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How to make SaaS email marketing your competitive advantage

31 min read
VP of Growth @Ongage

SaaS email marketing, when done right, follows the client from registration to the end of their journey with your platform. It delivers messages to both prospects and customers, engaging, converting, and upselling your product and brand. Here’s a step-by-step guide that shows you detailed examples of exactly how to do that.

SaaS email marketing strategies and advice are abundant, let’s face it. There’s a lot of knowledge out there.  

But in our experience, nothing gets your creative juices flowing better than examples and readymade workflows that help you imagine how the same thing can work with your clients.

That’s why I’ll start with an overview of SaaS email marketing in general and then dive into all the examples you’ll need to fuel your idea machine with real-world examples of how SaaS businesses are using email marketing to meet their clients at every step of their journey.

And of course, to do so successfully. We are in the business of measuring things, right? 

Want to jump ahead?

What is email marketing for SaaS? And What’s the difference between SaaS and other products? SaaS email marketing needs to be a central piece in your content marketing strategy
SaaS email marketing isn’t cold emailing
But is SaaS email marketing worth it? SaaS email marketing uses lists, data, and automation to make the magic happen Differing degrees of data
What types of marketing emails can your SaaS send? 15 types of SaaS emails to span the user lifecycle
SaaS email marketing strategies and best practices for high-performance campaigns Never stop learning and growing

What is email marketing for SaaS? And What’s the difference between SaaS and other products? 

Much like with e-commerce, with SaaS email marketing, you have to be present and engage prospects, users, or customers at every step of their journey.

However, the consideration, sales, and life cycles are usually considerably longer.

SaaS emails are the different types of campaigns you’ll use. These can include transactional emails sent to individual contacts or promotional emails sent to a group of people in response to some action or inaction. 

For example, you might send an automated welcome email confirming a new user’s sign-up (transactional) and introduce them to the software’s key features (marketing).

📧 Baremetrics sends a relatively bare text email from one of its account executives (Andrew) to confirm a new user’s trial registration. 

The email doesn’t just confirm the sign-up, though. It also introduces several features the user can explore and invites them to make contact with the sender to learn more. 

Subject line: Welcome to Baremetrics! Open this email to get started

Keeping your email templates short and formatting them for scannability improves the chances that your recipients won’t exit before getting the message you wanted to send. 

💡 Going light on the HTML elements and using an individual sender’s address may increase the chances that your confirmation emails land in your recipients’ primary inboxes. Plus, a mostly text email may appear less ‘mass market’ to your recipient. 

SaaS email marketing needs to be a central piece in your content marketing strategy

With no physical product to put on display or ship to customers, SaaS businesses rely on SaaS content marketing as one of several channels to communicate their value proposition to prospects and build lasting customer relationships. 

Content marketing (and SaaS email marketing as a subset) relies heavily on attraction marketing methods to achieve marketing objectives. 

Attraction marketing is a marketing strategy that hinges on making people want to come to you. Instead of interrupting people with ads or other content that says, “you gotta’ check this out,” attraction marketing content waits for people to find it and think to themselves, “I gotta’ check this out.” 

Attraction or ‘pull’ content and advertising or ‘push’ content often appear in the same places. Your social media feed is a good example. 

The same SaaS brand might post content on a branded social media profile and pay for ads on the social media platform. 

Why are marketing emails categorized as inbound or ‘pull’ content when they’re sent out to people inboxes? 

Marketing emails are treated as a type of attraction marketing because: 

  1. They are sent with the permission of the recipient (unlike ads that show up whether they’re welcome or not); and 
  2. They’re intended to draw the recipient to something else such as your website or an in-person event. 

📧 Compliance and risk management SaaS Vanta offers valuable knowledge-building opportunities and demonstrates credibility in the marketing email example below. 

Subject line and preview text: New resources for your security & compliance program – Elevate your compliance with these upcoming webinars for SOC 2, ISO 27001 and Vanta’s latest product updates 

Vanta’s email includes multiple CTAs encouraging subscribers to register to view a live product demo, sign up for free webinars, download a specialized compliance checklist, and read about the brand’s products. 

The above-the-footer banner displays a row of trust signals along with a link that invites subscribers to “read our G2 reviews.” 

Although Vanta’s ultimate objective is to win new users, this email doesn’t push for that outcome. 

SaaS email marketing isn’t cold emailing 

Cold emails are a ‘push’ marketing method, without a doubt, arriving in inboxes without an invite. SaaS marketing emails get permission first. 

However, the lines between marketing and outreach aren’t always clear, particularly for B2B SaaS email activities. After someone joins the company’s email list, they may receive a follow-up email from the sales team, marketing messages, or both. 

For instance, you’ve probably received emails like the one below from a BDR or sales rep after signing up to download a report, whitepaper, or ebook. 

📧 Dialpad’s warm email encourages readers to continue the conversation. But it doesn’t have the hallmarks of a SaaS marketing email.  

Subject line: Dialpad Discovery 

Asking a prospect to schedule a call or book a demo can be in your SaaS email marketing playbook; but it’s not the only play you’ll find there. 

📧 The email below from the payment processing app Balance combines elements of sales and marketing messaging. 

Its subject line announces that the email is delivering requested content, and the header and footer design incorporate marketing email essentials, including an unsubscribe link. 

Booking a demo is the message’s objective, though. The primary CTA is a bright button with the copy, “Contact an expert to learn more.” 

Subject line and preview text: Thank you for downloading the B2B buyer report  

SaaS marketing emails have more range when it comes to objectives than sales messages, giving you space to focus less on rapid funnel progression and more on building long-term customer relationships

The best SaaS email marketing strategies include email campaigns to support conversions and retention at every customer lifecycle stage. 

But is SaaS email marketing worth it?

Email marketing is a cost-effective, controllable method of reaching your audience and driving revenue. 

You still have to play nice with mailbox service providers like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, Apple, or iCloud Mail to send email marketing campaigns successfully. But you have much more control over who sees your messages and how often than when you’re paying to be a guest (advertiser) on someone else’s platform. 

When you use an email marketing platform to manage your SaaS email marketing campaigns, you can adjust to new information and gain real-time control over many factors. AI-powered email testing and analytics really speed up your ability to make decisions and react. 

Plus, using an email marketing platform you can create and assign email templates that match your SaaS’ branding,  design style and tone of voice to use in your email campaigns. 

📧 Project management app ClickUp alerts users to planned downtime using a template that incorporates that SaaS’ name, logo and colors giving the message an attractive, professional look. 

Subject line and preview text: Attention: System maintenance tomorrow–Saturday, May 4, 2024 – We’re continuing to upgrade ClickUp’s infrastructure to make it even more scalable and reliable! 

Place merge fields or dynamic fields and blocks in your base template to add customized content that personalizes each recipient’s message. 

Use the built-in database that holds your contact list to add custom fields to tailor your personalizations or integrate your CRM, back-end user data or other data sources to create triggered campaigns or custom buyer’s journeys.  

Your proprietary data or data gained from other sources can also inform list segments or selections of contact groups according to their buying lifecycle or funnel stage, their business size or subscription type, or other characteristics. This enables you to send contextual messages to each group instead of trying to win everyone over with a one-message-fits-all email campaign. 

Your email marketing campaigns are a source of information for your SaaS company, too. The links or calls-to-action that subscribers click on and the other actions they take in response to your messages tell you something about them. 

You can also solicit direct feedback to find out what your most engaged audience thinks about your company, its products or its marketing. 

One of the best reasons to use SaaS email marketing, in my opinion, is to increase your user retention rates.  

In app onboarding only works if the user is, well, in the app. Email goes to your new, trial or lapsed users reminding them to come back. 

Through targeted email campaigns, you can assist with onboarding, move people toward the ‘aha’ moment, nudge them to make using your app a habit, and expose them to the extra features that will keep them coming back. 

SaaS email marketing empowers you to move away from random acts of marketing and toward efficient, targeted data-driven growth tactics. 

SaaS email marketing uses lists, data, and automation to make the magic happen 

Email marketing for SaaS businesses is built on the same foundation as other types of email marketing. 

To do SaaS email marketing at scale, your company: 

✔ Needs a list of email addresses called a subscriber or contact list to send your marketing messages to. 

An email subscription list is a contact list maintained for the purpose of sending marketing emails. Building and maintaining a healthy list is a core function of your email marketing program. 

A SaaS email subscriber list may include: 

  • People who’ve signed up to receive your messages but haven’t tried your software solutions, 
  • People who signed up to trial or purchase a subscription to use your app and joined your email list at the same time, and
  • Current or past customers who’ve agreed to receive your marketing emails. 

Aim to populate your list with individuals and buyer’s group representatives who are genuinely interested in knowing about your SaaS. 

It may be tempting to gather as many emails as possible but unengaged or invalid emails can harm the success of your SaaS email marketing campaigns. Email mailbox providers (a.k.a. email clients) use engagement and other list signals to decide whether your messages should be delivered to their users or deposited in their spam folders. 

👀 In The Ultimate Guide To Sign-up Forms we explain how to grow your email list using tactics that target your ideal customers. 

If you’re just ramping up your SaaS email marketing efforts and manually sending your marketing emails, you might store your subscribers’ information in a simple spreadsheet or customer relationship management (CRM) system. 

Once you switch to an email service provider (ESP) or email marketing platform, you should maintain your list in your send platform. 

Having a dedicated subscriber list makes it easier to comply with data privacy and anti-spam laws. Plus, email marketing platforms have segmentation and other list management features that will help you maximize the benefit of collecting all those subscribers.   

Along with your subscription list, you must maintain a suppression list to avoid sending to people who’ve told you to stop. 

Depending on the rules you’ve defined in your email marketing platform, the suppression list will include list contacts who:

  • Asked to be removed from your SaaS email marketing list (unsubscribed), 
  • Marked one of your emails as spam (made a spam complaint), and 
  • Are matched to an email address that no longer exists or otherwise can’t be reached permanently (a hard bounce). 

✔ Should have enough information about your subscribers to decide what type of content to send them and when. 

Data is the seed from which you’ll grow lasting, mutually beneficial relationships. 

All you need is your subscribers’ email address to launch your first SaaS email marketing campaign. But the more you know about your subscribers, the better your campaigns will perform. 

Data about your subscribers is how you’ll gain understanding that allows you to create content that they will appreciate, learn from or enjoy and to send the messages that are most likely to convert them at the time those messages are most likely to succeed.  

Differing degrees of data

Zero-party data is information obtained directly (explicitly) from the source. The person sharing the information does so intentionally; for example, by inputting their name and email address into a sign-up form. 

First-party data is information obtained by observing the source. This information is verifiably connected to the person but is not shared by them with explicit intent. A record of a unique user’s in-app or website behavior is an example of first-party data. 

Second- and third-party data is information about a subscriber or user is information gathered by other organizations and made available to yours. 

Discover more about these different degrees of data and best practices for gathering and using this information in our guide to getting and using customer data

Gathering useful data about prospects and customers isn’t a one time event. In fact, it’s not a good idea to ask too many questions when you’re first getting to know your new subscriber or users because each question adds friction to their interaction with you. 

Also, asking direct questions isn’t the only way to gain information about your subscribers or users. Integrated your email list with your CRM and other data sources to develop a full view of each contact. 

Gather information through:

  • Quizzes, games or other interactive devices, 
  • Your subscribers’ responses to your emails and after they’ve clicked-through from an email,
  • Their website behaviors, and
  • Your users’ in-app activities (or inactivity). 

As you learn more about your subscribers as individuals and groups, you can create smarter segments that enable you to create more targeted messaging for your email campaigns. 

✔ Will employ SaaS email automations to enable you to manage communicating with many contacts quickly. 

At some point sending a group email using your standard mailbox interface and tools just isn’t going to cut it. Hopefully, you’re already past that point and ready to scale your email marketing operations to fuel your SaaS’s growth. 🚀

SaaS email automation is how you’ll make that happen. Email automatons are at the center of every successful email marketing program. 

Automation tools enable marketers to manage growing subscriber lists, gather and use data about their subscribers, schedule mass sends and set up triggered campaigns and track the results while still getting to sleep at night. 

Using email automation you can designate the specific email template to send to all or selected segments of your email subscribers. 

Triggered automations allow you to assign an email template or series of templated messages and choose an event or non-event that initiates sending this campaign to an individual subscriber. 

The welcome and content delivery email examples I shared earlier are examples of triggered SaaS marketing emails. They are always ready and waiting but don’t get delivered until the time is right. 

Automation also keeps your data integrations flowing. Implementing API integrations and webhooks, you can pass information between your various platforms and tools to always have up-to-date information about your subscribers and your email campaigns’ performance.

Using email automations to manage each aspect of your email marketing program (and augmenting those automations with AI capabilities) you can prepare a SaaS lifecycle email marketing strategy, implement it, and make continual improvements. 

What types of marketing emails can your SaaS send? 

Your SaaS business goals, marketing department objectives, and the characteristics of its subscribers all influence which types of campaigns you should send. 

For example, a pre-launch SaaS won’t be able to send product adoption campaigns and will focus on brand building and obtaining market feedback. The SaaS employing a freemium model should use its email campaigns to achieve premium conversions. 

A SaaS that wants to shift subscribers to a new solution will choose educational and promotional campaigns to achieve that goal. 

List members may include non-users, trial users, paid users, decision-makers evaluating your SaaS solution or purchased the apps for someone else to use, and former users and purchasers. 

Email campaigns for each of these groups may have different objectives and employ varying styles, tones of voice and messaging. 

With that said, here’s a list of several common types of SaaS emails you can use to grow your business and increase revenue. 

15 types of SaaS emails to span the user lifecycle

SaaS lifecycle emails refer to marketing messages that are part of a comprehensive SaaS email marketing strategy plotted to move subscribers forward at each stage in their journey from awareness to advocacy. 

The key touchpoints for your SaaS audience will be unique for your business and may be different for different segments and buying groups. But there are some journey points that most SaaS businesses tend to share. 

These include:

→ Awareness or the moment after someone becomes aware of your SaaS and agrees to receive email communications from you, 

→ Acquisition or discovery when a subscriber is evaluating your solutions and deciding if your SaaS provides what they want or need, 

→ Activation or moment when a subscriber has signed up for a trial or taken some other forward action toward complete conversion,

→ The revenue stage, which as the name implies, is when a user’s engagement results in revenue for your SaaS company (typically when they convert from freemium or a free trial to a paid user), 

→ Retention that may overlap with your activation and revenue stages and extend beyond them, and 

→ The referral stage when a subscriber or user becomes a brand advocate. 

The following SaaS email marketing examples illustrate the ways you can use email to maintain your connections with subscribers, move them through these stages and achieve your SaaS business goals. 

1. SaaS welcome emails 

SaaS senders can opt to deliver a single welcome message to new subscribers or enter new list members into a drip series to introduce the SaaS’ values and purpose, products and other details. 

📧 Stripo welcomes people who’ve signed up to try the app and become email list subscribers with enthusiasm and helpful links. 

Subject line: Your first day with Stripo!

Email template building tool Stripo uses friendly faces, eye-catching emojis, and a mini animated gif arrow to draw people through its email and toward trying out its email design software

The message includes graphics, colors and personal touches throughout that illustrate Stripo’s brand personality

The email also promotes Stripo’s social media pages, a subtle nudge that encourages subscribers to engage with the brand using the channels of their choice. 

📧 Design software Figarc introduces its personality and says “thanks,” in its friendly welcome email. 

Subject line: You are on the list 🙌 (Source credit: Really Good Emails) 

Figarc builds speciality software for Figma users who create floor plans. 

It’s pre-launch welcome email to new subscribers expresses the Figarc team’s enthusiasm for what they do and reiterates what their software does: 

“You’re now a part of a quirky crew of Figma aficionados and architecture enthusiasts, who find joy in designing floor plans inside Figma.” 

The friendly, conversational tone continues throughout this email that encourages readers to hit the reply button and engage. 

💡 SaaS welcome emails should always show appreciation to the subscriber along with sharing information about your brand and its products. 

2. SaaS waitlist and pre-launch update emails.

SaaS email marketing can start even before you’re  finished building your software. Waitlists are a common way to test the market and demonstrate a little traction for a new application. 

But if all you do is collect names, you’re missing an opportunity to build anticipation and engagement. 

Invite people to subscribe to your email list when they join your waitlist. Then use this two-way communication channel to gather feedback and build your audience. 

📧 Carv, an AI-powered platform for recruiters, share a peek at their roadmap with early subscribers. 

Subject line: Thanks for requesting early access!

The Early Access email pictured above from Carv Is an opportunity for the brand to introduce its style and tell email subscribers what they can expect when they become users of the recruiting application suite. 

Your early access emails don’t have to be complicated or lengthy to make a connection with subscribers.

📧 For example, website tagging tool TagU uses a minimal HTML email from the founder to invite waitlist subscribers to join its online community on Discord. 

Subject line: TagU Early Access

This email from TAG you was sent to the members who paid to join the waitlist for tagging and making comments on live web pages. The language of the email encourages interaction and also adds a sense of exclusivity to reward those who joined early.  

Creating a community for your startup is a great way to gather feedback from your most engaged audience.

3. SaaS lead gen delivery and confirmation emails.

SaaS and B2B companies often use lead magnets such as ebooks, webinars and other content to build active and engaged email lists

Obtaining someone’s email is just the beginning, though. Even though a new subscriber signed up to receive your content, they may not know much about you. They may not even know if they’re interested in the services you provide. 

Send a lead magnet delivery email that delivers what you promised and tells recipients a little about your brand. 

📧 Rattle RevOps sends a thank you ad some social proof along with the download link for its “State of RevOps” industry report. 

Subject line and preview text: Here’s your State of RevOps 2024 Report! – Download your copy here.

Rattle shows off its style in this email with logo graphics and its brand mascot. The bottom panel email features a customer testimonial and an invitation for subscribers to check out the SaaS’ G2 reviews. 

📧 Workleap’s lead magnet delivery email delivers the goods and introduces the team management SaaS to new subscribers. 

Subject line and preview text: Here’s your resource: 5 steps to leading distributed teams! – Our resource library is designed to help you deliver performance through on-demand webinars, comprehensive courses, and interactive tools. 

Can I just say how glad I was to find a SaaS email template that did use blues and pinks or green and black? (No offense, Rattle.) 

Setting aside color trends, another trend I’ve noticed is that the subject line and preview text length for SAS marketing emails varies from the very brief to the quite lengthy. 

They either have no preview text or preview texts with a lot of characters, like the above example from Workleap. 

I’m guessing that SaaS marketers are using this lengthy preview text strategy as a ‘just in case’ measure. The preview text gives them a chance to communicate value to subscribers who don’t open their messages. 

💡 Because you can’t guarantee it will be seen, don’t rely on your preview text to express your most compelling reason for opening your emails. But it’s okay to add a few extra reasons to click in your email preview text copy.

While we’re on the subject of subject lines and preview text: You’ve probably seen a lot of advice about making your subject line catching to earn more opens. 

That’s a good tip. 

But what makes a subject line catchy is in the eyes of your subscriber. When someone has requested a specific digital asset from your SaaS, tell them that’s what you’ve sent them!

In other words, meet people’s expectations like these email subject lines from Rattle and Workleap do. 

The person who requested your content will be looking out for it in their inbox and announcing delivery in the subject line will catch their eye and increase your email engagement rates. 

4. SaaS pre-conversion nurture emails.

When you have subscribers on your email list that haven’t trialed or become paid users of your software, your email marketing efforts may have more than one goal. 

For example, you may send relationship-building messages that demonstrate your expertise. But you’ll also send targeted messages that encourage your subscribers to give your Saas product a try.

📧 Wrike gets right to the point in a nurture email that invites subscribers to discover if it’s the right solution for their team. 

Subject line and preview text: To Wrike or not to Wrike? Make sure you make the right decision for your team

The email example above from team management tool Wrike, falls into the latter category. 

Wrike’s nurture email asks a question and is interactive. Subscribers who click on the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ options are taken to the SaaS brand’s website where they can complete the solution matching quiz. 

The email stimulates engagement that not only helps Wrike move subscribers through the buying funnel but also collects valuable insights about who is responding to their emails. Every click becomes a data point the SaaS can use to improve future campaigns.

📧 Baremetrics entices subscribers to learn more about the app with an email inviting them to learn more about the app’s CEO.

Subject line and preview text: Subject line and preview text: Get to know the CEO, App Tips, and Affiliate Rewards – Meet our Aussie CEO and share ideas with like-minded founders as we tackle SaaS growth problems together.

This subscriber nurture email has a bit of everything. It opens with an “office hours” with CEO Luke’s invitation. 

Then, it presents product spotlights and describes new apps (and use cases) for its subscription analytics tool. Finally, there’s another invitation to join the SaaS affiliate program.

Each section of this message has a CTA button bearing copy that matches the action the sender wants its readers to take. Don’t overlook the importance of a great email CTA. Test different styles and copy to see what works best with your subscribers. 

5. Set up recovery emails.

If you’ve been marketing software as a service for long you already know that sign up is only the beginning of the funnel.  After someone decides to give your solution a try they need to actually try it. And after they try it, they have to like it enough to keep using it.

📧 The SaaS email example below from website Analytics tool Hotjar is designed to get users past the ‘try’ stage. It asks the recipient to finish their installation, explaining how easy it is to finish the process and offering a helpful course for those with doubts. 

Subject line and preview text: Finish installing Hotjar on your site in just 5 minutes – Take our quick installation min-course over on Hotjar Learning and start collecting valuable insights today 🔥

6. User onboarding emails.

User onboarding is so important that we created an entire article just about the topic, How to Craft Onboarding Emails that Support Customer Adoption and Build Brand Loyalty. Please be sure to check it out because it’s packed full of examples of onboarding flows and tips for moving new users through their first exposure to that aha moment.  

To give you a taste of what you’ll find in our onboarding guide, here are a few examples of onboarding emails that encourage new subscribers to become habitual users of your software.

📧 Job search platform Dice sends an invitation to connect as part of its onboarding flow for new job seekers. 

Subject line and preview text: Connect with your Community Manager – Make the most out of Dice!

Software can seem impersonal, so a lot of software email marketing messages balance that out with the personal touch. This example from job search platform Dice encourages people to use the tool by offering to connect them with the real person for support.

Adobe Acrobat, takes a slightly different path to encourage adoption and use of its tool. The two emails below are just part of a series of messages the content and creativity tool provider sends to new app purchasers. 

The first email in the onboarding series presents subscribers with a menu of different ways to learn how to use Adobe Acrobat. 

📧New users enter Adobe’s onboarding drip series with a welcome email offering a selection of resources to ensure their success. 

Subject line and preview text: Welcome to Acrobat – Acrobat learning resources to help you work your way, on any device. 

The second narrows its focus, perhaps to encourage those who were overwhelmed by too many options that it just takes one to get started.

📧 A separateAdobe Acrobat onboarding message delivers a single resource and CTA. 

Subject line and preview text: Download your Acrobat quick tips sheet – Check out our quick tips to learn how to create, edit, fill and sign PDFs. 

Email marketing testing and automation tools give you an opportunity to try different messaging formats and styles like these two messages from Adobe. You can monitor your results and test different messages with different segments to find the perfect match. 

7. Relationship building emails

Relationship building emails are the least pushy of marketing emails. These messages should give your subscriber something of value that attracts them to your brand, builds trust, and encourages them to continue opening and reading your emails. 

That attraction content could be funny, informative and educational, explain your brand’s purpose and values, share community news or communicate anything that inspires a positive reaction from your email recipients. 

📧 Tech stack SaaS Composable stays in touch with subscribers with a regular “The Latest Composable Commerce News” email newsletter. 

Subject line and preview text: {{First_Name}}, your April composable commerce updates are here! – ✈️ Win a MACH THREE trip | 📈 Enhance CX with AI and Search Tools  | 🚀 Vercel Ship & More 


Subject line and preview text: Speed up your business with UiPath Live – Learn how (and why) to move faster… at your leisure.

After its live event “UiPath Live: The Need for Speed,” came and went, automation SaaS platform UiPath repurposed the content for on demand viewing and used its email marketing program to distribute it. 

As Ross Simmonds famously says, “Create once, distribute forever.” 

This email earns clicks and engagement and builds trust by offering attraction content that educates UiPath’s audience. 

💡 The marketing emails that you send to subscribers before they become customers or users of your software to nurture a relationship will sometimes look just like emails that you send to existing users. 

But they won’t always and they don’t have to. 

For instance, you may send the same email newsletter to everyone on your list. Meanwhile, you’re non-users will be the only ones who receive your pre-purchase nurture messages. 

You can also modify your mass or send-to-all marketing emails using email templates and segment-based customizations. 

Using this technique, you create one base message and add custom sections or personalizations to make the content more relevant to each audience segment or individual. 

8. SaaS post-purchase emails.

Post purchase emails actually can be one of several different types we’ve already had a look at relationship building emails that can be sent before or after someone becomes a user of your SAS solution, some post purchase emails continue the relationship and deepen it but offering information about Advanced tools or features or training guides

Post-purchase SaaS emails can take many different forms. We’ve already had a look at relationship-building emails that you can send before or after someone becomes a user of your SAS solution.

 Some post-purchase emails continue the relationship and deepen it by offering information about advanced features, training guides, and learning opportunities.

📧 Airtable uses marketing emails like the one below to keep users engaged with helpful content learning sessions. 

Subject line and preview text: Expert tips to stay ahead of marketing trends – A discussion with experts from McKinsey

A different kind of post-purchase email includes content that helps buyers feel better about their choice such as case studies or testimonials. These messages reduce post-purchase dissonance and prevent customer churn. 

📧 GoTo, a business communication software provider, presents subscribers with proof of performance with an email promoting a success story. 

Subject line: Case study: Greater efficiency, better connection 

GoTo presents a clear, concise message in the inbox. The subject line indicates exactly what subscribers will find inside and there’s no preview text. 

If you’re targeting a busy B2B audience, experiment with short subject line copy that doesn’t waste their time vs preview texts that don’t require an open to deliver your message. 

9. Feedback and survey requests.

Asking people’s opinions is a great way to make them feel good and for you to gain valuable intelligence about them and how they feel about your product. There are lots of ways to get feedback from your subscribers. 

One way is to include a simple yes or no answer in your email; another way is to present subscribers with a link that they can click through to complete a survey. 

Feedback can fuel your growth across every stage in your sales funnel. 

Use an early survey of new subscribers to gather zero-party data to segment your list and better target future campaigns. 

That’s what Descript has done in the welcome + survey email to new subscribers pictured below. 

📧 Video management app Descript wants to know why subscribers signed up. So it asks them to select a motivation and complete a survey to find out. 

Subject line: We want to hear from you (Source credit: Really Good Emails) 

📧 Incident monitoring SaaS Better Stack sends a single-click survey to its subscribers for a sentiment temperature check. 

Subject line: Have 30 seconds? Help Better Stack to serve you better (Source credit: Email Emu) 

Better Stack used a third-party provider to send its ‘rate us’ survey, and the results were probably aggregated to present the SaaS with a net promoter score (NPS). 

But you can create your own like/dislike rating email to get individual feedback from your subscribers. Use their non-anonymized replies to create segments representing detractors and supporters. 

Then target these groups with relevant campaigns. 

Send negative responders: 

  • A personal response from a staff member asking them to share their open-ended (unstructured) feedback,
  • A questionnaire to find out why they wouldn’t recommend your solution,
  • A winback drip series that include onboarding assistance, added customer success attention and positive proofs, or 
  • A sunset email to subscribers who have never converted to users or stopped using your app asking them if they want to remain on your list. 

Send positive responders:

  • A personalized thank you for their positive feedback, 
  • An in-depth survey to gain additional insights about why they like your app, 
  • A review or testimonial request emails that captures their opinion about your software and grants you permission to share it with others, 
  • An invitation to develop a case study about their success with your tool, or 
  • A referral program email to convert them to active brand advocates. 

📧 Document design and collaboration platform Craft asks subscribers for three minutes of their time to complete a survey. 

Subject line: Are you happy with Craft? (Source credit: Email Emu) 

Plot twist, your SaaS can gather information from subscribers to create value-adding content.

📧 Influencer marketing platform Traackr asks its audience to take part in a survey about the influencer industry in the following SaaS email example. 

Subject line: [Last chance] $150 for 5 minutes of your time? 

Publishing content about your industry, especially survey data is a great way to attract leads. When you can get your current subscribers to contribute to your survey: virtuous circle, baby! 

💡 If you’re asking your subscribers to complete a survey, it’s a good idea to tell them how long it’ll take before you ask them to click through. Marketing messages that set expectations prevent disappointments and frustrations. 

10. SaaS product or feature announcement emails.

New SaaS feature or advanced feature informational emails that encourage subscribers to capture full value from their free or paid app subscriptions. 

Your SaaS can send a mass email blast to subscribers when a new feature is ready for prime time or send your updates on a regular schedule. A scheduled newsletter has the benefits of consistency but also requires a steady stream of information to send. 

📧 ClickUp uses a distinct From address (ClickUpdates) to send its new feature and upgrade updates but stays on brand with the template’s color and design. 

Subject line and preview text: Manage recurring tasks, relationships, invoice notifications, and more! – Check out this week’s platform improvements. 

📧 Behavioral analytics app VWO announces a new homepage, new product and other updates in an information packed email blast. 

Subject line: VWO’s Homepage Transformation: See the Winning Version Inside!

This SaaS marketing email from VWO includes lots of ways for subscribers to learn and engage. The email’s copy and graphics create a colorful and clear visual hierarchy to introduce a new mobile product, describe several other features and updates, and invite subscribers to view a recorded webinar or register to attend a virtual event. 

💡 When sending long emails, use fonts, spacing, shapes and color to guide your subscribers. Also test your email’s file size to make sure it doesn’t get clipped by email clients for being too heavy. 

11. “Meet us at…” digital and live event invitation emails. 

One marketing activity that many companies missed out on during the pandemic was trade shows and other in-person events. We made the transition to digital, and many formerly live events went virtual. 

Connecting your subscribers to both in-person and virtual events through email marketing brings their omnichannel experiences together. It also gives you extra opportunities to increase attendance at your events and visits to your trade booths. 

Keep your subscribers in the loop about where they can meet you in person or view your virtual presentations SaaS email marketing campaigns that say, “Meet us there!”

📧 Digital media analytics SaaS DoubleVerify displays its industry cred with an email inviting subscribers to drop by its Yacht during Cannes Lions 2024. 

Subject line and preview text: Cannes, Here We Come! – Join us on our yacht, the ASYA, for panels, happy hours and an unforgettable 80s bash

📧 Media management solution Cloudinary partnered with CMSWire to boost attendance at an upcoming live webinar with an email invite and a contest. 

Subject line and preview text: {{First_Name}}, 🛒Create the Shopping Experience – 

To promote its live webinar, Cloundiary partnered with CMSWire to send this email. A note at the bottom of the email discloses that CMSWire subscribers who click through and register for the webinar are added to Cloundiary’s email list. 

The copy of this email encourages webinar registrations with a preview of the data (from a survey co-fielded by Cloudinary and CMSWire) that will get further coverage during the live event. 

Adding urgency, the email notes that the first 25 folks to register will get a $20 UberEats voucher. 

There’s also a colorful enthusiastic CTA button saying “Great, Sign Me Up!” to entice subscribers to sign up. 

12. Lapsed user winback emails.

When you’re back-end user data, behavioral data from your SaaS email platform, or direct user feedback tells you that someone’s not using your app anymore, you can decide to let them go or try to win them back. 

Email marketing reengagement, recovery, and winback campaigns are the tactics to recapture the attention of a subscriber who doesn’t seem to be that into you anymore. 

These email campaigns are triggered by an action or non-action by the subscriber. 

For example, you might set your email automation to send a recovery campaign after a user doesn’t interact with your app for a specific number of days. Or you could limit your reengagement campaigns to users who engaged with an email or visited your app or website but don’t use your app regularly. 

The examples below from Dropbox nudge a lapsed subscriber to set up and begin using the app’s latest features. 

Sometimes it takes more than one touch to convince someone to come back. Sending a recovery series increases your chances of being seen by your targeted subscriber.

📧 Dropbox targets lapsed users with a series designed to capture their attention in the inbox and move them to act. 

Subject lines and preview texts: 
1 Please read: We noticed you’re not taking advantage of your Dropbox account – View your account
2 Setup required: You haven’t set up your folders yet… – Dropbox folders keeps your files organized across devices

💡 Recovery emails can get low engagement in the inbox which can be a negative deliverability signal for mailbox service providers. 

Protect your domain’s sender reputation and preserve your marketing resources by being choosy about who you’ll send your winback campaigns to and don’t use your primary sending IP (if you have more than one).  

👀 What else can impact your sender reputation? Find the answers in: How to Get a Great Domain Reputation

13. Resell, upsell or cross sell SaaS marketing emails. 

Email messages promoting renewals, adding team members or upgrading to a higher usage tier. 

📧 Design SaaS Canva aims to expand its reach and establish its value by encouraging users to add team members to their account in the post-purchase marketing email pictured below. 

Subject line and preview text: It’s time to make it official 🤝- You’re already collaborating? Why not make it easier? 

Getting more people to sign up and use your software solution is an obvious way to generate growth. 

Inviting your current users to add teammates is a great way to generate stickiness. 

When everyone on the team likes and agrees to use the same tool, it’s more likely they’ll advocate for that tool when it’s time to consider alternative solutions. 

Collaboration is the name of the game in today’s modern workplace. So if your tool helps people work better together, use your email marketing campaigns to promote that like Canva has in the example above and get that upsell!

14. Referral promotion emails.

Whether you call it the modern sales funnel, a sales pipeline, an infinity loop, or the flywheel effect, growth and revenue come when you reduce your customer acquisition costs (CAC) and increase customer lifetime values (CLV). 

Accomplish this ideal by converting your current users and brand fans into a customer acquisition engine. 

Advocacy, through mentioning your brand online, sharing online reviews or testimonials, and making direct referrals, can help your business grow and lower your CAC. 

If you’ve developed a formal referral program, let your users know through email campaigns.

📧Intelligent AI workspace Frame asks users to spread the word with a simple ‘refer a friend’ email. 

Subject line and preview text: 🎁 Share the Frame Experience – Refer a Friend! (Source credit: Email Emu) 

📧 Language learning app Busuu offers a premium for subscribers who refer a friend. 

Subject line: Want 30 days of free Premium access? Refer a friend 💙 (Source credit: Really Good Emails) 

Referral programs tend to work best when both the person referred and the referrer receive a benefit (a double-sided referral). But you can also use a ‘become a promoter’ email marketing campaign to encourage subscribers to join an affiliate or one-sided benefit referral program. 

Brand advocacy is one of several benefits your SaaS business can gain from developing a loyal customer base

Test different rewards with your audience and audience segments or create tiered rewards systems for different user groups to find the perfect cost-to-benefits ratio for your SaaS. 

15. Former user feedback requests

Losing a user doesn’t have to be a total loss if that user happens to be on your email subscription list.  When someone stops using your software or doesn’t purchase after their trial period, send them an email to find out why. Use this information to make improvements. 

📧 Intercom sends a personalized email to non-converting trial users to ask what the customer service SaaS could have done better. 

Subject line: {{First_Name}}, how was your Intercom trial experience? (Source Credit: Email Emu)

SaaS email marketing strategies and best practices for high-performance campaigns

Operating a successful email marketing program involves assembling the right strategy, tools and tactics and making continual improvements. These best practices will help you achieve the best results from your SaaS email marketing campaigns. 

✔ Select a reliable SaaS email provider. 

As a software solutions provider, you already know the benefits of specialization. An email marketing SaaS (a.k.a. email marketing platform) combines the critical functions and features your SaaS company needs to create and distribute effective email campaigns and manage your subscriber list. 

✔ Build your email list with purpose. 

You can’t always control who joins your subscription list but you can use incentives that attract people who are more likely to be interested in your SaaS products. Once someone becomes a subscriber, continue to gather data about them to better identify and segment your best prospects. 

✔ Keep track of your consents and use a preference center to give your subscribers control over their data. 

Data privacy laws are the minimum standard when it comes to respecting subscribers’ rights to control their information. 

Be transparent about your intentions when signing someone up to your subscription list, include a unsubscribe link in every email, and provide your subscribers with an easy way to change the data permissions and communication preferences. 

These practices prevent spam complaints and other reputation-damaging reactions from subscribers who change their minds about receiving your messages. 

✔ Segment your email list using information relevant to your products and marketing objectives. 

Go beyond demographics when building your segments, working with a SaaS email marketing platform that enables you to collect and use behavioral and other contextual data. 

For example, if your SaaS targets B2B buying groups, create segments and customized messaging based on the subscribers role in that group. If your SaaS offers enterprise and individual user solutions, create separate segments for each. 

✔ Clean and update your list data regularly. 

B2B SaaS email lists built using contact’s business email address are particularly vulnerable to attrition or obsolescence. Because every time a contact gets a new job, their email address changes. Avoid sending to invalid emails by scrubbing your email lists regularly. 

✔ Select an objective for each email campaign before you build the email messages.

Skip to the ending when designing and creating your email campaigns. Decide what you want subscribers to do when they receive your email first. Then create the CTA and craft the rest of the email to move your recipient toward that CTA and its objective. 

✔ Integrate your back-end data as well as other sources to create a 360-degree view of each subscriber. 

The zero- and first-party data you gather about subscribers and app users is your path to understanding them and sending hyper-contextual messages that anticipate and meet their needs. 

✔ Use separate IPs to send your SaaS transaction and marketing emails.

Using a different sender and sending IP for emails with different purposes protects the deliverability of your most important messages, your transactional ones. 

Also, having a separate IP for your transactional email messages makes it easier to keep these email flowing to people who are on your marketing email suppression lists. 

✔ Use intelligent automation to improve the timing and content of your email messages. 

SaaS email platform features like individual send time optimization and dynamic content selections keep your email marketing messages relevant and land them in inboxes when they’re most likely to be opened. 

✔ Personalize the content of your emails by adding merge fields or dynamic content blocks to your SaaS email templates. 

Creating a customized email journey for each subscriber can mean adding them to the right segment, sending their message at an individual ideal time or sending them a triggered message for maximum contextuality. 

But to really take it over the top, add personal content to the message’s subject line, preview text and body. Say their name, mention their profession, or make a custom product recommendation. 

Better yet, combine personalized elements for a truly one-of-a-kind message. 

We’ve had the technology to achieve this degree of customization before. New AI-powered tools make it faster and easier. 

✔ Test your email tactics before and during campaigns to always be improving. 

Don’t leave your SaaS email marketing program’s success to chance. 

Use pre-sending predictive analytics, real-time A/B testing and other quantitative assessments to choose the right message for every segment and objective. 

✔ Pay extra attention to your subject lines and preview texts. 

If the email doesn’t get opened, the click-through can’t happen. Give your SaaS email subject line and preview text copywriting extra time, attention and testing to make sure they’re catchy enough to earn opens. 

✔ Never stop looking at the data. 

You should have a SaaS email marketing strategy before you send campaigns. But you don’t have to stick with a strategy that isn’t working. 

Prepare to pivot. 

Monitor external factors affecting your business, your business performance data and your email marketing metrics for signs of disruption. When the markets shift, you need to react with every tool in your kit and that includes your email marketing program. 

Never stop learning and growing

Now that you’ve discovered what SaaS email marketing can do for you and how to optimize your SaaS email marketing campaigns, take your knowledge to the next level with these resources from Ongage: 

🚀 Discover how B2B buyers have changed their approach to shopping for solutions in B2B marketing stats and best practices to drive results in 2024.

🚀 Find out what steps to take to set up your email marketing operations in Ultimate Guide to Setting Up Scalable Email Marketing Operations. 🚀 Get the scoop on how marketers are using generative AI and other AI-augmented tools to power growth in How does generative AI fit into the email martech stack? Start here.

VP of Growth @Ongage
Mark's specialties took companies from launch to profitability through fitting their product to the right market, channel, and model, followed by centering on scaling it. In Ongage, he focuses on developing creative solutions for email marketing challenges. He believes that growth develops as a story, and like with all stories, the heroes need an exciting journey and to wield the right tools to conquer the trials they face.

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