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Email marketing remains one of the most effective channels for SaaS companies to acquire, engage, and retain customers. However, with inboxes becoming increasingly crowded, standing out requires smart segmentation and personalization. 

This article provides 17 email marketing tips specifically for SaaS companies looking to better understand, serve, and grow their customer base. 

Whether you’re looking to onboard new users, encourage renewals and referrals, or win back churned customers, these actionable tips will help strengthen your email marketing strategy.

Why SaaS Companies Should Leverage Email Marketing

Email marketing platforms deliver an exceptional return on investment for SaaS companies. On average, email generates $42 for every $1 spent, outperforming other channels like social media, search engine marketing, and paid advertising. 

Beyond revenue growth, effective email campaigns lift customer lifetime value by nurturing lasting relationships post-signup. 

Through personalized, value-driven messages, SaaS brands can educate subscribers, encourage engagement, and foster loyalty. 

This cultivates word-of-mouth referrals and upgrades while reducing churn. With email open rates of around 20% and click-through rates of 2-3%, the potential to profit is immense. 

The key is crafting campaigns that resonate with the wants and needs of each subscriber segment. By delivering relevance, SaaS email marketing drives revenue growth while keeping subscribers happy.

1. Build a Subscriber List by Offering Free Trials

Securing email subscribers should begin during the signup process for free trials. This presents the first touchpoint for capturing leads interested enough in your SaaS to test it out.

Make signup frictionless by only requesting essential contact details. 


Once subscribed, deliver a series of onboarding emails educating trial users on key features and capabilities.

Map user behaviors during the trial period to send targeted messages addressing their needs. For example, trigger emails when the adoption of certain features is low to showcase value being left untapped. 

You can also incentivize referrals by offering extended trial lengths or special perks for bringing in colleagues. The goal is driving active usage that convinces leads to your SaaS to solve their pain points, prompting account activations.

2. Segment by Customer Personas

Grouping subscribers by shared characteristics allows for highly targeted, relevant messaging. Start by developing a few core customer personas based on common behaviors, demographics, and interests of your ideal users. 

For example, segment users by role, industry, company size, job function, or usage patterns. From here, customize email content and cadences based on the wants/needs of each segment. 

New users may receive a tailored onboarding sequence while professionals in a certain field could get vertical-specific messaging. Churn risks are sent retention offers whereas loyal power users get VIP perks. 

Regardless of list size, taking a segmented approach makes subscribers feel understood, keeping engagement high. Map personas to lifecycle stages as well so messaging evolves appropriately alongside the user journey.

3. Ensure Mobile Responsiveness

With the majority of emails being opened on mobile devices, an optimized experience is non-negotiable. Start by using a responsive email template accounting for everything from smaller screens to touch-enabled navigation. 

  • Always preview sends across various devices to identify rendering issues. Subscribers who feel frustrated by poor mobile readability are less likely to thoroughly engage. 
  • Pack critical information at the top while cutting unnecessary visuals that hamper load times. 
  • Keep call-to-action buttons large enough for easy tapping without cramming too much content. 

Responsiveness also extends to timing; make sure campaigns are sent at hours aligned with the usage habits of each subscriber segment. By tailoring email aesthetics and delivery to on-the-go access, SaaS brands demonstrate an understanding of customer needs.

4. Personalize Content Based on Usage Data

Leveraging usage data takes relevance to the next level by enabling personalized recommendations and offers. 

Track behaviors like feature adoption across subscriber segments to shape messaging accordingly. 

For example, recognize VIPs signing into software infrequently with tips on maximizing their purchase value. Or detect commonly-abandoned workflows to create troubleshooting guides helping strugglers overcome obstacles.

Usage metrics also inform opportunities to upsell plan upgrades, complementary modules, or premium support packages. Match these commercial messages to the needs and spending potential of each subscriber as indicated by their usage patterns. 

Personalized subject lines with specifics on viewed/neglected features help compel opens. While automation scales this level of personalization, manual checks ensure appropriate recommendations based on complex usage histories.

5. A/B Test Subject Lines

With inboxes more crowded than ever, a compelling subject grabs attention and drives open. Subject line optimization starts by testing variations that speak to the desires of each subscriber segment.

For example, VIP users may be more likely to open exclusivity-focused subject lines whereas new users respond better to learning opportunities.

Set up A/B tests pitting multiple subject lines against each other to determine the optimal performer. Experiment with emotional triggers like curiosity, urgency, and exclusivity tailored to personas. 

Throw in specifics like personalized benefits, limited-time offers, or negative consequences of ignoring the message. 

Just ensure the copy aligns with email content and avoid deceiving subscribers with exaggerated claims. Interpret open and click rates to double down on subjects resonating best across segments for superior deliverability, and keep in mind the recommended lengths for subject lines according to industry statistics to optimize your read rates. 


6. Cross-Promote Through Social Media

Email subscribers typically engage across multiple touchpoints with brands they love. This makes social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook prime opportunities for cross-promotion. 

Every email marketing campaign should highlight email exclusives through posts or Stories driving potential subscribers to your signup page. 

For example, leverage targeted ads on Facebook touting unlocked webinars for leads fitting subscriber personas.

You can also share snippets or images from campaign emails across business profiles. Get creative with eye-catching graphics and quick video explainers conveying value propositions. 

Encouraging social followers to access full feature stories or upgrade deals via email nurtures inbound lead generation. 

Just maintain brand consistency with matching color schemes/messaging, and consider repurposing content later to maximize cross-platform mileage. Cross-promotion enlarges your circle of influence while increasing email visibility.

7. Welcome New Users with Onboarding Emails

The moments after a new user signs up are critical for driving initial product value. Welcome subscribers by immediately delivering an onboarding email sequence introducing key features or modules. 

For example, break down the interface and navigation or provide setup checklists guiding the first steps. Early education via email reduces confusion stemming from unfamiliar workflows.

Onboarding sequences should map to user lifecycles as well, with developers receiving technical guides while business executives get ROI forecasting models. Tailor content matching personas for relevance. 

Encourage feature adoption with in-app messaging linking to email resources or support channels. User onboarding sets the foundation for ongoing loyalty by ensuring subscribers can utilize purchased software. Follow up post-sequence with satisfaction surveys or account review session offers to reinforce retention.

8. Provide Timely Educational Content

Email subscribers invest in your SaaS expecting ongoing value beyond the initial sale. Deliver by regularly sharing educational content keeping users informed. 

For example, send monthly product update emails announcing newly launched features with links to explore in-app. Or compile release notes, best practices guides, and trend reports by vertical for developing expert users.

Curating a content library for self-service also reduces customer support burdens. 

Take timely inspiration from annual events or changes impacting subscribers with contextual resources. Examples include quarterly planning materials, workshop invites, or compliance document templates. 

Work education into lifecycle email flows as users progress through the learning curve. Whether upskilling clients or simply showcasing full solution potential, education builds skills and trust fueling loyalty and retention over time.

9. Automate Upsell/Cross-sell Flows

Lifetime customer value relies heavily on driving additional purchases post-signup. Automated email sequences educate subscribers on premium offerings suited for their user segment once the adoption of base software takes hold. 

For example, recognize VIP purchasers of a reporting module with content showcasing advanced analytics capabilities under higher plan tiers. Or promote webinars to niche industry users highlighting specialized complementary apps.

Timing is key when introducing upgrades or add-ons. 

  • Let sufficient time pass for primary features to demonstrate ROI before interjecting new packages into messaging flows. 
  • Personalize subject lines and copy with specifics on currently unused capabilities within close reach. 
  • Incentivize desired actions like free trials of premium plans or percentage discounts applied automatically at checkout. 

Just ensure transition relevance and avoid aggressive sales tones unaligned with the lifecycle stage. Automated flows politely nudge subscribers down paths to higher conversions over the long term.

10. Track Engagement Rates Across Campaigns

Understanding email campaign performance requires monitoring key engagement metrics. 


Track open and click-through rates by segment to pinpoint interest levels in sent content. 

Compare these to past sends and industry benchmarks to quantify relatability. Also tie campaign success to conversions by tracking demo signups, purchases for promoted products, or survey participation.

A deeper analysis might connect engagement rate lift to factors like seasonal timing, personalized elements, or changed segmentation. 

Consider surveyed feedback as well to identify subpar content missing the mark for subscribers. Ultimately, optimization relies on engagement insights indicating where your messaging resonates or falls flat. 

To measure impact over time, track subscriber lifetime value progression in response to transformed email strategies. Refine based on data demonstrating engagement drivers unique to each customer demographic.

11. Survey Customers for Feedback

Even the most analytical brands cannot decipher all the “whys” behind email performance trends. 

Surveying users bridge insight gaps to improve relevance in segments missing the mark. 

  • Keep questions brief using simple scaled ratings on interest levels regarding sent content. 
  • Ask which kinds of messages or product features resonate most with subscriber workloads.
  • Provide open comment fields as well for qualitative suggestions on everything from cadence changes to educational pieces desired. 
  • Incentivize survey completion by offering special guide access, discount codes on future purchases, or premium newsletter subscriptions to cultivated top advocates. 

User feedback identifies evolving preferences so you can continually realign campaign strategies. Sometimes subscribers simply want to feel heard by brands they invest in for the long haul. Surveys give a voice to guide refinements.

12. Spotlight Customer Success Stories

Satisfied clients make ideal brand ambassadors through credible testimonials aligned with subscriber pains. 

Feature their success stories in newsletters or as dedicated email campaigns sent to lookalike targets. 

For example, spotlight a niche industry service provider conveying measurable ROI since adopting your SaaS solution. Share behind-the-scenes implementation photographs bringing visual authenticity alongside numbered metrics demonstrating hard value.

Consider co-creating hybrid testimonial/educational emails as well. Allow integration experts from spotlighted organizations to co-author guides, blog-style thought pieces, or video explainers on leveraging workflows now powering their operations. 

This lends third-party validation while showcasing diverse applications across customer segments, building authority and trust simultaneously. when users hear from peers who have achieved results they aspire towards, messaging resonates at a deeper level, nurturing conversions.

13. Reward Loyal Customers

Recognizing committed long-term subscribers cultivates loyalty even as company growth opens access to a mainstream audience. Identify VIP user segments showing tenure, high renewal rates, and frequent product usage. 

Spotlight their loyalty status by assigning badge icons visible in account profiles and email communication. Provide exclusive early access to new solution features or upgraded support packages.

Send customized surveys to gauge desired reward benefits. Perks might include extensions to existing contracts at discounted rates, credits towards future add-on purchases, or complimentary access to annual events/webinars. 

High-value promoters expect priority treatment in exchange for implicitly marketing their brand to peers. Custom incentives should shift over time as new products launch. The goal is to convey lasting appreciation through privileges unavailable to standard subscribers. Loyalty programs incentivize partnerships spanning the entirety of customer lifecycles.

14. Target Inactive Users for Re-engagement

Every subscriber base inevitably sees segments falling inactive over time despite quality content. 

  • Identify at-risk users showing reduced open rates or low platform logins for extended periods. 
  • Craft a personalized email checking in and lightly probing around pain points causing diminished engagement. 
  • Ask if the current software still fully aligns with business goals or offer friendly account renewal reminders if closing on cancellation.
  • Follow up passive response with more urgent calls-to-action incentivizing reactivation. 

For example, share free trial links guiding access to newly launched capabilities matching their niche or timed discount codes on premium support packages. 

The goal is to spark renewed interest and reverse downward engagement trends before the point of no returns. Maintain a persistent yet polite tone across lifecycle outreach mapping to user backgrounds. Proactively pulling inactive subscribers back into the fold bolsters retention.

15. Send New Feature/Update Announcements

Keep usage fresh and prevent subscriber churn by continuously enhancing platform capabilities. Announce notable new features through dedicated launch emails with compelling subject lines like “Just Launched: AI-Powered Analytics” for attention-grabbing specificity. 

Outline capability scope including usage examples, positioning the enhancement as user-friendly and effective at solving their unique pain points.

Follow feature-release emails with tip sheets or best practice guides educating clients on adoption. Sending regular software update notifications also reassures customers regarding progress despite not necessarily introducing splashy capabilities. 

Share developer release notes or maintenance summaries so users feel listened to as past bugs receive fixes. New addition or general upkeep emails demonstrate consistent product improvement winning long-term subscriber loyalty, especially when aligned to user needs.

16. Analyze Performance Metrics to Improve

The backbone enabling ongoing optimization is digging into analytical insights around email effectiveness. Review open, click-through, and conversion rates for both individual sends and overall trends tied to specific segments. 

Look for patterns around high-level engagement signals. 

For example: 

  • Which subscriber cohorts open at above-average rates? 
  • When have double-digit CTR uplifts occurred for niche communities?

Connect dots between periods of strong performance, personalized content, positively rated features, and past survey feedback.

Isolate weaker points as well, such as specific segments ignoring sends or add-on promotion posts seeing unusually low POS conversions. Consider multivariate testing around timing, formatting, and subject lines when diagnoses prove unclear. 

The goal is to learn subscriber preferences, pinpoint strengths, and quickly resolve lags. Let data guide email strategy, tying changes to measurable lifts in loyalty and revenue KPIs over time.

17. Focus on Delivering Value, Not Pitching

The core of effective lifecycle messaging provides ongoing value aligning with evolving subscriber needs. 

Lead with educational articles, how-to content, trend reports, or platform announcements over promotional offers—even within automated flows. Hard selling erodes trust and feels tone-deaf to where users are in their journeys while value demonstrates listener-first prioritization.

For example, share access to an expert webinar helping struggling users master existing capabilities before pitching premium upsells. 

Take cues from support ticket themes and usage data revealing pain points to address through proactive problem-solving outreach. 

While commercial messages have their place post-purchase, balance with ungated value exchange earns loyalty across subscriber lifecycles. Avoiding hard sells until users signal a desire for upgrades conveys customer-centricity. In SaaS, the product should sell itself when properly supported.

Email marketing remains the most effective channel for SaaS brands to engage customers across the entire lifecycle. 

By taking a targeted, personalized approach from acquisition to retention campaigns, your messages will resonate at each subscriber touchpoint. Prioritize mobile optimization, user education, and loyalty rewards to stand out in crowded inboxes. 

Ultimately, keep content focused on delivering value aligned to evolving user needs and your email program will drive growth through heightened lifetime engagement.

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