SaaS, meet email marketing strategy. Email marketing strategy, SaaS.

Let’s break down the six types of emails your SaaS company’s email marketing program should include as part of its email marketing strategy. While this might seem extensive, it still doesn’t include the transactional emails you should be sending out. More to the point, remember that customer journeys can be long and that your customers can find themselves wandering astray from the marked road at any time.


The best way to keep your customers walking along the journey you want them to go on is to communicate with your customers – and that means sending the right email to the right person at the right time.


Let’s dive in!




Nurture Workflow

What is a nurture workflow?

A nurture workflow is a sequence of emails you send to a segment of your audience in order to, well, nurture your relationship with that segment. If your SaaS company depends on the conversions of people who originally try your product during a free trial period, you’ll want to do everything within your power to make the people currently taking your SaaS product out for a test run more likely to convert in the long-run.



Why do SaaS companies need to send nurture workflow emails?

You want to nurture your relationship with prospects until they’ve either fallen so deeply in love with the utility of your product OR with the experience your brand provides that their choice to convert into a paying customer becomes a no-brainer. Let’s say you simply give people thirty days to play around in your SaaS product’s sandbox. You don’t contact the testers even once. They might feel a little lonely as they explore all the features and benefits your software offers. But if you email them with little nudges towards the best uses of your SaaS? That’s a better experience – and it might even be one worth paying for.



How do I implement this sequence?

Decide how many emails you want to send your prospects over their trial period. Depending on the complexity of your product, I’d recommend anywhere between four and twelve. Send emails with helpful tips on how to make the best use of your product. Send emails with customer testimonials proving that real humans have indeed benefited from using your SaaS. Set your email sequence up as a drip campaign within your ESP of choice and send it to the segment of your audience that contains users still within their free trial period.




Onboarding Workflow

What is an onboarding workflow?

Congratulations! You’ve converted someone who took advantage of the free trial into a paying customer. Now, you should onboard them. An onboarding workflow is a sequence of emails you send to new customers (for the sake of this post, let’s differentiate customers – as in people who pay you – from prospects, who are merely trying your SaaS offering out during a free trial.)



Why do SaaS companies need to send onboarding emails?

Your customers should feel welcomed into the community of users of your SaaS product. It’s in your company’s best interest to make the people who’ve made a financial investment in your offering feel as if the money was well-spent. An onboarding workflow helps SaaS users make a smooth transition from testers into paying customers. This is your organization’s chance to communicate the value of being a paying customer to the people who financially support your product. 


How do I implement an onboarding sequence?

Write and design a series of emails that highlight the specific features of your SaaS that are only available to paying customers. Set up these emails as a drip campaign within your ESP. Trigger the first send based on the date of conversion from tester to customer. I’d recommend using three to four emails in this series.




Newsletter (Weekly, monthly, maybe bi-monthly, but almost certainly not daily)

What is an email newsletter?

An email newsletter is a message you send at a regular interval to those who have opted in to receive your message over email. Email newsletters are great places to round up all of your SaaS company’s news and updates that could be considered notable, but probably don’t merit an email to your entire list on their own. A typical email newsletter might contain links to new or updated blog posts, news about new hires, etc.


Why should SaaS companies send email newsletters?

If you want to promote company publications like blog posts, explainer videos, or white papers over email, a newsletter is your best option. Your audience very well might get annoyed if you send out an email every single time you publish anything whatsoever. Additionally, it’s a great way to make sure your brand stays top of mind – if your subscribers expect to hear from you twice a month and then you follow through, you’re creating consistent and wanted communication. That’s a good thing!


How do I implement an email newsletter?

When people register on your website to use your SaaS offering, offer them the opportunity to opt-in to your newsletter. State how often you’ll be emailing at the time of opt-in – no one likes signing up for a monthly newsletter and then finding their inbox cluttered on a daily basis with newsletters from the same company. Pick a schedule, design a template you can easily reuse (again, consistency is a good thing!), and send out your updates as promised.




Important Announcements

What is an announcement email?

If something so important comes up that it simply can’t wait for your weekly / monthly / definitely-not-daily newsletter, you can send out a one-off email announcement to your email audience. The difference between this sort of email and your garden-variety newsletter is the urgency of the news. If you’re sending out an email like this ahead of your regularly scheduled newsletter, it means the news is so important that anyone using your SaaS product should be informed immediately.


When would my SaaS company need to send out an announcement email?

Let’s say you’re rolling out a new feature that’s going to take your SaaS to the next level in terms of usefulness. Alternatively, let’s say you’re rolling out a new feature that will only be worth the time and funds it took to develop if most of your customers start using that feature immediately. In that case, you’ll want to alert your user base to the new feature’s existence immediately.


Another use case might be if your SaaS platform goes offline for a while suddenly, but you know you’ll be able to fix it within a few hours. You’d want to tell your customers there was no cause for concern, right?


How do I implement announcement emails?

Create a campaign in your ESP. Send the campaign to as many people as you reasonably think you have permission to email. Pat yourself on the back for being so communicative.



Anti-Churn Emails

What is an anti-churn email? 

Customer churn is a metric that refers to the portion of your customer base that decides to stop using your SaaS product at some point during a given time period. While you’ll want to stay aware of this metric at all times, you’ll also want to keep the number as low as possible. Losing customers is bad, m’kay?


Why does my SaaS company need to send anti-churn emails?

If there are signs that a customer is about to fall victim to the churn monster, you need to reach out to that customer and see if there’s anything you or your company can do to keep them as a paying customer. Without intervention, you very well might lose a customer – and that’s a bad habit to get into.


How do I implement anti-churn emails?

There are a number of tools, like Mixpanel, that allow SaaS companies to monitor user analytics. You can integrate these tools with certain (but not all) ESPs. When your user analytics tool suggests that a customer is at risk of churn, that’s the time to send a note. Set up an email automation triggered by the sign of upcoming churn you find most telling – perhaps an extreme drop-off in app usage. Your email copy should focus on asking your customer how you can improve their experience.




Milestone Emails

What is a milestone email?

Milestone emails refer to emails sent when your customer or prospect has reached some sort of achievement within your SaaS product. Perhaps they’ve used your platform every day for the past week. Perhaps they’ve used your SaaS product to accomplish something really nifty. Either way, it would be polite of you to send your friend a note of congratulations at this point!


Why would my SaaS company need to send milestone emails?

Milestone emails are a great way to remind your customers of exactly how much value they’re getting out of using your SaaS product. Additionally, they’re a nice way to make sure your customers are having a positive experience with the brand itself. Grammarly does a particularly swell job of implementing milestone emails – their weekly updates are a handy reminder of how poor all of our writing would be without their product


How do I implement milestone emails?

Again, use your Mixpanel or Mixpanel-adjacent tool to identify when a customer has reached a milestone in their usage of your SaaS product. Assuming you have your ESP integrated with that tool, you’ll be able to set up an email automation triggered by the milestone action. Send a friendly email congratulating your customer on how far they’ve come!




Summing Up

I know, I know: this seems like a lot of different emails to send. I’m not going to lie – it will be a ton of work. However, having a solid email marketing program in place helps ensure your customers are receiving the information they need from you at all times. That leads to happy customers, which leads to a profitable you.

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