I have some bad news for you regarding SaaS Email Marketing. All of your competitors are doing it. Every single one of them. In fact, each time a user gets onto your list, know that they’ve also signed up for at least a dozen of your competitors. That level of competitiveness is just a given when you’re in the SaaS space.
The good news is that most of your competitors aren’t doing it all that well and it’s easy to surpass them. This is because many of them lack even a basic understanding of email marketing or how to prioritize their strategies when it comes to SaaS. Luckily for you I put together this list of the 7 best strategies to follow as a SaaS implementing email marketing. Get reading, and start dominating.
1) Set clear measurable goals
There is a reason I put this in here as the very first point. It is very crucial to know how to measure success and know what you are trying to achieve.
Let’s talk about measurement first, because this is the part that is a bit unique with email marketing. You have to know how it differs from other channels.
Essentially, even if you don’t measure anything else, there is one thing you must measure. This one thing is tied to everything else in email marketing. And that is engagement, which is actually the secret to all email marketing profits.
But how do you measure engagement? Well that’s actually simple and straightforward. You just keep track of your open rates and click through rates. You can also look at your delivery rates as they represent somewhat of a proxy measure of engagement as well.
As for goals, keep it simple at first
Your very first goals should be quite simple. For example, read through the strategies in this article and first implement them at a minimal level. Or at least create an implementation plan with a timeline and order of implementation.
And when I say “implement these strategies at a minimal level” I mean something very specific. The idea is to keep implementation simple enough so that you can get it done within weeks. If it takes more than that, you’re biting off more than you can chew. Go down a level or two.
Then, track your engagement metrics and delivery rates and see how you’re doing. This should be your new baseline that you want to improve upon. And then, when you’re ready, you can go up a level in terms of complexity. If you skipped on implementing some of the ideas, strategies and features due to a lack of time, you might try to implement them next.
But please note this: you shouldn’t implement ideas and email marketing features because they sound cool or fancy. You implement things because they can increase engagement and conversions.
Always bear this in mind as you set your email marketing goals. And if you want help setting up your goals, consider that some of our plans include strategy sessions. You can grab one of these plans directly, or if you prefer, schedule a free demo with me personally over here.
Don’t forget that keeping track of things also involves finances
You’ll invest some money and effort into crafting your emails and monetizing them. And the obvious goal is to increase your profit margins as your subscriber count increases and the number of clients rises. Small business accounting can help you keep track of expenses, revenue, and even tax compliance.
Accounting gives you a clear picture of how much you make from monetization and what exactly is draining your coffers. If you haven’t handled that aspect yet, I recommend that you check out Osome.
2) Get your ratios right
Now, while this is general advice I give to everyone doing email marketing, it is especially crucial to SaaS. Even more so than usual.
And this is for a very simple fact. You are in a very crowded and competitive space. When a user signs up for your free trial, they also sign up for 10 other services at the same time. And all of your competitors know about email marketing, and all of them use it.
The good news is that most SaaS are still not implementing this key principle of email marketing. So it is a great way to stand out in the inbox and win people away from your competitors.
What does this mean in practice though?
It’s actually quite easy to turn this into an easy rule of thumb. Make sure that your emails are at a ratio of at least 90% informative, with at most 10% being promotional.
And when it comes to informative content, you have a lot to work with as a SaaS. For example, emails where you help subscribers get more out of your product do count as informative emails. So does your entire onboarding process.
And hey, informing people about cool new features that you just released qualifies as informative too. So it’s not as hard as you think. You just need to make sure to keep the actual sales and promotional emails below a certain level.
However, I don’t want you to stop there. While making sure to keep a good ratio is a good start, it’s just the first step. If you want to really stand out from the crowd, consider what I’m going to reveal in the next point.
3) Take the “benevolent mentor” path
Helping users get the most out of your product is a great first start. And don’t get me wrong, you should be proud if you get this part right. That’s a great first step, and you will reap some great benefits.
However, if you really want to reach the next level, your next goal should be to go much further than just your product. If you want a quick insight, go ahead and open some of the faster growing SaaS and click on that blog link in their header menu. Notice something?
They go much further than just educating people about their own product. In fact, they educate their users on almost every skill that’s related to being successful.
And that right there is the key. Remember, people will sign up for your SaaS if it helps them achieve a certain goal in their own business. This is why they’re willing to pay you money for the right to use your product.
But they’re also interested in anything else that will help them achieve their business goals. In fact, they’re starving for anything that will help them achieve their goals.
So do not be afraid to provide them content that goes beyond your product. Send tips and advice on how they can achieve their goals in general as well. Of course it helps when those can be tied back to your product in some way, but they don’t always have to.
4) Involve your developers and make it fun
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, one of the most powerful things that you can utilize in email marketing is automation. And in fact, as you advance in email marketing, you can get to a level where your automations becomes pretty complex and resemble mini-apps. However, to back to the main point here, building automations is very similar to what developers do.
– For example, you can use automation to fetch and store data about your subscribers. So if person opens such and such email, assign them such and such tag
– If a person does x, but doesn’t have tag y then send them this email, but if they have tag y, then send them this other email
So we are talking about fetching and storing data, complex if-then conditionals and decision trees. Sound familiar? It should. That’s most of what developers do.
Now, in email marketing we try to make this accessible to non-developers and so we offer visual builders and such. This allows non-developers to build automations without code. But at its core, the design process and decisions will be familiar to developers.
And then you have the more advanced levels of automation
As of late automation has gotten even more advanced with the introduction of tracking and custom events. If you’re not a developer yourself, an event is something like “if a user flips the switch on the pricing table” or “if a person scrolls more than 50% down your homepage”.
You can then have an automation that triggers off of that event and does something. For example it might tag them in some way, or send them an email relevant to that event.
Now, we work really hard to make advanced automation features more accessible to non-developers. In fact, we help a lot of non-developers implement events, and utilize things such as webhooks.
However, to be honest, when you have developers right there on staff, all you have to do is point them to the documentation and they will set it up for you in like 5 minutes flat.
Want to come up with all kinds of cool events that you can use as triggers in your Emercury automations? Just point your developers to this page about custom events.
What if you want to have one of your favorite apps instantly send data that updates user properties in your Emercury account? For example you change some information about your user in your booking app, and it instantly updates their profile in Emercury? Just point your developers to the incoming webhooks page.
5) Automate as much as you can, but not too much
Does this sound like a contradiction? Well it is actually not and it is a conclusion I’ve come to based on coaching hundreds of people just like you.
You see, the main issue I often have with people is to convince them to start using more automation. But then the second issue is to get them to slow down and not rush into over-automating everything. More is not necessarily better. Building more automations is only good when it’s better automation.
Let me explain. Automation is fun. It’s cool. When you first start setting up those conditions and events, it’s pretty exciting. If a person registers for the free trial and uses feature x, send them this email, but if 7 days pass, and they haven’t tried the feature x yet, send them this other email.
The problem is that once people get on this path, they tend to increase the complexity and number of automations prematurely.
Building automations and automating processes is just like every other skill. It takes reflection and studying your own work and then tweaking things based on results.
Ok, but what does that mean in practice?
Make sure to start off simple by just building very simple automations that merely replace a basic autoresponder sequence. This is basically building a sequence that sends a welcome email, waits a couple of days, then sends email 2, and so on.
Then, you can start getting fancier and implement some conditionals and conditional paths, but don’t get too complex yet. So for example you might have a conditional based on whether they open email 1. If they open the email, wait x days and go to email 2. If they do not open it, send an alternate welcome email, then proceed to email 2.
And from there on your automations can grow more advanced as you learn to deal with the complexity. Now, I can’t give you an exact roadmap on what to build first and how, because it will be unique to your business. If you want personalized guidance, consider that some of our plans include automation building and strategy sessions. Get a free demo to get a sense for what this might look like.
It’s a good idea to try and build smaller scenarios to get acquainted with all the main features in scenario building. This will make you more aware about where to go next as well as how to use the technology and what it can do.
– Build a scenario that triggers off of a custom event
– Create a scenario that gathers data. Easier than it sounds. If x happens, assign such and such tag to the user, or perhaps assign a certain value to a given custom field.
– Create a scenario that triggers off of a subscriber change. For example when a tag is applied or a custom field is updated.
– Create a set up that combines the two above. Have a scenario that automatically assigns a given tag to a subscriber, with another automation starting right when that tag is applied.
– Set up an incoming hook that listens for changes and updates a subscriber profile. Then have an automation that triggers off of that change.
– Have a scenario that triggers an outside webhook to make changes elsewhere. Here’s an example.
6) Get clear on the user’s journey
It doesn’t matter what kind of marketing you do and what your business model is, having some sort of a model to track the customer’s journey is always beneficial. But when it comes to SaaS I would say that this is a must and a priority to set up. And there are several reasons for that.
– Unlike other types of business, with a SaaS, it is rather straightforward to come up with the stages a potential customer goes through
– You do everything digitally, so setting up Emercury to keep track of the stages and the journey is fairly straightforward
The work that needs to be done
In essence, you just need to decide which actions constitute entering a given stage. Is it when a person first views your pricing page? Should they enter a stage after they’ve opened a certain email or clicked on a certain link?
Setting this up is straightforward when you have a team of developers at hand. All you have to do is define those custom events. You can then set up an automation that sets a person’s stage based off of those events. You can store this information as either a tag or a custom field.
And then, you have access to the most important filter when it comes to marketing. You can send different broadcasts to people based on their stage. You can also set up your different automations to treat people differently based on their stage.
And while it is possible to get super-granular and personalized based on a ton of different factors, it is a good idea to start off with just personalizing based on the stage alone. You can get fancier later on, as we discussed in the point about automations.
7) Get a partner to guide you along the way
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.