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November 23, 2016

How to Use Email Marketing to Lead SaaS Prospects Down the Sales Funnel

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Adrian Gonzales  /  Marketing Nov 23, 2016

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies are in a unique position. You probably sell your products in a subscription model, where customers pay each month to use your service.

SaaS companies with low monthly prices, like the ones listed below, need lots of customers in order to be successful. Instead of having 10 high-paying customers, you need thousands of customers paying low monthly rates.  

These monthly price points are relatively low compared to large software companies that operate on licensing models. For example:

If you want to grow as a SaaS company, you need strategies for acquiring new customers as well as keeping the ones you’ve got.

Today, we’re sharing how you can use email marketing to lead SaaS prospects down the sales funnel.

Why email marketing is great for leads, sales, and loyalty

Email can help you nurture leads into customers that love you, and it works much better than other channels. According to research from Campaign Monitor, prospects are 6x more likely to click links in an email campaign than from a tweet.

Email is a direct channel to a prospective customer’s inbox. As long as you’re creating targeted messages that get at a prospect’s pain points, they’ll be willing to open your emails and see what you have to say. In this way, email becomes an automated sales-person, helping your prospective customer explore what you offer.

But how can you actually make this process work for your unique SaaS brand?

Here’s how to use email to lead SaaS prospects down the funnel:

Create assets & offers that subscribers need

Before you can even begin to send targeted sales emails, you need to get prospective customers to give you their email address. Buying a list won’t do you any good here. Instead, you need to create assets and offers that bring value to prospective customers.

Here are a few ways you can encourage visitors to subscribe to an email list:

  • Create an educational eBook to download
  • Encourage blog readers to sign up for your email newsletter
  • Offer demos in exchange for an email address
  • Offer a free trial or a “freemium” plan
  • Host a webinar with essential info

For example, Sumo Logic offers a 30 day free trial to prospective customers. Not only does this give prospects a chance to try out Sumo Logic’s software, but it also allows the company’s marketing team to send targeted emails to those who’ve signed up for the trial.

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Automate an email series with the aim of conversion

Today’s SaaS companies depend on marketing automation to convert leads into customers. Once you’ve figured out how to get prospects on your list, it’s time to consider how you can nurture your audience. Rather than sending manual emails, you should create an automated series to lead prospects down the funnel.

There are a number of different frameworks that marketing copywriters use to lead prospects– one of our favorites is the Problem-Agitate-Solve (PAS) framework.

In this model, you start by defining the problem your subscribers have by showing them that you understand where they are. Then, you send emails agitating this problem, reminding subscribers about the pain their problem causes. Finally, you offer your SaaS product as a solution.

Personalize based on subscriber information

Whenever possible, you should personalize your emails. After all, personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%, according to Aberdeen.

So, what does it mean to personalize? It means that you take whatever information you have about your subscribers, and send unique messages to that group. You can personalize based on:

  • Job title (for example, a CMO might receive different messages than a CEO)
  • Size of company (for example, someone working at a startup might receive startup-oriented messages)
  • Geographic location (Someone living in San Francisco might receive location-specific messages)
  • Past behavior (for example, if a visitor has downloaded multiple assets, they receive particular messages)
  • Reason they subscribed (for example, if a subscriber downloads a certain eBook, they receive a particular flow of messages)

In order to personalize, you need information about your subscribers. Be sure to ask for this information when you encourage visitors to share their email addresses.

Test and measure to find out what works

Email marketing is an amazing channel for SaaS companies that want to convert leads into customers. However, what works for another brand might not work for you.

That’s why it’s important to test out different strategies to see what works. You might find that the PAS framework works wonders, or that another strategy is a better bet. The only way you know is by testing. If you’re looking for ideas, check out how Buffer, HubSpot, and GrowthHackers grow using testing and analytics.

Thankfully, most email marketing software offers a variety of ways to test automated emails. Take advantage of what these tools have to offer, and work to find a flow that increases conversions.

Wrapping up

It’s easy to get caught up in the little details in marketing. Email marketing, however, gives you the opportunity to make substantial gains in conversions and sales. Email can help SaaS companies’ prospects gain familiarity with the business, consider their options, and ultimately become customers.

Wondering how you can use email to convert prospects to sales? Our team can answer any questions – just reach out.