12 Hacks for Accelerating SaaS Growth Using Email

12 Hacks for Accelerating SaaS Growth Using Email

Do you want to see your SaaS grow to the size that it deserves? Accelerating SaaS growth is actually quite easy if you know the right secrets. And some of the main ones revolve around utilizing super-efficient channels like email. So in this article we want to share with you some of the top hacks that SaaS marketers have been using to super-charge their SaaS growth.

1) Automatically gather powerful highly-profitable user data

Doesn’t it feel like these days everyone is getting obsessed with things like data science and data? Well, that’s no weird accident. The fact is that the data you have on your users and leads is one of the most powerful things to leverage for more profits and accelerating SaaS growth.

For example, when it comes to marketing, you might be familiar with things such as remarketing and retargeting campaigns. These are single-handedly the most profitable types of campaigns, where you are targeting people that you already know have interest in something. And the more data you have about their interests, the better you can target them.

This is true within email marketing and running campaigns. The more data that you have about whom to target with what offer, the faster you can grow your business. This is because you will be able to personalize your email campaigns to a much higher level. And personalization is one of the key secrets to higher conversion rates.

But here’s an amazing hack that many people miss out on

Email marketing isn’t just the best way to communicate with and convert leads. It is also the most effective way to gather the data needed to accomplish this feat.

As you might know, email marketing is the best channel for building and maintaining relationships. This is for the simple reason that it is the channel that feels the most personal to your users, and the one that they are most likely to respond to.

This means that you can easily “measure their pulse” and see what they respond to and how. But how do you actually do this? What is the practical way to accomplish this?

That is simple, you just use our fancy automation builder

With our automation builder you can build intelligent sequences of emails that trigger on completely custom events, such as if an event occurs, a subscriber has a certain tag, or meets certain other criteria.

But that’s the part everyone already talks about, and that is automatically treating people differently based on different data. And you’re probably already familiar with that part. The part most people don’t talk about enough? That automations are also the best way to gather the data in the first place.

And it is quite simple actually. All you have to do is decide which condition or event signifies what kind of data. For example, you might decide to have an “interested in x” tag. And then in your automations you might be sending emails that talk about topic x.

Simply proceed the email sending module with a conditional module. In it, just select that if the subscriber clicks on the links from the email, it should lead to an “add tag” action, and then have it add the appropriate tag.

Alternatively, you can accomplish the same thing based on custom events. So for example you might have an automation that triggers when a custom event occurs for a certain user. The automation would then proceed to apply a certain tag or custom field value to that user. Or it might proceed to send a certain email, and then give them a tag based on how they responded to said email.

Basically, the specifics will depend on you, and you will need to figure this stuff out. The part about setting up the automations to gather data for you automatically is easy. Especially with a straightforward automation builder like the one we have at Emercury.

The real work comes in deciding which actions and events should lead to which data. That is, whether opening a certain email is a good enough signifier that the person is interested in topic x, and do you want to store that information as a tag, or a custom field value.

2) Respond in real-time, based on how people utilize your software

Personalizing your emails based on the data that you gather from their responses over-time is an amazing hack. But you can go one step further, and make for truly real-time super-responsive marketing, based on how users respond to your actual product.

This is where advanced events technology comes into play. With a platform like Emercury you get access to an ability to track user’s engagement outside of just email. And more importantly for a SaaS, you can track how people interact with your product.

This means that you can send a relevant email about an event, as it happens. For example one of your users starts setting up a feature, but does not finish the set-up. You can send them an email reminding them or nudging them to finish the set-up, or offer help in getting it done.

But this is just one of a million possible uses, and in the next hacks I will show you more examples how you can leverage events to grow your SaaS.

3) Automatically detect users who are primed for an upgrade, and offer it to them, automatically

As we discussed in the previous hack, with events you can send an email the moment something significant happens inside your software. This can obviously apply in a sales sense as well. For example, a freemium user opens up the pricing page and clicks the switch to compare plans? Send them an email offering a discount, or a demo with your sales team.

But it can be more complex than just a singular event triggering a certain sales action. For example, let’s say a lower-tier user needs to achieve a combination of behaviors to qualify as “ready for an upgrade offer” to a higher-tier plan.

Perhaps you need to see if they use a certain feature 5 times before you send them an email offering them an add-on relevant to people who use that feature. Or perhaps they need to accomplish 4-5 different milestones before you know that they are a really obvious lead for an upgrade offer.

Well, with Emercury you actually can do that, as it is, out of the box. Our powerful events technology supports making such elaborate combinations. And if that wasn’t enough, consider that we’re really happy to work with a SaaS like yours, so do not be surprised if we implement or customize features based on your specific needs. In fact, almost all the feature upgrades that we implement have come from actual user requests.

4) Personalized ongoing real-time “onboarding”

When people think of onboarding, they just think of setting up a sequence of emails, and leaving it at that. And don’t get me wrong, you should definitely set up a good onboarding sequence. But here’s a fun hack that most SaaS haven’t figured out yet: onboarding can be more than just an initial sequence of emails.

You want to change your mindset and think about why onboarding works in the first place. It gets people acquainted with your product and encourages them to use it. It helps make the process of learning to use your product a lot easier. And ideally it encourages them to use more of the product and the different features.

The fact is that your product is probably awesome

But the user doesn’t know that. They don’t know about all the cool features and optimizations you’ve built to help make their lives easier. And you simply cannot overwhelm them with absolutely everything that your product can do within an initial onboarding sequence.

When you craft that onboarding sequence, you have to generalize and choose the most important features that are most likely to be important within an introductory sequence.

What about all of the other features that you want the user to get acquainted with and utilize? And what about their growth as a user? When they first sign up they might have no practical use for one of your more advanced features.

For example, let’s say that you have a cool feature that makes life easier for people who make heavy use of certain other features in your product. But until a person gets to that level, they won’t know what the point of that cool feature is. And they might completely ignore it during onboarding.

However, later on, as they utilize your product more, they might run into the scenario that inspired your team to develop that cool feature. Wouldn’t this be the perfect time to introduce them to it, and onboard them onto that specific feature?

Build automations based events and other engagement data

Again, remember that onboarding sequences are more generic as you don’t know as much about your user yet. But over-time you start gathering both types of data. You start learning what your user is interested in both from how they engage with your emails, as well as from the custom events that they trigger from using the actual product.

With that in hand, you can go ahead and set up an automation where you can continue educating people how to use your product based on their actual actions inside of the software, as well as which kinds of emails they respond to. With this, you can personalize the tips and tricks that you send as well as the kind of guidance that you offer.

I know I’m being kind of vague, but this is because this is highly specific to your specific SaaS, so in order to give you more personal advice, I would need to talk to you personally. Fortunately this is something that is included in some of our plans. And if you want to get a sense for this personalized attention to your SaaS needs, consider booking a free demo.

5) Segment your users by engagement, and triple the ROI on every other hack in this list

Look, let me be blunt with you here for a second. It’s for your own good, and it’s probably better that you learn about this earlier, rather than later.

There is this one thing in email marketing that acts as a multiplier for all of your efforts. If you get it right, you can get multiple times the results, all else being equal. And if you get this one thing wrong, well, it’s like dividing everything else that you do by a big factor.

What is this one thing? Well, it’s a little thing called deliverability, and it’s unique to email. You see, a well-kept secret in email marketing is that not all of your emails actually get delivered to your subscribers.

Most email marketing providers kind of hope that you are ignorant on this topic, and try to draw you in with all kinds of fancy features. They don’t tell you that unless you proactively work on delivery, you might be sending a lot of your emails for naught. In fact, a lot of your emails might not even be reaching your subscribers’ inboxes.

Unfortunately this is normal, and most beginners send a lot of email for years before they learn about deliverability. Their marketing platform is all too happy to charge them by email sent, and not even mention deliverability unless it gets too out of hand. It is only after they get quite advanced do they start learning about deliverability.

However, it shouldn’t be an “advanced topic” because it’s actually neither complex nor difficult. And if you wait until you have a million-strong list to learn about it, think of all that lost revenue. Imagine thinking back to all the previous years and how much profit was lost because a lot of your emails weren’t even getting delivered.

So what is the solution here?

What you want to do is to actually be mindful of email frequency and volume for different subscribers. This is because the inbox providers are looking to see if your subscribers are interested in your emails, and they determine this by whether people open and engage with your emails.

Ideally you want to send more emails to the people who open a lot of your emails, and less emails to those who aren’t as interested. That increases your delivery rates all around. How do you actually identify the different types of people though?

That’s easy, you can just go into your advanced segment builder and create segments based on how people respond to your emails. With this you can really dig in and create segments for highly engaged subscribers.

How do you build these segments?

There are multiple ways to achieve this, but let me share just one way. You can have your automations giving tags to people based on how they engaged with your emails. So opening or clicking within certain emails should assign certain tags to subscribers.

Then, you can go into the advanced automation builder and define the segments based on a combination of how many of these tags they have, and the time since they last opened or clicked within an email.

With this you can create multiple segments. Where some segments define people who have shown a higher level of engagement, and others have shown less.

6) Treat fans differently in order to accelerate further growth

Raving fans and evangelists are one of the biggest secrets to fast growing SaaS. These are the people who will promote your product to their friends, coworkers, and even random people in an elevator.

These are people who are absolutely excited about your product and giddily looking forward to any feature enhancements and announcements that you make, but more on that later.

Getting more of those fans and evangelists is primarily about building a cool and useful product, but just focusing on making your product better isn’t enough to maximally leverage the phenomenon of “product fans”.

In order to get the most out of this phenomenon, you want to engage fans and evangelists more often and communicate with them differently than you do with the rest of your list. You’ll see one example in one of the later hacks below.

Further, knowing who your fans are is useful outside of just communicating with them differently within email. Once you identify those fans, you can create “lookalike audiences” in your advertising network of choice. Just use the set of fan email-addresses as a “seed” and your ad network will come up with a lookalike audience. This will allow you to drastically increase ROI on paid advertising as well.

So how do you identify these people?

The simplest way to achieve this is using the method in the previous hack. Just create different segments based on how much they engage with your emails. In this way you’ll assume that your most engaged segment are your fans. It’s not a perfect method to determine the exact list of exactly who is and isn’t a fan, but it comes pretty close.

However, if you want to get really complex, you can of course combine it with setting up specific custom events that you would deem more indicative of fandom, such as the person for example clicking a share link, participating in your refer-a-friend program and more. You would then tag people for that and add it as additional criteria for the “fans” segment.

7) Encourage and reward referrals

As you probably know, most of your users prefer receiving communication from you in email. This is also why email as a channel still has the highest ROI when it comes to generating sales, increasing revenue and growing a business. And it all comes down to a single factor: email feels personal.

With email you can truly build a relationship with your users to where they actually feel like they have a connection to your brand. So it just makes perfect sense that you want to leverage your email list to promote and encourage referrals.

Now, you can get as fancy with this as you want, or you can keep it simple

I hope that you have applied some of the previous hacks and have identified your segments and even your highest-engaged “fans segment”. If so, you can start out by promoting your referral program to the higher-engaged segments to start off. And then from there on you can decide if you want to email the rest of your users.

If you haven’t gotten around to defining your segments, you can send it to all of your users. But even then you can at least make sure to limit it to people who have used your software somewhat, and not send these emails to people who never logged into your product.

With that out of the way, in terms of the actual campaigns, they can be simple or rather fancy. This will depend on your actual set-up. For example you might have an elaborate referrals section in the user-area. This page might explain how the user can generate a referral link, what rewards they get by referring a person, alongside a list of people that they have previously referred.

In a case like that, the emails don’t have to be too fancy, and most of your job will be in choosing the segments carefully. The emails themselves can just promote the referrals program and link people to said area. Or you might come up with more elaborate email campaigns such as “Refer a friend, get two months free for yourself”, where the email itself does more of the job of selling them on referrals.

The latter is more appropriate when your referral campaigns are something you do from time to time. For example you might have a month-long-drive where you have extra referral rewards.

8) Leverage broadcasts to get quick results or test ideas

Throughout this article, whenever I talk about sending emails, I am referring to both sending broadcasts and automated emails. However, since it was appropriate to a couple of the hacks, I’ve discussed automations separately.

That might give you the wrong impression that broadcasts aren’t as important. But the fact is that a good profitable email marketer uses both in a well-crafted combination. Both automations and broadcasts have their own pros and cons. And you can learn more about that in our super popular guide on broadcasts vs automations.

However, one of the best advantages of broadcasting is that you can use them for a really clever hack. This is actually a trick that many people do not know about. But in order to reveal it, let me remind you of something we discussed in the previous hacks.

As you know, you can use automations to automatically gather information about subscribers. That is, based on how people respond to different emails in the sequence, you can assign different tags or values to said subscribers. This is actually an amazing hack in and of itself. However, it does have a drawback.

With the automated route you have to wait for the sequences to run through, and wait for the data. What if you have an idea for a feature? Perhaps you want to find out how many of your users might be interested in a certain related topic.

Well, you could go to all of your different automations and find where you can insert an email on this topic, then add conditionals that tag people if they respond to said email.

Or alternatively, you can use a broadcast

With a broadcast you can simply send an email to entire large segments, and find out which subscribers have an interest in this idea or topic.

You can then use the reports functionality to slice out this part of the base into a new segment, and/or tag these people as interested in the topic, should you need that information for future personalization.

9) Drive adoption through sharing clever and valuable tricks

The following hack might just be one of the most clever tricks to accelerate SaaS growth through email marketing. It works in so many ways and achieves so many things at once.

And let’s be blunt here for a second. Your users don’t care about your product per se. They’re using your SaaS in order to solve their problems. For example if your SaaS caters to businesses, they’re looking for your product to help them make more money, save time or improve some business process.

So in the end, it is those goals that they seek to accomplish, and a software solution is just the way to help them accomplish those goals. And actually, there is some really good news here for you as a SaaS marketer.

You can super-accelerate your results by focusing on sending people advice that helps them achieve those goals. In fact, the number one trick to improving both engagement and deliverability, is to send valuable content that people crave. That in turn will massively boost your conversion rates.

But here is where the “hack” comes into play

You want to tie all of your advice to specific features inside of your software. So you might send advice that helps people achieve goal x in their business, and in the process you show them how to do it inside of your SaaS product.

This works amazingly well at getting people to actually start using your product, or what we typically refer to as “product adoption” in SaaS. And the beauty of this is that it works across all tiers. If you want your freemium users to upgrade to a paid plan, you want them to adopt the free plan and actually use it as much as possible.

The same can be done with those on a paid tier subscription. You want to drive adoption towards all of the features in said plan. This in turn will get them to reach the limits of said plan, which in turn creates a desire for the higher level plans.

10) Leverage personalized incentives

Incentives can be a very powerful tool to drive additional sales. And the really amazing thing about email is that you can personalize the timing and nature of those incentives.

If you’ve been reading all of the previous hacks, you might even already intuit where I am going with this. If you’re automatically tagging people, tracking events and creating descriptive segments, you already have a good basis.

The specific types of campaigns and incentives that you come up with will, again, depend on your specific business. I just want you to consider all of the data that you can use to personalize which incentive is offered to whom and when.

11) Gamify and reward product usage

Encouraging people to use more of your product is an excellent way to drive adoption, get people to understand the power of your product, and become and stay as a paying customer. One of the best ways to achieve this is to reward people for utilizing your product. And if you can make certain points of the user journey feel like an accomplishment, all the better.

Accelerating SaaS growth through rewarding user milestones

For example, you might detect the first time that a customer uses a certain feature, or when they perform an action a hundred times. For example, let’s say that you have a SaaS that lets freelancers invoice people.

Simply send a congratulatory email the first time they generate an invoice, or perhaps once they’ve generated 10 invoices. And yes, even if it’s just a fancy image and animation it will feel like a genuine reward or an accomplishment. You can of course link to a free pdf, or anything valuable if you so choose.

It’s also a great opportunity to introduce them to other features that you know are going to increase adoption, which in turn will increase your sales. For example you first say something like “Congratulations on your first 10 invoices, here is to 10,000 more”, and then you mention something like “Hey, as a super-successful freelancer, you might be interested in feature x, have you checked it out yet? It lets freelance superstars like you get more of xyz”.

12) Create buzz and excitement around new features

One of the best ways to drive growth as a SaaS is to create more buzz and excitement around your new features and your upcoming features. This works in two ways. First, it increases retention of existing customers, and secondly it drives more sales for new customers.

And when it comes to creating new paying subscribers, this comes in two ways as well. First, that excitement can get many of your freemium users to upgrade. Secondly, it will pique curiosity among those following from the sidelines. And once you have enough prominence, forums and bloggers in your niche will talk about your new features or even review them.

And wouldn’t you know it, email is the best channel to utilize in order to create buzz and excitement about new features and roadmaps. Just remember to utilize what we talked about. You will want to send more updates to higher-engaged segments, and less to those who are less engaged.

For example with the lowest-engaged groups you would only inform them about big features and changes. Whereas with fans, you can inform them with even more detailed changelogs and tweaks, as they are likely to want to know more about everything that you are working on.

The best hack for accelerating SaaS growth? Get someone on your side that cares

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 like you 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.

Alternatively, consider getting a generous forever-free account while we still have those.

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