Designing & Writing

SaaS Email Marketing Examples: 8 Ideas to Kick-Start Your Customer-Focused Campaigns

Robert BrandlAlexandra Monica Cote

By Robert & Alexandra

saas email marketing

When it comes to SaaS (Software as a Service) email marketing, there’s one mistake marketers keep making: not focusing on the customer journey.

In the realm of SaaS, success comes from being able to guide customers along their journey – and implementing precise email marketing strategies at the right touchpoint is key.

In this guide, I'll examine eight distinct SaaS email marketing campaigns, strategically tailored to address various stages of the customer journey. Ranging from newsletters engineered to construct communities, to special offer emails designed to deliver genuine delight, I delve into the tactical details of each approach.

I’ll also show you exactly how you can adapt an email marketing strategy you’ve already seen elsewhere to fit your audience.

Let’s dig in!

8 SaaS email marketing campaign examples to consider

1. Newsletters

Newsletters are regular email campaigns that follow the same structure with each campaign. Their goal is mostly to keep subscribers informed, but a well-considered newsletter marketing strategy can also help you build a community and even bring your product in front of a new audience without seeming too salesy.

This Sparktoro newsletter is a perfect example of just that:

sparktoro newsletter

2. Drip campaigns

Drip campaigns (also known as autoresponders) are essentially just automated emails you can send based on a user’s activity, a specific time, or other status changes. Here’s an example from a classic onboarding flow:

envoy email

Check out more automated email examples to inspire your next campaign.

3. Welcome emails

This is one of those emails you simply HAVE to send. The only problem is they tend to be boring, so many users don’t even read them. You can change that by actually offering something valuable like a guide, special offer, or next steps from the first email:

asana example

4. Transactional emails

Transactional emails are super important emails related to a user’s account, like system alerts, purchase confirmations, or customer support inquiry follow-ups. Here’s an example from a SaaS brand using this type of email to share an update to their Terms and Conditions:

whimsical example

Tip: we also have an article on the best transactional email services.

5. Survey emails

Need feedback from your users or subscribers? You can turn to email – but remember to offer a good incentive if you want a lot of customer data.

typeform example

6. Event emails

Webinars, Q&A sessions, and other live events deserve a stand-alone email to make sure you’re getting the invite in front of as many people as possible. Short on time? You can always keep things simple with a personal email:

webinar email example

7. Launch emails

Got a big feature launch? Send email messages just for that. Got smaller features lined up? One email with multiple updates (product-related or not) will work for your email marketing efforts:

twilio example email

8. Special offer emails

It doesn’t have to be Black Friday (like in the example below) to surprise your subscribers. In fact, some of your most successful special offers might be the ones no one expects to get. Stay creative when juggling both the offer you can provide and the timing for it.

proton black friday example

Uniqueness of SaaS email marketing: why it needs different strategies

Briefly put, email marketing can be a powerful growth strategy for a SaaS company that wants to:

  • Remind prospects that your company exists (nicely put in this Tweet by SaaS owner Steve McLeod)
  • Increase customer retention
  • Maintain and improve customer relations
  • Acquire new customers
  • Nurture their leads
  • Deliver a personalized experience to subscribers
  • Provide more value to an existing or target audience
  • Generate more traffic to their website
  • Build credibility and thought leadership in their industry
  • Collect customer feedback and build a community

But while email marketing can help you with ALL of the above, it's important to get things right from the start.

That's because email marketing actually comes in many different forms. Hundreds of strategies can be applied in the process. Plus, there are a couple of “special challenges” that apply to SaaS email marketing and make it so different from other types of email campaigns.

By far the most overlooked aspect is that SaaS email marketing must always focus on the customer journey — from way before the initial trial, through feature adoption, renewals, and upgrades. Each of these stages requires customized messaging focused on the next logical step.

To ensure you can nail this from day one, let's take a look at our four-step process for building a successful SaaS email campaign.

4 steps for a successful SaaS email marketing strategy

Here are the four steps you should cover before you launch your first email campaign for your SaaS brand.

Set the right goals

The classic SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely) framework is very useful in goal setting for a SaaS email campaign. That's because vague goals like wanting to “increase engagement” won't ultimately help you determine if your campaigns are successful.

Start by defining your key email marketing metrics and setting quantifiable targets. For example, you may want to achieve:

• An open rate of 30%

• A click-through rate of 6%

• 50 new webinar registrants

On top of this, you'll want to consider your conversion funnel. That is: what actions you want people to take after they read your emails. These can be anything from downloading an ebook, requesting a demo, purchasing a paid plan, or similar.

But it's super important that you keep one goal per email. That ensures people won't be confused when it comes to deciding what you want them to do next.

By focusing on the right metrics and setting specific, measurable, and achievable goals, you'll be able to optimize your email campaigns over time and determine where you need to improve, to better engage your audience and grow your SaaS business.

Extra note: Revisit your goals regularly and adjust them as needed, based on your results and progress. By analyzing the stats of your previous campaigns, you might notice people aren't responding to emails exactly like you expect them to. For instance, they might be more interested in a resource you added to the email as opposed to the main event you're promoting. You can then make sure to include more of these resources in future emails.

Growing your email list

No matter what your goal is, you simply won’t be able to reach it if you don’t have a strong email list.

One simple email marketing strategy is to make it super easy for people to sign up for your list on your website. Place an opt-in form prominently on your homepage and other high-traffic pages (e.g. articles on your blog). Use a clear call-to-action like “Get our latest tips” or “Join for exclusive offers”.

To boost your chances of converting a visitor or user into a subscriber, you'll want to offer an incentive for people to subscribe. This could be early access to your product, events, a free resource, or access to a beta trial.

Similarly, these exclusive resources can act as a lead generation tool for your email list. Let's take a webinar as an example. You can ask attendees to subscribe to your newsletter to get similar advice and resources in the future.

Keep segmentation in mind

Your emails need to resonate with people.

When growing your email marketing list, segmentation is key to crafting personalized, relevant messages that resonate with your subscribers.

But how does segmentation work for SaaS businesses?

Well, you've got loads of options, and you should create tailored content for all of them.

Basic segments could include:

  • Free users
  • Trial users
  • Basic plan users
  • Premium plan users

Within each segment, you'll also want to look for additional ways to slice the list based on subscriber attributes and behaviors. For free trial users, you could further segment by:

  • Industry
  • Team size
  • Feature usage (even for inactive users)
  • Lifecycle stage

The more finely you can segment your list, the more targeted your emails can be. For example, you could send:

  • Custom onboarding emails that take a Finance team through the exact jobs they have daily
  • Use cases highlighting certain features that mid-size teams would appreciate
  • Renewal reminders for enterprise customers when their plan's terms are nearing their end

Make room for marketing automation

But with so many segments to cater to, it’s important to note you’re not alone. Automating email scheduling ensures you’ll be sending an email to the right user at the right time.

There are millions of automated workflows you can set, but you should always make sure you’ve got the basics covered.

Set up automated emails for common triggers like welcome series, product updates, upselling offers, and even referral campaigns for loyal users.

Some of the best email types to automate are reminders and follow-ups. You can create automated reminders for things like subscriptions that are about to renew, outstanding invoices, or even features your customers are not actively using. This ensures both you and your users won't miss any opportunities.

Finally, remember what we discussed in the segmentation section above. To create a personalized experience, go beyond just pulling in contact details like a first name. You'll want to make sure your emails reflect the lifecycle stage a user's at, to prevent misunderstandings.

Bonus tip: Another core step is choosing the right app to help you with all of this. Specifically, you’ll want to pay attention to their ease of use, essential features, cost, as well as the other nice-to-have features that will make your campaign planning process smoother. We cover these and more in our B2B SaaS email marketing guide.

SaaS email marketing examples: Conclusion

Success in the realm of SaaS lies not just in delivering a product but in expertly guiding customers along their journey – and deploying precise email marketing strategies at the right touchpoints is the key.

Effective SaaS email marketing extends beyond the email itself. It's about crafting a journey that resonates at every pivotal moment in your audience's SaaS experience. Whether you're reminding prospects of your existence, increasing customer retention, or building credibility in your industry, getting things right from the start is crucial.

By exploring these examples, I hope you have some gained insights into how to use email marketing to steer prospects through their journey, and have a solid foundation to kick-start your SaaS email marketing strategy!

If you have any questions or feedback, please let us know in the comments!

The authors

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Robert Brandl

Founder and CEO

Hello! I'm Robert, an email marketing expert with over 15 years of experience. After honing my skills at an agency by serving major corporations, I founded EmailTooltester as a passion project to help small and medium-sized businesses. Connect with me on LinkedIn where I regularly share my best email marketing knowledge.

Alexandra Monica Cote

Content Writer

Hi! 'm Alexandra. I work as a SaaS Growth Marketer helping B2B companies with their organic marketing efforts. I help brands from diverse industries scale their reach and sell more through content, email, and events. At EmailTooltester, I use my experience to help marketers and business owners choose the right solutions for their goals and do email right from day one.

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This article has been written and researched following our EmailTooltester methodology.

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