A Quick Guide to e-mail Marketing

May 15, 2020

“Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches — at scale.” — David Newman, Marketing Coach.

As a SaaS marketer, Email is one of the highly recommended channels to interact with your prospects and customers. It’s a proven fact that more than 90% of your customers/prospects check their emails on a daily basis.

So what’s exciting about email as a communication channel?

It’s free and powerful.

Email marketing, when strategized perfectly, can help you retain customers and close more deals. When compared to other marketing channels, emails have the highest conversions, CTR, and ROI.

To formulate a successful email campaign, you need to follow the below-mentioned steps:

  1. Set your goals.

  2. Build your email list.

  3. Choose the type of email campaign

  4. Draft the content.

  5. Send your campaign.

  6. Analyse and refine.

Set your goals

What do you want to achieve from this email campaign?

Answering this question would give you a clear visibility on constructing the email list, choosing the type of campaign, drafting the content, and placing the right Call To Action to boost the conversion rate.

Build your email list

If you already have a list of your existing customers/prospects, you can import them into your campaign management tool.

If not, you need to build a list. There are various approaches to building a qualified list. Here are a few:

  • Fetch the email addresses from the sign-up forms placed across the website.

Mukil Ganesan - SaaS Email Marketing

Signup form — Basecamp

  • Have a form for blog subscription, wherein the user needs to enter only their email address. In this case, the content of the blog posts should be compelling enough for the user to subscribe.

Email Subscription Form — Asana Blog

  • Run offers and discounts on social media, using which you can extract a good volume of email addresses.

These steps would let you build an audience for your email campaigns. You can also segment an email list - Segmentation is breaking your primary email list into several smaller lists for targeted email campaigns.

Choose the right type of email campaign:

Once you’ve set your goals and built your email list, the next step is to choose the right type of campaign. In layman terms, you need to know what your campaign is about. This will help you choose the campaign type.

Types of email marketing campaigns

There are many types of email marketing campaigns tailored for specific goals. These are the popular types of campaigns adapted by  SaaS companies.

1. Welcome Email Campaigns:

Mukil Ganesan - Welcome Emails

Welcome Email — LinkedIn Learning.

A welcome email campaign is a series of emails sent to a user who signs up for your product. These emails can be automated or sent manually by the campaign manager. Most SaaS companies have the welcome email flow fully automated. Welcome emails have a high open rate and majorly contributes to the retention of your newly signed up users.

2. Lead Nurturing Email Campaigns:

Mukil Ganesan - Lead Nurturing Email

Lead Nurturing Email — Strava.

The primary intent of lead nurturing campaigns is to stay connected and develop a relationship with your leads. Personalisation and context is the key to crack a successful lead nurturing campaign. Each email should be carefully crafted to adhere to the interests of your leads. Towards the end of this campaign, the lead scores help you assess the timing to make the perfect sales pitch and win the deal.

3. Newsletter Email Campaigns:

Mukil Ganesan - Newsletter Email Campaign

Weekly Newsletter — Medium

The Newsletter is sent by all companies across various industries. They are usually sent to their entire customer base. The contents of a newsletter would be the recent product updates, promotional offers, press and media mentions, and a gist of the upcoming features. These bulk campaigns can be scheduled to be sent at a particular time or fired right away. Sending out newsletters periodically helps you with customer retention and free-paid subscription conversion.

4. Drip Email Campaigns:

Mukil Ganesan - Drip Email Campaign

A sample drip campaign email flow | Source: Zapier

Drip marketing email campaigns are a series of emails sent automatically to the users in specific timelines. As the name suggests, the emails are dropped based on timelines and criteria. They can be flat emails (or) customized and triggered based on the user’s actions. Most SaaS companies use drip email campaigns for lead nurturing. These are also known as auto-emails or auto-responders. Based on your goals, strategizing a drip email campaign needs a lot of effort and clear planning.

5.Transaction Email Campaigns:

Mukil Ganesan - Transactional Email Campaigns

Transactional Email — LinkedIn Premium Upgrade.

Transactional emails are the ones which are sent to a user because of the activities they perform within the product. A simple example is an order confirmation email you receive when you place an order in e-commerce websites. Generally transactional emails are triggered from within the product by using APIs. Depending on the event/scenario, these emails can also be sent manually.

Now that we have an overview of the types of email campaigns, let’s dive into the content part.

Drafting The Content

Content drives your email marketing activities. Good content converts and bad content frustrates the reader. Let’s see the 5 most important tips you need to follow to draft an email that converts.

1. Have a clear subject line:

Subject lines directly impact your open rates. Know your audience and write a convincing subject line to increase your opens. Ensure that your subject line is aligned with your email body. Research says that a subject line of 60–70 characters works best.

2. Add personalization:

Mention the user’s first name and business name in your emails. Personalize the content in such a way that it directly communicates to the reader. The reader should feel as if you’re talking to her. It’s possible!

3. Keep it short and simple:

Keep the content clear, short, and crisp. Don’t use sophisticated language which is difficult for the reader to follow. The readers would instantly abandon your emails if they’re too lengthy and difficult to read.

4. Maintain the right Context:

Context always matters in marketing communications. Ask yourself a lot of “why” while writing the copy. Context is critical in grabbing the attention of the reader. The right context would ultimately nudge the user to click on your Call To Action (CTA) button.

5. Place a well defined CTA:

Mukil Ganesan - CTA

An email from Crunchbase with a CTA that’s bold and stands out.

Your CTA would be the last but, the most important element of your email. This would determine your email’s conversion rate. The CTA directly informs your reader with the next step she should take. Research well before deciding on your CTA.

Follow these 5 steps and align them in the same line. I bet that you’d create a killer email content.

Sending your email campaign

Your campaigns can be sent directly, or be scheduled. If your target audience is spread out across countries, scheduling your email to their time zone is the best and the most efficient option. Most email campaigns are targeted towards the mid-week. Avoid sending emails on weekends as you might have a less open rate and it’d impact your conversions. There are a lot of studies and research on the best time to shoot your mailers. A detailed post on this is coming soon.

Once you’ve successfully sent your email campaign, get set to analyze the results.

Analysing and refining the campaign

You need to spend ample amount of time on analyzing how your email marketing initiatives have fared. This aids you in refining you’re marketing campaigns. Below are the metrics, and their formula.

1. Open Rate:

Opens/Total mails delivered.

As per an analysis by MailChimp, the average open rate across all industries is 20.81%.

2. Click Rate:

Clicks/Total mails delivered.

The ideal click rate for the software industry is approximately 2%.

3. Conversion Rate:

Conversions/Total mails delivered.

Conversions depend on the goal you set for each campaign.

4. Unsubscribe Rate:

Unsubscriptions/Total mails delivered.

It’s critical that you maintain you’re unsubscribe rate always below 0.5%.

These are the crucial metrics to be tracked for all the email campaigns.

You need to keep a check on your metrics and find the root cause if any anomalies are observed. Refining your marketing campaigns is a continuous process and you need to add it as a part of your email marketing campaign checklist.

What next? Get a paper and pen, start writing down the plan for your first/next email campaign!

Written By - Chameli Kuduva, Founder - SaaS Insider