How to win at SaaS email marketing

All articles | Marketing
Published Oct 16, 2017 | Written by Keith Errington

Despite the hype around social media, messaging apps and other newer forms of marketing communications, email is still an effective marketing channel. Providing your prospects have signed up for it, email still has the power to engage with clients and prospects as well as any other medium.

But like any marketing channel, it’s only valid when you are doing it right. Get email marketing wrong, you run the risk of losing not only prospects, but also your existing customers. Email marketing has great potential to irritate and annoy if is unwanted or unhelpful. There are few things people loathe more than spam. And spam is not just unsolicited emails, it’s any email that wastes the recipient’s time.

Given that both gaining AND retaining customers is crucial to the success of SaaS businesses, how can you ensure you don’t waste people’s time with your SaaS email marketing campaigns?

Getting the sign up right

One of the most critical factors in retaining email subscribers is not surprising them. In other words, don’t over-promise, miss-sell or otherwise mislead when asking them to sign up. The more honest and explicit you can be about what they are getting, the better. If you oversell, and they get an email that does not reflect the hype, then they will feel you have lied to them (you have), and that is no way to start any relationship. Telling them nothing is just as bad, because either it won’t convince them to sign up in the first place, or they will most likely imagine something that your email newsletter isn’t, and when they received it, they will unsubscribe.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sell the sign-up – far from it – just that you need to be clear and honest about the benefits. Make sure you tell what they will be getting, how often, and that they can unsubscribe easily at any time (And make sure the process is simple and works). If people think it will be easy to unsubscribe they are more likely to “give it a go”.

To summarise, a good sign up will:

  • Sell the benefits – realistically
  • Be transparent and honest about the contents and frequency of emails
  • Emphasise the no obligation aspect by highlighting the ability to unsubscribe

Once you have a good process, then make sure you publicise email subscription across all your marketing efforts and in Calls To Action (CTAs) on your website.

The right attitude

When creating the marketing strategy for your emails, it is vitally important you have one thing in mind at all times – the needs of the target market.

Your prospects are looking for a service that makes their working lives easier; saving them time, effort and money. The key to SaaS marketing is demonstrating how your service will make a difference. If it doesn’t do this, it fails. 

Your emails should be, first and foremost, valuable and useful. 

Buyer Personas and Segmentation

You can’t know what your subscribers consider helpful and useful information without a deep understanding of who your subscribers are. This is why the use of Buyer Personas in content marketing is so crucial. It is likely you market to more than one type of customer, or there is more than just one person influencing a decision to buy from you. You therefore need to develop personas for each of them.

Questions to ask are:

  • Do they share common issues?
  • Do they all face the same problems?
  • Do they all need the same content?

The answers to these questions are likely to be no.

A prospect is looking for information about the area they are concerned with, they are looking to understand the options and possibly the process for specifying and implementing a SaaS solution. 

An existing customer has done that; what they need is content that helps them use the service more efficiently, that helps them with their day to day issues.

You can see from this, that you are going to need at least two newsletter to start with. Further analysis of your different buyer personas may well reveal other differences in the type of content that would best serve their needs.

Fortunately, one of the great advantages of email as a medium is the ability to use segmentation to target your subscriber list. It is relatively easy to breakdown your list into sub groups (which may overlap) to reflect their particular content needs. Then you can deliver tailored emails just for those groups.

Article themes and ideas

Given the principle of being useful and helpful, types of articles that can help prospects with their research of solutions, and users with their use of your services are going to be winners. We’ve suggested a whole range of ideas for blog posts – and most of these would also work well as articles in email newsletters. Combine these with the latest news about the industry, best working practices and articles on how to use your systems effectively, and you should have a great range of engaging articles.

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Published by Keith Errington October 16, 2017
Keith Errington