How Email Automation can Grow your SaaS

How Email Automation can Grow your SaaS

Want to grow your SaaS quicker? That’s easy, stop wasting time on low ROI activities and focus on the things that give you the most “bang for your buck”.

When it comes to client acquisition channels, email is by far the highest ROI channel. And this is even if you’re just using plain old email broadcasting. 

If you combine this with some of these 7 cool ways to use automation that I’m about to show you, you will be able to put your SaaS growth on steroids.

1) Get users to start using your product, kill their procrastination

Here’s a secret about SaaS. Most people who get an account with you, be that a freemium account or a trial account, aren’t yet ready to use this kind of product. They’re a lot earlier in the customer journey. Which is also why email marketing works so well to grow a SaaS business. 

What do I mean by all this though? Well, let’s take a look at our own example – an Email Marketing platform. A lot of the people who get a free account with us aren’t yet ready to start using email marketing. In fact they’ve just learned about this thing called “email marketing” and found some of our great articles trying to learn more about it.

They went and got themselves a free account and probably bookmarked the dashboard page. This is because they’re not ready to use email marketing in their business yet. They’re still in a very exploratory phase.

This is true in a lot of SaaS and even though I don’t know your particular SaaS, it’s probably true in your case as well.

Why does all of this matter though?

Well, it changes how you view your job. It’s not to convince them that your product is better than the competitor. In a lot of cases your job is to nudge them towards starting to use a product like yours at all. It isn’t so much that they stop using your product because they went to a competitor. A lot of times it’s just procrastination or focusing on other aspects of their business.

With this in mind, you want to build your automations that encourage the user to start using your product in the real world. You want to focus on getting them real-world results so that they get hooked on the benefits. And that right there is one of the best ways to grow your SaaS.

Wait, how is this different from “onboarding automation”?

Now, you might have heard of this referred to as an “onboarding sequence”, but there’s a reason I’m not using that term. 

I want you to focus on the goal of the automations that you’re building and what they need to accomplish. By thinking of it as a short-term sequence, instead of an overall goal, you are limiting yourself.

The fact is that if you get more sophisticated with your automations you can treat your users very differently. Depending on the data that you gather about their use of your product and how they interact with your emails, you can enroll them in very different automations.

Some will need to be nudged to start using your product right away. Others will need to be nurtured over a longer period of time and convinced about the benefits of using this type of product in general.

If you need more specific help, don’t hesitate to ask, we’re here to help you grow your SaaS

If the above information sounds kind of vague, it is because the details depend quite a bit on your specific situation and SaaS. Do note that some of our plans include hands-on coaching where we can help you with the exact automations that you need.

If you want to get a sense for what this kind of personalized attention can do for your SaaS, consider booking a free demo here.

2) Gather profit-boosting quality data on auto-pilot

If you’re in the SaaS world you’re probably constantly hearing the phrase “data science” thrown around. In most cases that’s overkill if you’re just starting out, but there is a reason that it is becoming so popular. That reason is that gathering and studying data is one of the best ways to grow your business faster.

Now, you don’t have to get so fancy that you call this a “science”. But you do want to gather as much data about how people use your SaaS and how they interact with your emails.

The best way to do this automatically is to utilize a marketing automation platform like Emercury, one which offers custom behavioral events as automation triggers.

What does that mean in practice? Well, with our custom event technology you can actually go ahead and have our platform track how your users interact with your SaaS. That might mean tracking if they flip a switch on the pricing page. Or it might mean tracking if they went to a tab in the settings panel within your dashboard.

Just define the custom events that matter. You can then build some Emercury automations that store that data in a custom field or a tag. For example you might assign people with a tag such as “has used feature x”.

You can then build highly intelligent automations that treat people differently based on this data. So if you know that a person has often gone to some of your pages about x, but hasn’t used feature x yet, then you know you need to send them an email nudging them to try this feature out. All of this done for you, automatically and intelligently.

3) Track the customer’s journey, automatically

One of the best things that you can do in order to increase your conversion rates, is to track the stages in a customer’s journey. 

This is because the more personalized your communication, the more it engages the lead, and the more likely you are to convert them. And while there are a ton of different factors by which you can personalize your communication, one is the most important. And this to deliver the right content for that subscriber’s current stage.

Now, there are a lot of different models that you can use to track a customer’s journey. You might choose the classic AIDA model. Or you might come up with stages that are very unique to your own business. There is no wrong decision and you can always upgrade your model later on. The important thing is to start tracking the customer’s journey.

A secret about email marketing and the customer’s journey

Many people look at email marketing automation as a way to deliver the best and most personalized content. That is, you can deliver highly engaging content to the right people at the right time. Whether that’s based on their stage and/or other personalization metrics.

What a lot of people don’t get is that email marketing is also the best channel by which you can build a customer profile and ascertain and track their stage. And to do this automatically.

This is for a very simple reason – email is still the most personal channel that commands the highest engagement rates and the best relationship building capabilities. It also means that you can build automations that tag the person differently based on which emails they do or do not open. 

Now, you will have to decide in advance which actions constitute a signal for what stage. For example which kinds of email opens or clicks signify that a person is moving towards a certain stage? You can then use a combination of automation and broadcasts to ascertain who these people are and tag them appropriately. 

And when I say tag, I don’t mean necessarily using the tag functionality. You can utilize tags or the custom-fields we offer to keep track of stages or where they are in the journey.

Hint: this is where you can throw in custom events

While tracking based on the person’s interactions with your emails will provide some great data, these days you can go further if you use a platform like Emercury.

We let you define custom behavioral events so that you can track what actions people are taking across your product and other web properties. So you might define a custom event based on whether someone checked a certain setting in your dashboard, or viewed a certain page in your educational blog.

You can use these events inside of automations as a condition or trigger to then assign different stages or values inside of custom properties or tags.

4) Upsell and cross-sell to increase your bottom-line, by a lot

Let’s talk about an uncomfortable fact for a second. Getting more people to try your software or become a subscriber costs money. Not always, but a lot of the time it does. 

So you’re paying money to advertise to potential users, and they might sign up for a free account or your newsletter and never convert.

Let’s talk about advertising ROI here for a second. You have a cost-per-acquisition, and then you have LTV (lifetime value) per acquisition.

Now, the most obvious way to improve this ratio is to make sure that you sell as many of those people on upgrading to your paid plan. That’s what most SaaS do. And a lot of this article is about helping you do that.

But a lot of people forget that you can increase your LTV in other ways as well. Don’t forget that email is also the best way to squeeze more money out of every subscriber as well.

One way to do this is to build automations that upsell and cross-sell your customers on spending more money with you. But here’s another idea. You can partner with related and non-competitive vendors and sell them on other things.

Just because you can’t make a person on your list buy your product, doesn’t mean you should give up on recovering some of your acquisition costs. So look into building automations that (when necessary), sell this person on other things where you make a commission. It’s a lot better than giving up on them and declaring them a loss.

5) Build up a relationship where they love, trust and respect your brand 

It’s kind of ironic that this isn’t the first point in this article. Seeing that this is the main benefit of using email in the first place. Nothing even comes close to producing the kind of ROI that email does as a channel. And that all comes back to its intimate nature. 

It is the one channel that is the closest to being personal, and hence it is the best at building a relationship with the customer. This is where they develop trust and respect for you and almost see you as someone that they know, as opposed to a company or a brand.

Now, I want you to take this into consideration when you’re building your automations. You want to weave quite a bit of relationship and trust building. But how do you actually do this?

Well, it’s actually quite simple. Just deliver a ton of valuable content to them. You want to see your automations as “giving tons of value on autopilot”. 

But how do you actually give value?

There are multiple ways, but the first one is to make sure that your ratio is correct. At least 80% of the emails that you send need to be informative in nature. That means they are not trying to sell or promote anything. You are trying to inform and educate the person, and help them get better results in their own business.

Now, sometimes people misunderstand this to mean that you can’t talk about your product. But here’s the good news, the emails where you nudge people to get results by using different features of your product count as value-giving emails.

The difference can be subtle, but it’s about the approach. If you’re just telling them to look at how cool this feature is, that’s promotional. On the other hand, if you send them tips on how to get better results in their business by using this feature in your product, then that is a value giving email.

6) Deliver hot engaged leads to your sales team

If you know anything about successful startups, you know that they are both marketing and sales heavy. That is if you have an efficient sales team, you can grow your SaaS a lot faster. Now, with that said, let me share a fun way to use our automation system that a lot of people don’t know about.

As you know from the previous points about you can track where a person is at in terms of their journey. You can also get all of this data about when and if they opened which emails, and when they performed which custom event inside of your product or public website.

Well, here’s a cool trick. With an automation engine that supports outgoing web-hooks, your automations can notify your sales team when a lead is ready for them. For example, if a person opens a certain email or clicks on a certain link, trigger an outgoing web-hook that adds them to a google sheet. Or perhaps send a message to a slack channel. Anything you can imagine.

You can leverage all of this information you’re getting from your email automations and then do things in the rest of your favorite tools. This is the power of outgoing web-hooks. You can look at our example where we send sales leads to google sheets, just to give you an idea.

7) Automate evergreen sales campaigns

Most people associate sales campaigns with broadcasts. And that’s not entirely wrong. You will make a lot of your profit from one-off campaigns such as a campaign celebrating a new feature that you released this month. 

In fact, that right there is a great example of what’s appropriate for broadcast emails. But if you want to learn even more about this, do check out our super-popular article on automations vs broadcasts.

Person stacking blocks with a cart symbol - symbolizes how to grow your SaaS using automation

With that said, let’s get back to automations and how they relate to sales campaigns and how they help grow your SaaS. And let me continue by pointing out that you’re leaving a ton of money on the table if you think of sales campaigns only as those one-off broadcast-type campaigns.

Every super-successful marketer that I know, regardless of their business model or product, utilizes a mix where they use both one-off campaigns and automated evergreen campaigns.

If you haven’t heard of the term yet, it’s just a fancy way of saying “a campaign that’s always relevant”

For example you might broadcast a campaign that says “50% off coupon to celebrate releasing feature X”. That wouldn’t make sense to send out every month, only in that one month when you released the feature.

An evergreen campaign is one that makes sense at any point in time. And when I say any time, I mean in terms of the calendar. It still does have to make sense within the timeline or the journey of that one particular customer.

So you might send a campaign after the subscriber has been on your list for 6 months. And with modern automation you can really tweak this. You can add conditions such that it is only sent to people who are actively using your free plan and who have triggered certain custom events (which you can store as tags or inside custom properties).

Alternatively, you might have a campaign that triggers when the user meets a certain combination of criteria. That is when they get a certain set of tags. Ones that they will be assigned by triggering different custom events in your software, due to visits on your page, or based on how they interacted with your emails. And then, that’s when your automation hits them with a just-in-time campaign.

Get a partner that wants to grow your SaaS as much as you do

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *