As SaaS businesses start to gain customers, email marketing is something they'll need to look at in a lot more detail in the coming months.
First of all, we need to define what email marketing is and why it’s so important for SaaS companies that want to consolidate their growth.
What is e-mail marketing?
In a nutshell, SaaS email marketing is the process of promoting a SaaS business through email platforms. This allows you to reach potential customers at each step in their customer journey. You can be in contact with them via email, integrating with email services like Mailchimp, Mandrill, and Sendgrid, which are all commonly used in this field.
Understand your pirate metrics first (AARRR )
This stands for: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue and Referral. This is a useful model to categorize your metrics according to the customer lifecycle and help you identify how you can improve your email marketing campaigns.
What is it that drives your customers to sign up for your products/services? How can you increase the number of sign-ups and achieve consistent growth in the long term?
How many of your users will get the value promised out of your product/service? Work the percentage of activated users out of all of your acquired users.
How many of those acquisitions have led to retention? What percentage of your acquired customers are still subscribed to your product after six months, and so on?
What is the value of each customer account, on average? How can you increase this?
How many of your users refer other people to your products/services? Work out what percentage of all users do this. How can you increase that percentage?
Nail your onboarding sequences and welcome emails
Onboarding plays a big role in determining your customer churn and retention rates. Executed well, it can help you increase your number of lifetime customers and email engagement rate.
Create an amazing first impression with your welcome email
This may be the most important email you'll ever have to write to your customers.
The welcome email is your chance to strike a longstanding business relationship. It can have very high open rates - often as much as 50%, which means it is significantly more effective than a newsletter.
However, don't just think that one welcome email is enough!
To supercharge your e-mail marketing and leverage your product metrics, plan on creating a series of welcome emails in which you will gradually introduce your customers to the following:
- Free resources and ideas to help them get familiar with your product/service features
- Simple facts on the core benefits of your products/services
- Special offers and discounts on upgrades
Now, speaking of upgrades, that takes us to another important topic:
Using your email marketing to upsell
Congratulations! You’ve earned a loyal customer. The welcome emails paid off.
Now, it’s likely this new customer has a business they want to grow, which is why they’ve chosen to invest in your SaaS product/service.
Over time, however, they may require:
- More services
- More support
- More flexibility
And so on…
That creates a ripe opportunity for you to upsell and promote your business’s premium services.
It’s also possible that the customer has underestimated what they need and would be better off with one of your premium products. If they are using all of your product features consistently and at a very high volume (i.e. often ‘maxing out’ on your services, like memory storage), this is a clear indication that they may need to upgrade.
Here are other appropriate scenarios for upselling:
When your customer has reached the end of their subscription contract
- Give them the option of continuing with the same subscription or upgrading to a better plan, clearly outlining how the latter will benefit their business and support its growth.
After your customer buys something
- Is there anything else your customer might need? Extra storage space? 24-hour support instead of business hours only? (think of this as the ‘would you like fries with that as well?’ method)
When launching a new product/service
- Let your customer be the first to know about a fancy upgrade or a new product they might benefit from.
But what about customers with low activity?
Your email marketing shouldn’t just focus on customers with active accounts. Supercharging your marketing - and leveraging your products - depends on interacting with those customers who aren’t engaging with your products as much as they could and should.
These engagement emails can help you reduce your customer churn rate and boost your customer satisfaction rates.
How to send surveys to find out how satisfied your users are
Remember that surveys are supposed to help you gain deeper insights into your customers, so make it as easy as possible for them to give that valuable feedback. This is particularly important for customers with less-active accounts, who might be unhappy with the service even if they haven’t given you any feedback yet.
Don’t expect customers to trawl through paragraphs of text just to click on a number from 1 to 10 asking them how satisfied they were with your product/service.
Likewise, don't expect them to answer 50 questions in one e-mail!
Keep it simple. Make it as convenient and as effortless as possible for your customers to give as much feedback as time will permit.
Send surveys to your customers once in a while
Find out how satisfied they really are with your company. Is there something they’re not happy with or just not benefiting from?
The more feedback you get, the better equipped you are to resolve any issues, improve your renewal rate, and decrease your churn rate.
Only email your subscribers when you really need to
Mailchimp stresses that companies shouldn't abuse the trust that subscribers have instilled in you when they've chosen to share their email addresses with you.
Sending too many emails is a quick route to failure, as many of your customers will unsubscribe. However, sending emails that are superfluous and not relevant to your customers’ interests or concerns will also cost you a lot of subscribers. Instead, focus on building a conversation with your customers.
Here are some final ideas on topics that you could discuss in a weekly email:
- An exciting new upgrade to one of your products/services
- A message of assurance following a highly publicized cyber-security breach at another SaaS provider
- A customer feedback survey (but not every week!)