Email Marketing Tips for SaaS products

Fact is: we’ve all used email for marketing in the past. Whether to get a new customer or to get our friends to go on a camping trip - we’ve done email marketing.

Fact also is: We could have done better, if we had followed best practices.

Today, I’m going to provide you with a list of SaaS email marketing tips and tricks, so you can improve your email game!


I have just started working with a new client on their email marketing and one of the first things I look at is whether they personalize their emails - which they didn’t.

According to a study by Experian personalized emails get a 29% higher open rate and a 41% higher click rate!

They also found that 70% of companies - just like my client - do not make use of personalization. How sad is that? So many businesses could get 30% better results and fail to take advantage of it.

Now there are different ways to personalize a message; the easiest being to use the reader’s first name. Let’s take a look at that.

Personalizing a message by using the reader’s name

This is the oldest trick in the book, but that is probably because it works. When you write an email to your readers start it off with “Hi, Barbara” instead of just “Hi”.

As Dale Carnegie wrote in “How to win friends and influence people”: “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language”.

For this to work you need to collect a person’s first name along with their email address during signup. That is made easy by all major email marketing automation tools, so no problem there.

For various reasons you might decide to not ask for a first name during signup (e.g. less fields = higher conversion rates). In that case there are two options

Once you have the reader’s first name in the database, you can write emails like this one:

Hi {{subscriber.first_name | default: "there"}},

You signed up for our mailing list, because you want to improve
your search engine rankings and make more money.

There are many challenges in business, but growing a SaaS
business is definitely among the harder ones.

The most important lesson I learned is that email marketing has
the biggest influence on growth.

Whether you use it for outreach, lead nurturing, new user
experience or user retention, email is kicking ass at all of

That's why I have started distilling the lessons I learned into a
book called the "SaaS Email Marketing Handbook".

In it you will find great ideas to improve your email marketing
throughout the whole customer lifecycle from getting more leads
to waving goodbye.

If you're interested in the book, get a free chapter here:


The key here is {{subscriber.first_name | default: "there"}} which prints the subscriber’s first name in the email OR the word “there” in case the subscriber does not have a first name in the database.

Note: This is the syntax used in Drip - if you use another tool, you’ll have to use their syntax

You can take this method of personalization a step further by using the first name multiple times in the email, just like Justin Jackson did in this email:

Email Marketing Tip: Use the first name twice

Using the subscriber’s name twice makes the email look more natural and hand-written, which eventually results in higher conversion rates.

Personalization by using the reader’s location

Another great tactic that gets your reader’s attention is to use their location in your email. Here’s a story that Joanna Wiebe of CopyHacker’s fame told me:

Joanna signed up for back when it had just launched. lets you pick an expert from their directory and call them immediately; you’re then charged based on call duration. wanted to get more experts on the platform and asked Joanna for referrals with an email similar to this:

Hey Joanna, 

Do you know any Canadians that might be good fits for Clarity? 


Look at that sly wizard of marketing! That email was automated and yet it feels 100% natural. He used her first name AND he used the country where Joanna lives. The reply rate on that email must be fantastic.

Obviously, you first need to learn where your new signups are coming from, but there are many ways to skin that cat:

How could you change your emails to include a reference to your reader’s location today?

Making your emails more personal by sending from a “real” person

Nothing spells “Go and fuck yourself” quite like an email from I have personally seen one too many emails sent from - which is just barely one step up from no-reply@.

I know that we all want to look like a big professional enterprise corporation on the outside. But maybe, just maybe, being a small dedicated team that cares deeply about their product and customers is the better message to send.

Generally speaking you should send your emails from a personalized address like (fake domain because I don’t like spammers - sorry!). Of course the reply-to address should match the sender’s email address.

I also recommend to end your email like a normal person would - e.g. Cheers, Christoph and not “Best regards, the YourBusiness support team!”

Segmenting your list

The next step after you have personalized your (automated) emails is to not send every subscriber every email.

Chances are that not all subscribers on your mailing list are alike. Your product/blog attracts different groups of people: Maybe you have customers in different industries or your blog readers hold different positions inside their companies.

Ideally, you are able to sort each new subscriber into a bucket that fits them best and then only send them the emails they are interested in.

A great way to segment your users without them noticing is by offering them links to 2-3 different content pieces in the first email you send them.

The trick here is that each piece speaks to one demographic among your subscriber - e.g.:

When someone clicks on the article that speaks to them the most, they select themselves into the right bucket and subsequently receive the ideal sub-set of emails.

Persistence pays off - why you need to follow up more

Being persistent is a key trait to getting results in your business. You can achieve so much by just putting in the time and iterating on your results. Email is no different, except that you can apply persistence in two ways:

  1. You can persistently write new emails for cold outreach/PR/customer support/etc.
  2. You can relentlessy follow up

Obviously, you need to write emails for outreach, customer service, and so forth in order to grow your business. That’s not even up for debate.

Following up however is something most people neglect. Often it takes quite a bit of courage to even send the first email. When we don’t hear back we automatically assume that the other person isn’t interested in our offering.

In reality them not responding could be due to any number of reasons, such as:

The point here is that you can fix all those problems by sending more emails to the same person. In fact, you should keep sending emails until you either get a “Yes” or a “No”. You should follow up until you get that definitive answer.

There are a few tricks you can use to get better at following up.

First of all, you need to be aware that decision fatique is a thing. Every time you follow up you have to decide when to follow up and how to follow up - i.e. what to write. Every time you are forced to make that decision, you can (and likely will!) select the “I’m not doing that” option - thereby nipping your own intentions in the bud!

Best is to know what to write before the decision is imminent. Prepare your first, second, and third follow-up emails for each email campaign. It’s often a good idea to escalate the messaging with each follow up. Here are the templates that I currently use:

Email Marketing Trick: Follow Up Number 1

Gearing up the language a bit here in the second follow up email:

Email Marketing Trick: Follow Up Number 2

Add some more urgency - and a sprinkle of humor - in our third email:

Email Marketing Trick: Follow Up Number 3

Now is sending three emails enough? Not if something is super important to you. I once sent follow up email after follow up email to score a 30 minute phone call with a lead. He eventually answered to my 17th email after being on vacation for a few months!

Because sending follow ups feels cumbersome and is a rather unattractive way to spend your time, I recommend you use a software that automates it for you. There are a number of services you can use:

What email did you not follow up enough on?


Using these email marketing tips will help you improve your email marketing game. Personalization and Follow ups are easy to implement in every email marketing campaign, so please check how good of a job you’re doing with them!

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