7 Rules for SaaS Email Marketing

Illustration that represents SaaS Email MarketingAre you looking at SaaS email marketing as a way to scale faster, but aren’t sure where to get started? Perhaps you’ve already even begun using email marketing, but aren’t quite sure that you’re doing it right, and aren’t seeing much in terms of results.

In either case, learning about the most common pitfalls to avoid as a SaaS will help you scale at unprecedented levels. To help you achieve this, I just put together this list of the 7 “rules” you need to follow as a SaaS looking to scale.

1) Get good at giving value

All hyper-successful email marketers have something in common. A primary focus on delivering value above all else. If that sounds kind of vague, don’t worry, I will elaborate.

In email marketing we generally refer to emails as being either promotional or educational in nature. If you’re sending a coupon about the latest sales celebrating a new feature launch, this is a promotional email.

A hand coming out of computer screen and presenting a wrapped gift

If you send them an email full of tips to help them increase their productivity, this is a value-driven educational email.

Now, here’s the good news. Helping people utilize your product better also counts as educational value-driven content. So does your entire onboarding email sequence.

And just to be clear, when we say that an email is educational, we don’t mean you can’t promote stuff within that email. On the contrary, value-driven content is the best way to drive sales and promote yourself.

It’s just that you need to do it in a subtle and indirect way. For example you educate people how to save a ton of time using a certain feature, one that your software provides as well, but on higher plans.

This is selling your product in an indirect way. And yes, you might even throw in a bonus link at the end that nudges them to upgrade in order to access the feature. We still wouldn’t count that as a “promotional email”.

In general, when we say don’t send too many promotional emails, we are talking about an email which is all promotion, and has no educational content whatsoever. If an email is primarily educational in nature, it doesn’t count against your “promotional emails quota”.

2) Do good marketing

One of the main problems that I see within the SaaS context is too much of a focus on the product, and how great it is. Now that might sound weird considering the fact that your goal is to sell them on the product.

But this is where the basics of marketing come into play. People are always into WIIFM (what’s in it for me). It’s not about how cool your product is. It is about what it can do for them. Can it help them save time, save money, make life easier?

It’s all about framing. Presenting a feature as “look how cool we are” is different from “look at this cool new feature that will make your life so much better.

3) Make it easy for people to segment themselves

In email marketing we generally recommend that marketers offer a “preferences center” of some kind. This is where you build a form or survey to allow people to choose which kinds of emails they want to see more or less of. 

You either ask them about the types of emails directly, or you ask them what topics they are interested in. You then tag them based on those answers, and treat them differently off of that.

A magnifying glass looks at a crowd of wooden figures (as symbolic representation of segmentation in email marketing)

However, as a SaaS you can go even further because your product is a type of software that probably offers different user preferences and  user settings itself.

All you have to do is identify different “switches” inside of your software that correlate either to a stage of the customer’s journey, or that tell you what kind of a customer profile you are dealing with. Then, as those get triggered, you can send them to Emecury as “events”. But more on that in the next point.

4) Personalize (with events)

One of the most underutilized, yet super-powerful features in email marketing is the use of customer tracking and custom events.

With a platform like Emercury that lets you define custom events for anything that happens on your websites, you have a ton of power in your hands.

For example, you might define an event where if someone watched a video for a certain amount of time, that creates an event in Emercury. Or, perhaps if someone flips a switch on your pricing plan page, that creates an event in Emercury

You can then use these events to automatically super-personalize the customer-journey in real time, based on people’s actual behavior, as it happens.

The main reason that marketers fail to set up such events is that they lack developer skills or don’t have a developer to do it for them. Even though in truth it requires super-rudimentary skills, and it involves a very quick set-up.

However, as a SaaS this is the one place where you cannot make excuses. Your developers are using events as part of their job on a daily basis. They “get” and understand events, and will be able to help you set up your custom Emercury events in no time.

Go ahead and leverage this super-powerful technology in order to create more personalized behaviour-driven email marketing campaigns. You won’t regret it. In fact, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this sooner.

5) Automate as much as possible, but no more

When it comes to automation, I find that people either fail to utilize it at all, or they go too far and automate too many things too quickly and go overboard.

As a SaaS you’re more likely to fall into the second camp if you try automation. Especially once you set up all those cool custom events. You will probably become quite excited just thinking about all the scenarios that you can automate in real-time, based on real-time customer behavior.

However, just because you can do the technical side rather quickly as a technologically savvy user, doesn’t mean that you should forget the other aspects that come into play.

Marketing automation isn’t just about the technical side, in fact, that’s the least of it. You’re essentially trying to automate marketing and sales processes. And sometimes you need time to figure out if a marketing strategy is working as you expect it to.

Put in another way, as a SaaS, your ability to build a lot of automations quickly will probably far surpass your ability to craft proper marketing strategies, analyze them, and optimize them.

So that’s one thing to be mindful of, and you generally want to spend more time getting educated on the logic behind automation, as well as marketing in general.

And hey, if you are an Emercury partner, this is something you wouldn’t have to worry about! We love helping SaaS devise strategies that work. When you get one of our plans, we are just one phone call away for a strategy session.

6) Show that you care

This is more of a “mindset” or overarching principle behind everything that you do, more than a specific email marketing technique. However, this will increase your ROI on everything that you do to a much larger extent than any technique I could ever teach you. It is also a foundational principle of good marketing.

I do realize that this might sound a bit “vague” for you at this point, so let me give you some examples to make it a bit more clear.

Let’s say that you are crafting your onboarding sequence. The wrong way to approach this is to have a primary goal of “wowing the user with your features”. Now don’t get me wrong, that is something that you do accomplish with a well crafted onboarding sequence, but it is a benefit, not something that you aim for directly.

So what do you aim for then? Well you really have to put yourself in the mindset that you care that they get better results. When you pick which features to drip during onboarding to which kind of customer-profile, you do so because you care that they get the most out of the product. Not because it increases “conversion”, but because their life will improve. Though, of course, doing this will in fact also increase conversions.

Adopting this mindset will result in you phrasing the sentences differently. While I could go ahead and analyze your email copy and show you how to make tweaks sentence by sentence, adopting this mindset will have similar results.

And of course, this goes all of your email marketing, not just how you craft the onboarding sequence. 

7) Keep track of your results

One of the most common mistakes I notice when SaaS companies try to adopt email marketing is that they fail to keep track of their results in a way that is specific to email marketing.

The word "Results" spelled out with wooden alphabet letters isolated on pastel background

While some of the more general ways of keeping track apply to email marketing, such as conversion rates and such, with email marketing there is one overarching concept that you have to keep in mind.

This one concept is the secret behind all major profits in email marketing. It is called “engagement”. And the way that you keep track of your engagement is that you monitor your open rates, click rates and unsubscribe rates.

Monitoring your engagement levels is how you can tell whether your efforts are working. In fact, it is how you can tell if your email marketing skills are improving or not. And that goes for any of the skills that I mentioned throughout this article, or any of the secrets and techniques that we share in our email marketing tips blog.

SaaS Email Marketing can be easy when you choose the right partner

I have some bad news for you. Most email marketing platforms don’t care about SaaS clients. Most of their focus is on sheer quantity, so they cater all of their feature development to make for shiny marketing that appeals to “non-techy people”. They mostly market to small businesses, freelancers and individuals who aren’t technically savvy.

If you try most email marketing platforms you will find that you (or your developers) get frustrated rather quickly because even basic functionality is missing when you look at things from a developer perspective. 

Something that would take 1 minute to set up if they would just let you customize the platform to your needs, takes a ton of workarounds, because the platform was built to be “drag and drop” and cater to non-technical people.

At Emercury we are different. We’re looking to partner with SaaS companies looking to scale their platform faster using email automation. And yes, I use the word “partner” because we don’t look at the SaaS companies using our platform as users or subscribers.

When you get on Emercury expect hyper-responsiveness to all of your needs, and don’t be surprised when we say yes to implementing something because it helps you and your SaaS get more results.

You will not get that with the typical email marketing platform where you only get to chat with low-level support-people copy-pasting support-scripts. With Emercury you get access directly to the people who live, breathe and get SaaS.

If you want to get a sense for this 5-star experience, please consider booking a free demo with our team. Isn’t it about time that you felt what it’s like to have someone on your side that cares about your success?

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