sales team can use to contact prospects when they have a certain level of warmth. More on that idea here.
Honestly, there are just a tiny portion of the things that you can do. A few random examples if you will. If you want a more catered strategy, consider partnering-up with Emercury. It is possible to get an expert on this stuff right there by your side. Someone who will come to you with just the right advice and implementation strategy.
8) Improve retention
Retention and good email marketing go hand-in-hand. And you know why? Because they both revolve around one central key point – engagement.
The more you get your user to engage with your product, the more likely you are to retain them for a longer time. This is somewhat similar to how we do good email marketing. The more you focus on improving your subscriber engagement, the more profit you will make with your email marketing.
Now, here’s the fun part. How do you get your user to engage more with your product. Aside from the obvious stuff such as building features that they need, the most important thing you can do is build a relationship with them.
And there is one channel that leads the pack when it comes to building relationships. You might have already guessed it – email. In an ideal world you might even assign a personal rep assigned to each user and have them email the user personally. They would track the user’s journey and how they use your product and then give them just the right tips at just the right time.
However, unless we’re talking about your enterprise plan, this is probably prohibitively expensive and something you cannot provide with every account. However, the next best thing you can do is utilize good email automation.
In fact, you can become so good at personalizing the email experience – that it becomes almost indistinguishable to a human rep that emails them on a personal and one-on-one basis.
And that is how you can use Emercury to boost your user retention rates as a SaaS.
9) Automate customer feedback with custom events
With the Emercury event tracking system you can track exactly how customers engage with your features and how much. So you might define an action as follows – if a person triggers event X for a set amount of times, this represents “reaching goal x”.
In this way, you can basically set a goal in Emercury based on whether a subscriber has used a feature enough times. And since with Emercury you can trigger automations any time a subscriber reaches a goal – this lets you automatically treat people differently based on feature adoption.
So you might target people who use a feature a lot and ask them for feedback. You might do the same for people who haven’t used it enough as well, to ask why they haven’t used it, and how it can be improved.
10) Educate and help your users
A huge part of our success is that we treat our users almost as a business partner. We spend a lot of time helping our users get better at marketing and even business in general. We don’t just limit ourselves to helping them use our product, we spend a lot of time helping them understand email marketing in general.
This guarantees that they become more successful, which in turns results in them being able to use more of Emercury. Overall a win-win and you want to do the same. In fact if you study the most successful SaaS you will see they invest a lot in educating their users on industry-related skills.
In fact, only a portion of their content revolves around using their own product. Most of the content is more general and geared towards helping the user become better at business in general. You will find this is true with the most successful SaaS out there. They provide a ton of valuable content that their prospective customers would benefit from.
Email marketing is a must to get the most “bang for your buck”
Now, giving out that content through a blog will do a decent job as you will (eventually) reach critical mass in getting free traffic from the search engines. However, a blog is quite a passive medium. It relies on people coming to the blog.
If you really want to increase your return on producing that content, you will want to get good at delivering this useful content to the right people, straight to their inbox.
This is where intelligent email automation comes into play. As you know from the first tip, you should be tracking how your users engage with your web assets using custom events. But you can also do this by tracking how much of your emails they open and click on.
Your automations can then use conditional statements to intelligently know which educational content to send to which users.
And if you’re just starting out and don’t have all that much content? Well, in the start it can be a bit simpler. You can just broadcast your content to an intelligent segment that only excludes a small portion of your subscribers. If you need help on defining that, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.
11) Encourage referrals and word-of-mouth
One of the best things you can do with the help of email is to get more people to spread the word about your product or brand. Unfortunately, I’ve found that it is one of the most underutilized secrets out there.
Don’t make the same mistake and be sure to include this in your email marketing plans. You want to have the occasional snippet inside of your emails that asks people to share the email with others if they have found it useful. This is something that you can definitely include in all of your educational emails.
But, you can also go a step further by also having an automated email that goes out whenever a person engages with your brand enough times. Either by opening enough of your emails, engaging with your website, or a combination of both.
This email would simply ask them to refer friends to the newsletter (or product) if they happen to find it useful. You would be surprised how many leads (and future customers) you can get with this technique for free.
12) Implement proper GDPR
If you’re in the EU or serve EU subscribers, you will be happy to know that Emercury is fully GDPR compliant. And in fact, you can build fully GDPR compliant forms with our form builder. With this you can gather all the requisite permissions required to sign on a EU subscriber.
Furthermore, we even let you segment based on people’s responses to your GDPR related questions, or rather the permissions they have given you. To learn more about that, check out our advanced segment builder conditions.
13) Make your marketing responsive to external events
With all of the examples I’ve given you so far, I think you might already get the idea. With Emercury you can build a fully integrated single-source-of-truth marketing system that responds based on user engagement. All of this is possible by combining our automation builder, event tracking system and email engagement tracking.
However, we didn’t stop there and decided to go further, implementing something that SaaS are going to especially enjoy. Emercury is currently, to my knowledge, the only major email marketing platform that gives you access to incoming webhooks.
When you read that we offered incoming webhooks, you might have already imagined all the amazing possibilities that open up with this. But if you haven’t, let me just explain this real quick.
It is now possible to have your marketing platform (Emercury) respond in real time to anything that happens in the rest of your tech stack. Whether these are events inside of your own custom software, or any of the other tools that you are using.
It can be your CRM, calendar software, project management software, sales lead tracking system, or anything at all really. You can set it up so it sends data to Emercury the moment something happens on that side of your business.
And with our nifty mapping tool, you can map the incoming data to anything you want. And of course, that data can trigger automations, emails or anything else that you want.
14) Get your marketing to dictate changes in all of your other systems, in real-time
What if you could accomplish the following scenario: a subscriber opens up one of your emails, and that changes their status in your own product. Perhaps a subscriber visits the pricing page, and the sales team is instantly notified on Slack that they have a new warm lead.
All of this is possible with the power of outgoing webhooks, which is why we give you all the external webhooks that you are going to need. We don’t artificially limit you like some other platforms.
If you want to go wild and tie all of the events and changes in your marketing system (Emercury) to a whole bunch of other tools, go ahead. Our outgoing webhooks system is there to support all of your ideas.
15) Treat Emercury as your partner
Do you want me to tell you the biggest secret of our success? We have always looked at the people using Emercury as “business partners” of sorts. Not just customers “or software users”. We have always been driven by a mission to help people make more money by utilizing email marketing, and everything we do is driven by this mission.
As of late, we have been working very hard to make Emercury a great choice for SaaS owners, managers and CMOs. Imagine if you had a business partner that was almost obsessed with making sure that your SaaS can scale as fast as possible with the help of email.
Imagine further that this partner would be super-responsive to all of your needs and tweaked and implemented features as they became necessary for your business. And what if this business partner knew exactly what you need to do in terms of email strategy and showed you exactly how to do it?
That’s what the Emercury experience is like for any SaaS that chooses to try this. Isn’t it about time you partnered with an email marketing expert that understands and cares about your needs as a SaaS?
Fortunately, you can get a great sense for this SaaS-centric experience by simply booking a free demo. Our team can’t wait to show you around and share some tips and strategies with you. Just be sure to book a free demo while they’re still around.