Email marketing for SaaS

Email marketing can be overwhelming, confusing, and difficult to master. But you don’t have a choice. Email marketing is an essential component in growing your SaaS business. If you want to build a relationship with prospects, convert those prospects into customers, and keep those customers engaged and loyal to your brand, you absolutely need to invest in email marketing.

While you may hear that social media is the next wave, don’t be so quick to jump off of email. Every single social media user has an email address. And, when it comes to communicating with businesses, studies confirm that more customers prefer email over social media.

But that doesn’t make email marketing any easier. If you’re scratching your head over how to create or improve your email marketing strategy for your SaaS, you’re in the right place. Here’s an easy guide to help you step up your email strategy.

1. Research Your Subscribers

Who are your subscribers?

Beyond their first name and email address, do you really know who you’re writing to? For example, can you answer any of the following questions:

  • Why did they sign up to receive your emails?
  • What specific problem can you help them solve?
  • What are their basic demographics (age, location, job title)?

Here’s how to find the answers to these questions:

  • Pay attention to how they arrived on your email list. For example, did they sign up in exchange for a lead magnet? If so, which lead magnet? That can help you determine their pain points.
  • Send a survey. Surveys should be short, sweet, and composed of five questions or less.
  • Make note of which emails they open. You can learn more about your subscriber’s interest by observing which emails they open and which ones they ignore, which leads us to the next point…

2. Segment Your Customers

Email marketing for SaaS

Segmentation is an absolute must in email marketing. Segmenting means separating your email subscribers into groups based on parameters that you choose, such as persona, location, purchase history, and in-app behavior.

So, what’s the point of taking this extra step? When you break your list into groups, you can personalize your emails. Personalized emails perform better than generic ones. You can appeal to subscribers based on known preferences or pain points. And, if you know where your email subscriber is on the customer journey, you can be a better guide.

3. Don’t Be Sales-y

Most of the emails I get from SaaS are sales-focused. That’s a mistake and a missed opportunity.

You may think that the point of email marketing is to actively and continuously market yourself, but it’s not. The point of email marketing is to build a relationship with your audience so that they trust you enough to buy your product. But if you miss the opportunity to build a relationship, you’ll never have loyal customers. Sure, you may make a sale or two, but you’ll also deal with a high churn rate and lackluster email open rates.

The goal is to educate 3x more than you self-promote. For every one sales-related email, you should have at least three educational emails. Don’t focus on selling your product on every email. Instead, provide nonstop value at every turn. Position yourself as a helpful guide to assist your subscriber in solving their issue.

4. Focus on Your Subscribers, Not You

Piggybacking off of the last point, focus on your subscriber, not your SaaS— even in promotional emails.


Read your email from your subscriber’s perspective. They simply don’t care about your product, your upcoming event, your latest partnership unless you connect the dots and show them why it’s meaningful to them. How will your newest feature improve their life? In what way will your latest blog post solve a challenge that they face? Make it plain. Don’t assume that they’ll naturally see the link between your email and their needs.

After you write each email, re-read it as if you were a subscriber. Does it make sense? Do you truly care about what’s being said? Does it prompt you towards an immediate action? If the answer is no, scrap it and start again with those goals in mind.

Here are 7 additional ways to improve your email marketing strategy.

5. Keep Your Emails Short

I’m going to level with you. Long emails are exhausting. No one wants to spend 10 minutes in their inbox reading through your blog post-length screed.

The ideal length for an email is somewhere between 50 and 125 words. Way shorter than you thought, huh?

Shorter emails perform better because they get to the point. If you can share the information in 50 words, why use 100?

Edit down every email so that you only share what’s absolutely necessary to get the user to take the next step.

6. End With a Call to Action

At the end of each email should be a call for increased engagement with your SaaS. Whether you’re asking the subscriber to sign up for a trial, take a short survey, read your latest blog post, or like you on Facebook, you need to end with something.

Interaction builds relationships which then build trust.

7. Use Everyday Language

If I read your email, would I think an actual human wrote it? Or, would your email be so impersonal and artificial that I’d assume a bot wrote it?

Although most marketing emails are written by humans, it can be hard to tell sometimes. A lot of marketing emails are cold and apathetic. It’s like these emails are written by soulless corporations to faceless subscribers. The easiest way to remedy that is by using everyday speech in your emails.

Imagine you’re writing an email to a friend. Would you use a phrase like, “It’s [your brand name]’s pleasure to announce…” or would you say something like, “We so excited about…”?

Relax your language and create a more relatable brand persona in your emails, whether it’s for your “welcome” email series or even for forgotten password emails. Relatability will help you build a relationship with your subscribers.

8. Resend Emails

People are busy. Sometimes, they don’t see your email the first time. Sometimes, they don’t know whether your email is relevant to them. That’s okay. That’s what the resend is for.

Don’t be afraid to resend emails to the subscribers who didn’t open your first email. The trick is to modify your subject line when you resend the email. Try a different angle to appeal to more of your subscribers.

9. Get Rid of the Fancy HTML Templates

Since we’re talking about easy ways to improve your email marketing, remember that you don’t need fancy HTML email templates. Plain-text emails are just as effective, if not more.

You see, plain-text emails feel more authentic and relatable. With a plain-text email, you’re just one human writing to another human. There’s no elaborate production, which is refreshing and honest to your subscriber.

10. Clean Out Your Email List

Email marketing for SaaS

If your email list has cobwebs, it’s time to clean.

Clean your email list twice a year. Inevitably, you have inactive subscribers on your list who haven’t opened an email beyond the initial opt-in. It happens to us all.

While inactive subscribers may seem harmless, they are destroying your email deliverability rate. They’re ruining your reputation with email clients, like Gmail. They’re the reason your emails are caught in spam filters.

Before you delete subscribers from your list, send out an email asking if they’d like to stay. If they respond, woohoo! You’ve renewed an inactive subscriber. If they don’t respond, cut them like dead weight and enjoy a lighter email list.

Final Thoughts

Email marketing helps you connect with your audience, build trust, convert prospects into customers, and turn first-time customers into loyal ones. While email marketing can be overwhelming, these tips will help you simplify your strategy.

Before you go, check out these additional resources:

Don’t forget to download this list of 7 additional ways to improve your SaaS email marketing strategy.

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