This is not the first time I have discussed email marketing: how it has the highest ROI out of all digital marketing channels, how your SaaS firm can use email marketing to drive sales, and about the open and click-through rates you should anticipate from your sends.
This is a great question. You don’t want to invest hours of effort into something unless you are sure it will work. It makes sense that email works for B2C companies (how many times have you clicked on an Amazon or Netflix email? Probably often enough for you to see why they’re valuable), but you are not sure whether or not email marketing for SaaS firms will have the same results.
That’s because, for SaaS firms, the sales cycle is longer, the service has added complexity, and the advantages of the product may require a relationship, or at least nuance, to communicate.
So, how can SaaS firms succeed at email marketing with all these things in mind?
Let me show you how.
1. Establish Goals
Before deciding whether or not you can be successful at email marketing, you need to examine how you’ll determine success.
Not only will defining your goals help you to determine whether or not what you’re doing is working, it will also help you to tailor your entire strategy accordingly.
Here are some metrics to consider:
- Email performance (open rate, click-through rate) – How well are emails performing? Are they being opened and clicked?
- Website analytics (site visits from email, time spent on pages) – Are emails driving traffic to your website?
- Dollars in Sales – Are emails generating actual sales? You’ll want to look into attribution models, but using last interaction is one easy way to start.
2. Provide Value By Being Consultative
To achieve these goals, you’re going to need to contribute valuable content in your emails. The value of your content is what drives opens, click-through rate to the website, and, ultimately, sales from your email campaigns. The more value you per
This is where things get a little bit murky for SaaS firms. From one perspective, you have years of expertise enabling you to provide value in your email communications.
You’re a SaaS firm which means, by definition, your value lies in your expertise. Of course, you know how to provide value through communication. This raises the question: can you give away valuable expertise in your email without diluting the value of your service?
This can, admittedly, be a difficult balance. I get it. As marketing consultants, we wrestle with this balance as well. If I tell you everything you could ever need to know about email marketing for SaaS firms in this article, will you still require our services?
Here’s what I’ve found, however – it almost always pays to err on the side of providing more value and information, not less. (This is one of our philosophical underpinnings here at New North. You can read about it in more depth here.)
Let’s look at it this way: by distributing some of your expertise, you’re laying the foundation for future sales. You’re giving potential customers tangible evidence that your services actually provide value. In other words, you are letting them take a test drive of sorts.
Let’s say that someone is considering buying from you or from one of your competitors. Your competitor keeps their expertise to themselves, preferring not to lessen the value of their services. You, on the other hand, provide very valuable insights in your newsletter, showcase your expertise, and establish your company as an industry thought leader. Who do you think the potential client is likely to trust – and, ultimately, to buy from?
Probably the company that demonstrates more expertise up front. Hopefully, you.
3. Consistency is Key
If you know what your goals are and seek to meet them by providing valuable content, you’re off to a good start. What’s the next step, then? Consistency.
I love the email that I get every week from Grammarly. Grammarly is a browser plugin that tracks your writing, correcting your spelling and grammatical mistakes before they come back to bite you. Every week, the service sends an email that provide me a statistical analysis of my writing activity over the last week – things like total words written, how many unique words used, and number of mistakes I (almost) made.
Sure, the information in this email is valuable because it helps me to develop my writing, but a significant part of the value also comes from its consistency. If this email were to be sent at random intervals, I would be surprised whenever it turned up, and I likely wouldn’t have a relationship with it. I’d probably delete it to be honest – even if it contained the exact same information.
Because it shows up in my inbox each week, however, I know what to expect, when to expect it, and I look forward to opening and engaging with it.
It sounds simple because it is. Unfortunately, many firms have very inconsistent email campaigns. They’ll try an email newsletter a handful of times, fail to see an overwhelmingly conclusive positive result immediately, and simply stop taking part in email marketing for their SaaS firm. Or, they fall into a pattern of sending sporadically, whenever they get around to it (which is rarely).
The key is to remember that email communication is about developing a relationship with people, and the best relationships are consistent. If you send every few months at random intervals, you aren’t fostering a relationship through email marketing – you’re just randomly shouting at them.
Provide value, and provide it consistently. Your engagement and the return you generate will steadily increase.
4. Work on Your List
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the significance of building and maintaining a robust send list. It doesn’t matter how good your content is, if you’re not sending it to the correct people, you’re wasting your time.
Here are a few tips to creating and utilizing a good email contact list.
- Grow it organically. Please, don’t buy contacts – they are almost never beneficial. Optimize your website for conversions, and send your emails to people who are actually interested in what you have to offer.
- Trim the fat. Yes, I said it. It can be difficult to hit the delete button on contacts – but sometimes it’s needed, especially if you’re using an email service provider that charges per contact (ie Hubspot, MailChimp). If a contact hasn’t opened your last ten emails, then it’s time to admit that they’re not going to open your next one. This will help to increase your credibility as a sender, and it will make sure that you’re getting an accurate read on stats like click-through and open rates.
- Segment your list. The more personalized you can make your communication, the more rewarding it will be, both for you and your customers. What variables matter to your business? Would you speak differently if you were speaking only to an older audience, or to an audience of past customers, or to an audience that opened your newsletter 75% of the time? Segmentation can help you provide more relevant messages that your audience will be more likely to engage with.
So, there it is: four tips for you to successfully use email marketing as a SaaS firm. Now, get out there, share your valuable expertise, and cultivate relationships with potential clients. Put email marketing to work for your SaaS firm.
Want to learn more of the foundation to our approach? Download our ebook, The Expert Ecosystem, for an in-depth look at how sharing your expertise can generate leads.
Are you ready to get started with email marketing? As an email marketing company in Maryland, we love helping clients around the world put this high-ROI channel to use. Get in touch with us online or at 240.575.5887 to find out what your campaign could look like.
Jacob is a digital marketer who takes joy in translating complexity into clarity. He has a passion for helping tech and finance companies connect with their customers. He also has a small cat.