Email marketing can and should be one of the most powerful marketing tools for any business in the healthcare or SaaS industries.
But most SaaS businesses struggle with email marketing. They don’t know how to build their subscriber list. And they’re not sure how to use email to convert and retain premium users.
SaaS email marketing is simple in concept, but a bit more difficult in practice. The key to effectively converting and retaining users with email is to make your email marketing an extension of your SaaS product.
In other words, your email marketing strategy must educate users on how to use your product to achieve their goals, help them get as much value from your product as possible, and keep them using your product as long as possible.
When our client Reflectly came to us in July of 2020, they were trying to figure out how to effectively utilize email in their marketing strategy.
We were looking for an email marketing agency that had experience
within the app industry to help us increase conversion and retention through email marketing.
Reflectly – “The World’s First Intelligent Journal” – is a journaling app that uses artificial intelligence to help you reflect upon your daily thoughts and problems. It aims to help users develop a daily journaling and self-reflection habit.
Reflectly uses the journaling data to send daily automated affirmations with content personalized for both the time of day and the user’s most recent journal entries. The app also offers motivational quotes and statistics-tracking so users can see how their thoughts and moods have progressed.
I searched online and found 20 agencies. I set up meetings with each one of them and ended up speaking with 15 of the 20 agencies. I questioned and scored all the companies and in the end InboxArmy was among the two finalist. I ended up choosing InboxArmy, because of their specific focus on email marketing
By examining Reflectly’s customer data, we learned a key insight that was critical to the development of our email marketing strategy: the longer a freemium user uses Reflectly, the more likely they are to convert to a premium tier.
The strategy we developed had four components:
By reframing the sign-up forms to promote the value of Reflectly’s newsletter and incorporate social proof, we could increase the number of freemium users who subscribe to their email list.
Once users subscribed, we could use the Reflectly newsletter to help them get incredible value from the app, keep them using the app for longer, and increase the likelihood they’d convert to premium users.
This small improvement correlated with an immediate increase in Reflectly subscribers. From July to August, Reflectly grew from 20K subscribers to more than 55K subscribers.
Too many companies underestimate the value and utility of a Welcome Email Series.
Welcome Emails have some of the best engagement rates of any kind of marketing emails. And data shows that customers who receive Welcome Emails show 33% more long-term brand engagement.
By utilizing a Welcome Email Series, we could help subscribers get more value from Reflectly and increase their long-term engagement with the app and the newsletter.
Creating a valuable newsletter that subscribers wanted to read provided us with a valuable business opportunity – a chance to convert freemium users into premium users.
First, we taught them how to use Reflectly to achieve the promised objective (calmer and happier).
Once we demonstrated the value of Reflectly, we hit freemium users with a CTA that emphasized how the premium version can provide even more value.
By using the newsletter to help freemium users realize the benefits of Reflectly first, we gained both their attention and their trust. Which ultimately made our upgrade CTA more effective.
The core goal of our email marketing strategy was to send out emails that facilitated product use.
In other words, our emails were designed to teach subscribers how to better use Reflectly and how to get more value from it. They worked hand in hand.
By creating a value-packed newsletter, we helped users get more value from the product. By helping users get more value from the product, we increased the likelihood that they’d continue to use the product.
Most opt-in forms are too bland. They simply invite people to sign up to receive emails from the company. They don’t properly communicate the value of becoming a subscriber.
To increase subscriptions, we optimized Reflectly’s opt-in forms to better communicate the benefit of joining their newsletter.
In the opt-in form copy, we share two benefits of joining the newsletter:
We also incorporated social proof by sharing the number of people who’ve already subscribed. If lots of people subscribe to the newsletter, then it must be valuable.
Another important feature of the opt-in form is that it’s streamlined and frictionless. There are only two form fields to fill.
One asks: “What do your friends call you?” (subtly implying that this is the beginning of a friendship). The other asks for their email address.
If people have to work too hard to join your list, fewer of them will subscribe.
But by making the list easy to join, communicating the value of joining, and demonstrating social proof, we made it easy for people to see the value in Reflectly’s newsletter and join their list.
As stated earlier, the longer a freemium user uses Reflectly, the more likely they are to convert to a premium tier.
Similarly, the longer a premium user uses Reflectly, the more likely they are to keep using the app.
So the goal of our email marketing strategy was to help users get as much value from Reflectly as possible. If we could teach them how to use the app to become happier and calmer, then they’d upgrade to a paid tier and/or make the app a regular part of their lives.
The first step to this strategy was to get new freemium and premium users set up properly so they could:
With that goal in mind, we created two Welcome Email Series – one for freemium users and one for premium users.
The onboarding email above is sent to new premium users. It’s designed to introduce them to all of Reflectly’s features, teach them how to use the app to become calmer and happier, and help them experience as much value from the app as possible.
To accomplish this, the email:
While the rest of the email explains how to use the app, a walkthrough call gives users the opportunity to ask questions and gives Reflectly the opportunity to tailor the onboarding experience to each user’s specific needs and goals. It also gives Reflectly the opportunity to engage with and learn more about their customers.
We really wanted to push new users toward booking an onboarding call. So Reflectlty created email copy that: Explains the value of the onboarding call Reduces friction by explaining that the call only lasts 5-10 minutes
Each feature explanation includes a picture of the feature, an explanation of how it works, and an explanation of the benefit it provides.
We created a 6-part onboarding email series that is sent to both freemium and premium Reflectly users.
The Welcome Email series is designed to help new users get started with the app and experience the value it provides. Each email introduces them to one feature, teaches them how to use it, and gives them a task they can immediately accomplish with that feature.
Each email follows the same basic structure:
After teaching freemium users how to use Reflectly to become calmer and happier with the first few emails in the Welcome Series, we gained the attention and trust of our audience.
So, while Welcome Emails 1-4 and 6 were the same for both freemium and premium users, the 5th Welcome Email for freemium users contained a CTA to upgrade to the premium version of Reflectly.
The CTA was more effective because we’d already demonstrated value and established credibility. But the CTA also contained a few key sales tactics that gave it even more impact:
The CTA promises freemium users that upgrading to the premium version will make them 38% happier (backed by research) and will double their speed to a happier life. By sharing and quantifying the benefits, we made them more real to freemium users.
Martin shares his story about why he upgraded to the premium version and the specific ways that it helped him improve his life. Quantifying data is important. But helping users see the benefits from a more human perspective is also powerful.
Side By Side Feature Comparison:
The CTA gives a side by side comparison of the freemium and premium features. The comparison helps users see the extra value they get from a premium upgrade.
The CTA shares screenshots of the premium features users get by upgrading. It also explains how those features work and the benefits they provide. A side by side comparison is useful, but the feature illustrations help users better understand and visualize the value of the premium version.
Lastly, the CTA shares real reviews from Reflectly customers to provide social proof. Social proof is a powerful persuasion tool, as it demonstrates that customers who upgrade are happy that they did.
After the Welcome Email Series, we sent subscribers weekly emails aimed at educating them about mental health and guiding them in using the app.
Each email addressed one mental health issue – like forgiveness, anger, healthy sleep habits, etc. – and shared a technique for dealing with it. Often, the emails included a video that Reflectly either created or curated.
Each email followed the same basic structure:
Again, by following the same format in every email, we create patterns that subscribers grow comfortable with and teach them where to find important information.
The key to an effective SaaS email marketing strategy is to make your emails an extension of your product.
Your email campaigns should facilitate the use of your product and provide incredible value that’ll help you convert and retain users.
As illustrated above, we employed this exact strategy with Reflectly and it yielded incredible results.
At InboxArmy, we help SaaS businesses develop email marketing strategies that convert and retain customers. If you want to learn more about how our team can help you build a powerful SaaS email marketing strategy, you can contact us here.
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