Email marketing is a powerful tool in any business arsenal, and it’s also the most cost-effective form of marketing – but you already know this. Typically email is used to generate leads, increase sales, and retain customers, but we say, why stop there? There are in fact many different types of email content you can and should be sending to your users, prospective clients, or otherwise.

Before we dive into the examples, let’s quickly go over email marketing and its presence in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) sector.

Evolution of email marketing

Email marketing software, whilst mainly used within the SaaS sector, can now be seen across many verticals in both B2B and B2C marketing – with various models available. Ideally, your email marketing software integrates with other areas of your business, such as your contact database (or CRM), and can be automated based on your user’s behavior, not just uploading lists of contacts as we can still see in some of the OG email software providers.

While the name itself suggests that email software is a tool used principally by the marketing teams, there are, in fact, many uses and many types of email marketing routes to explore and take advantage of – across multiple teams within a business.

Here are the top types of emails and email marketing campaigns we recommend you have implemented in order to scale your SaaS business.

Types of email marketing

  1. System or transactional emails

These are the type of emails that are sent when a customer subscribes to a service or completes an action, such as signing up for an account, making a purchase, or even the classic, ‘I forgot my password’. 

The goal of these emails is principally to supply the user with information about the action they have just taken; however, there’s no reason to not also take these emails as a chance to include sales-drive or upsell call to action or upselling opportunities. 

  1. Lead generation

These are the emails that you send to users after they have offered up their contact details on a specific form. This might be to request information, download a piece of content, or book a call. 

Aside from the aforementioned transactional email you send, it is crucial that you continue to nurture these new leads with two goals in mind: Determining whether these users are qualified, and more importantly converting these into paying clients.

A great example of a high-performing lead generation email is to ensure it contains the following:

  • Personalized & value-adding content
  • An irresistible offer (this can be a literal discount/offer, or the benefits of what working with your company looks like)
  • CTA that will help you accomplish your business goal 

Pro tip: if you know that clients convert quicker once they have had a demo with your sales team, these CTA(s) should be consistently encouraging users to book a demo

Although we have given it its own section, don’t forget that lead generation and ROI should be top of mind when sending any email, regardless of where your user is in the customer lifecycle

  1. Onboarding emails

Onboarding emails are typically sent when a user first signs up to your platform, but don’t be fooled into thinking that these are just a one-time deal. 

The goal of good onboarding emails should be to quickly demonstrate the value of your product or service and make it easy for the customer to apply this value themselves. 

Pro tip: Ensure that the onboarding emails and the in-app onboarding experience work in harmony together, with links to support articles, and product flows to guarantee a smooth and swift user experience.

  1. Engagement emails

Engagement emails are types of emails you can use at all stages of the customer journey. These encompass many elements of other emails as these can be used to engage new users with low activity, activate paying clients that are not using your products, and therefore could be at risk of churn, or even entice active customers to buy more from (hello upsell!).

These emails can come in many different shapes and sizes (new features, discounts, etc), but the ultimate goal here is to increase your clients’ usage and show them the constant value your product offers them. The more clients use your products, the more likely they will become power users/product champions – and hey, they may even recommend your product to new users.

  1. Behavioral emails (…or Marketing Automation)

Emails that are automatically triggered by certain events such as opening an email or clicking on one of its links. 

If you use an email marketing automation software that tracks user behavior data, you can also send retargeting emails based on a lack of activity to re-engage cold users or to send specific email campaigns to users that have been struggling to use a certain area of your product.

  1. Newsletters and updates

Newsletters or product update emails are a crucial part of any SaaS company’s marketing strategy. They help to maintain the relationship between the company and its (sometimes prospective) clients.

These can be announcement emails that are used to announce new blog articles, upcoming internal (and industry) events, new features, updates, and any changes to your product.

Again, the key here is engagement, and these types of email are especially effective when engaging those colder users, or those that came in looking for a specific feature or piece of content, and have now been delighted by something else you have to offer.

It goes without saying that it’s also important to keep these personalized and relevant. You might not want to communicate a new public API integration to a sales intern.

  1. Customer success emails

These are very much an educational series of email marketing, which is especially important for those ‘strong, independent contacts’ who don’t need, like, or want human interaction, or those sneaky self-onboarders. 

These should include as much proactive support surrounding how to set up, and get the most out of your product – with a strong focus here on education. Plus be sure to cover all and any of the nitty gritty bits (getting payment details, plans, contracts, etc). 

You can also send new product features and updates like we mentioned above to these clients so they know you still have them top of mind, and so they continue to grow using your product.

Despite these hermit-like clients wanting little to no contact with your CS team, it’s always recommended to include some CTAs to set up meetings ‘with your dedicated account manager’ for example, to increase engagement and prevent unforeseen risks of churn.

The goal of all types of marketing emails

So what are the main takeaways from this article? SaaS email marketing can increase your engagement and conversion rates as well as create a loyal customer base when done right. Therefore, you need to be innovative in the content you send, be conscious of the type of email you’re sending, and remain relevant in your recipients’ inboxes.