The Ultimate SaaS Email Marketing Guide

Untitled design-52

Everything You Need to Maximise Email ROI

Email marketing is a core component of most marketing strategies. And this is particularly true for B2B SaaS businesses.

Due to their characteristically long sales cycle, multiple touch-points are often required in order to acquire a customer. And more education is needed in the customer journey.

As a result, SaaS marketers tend to lean heavily on less expensive channels like email and social to increase the number of touch points in a scalable way. And ultimately, accelerate the progression of a lead down the funnel.

In this meaty SaaS email guide, we run through what SaaS email marketing is, how to build an effective strategy for it, examples of SaaS email done well, and tools and software to help you get the most out of this powerful channel.

Sit back, relax and prepare to soak up some email marketing wisdom.

What is SaaS email marketing?

SaaS email marketing is a term that essentially refers to the use of email as a marketing channel for a SaaS company. SaaS standing for “Software as a Service.”

SaaS email can be leveraged to achieve various marketing goals like, increased customer engagement, lead generation, brand awareness and conversion generation.

It can also encompass a whole host of email marketing tactics and types, such as:

  • email blasts
  • nurture
  • newsletters
  • surveys
  • feedback
  • new feature introductions

When leveraged effectively and invested in generously, email marketing for SaaS can be an incredibly powerful marketing channel.

Building an exceptional SaaS email marketing strategy

Now that we’ve covered what SaaS marketing email is, it’s time to run through how you can build an effective email strategy for your own business. One that engages both new prospects, and existing customers.

As the output here definitely won’t be the same for every business, we’d recommend you follow all of the steps we outline by inputting your own specific goals, objectives, targets and audience.

After all, the key to successful SaaS email marketing campaigns is specificity and personalisation.

Let’s run through the main steps.

Understand your audience

The first step in building any successful SaaS channel strategy is understanding your audience.

This means having access to or creating fully fleshed-out and accurate personas. Ensure you include who they are, who they work for, what they’re interested in, what they are struggling with and how they prefer to be communicated with.

Once you have a firm, in-depth understanding of who you want to target with email and what they care about, devising the rest of your email marketing strategy will be 10x easier.

That’s because your audience should inform and drive every element of your strategy: from brainstorming and planning to execution and reporting. And it should impact everything from the tone you use to the copy you build out to the visuals, offers and lists.

Set your goals

After understanding your audience, the second most important step in building your email strategy build is sitting down and outlining your goals.

Ask yourself, “Why do I want to use email as a channel?” “What do I want to get out of it?” “What do I want to achieve at each funnel stage?” “Can I measure results for each of these goals effectively?” “How does email fit into my broader SaaS marketing strategy?” “Will my audience respond positively to the emails I’m sending?”

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re in a much better position to shape your strategy. It’s important to check yourself before you tick off this step though – “Are each of your answers consistent and coherent?” If you don’t have a goal for each funnel stage or a goal and a funnel stage don’t align, you need to take a step back.

For example, your goal for mid-funnel email activity might be to generate leads. But if you’re planning to run a newsletter campaign filled with company updates, and no solid CTAs, you’re probably not setting yourself up to achieve this goal.

Do some tweaking and reshuffling to ensure synchronicity here. Your goal setting is one of the most influential levers you can play with.

Choose your email marketing metrics

While goals are important, they don’t mean much if they aren’t attached to concrete metrics. If there’s no way to measure the success of your emails, then gauging impact of your efforts and capturing results is difficult.

We’d recommend you choose 1-3 metrics per email campaign per funnel stage, monitor them and then report and mine insights from them.

For example, you might look at email opens and website visits as the primary metrics for TOFU, clicks and engagementfor MOFU and button clicks and conversions for BOFU. The specific choices are up to you – the important part is to stick to them and continue to check in with them.

Note – you can always change focus if certain metrics aren’t working for you. So don’t feel like you’re chained to them, and can’t pivot later. It’s all a learning curve.

Cover all funnel stages

Funnel stages have been mentioned in all of the points above, and you want to make sure that your email marketing succeeds, it needs to encompass every stage. This means having an approach tailored to top, middle, and bottom-funnel objectives.

For example, for the top-funnel, you might send out a newsletter with the goal being brand awareness

For mid-funnel, you might send out an industry checklist for people to engage with the goal being lead generation.

For bottom-funnel, you might encourage prospects to read a case study or sign up for a limited-time free trial offer.

Regardless of the specifics you want to be leveraging email at all points along the customer journey.

Mix up your email types

Our fifth step is to get a grip of the main types of emails, and understand how you can leverage some (or all) of them purposefully in your strategy. Different funnel stages, offers, and audiences require different choices in terms of format.

  • Blast
  • Newsletter
  • Nurture
  • Follow-up
  • Survey
  • Feedback

For a top funnel educational email, you might want to run a monthly newsletter that updates your database on daily activity of your company (and boosts visibility and recognition).

Mid-funnel, you might run regular blast emails to a targeted list, prompting them to download a new piece of content related to one of their pain points.

Bottom-funnel, you might run a nurture campaign to follow up prospects who have downloaded a mid-funnel content piece, and offer them a free trial or demo of your SaaS Product.

The idea here is to find the perfect marriage between the email type you choose and your funnel stage, audience and offer. Trust us – this is not just one you can leave unticked!

Don’t look at email in a vacuum!

Finally, when deciding on your email strategy, you want to ensure you’re not looking at this channel in a vacuum. Consider how email marketing will fit into your broader marketing strategy. And how it might be used strategically to supplement and enhance other channels.

Suppose you’re running a lead generation campaign on Facebook promoting an asset. This is a great opportunity to set up an automatic follow-up email that provides prospects with the asset and a follow-up offer.

With this email approach, you can get the most juice out of your social spend, by creating another touchpoint with your prospect & potentially shifting them further down the funnel, without spending money.

Or if you’re running a Google Ads campaign, promoting a limited-time seasonal offer, you might want to pair that with an email to your existing database about the same offer. This way you’re able to amplify and extend the reach, without spending more money.

Our advice is to constantly be on the look out for opportunities. If there’s a way you might be able to use email to level up any aspect of your marketing, do it!

Put it on paper

Once you have all of your SaaS email marketing strategies mapped out in your head, it’s time to put them down on paper (digitally).

This is the best way to ensure that you (and your team) don’t stray from your initial strategy and goals. And continue to stay focused on the overall objective.

We’d recommend using a mind-mapping tool like Miro, a powerpoint presentation or even a basic excel spreadsheet – whatever works for you!

They key is no to worry too much about being wedded to what you put down initially. There’s always the opportunity to optimise and pivot your strategy at any time based on data you see coming through.

The most important part is that having a record of your strategy is essential to seeing results.

Access fresh SaaS email marketing tips

Now that we’ve looked at how to build a SaaS marketing strategy for your own company and use it to acquire paying customers, it’s time to look at some quick-fire tips that’ll keep your emails spicy.

You can use these to start padding out and levelling up your email marketing strategy. Just take a spoon and gobble them up!

Utilise email marketing software

One of the tips we’d recommend for your strategy is to choose an email marketing platform to help you with your campaigns. Why do we think this is necessary?

It’s the best way to enhance the efficiency and speed of your efforts. Plus, it makes email marketing way much more enjoyable for you!

Luckily, there are hundreds of email tools and platforms that satisfy a bunch of different needs and requirements. In the following section (“Email Marketing Software and Tools”), we cover some of the software choices we’d recommend you invest in.

Optimise your subject lines

Your subject lines are the window dressing to your email. If you want people to check it out, your subject line needs to be persuasive and top-notch.

The approach you take depends greatly on your goals and audience. But, your ultimate objective here is to convince the recipient of the value your email will give them. And to get them to read it. Whether your approach is baked in emotion or hard facts and statistics, it doesn’t matter.

We’d recommend including some element of personalisation in every email. First name or company name are our favourites, and pair this with a short, succinct phrase that endears or intrigues your reader.

You could opt for a compelling statistic or snippet from the email, an insight into the offer promoted or a possible benefit the reader will get from reading the email. The options are endless.

Regardless of what you choose to focus on in your subject line, an A/B test can never hurt! Get some data, see what resonates most and fold this into your next email campaign.

Dip your toe in strategic segmentation

Segmentation is absolutely vital to any successful email marketing strategy. Your communications need to be customised to specific groups of people in your database – whether it be by stage of the customer journey, geography, behaviour, job function, industry or seniority – in order to be relevant and effective.

See which segments are highest value for you, and start there. Segmenting your email lists may take some time and thought, but it will be worth it when you see the impact on your open and click rates. Enough contemplating, get segmenting!

Personalise (beyond the subject line)

Everyone knows that without personalisation, it’s difficult to build an email that resonates in 2023. Adding a personalisation token into your subject line is important (we don’t underestimate the power!) but you need to be going a step further if you want to stand out with your audience.

Try to include specific details about the recipient’s industry, job function and company name throughout the body text and potentially even in the design. Connect this to the offer or topic presented in the email and make it clear how it helps them specifically. Personalisation done well can really help you cut through and win the connection game.

Set up automated email sequences

If you’re running any multi-step email campaigns (and you definitely should be) or nurture emails off the back of content pieces on social media – you want to make sure you automate!

This will save you a bunch of valuable time and resources. Once you’ve chosen an email marketing platform, setting up automated email sequences is easy peasy. Simply pick the trigger, choose your emails and conditions, and voila!

Test interactive or dynamic elements

Another tip to try if you want to boost your email marketing results is including something interactive. This could mean adding a quiz, poll or survey to your email or potentially a video, carousel or meme. Anything that encourages recipient engagement is worth testing – the options here to mix things up are long and diverse.

Make sure to A/B test

As with all marketing strategies and tactics, a lot of finding success comes down to rigorous and consistent testing. Email is no different.

We’d recommend testing 1 element on every email you send out whether it be your subject line, chosen offer, design approach, copy angle or personalisation choices. The more data you can accumulate on what works – the better your email marketing strategy will be down the line.

Innovative SaaS email marketing examples

Now that you’ve seen what goes into an exceptional SaaS email marketing strategy, it’s time for us to look at a few examples. Hopefully these will inspire you to bring some ingenuity to your own.

If you’re hungry to check out more examples e than we’ve offered, please check out our full, comprehensive list of SaaS email marketing examples.


Wistia‘s welcome email is A++. From a design perspective, it’s simple and warm. However, it’s the structure of the copy and the feeling generated by it that make it stand out on the page. Why? It’s a poem. 

In the world of professional, often sterile corporate emails – this one certainly stands out. It covers all the main questions readers may want to know; however, it does so in a surprisingly unique and engaging way. 

While this more whimsical, creative approach might not work for everyone, it shines for Wistia. It’s perfectly aligned with their brand image, messaging and target audience. We wish there were more examples like this one.


This customer retention email example from Canva is exactly what all SaaS emails should be: compelling and shareable. The main purpose of this email is to congratulate uses for using Canva, and in doing so, encourage them to continue using the platform. 

The strong visual (using a trophy to place the user beyond 5 but behind 20), shows them they’ve made progress, whilst reminding them that they still have milestones to achieve. This reward model strikes the perfect balance of of noting customer achievement & providing motivation.

Beyond stimulating engagement for the specific user, the Canva team nudge them to share this on their key organic channels: Facebook and Twitter. In this way, their email also encourages other users to also get involved. 

There’s hardly any text in this email but it’s smart, smart, smart! 

Email marketing tools and software

Now that you know what you’re doing with SaaS email marketing, it’s time to look at how to set yourself with the right tools to succeed.

We collect some of our most highly coveted options for you to read through. We strongly suggest you invest in one if you aren’t already doing so. Or if you are and it’s not on the list, consider switching.

The impact the right technology can have on the potency of your email marketing can’t be overstated.


Mailchimp is almost synonymous with the term email marketing software. It’s everywhere! As they say themselves, Mailchimp are “the #1 email marketing and automations brand* that recommends ways to get more opens, clicks, and sales.”

Services included in the Mailchimp product include automated sequences, custom-coded email templates, predictive segmentation, A/B testing and more. There is a reason why many marketers’ brains go straight to Mailchimp when they think about email.

It’s very high on our list of trustworthy, sophisticated email marketing tools!


Hubspot is what we use in-house at Digital Rhinos for our own email marketing initiatives. What’s so great about their platform is it has all the capabilities of a powerful email marketing software with the added benefits of a CRM, marketing hub, sales hub, service hub, operations hub and more.

This means instead of investing in a separate platform for the email channel, you can perform many of your SaaS business activities in one place.

When it comes to email specifically, Hubspot has everything you need to level your marketing. You can set up beautifully designed, customised emails, create automated sequences, access pre-made templates, set up A/B tests and review email data and analytics. SaaS email success is at your fingertips with Hubspot!

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is another sophisticated email marketing platform. Like Hubspot, it’s built to satisfy many of your marketing needs in one place: including SMS marketing, social media marketing, marketing automation and email marketing.

What Constant Contact does so well from an email perspective is tap into it’s advanced AI capabilities to help you write effective, convincing copy. Just enter a few keywords, and they’ll deliver content options to use as-is or revise down to perfection. This makes finding the right words for your email marketing efforts even easier. And more engaging.

As they say on their website Constant Contact can help you “give your email and digital marketing a glow up with our easy-to-use tools.”

Final thoughts

Time to wrap it up! We’ve now covered everything from what SaaS email marketing is and how to build a strategy for it to our top tips, examples and recommended tools. You’re now as close to being a certified expert in SaaS email marketing as you can be.

But don’t get ahead of yourself! We’d recommend keeping these insights close by to check in with whenever you need a refresher, aren’t seeing the results you want or decide you need to enhance what you are doing. Good luck smashing out your email targets!

Partner with an experienced SaaS email marketing agency

Still have questions about SaaS email marketing? Want some support on the journey to SaaS email success? At Digital Rhinos, we have experience helping hundreds of SaaS companies all over the world level up their SaaS email game. Along with the rest of their SaaS marketing strategy. Get in touch to see how we can help your company today.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin

See what we can do for your SaaS business.

See what we can do for your SaaS business.