How to Use Email in SaaS Lead Nurturing

Vladyslav Podoliako
Apr 18, 2022
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Is SaaS lead nurturing any different from building relationships with potential customers in other industries? In general, SaaS lead nurturing follows the same sales stages and uses the same marketing methods and tools as lead generation in construction or banking. In detail, there are nuances and differences.

It’s quite common for SaaS companies to invest a lot of their time and effort into the top and the bottom of the sales funnel. Marketing teams put out engaging content to attract potential customers. Sales teams learn how to work with objections and close deals with hot leads. As for the mid-funnel where warm leads are nurtured to realize their need in the SaaS product, it remains a terra incognita for many.

Another important detail. Whereas lead nurturing can be done through any communication channel, many SaaS companies find email the most effective means of communication. Harnessing email messages with personalization and valuable metrics, sales reps can drive their sales remarkably. Currently, email lead nurturing is one of the most powerful ways to nurture SaaS leads.

So, you capture leads from web forms, free trial signups, or any other lead generation activity of your choice; what should you know to run email marketing campaigns the most effective way? As an email marketing startup that has built itself from scratch, Folderly is willing to share a few proven email lead nurturing techniques with you right now.

The role of the subconscious in making buying decisions

When it comes to making purchasing decisions, it's important to recognize that the subconscious mind is involved. This is true regardless of whether a person is buying a physical product or a software subscription. There are certain rules that influence a person's buying behavior.

Even though people like to think of themselves as rational, most buying choices are influenced by emotions. As a result, it's important for marketers and sellers to appeal to the emotions of their target audience. Also, people don't always do what they say they're going to do. Marketers need to be aware of this when trying to predict how their target audience will respond to certain marketing messages.

You should be aware that your audience may behave differently depending on the circumstances. For example, if someone were offered free pickles with his or her sandwich order, he or she might accept this offer even though he or she may not normally order pickles with his or her sandwich. That’s why knowing the whole psychology behind buying decisions can help you create the necessary conditions to encourage potential customers to buy from you.

“I will scratch your back if you scratch mine”

The principle of reciprocity is the foundation of the communities we live in. When someone does something nice for you, you want to do something nice back. We're hard-wired to feel this way—it encourages people to help each other out and build a sense of community. Brands and businesses can tap into this phenomenon by considering how they can do something nice for consumers, even in small ways: sending a thank-you note after purchase, offering free shipping, or informing customers about the great things their business is doing. All of these act as reminders that the company cares about more than just making money—and consumers will be more likely to return the favor with a purchase. 

Applying this principle to lead nurturing means leading with value. You can sell directly right at the first point of contact. It is useless because most people don’t buy this way. That’s an attempt to receive without giving. However, if you first give value to your potential customers, you build trust and the foundation for your future cooperation. Giving implies doing it “for free.” People won’t feel compelled to reciprocate if they are given low-quality resources or useless things, even if they are free. So give something that helps your leads solve at least one of their problems.

“Practice what you preach”

Being authentic in lead nurturing campaigns means that what you write in newsletters and drip marketing efforts aligns with your corporate culture, brand, and everyday realities of your business. In other words, all communications that go between you and your potential customers should be genuine

In everyday terms, a sales rep who says sorry about her mistake is an example of effective communication because owning one’s mistakes is genuine. However, if sales reps don't actually believe what they're saying, that's not authentic, and it won't work.

If a company claims that they're "built on integrity," but then use shady sales tactics? That's not authentic—and your prospects will notice.

By keeping these things in mind when you're creating content for your lead nurturing campaigns and other communications with prospects, you can ensure that the message you send is genuine—not just the words on the page.

“Let’s know each other better before we marry”

Have you ever heard that people prefer familiar products over those that are completely strange to them? So, when a person visits your website and reads about your product, they need time to compare it to other similar products. Your job is to use this time wisely and keep in touch with your ideal prospects.

Research shows that the more frequently people interact with your company and see your product, the higher the chances of converting them.

“A little bit of NLP never hurt anyone”

Have you ever noticed how small actions are extremely likely to be followed by a big action? The more you engage your leads with positive answers, the easier it will be for them to say yes in the future. Even rhetorical and close-ended questions are enough to make your prospects enter into a dialogue with you.

Because no matter how small those yes’es are. They help train your leads for the final and the biggest yes. It may seem like an inconsequential thing, but we promise: every time you get a prospect to say yes, even if it's just for something small or close-ended, you're getting them closer to saying yes to your product or service.

Inbound SaaS lead nurturing strategy

When leads enter your company’s sales funnel, they are aware of the service and the needs you might cover. They are past the Awareness Stage and onto the Consideration Stage. So your lead nurturing campaigns should reveal how the service could meet their needs and convince leads your product is a perfect fit for them. That’s where inbound marketing comes in handy.

Inbound SaaS lead nurturing is all about creating relationships with your customers and using content to inform them about your brand, build trust, and show them how you can help them achieve their goals. It's a great opportunity for you to establish your authority in the industry and show your customers why they should work with you.

So how do you start? You need to first understand who you’re catering to, then decide which types of content will best match your leads’ and your own needs, and finally create a plan for how you'll go about it.

Here’s what you should keep in mind when working out a lead nurturing strategy for a SaaS company.

Buyer personas and segmentation come hand in hand

Segmentation & buyer personas are important because they enable you to categorize and define your subscribers/leads. The more detailed and accurate your segmentation, the better able you'll be to choose the best content, send it at the optimal time to a customized group of recipients, and reduce unsubscribes.

Your leads should be organized in groups based on their similarities, such as company size and industry. Buyer personas are made-up representations of your ideal customers, and you can use them to make educated guesses about what information your leads need at each stage of their customer journey.

You’ll need to consider the needs, problems, and interests of your different buyer personas and promote your product or service as a solution. Use your buyer personas to think of issues they might have problems with or knowledge gaps in, and then see if you can fill those needs with your offering. Then think about their specific needs and problems. Think about what issues they may be especially interested in—and if there is a solution that your business offers.

How does segmentation help you specifically with SaaS lead nurturing? By segmenting your audience into groups with shared similarities, you

  • Find topics and angles more effective and engaging for each specific group
  • Create the right pieces of content to target each specific segment
  • Adjust your marketing messages accordingly

Create content people can relate to

Knowing that people are incredibly susceptible to emotionally-charged and relatable content, your lead nurturing campaigns should appeal to the leads’ emotions as much as their rationality.

You need to make certain that your emails are engaging and relevant at every stage of the buyer's journey. Offer your email subscribers tactical advice and quick tips that help them solve their problems. For example, if you offer a subscription to weekly blog posts, include a link to your blog archive at the bottom of one of your emails so people can see past content for reference.

Offer your subscribers small nuggets of information that they can use in their own marketing. In time, this will translate into consistent open rates throughout your campaigns.

Every email you send should have a nugget of actionable information that solves a lead’s problem. Add a useful link, a relevant statistic number, or a curious data point to every email you send to boost open rates. This doesn't take much time to plan, and the benefits can be immediate. 

Doing this will guarantee engagement and, in the long run, will increase open rates as your leads get used to being engaged with your content. Such nuggets of wisdom and usefulness create a small win for your users, giving them a quick sense of satisfaction.

You give more value if you personalize your content. Marketing to your email list in a personalized way can boost the ROI of your campaign. However, go beyond just researching for the lead’s name. Personalize as many aspects of your email as possible, from a subject line to a CTA. The right content increases the revenue by 6 times — much better than generic marketing emails.

Funnel leads to your company’s website

For SaaS lead nurturing, it's not enough to write engaging emails and have sky-high open rates. First, you attract and engage your leads, and then you convert them into paying customers. So you need a lead nurturing location like a website.

Begin your inbound marketing strategy for nurturing SaaS leads by identifying ways to communicate with potential customers on your website. First, focus on determining where you can talk to your leads within the website and which types of messages are most likely to bring value. Then decide which messages will move them further down the sales funnel.

Use your website as an excellent place for nurturing leads. Begin developing your inbound marketing strategy by figuring out which aspects of your website can be used to nurture leads and what types of messages you should use. Do your audience research, and develop a plan for how you will present yourself online, as well as how you will connect with leads.

The user’s behavior triggers transactional emails. When visitors sign up for a free trial, take a quiz, or download a resource from your website, greet them with an effective Thank You page. While your visitors are already filling out your forms, why not send them an email that engages them and starts a conversation? That’s your opportunity to convert first-time users into paying customers and later upsell them.

The more often you get your leads to convert, the more likely they are to build loyalty. Include CTAs to encourage website visitors to continue engaging with your site. When your leads accept the first offer, ask them to follow another CTA afterwards. Each time you present a new invitation for engagement, it's important to add value to your lead. Do not wait until they disengage.

Omnichannel is a must

When your customers have frequent, positive experiences with your business, they will take comfort in their relationship with you. To most effectively reach their target audiences, marketing professionals who are driven by data coordinate their SaaS lead nurturing efforts to improve the reach of their email campaigns with other channels, such as SMS campaigns, social media posts, push notifications, and retargeting paid advertising campaigns.

Furthermore, using an omnichannel content marketing strategy helps retarget. Leads rarely behave as you expect. Many web visitors won’t respond to your freebies or won’t download a checklist as many times as you expect them to.  

For example, we found out that free trial users are keener on your product demo than cold leads from your lead list. We increased our conversion rates by implementing this strategy, which also helped us build stronger relationships with our clients. 

Thus, retargeting is able to warm leads up. Use a mixture of paid, earned, or already-owned channels for your lead nurturing strategy.

  • Paid advertising. Paid advertising is the point of entry into any online marketing strategy. For businesses seeking to reach and convert prospects, Google/YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the top four social platforms for paid advertising. Paid advertising helps you target your prospects more efficiently and deliver the right content. There is no delay in results. Besides, retargeting paid ads only on high-quality leads saves you marketing budgets. Low-quality leads can be nurtured with free nurturing methods.
  • Social media & groups. Content marketing is an integral part of your lead nurturing strategy. You need to identify the online communities where your potential clients are spending time and then create content that targets those particular groups. In 2022, it's important to develop a "social media marketing" strategy that takes advantage of the opportunities offered by each network, as well as each platform within each network. Keep in mind that generic, top-of-the-funnel marketing is ineffective these days.
  • Email marketing campaigns. Brand emails play an important role in modern B2B marketing. They allow you to build personal relationships with your leads and connect with them on a regular basis. Make sure to schedule your campaigns properly so they don’t disrupt the effectiveness of your existing workflow. Personalizing emails fully can help you build a positive brand image.

Top SaaS lead nurturing mistakes that negatively impact your sales goals

Below are the top mistakes an average SaaS company might make while trying to build rapport with its prospects.

Using a low-quality CRM and marketing automation

If you're not using a proper Customer Relationship Management system, your marketing efforts are basically not working. Lead data is only useful if it can be stored and analyzed. Furthermore, successful SaaS lead nurturing efforts require more units of marketing automation software than just a CRM. Make sure your sales tech stack has data enrichment, lead scoring options, and whatever else sales reps require to do their sales jobs properly.

“Nurturing leads” with generic newsletters

Automated flows are a great way to nurture leads through the customer journey. However, nothing generic works in SaaS lead nurturing. Different stages of the customer journey require different content. Different job positions and interests require content to be tailored even further. Qualified leads that are interested in your product must be nurtured through personalized and segmented content developed by professional copywriters.

Ignoring good timing

Though lead times vary, you need to make sure that your leads have a chance to consider your proposal. In the meantime, keep nurturing them with additional news, updates, and relevant information.

Using the same content type

Don’t get stuck with just one content type. You can’t properly nurture a lead by sending them only infographics or only blog posts. There should be diverse content ranging from useful links and invites to events to testimonials and video reviews.

Spam and letting your leads grow cold

Repeatedly contacting your leads is not a good option, as it can come off as excessive. Keeping consistency means interacting with them every two to three days, such as by showing ads (by using retargeting tools), writing an email, or sending a message.

Failing to diversify your communication channels

Even if your biggest channel of communication is email, it doesn’t mean that you cannot support it with other channels. Diversifying your channel offerings is a crucial aspect of communication strategy. Consider adding alternative channels such as retargeting ads, microsite, social media campaigns, and SMS.

Ignoring user feedback and metrics

If you fail to monitor your metrics and analytics, you might never realize where your strategy needs improvement. To best serve your leads, you should continually track analytics so that you can identify areas for improvement.

Failing to include a proper CTA

Asking for a response is the number one rule of all types of communication. Take care to write a personalized CTA (call to action) in each and every message that you send out. The wording depends on whether your lead is new or already has a relationship with your team.

Not solving email deliverability issues

Keep in mind that deliverability issues also contribute to conversion rates. When you develop email campaigns, find ways to prevent your cold emails from getting into your leads’ spam folders. From keeping your lead lists tidy to using a spam fix software solution, there are many methods to keep your inbox score and open rate high.  

Will I nurture leads into sales? 

Increasing the number of paying users is essential for any SaaS company because it directly affects monthly recurring revenue. In this article, we gave you an overall overview of how to nurture your leads effectively and prepare them for final conversion – sign up for a free trial, book a demo, request a quote. The best way to convert leads into paying users is to be there when they need help and offer assistance or advice proactively. When you develop your email marketing strategy, however, steer away from mistakes in lead nurturing campaigns that reduce your SaaS company's ability to attract and retain new users. Make sure your sales stack is prepared, your content and CTAs are polished, and technical troubles, like spam or email deliverability, are solved. Then leads will progress from the top of the funnel to the bottom without trouble and easily convert into profitable deals. 

Vladyslav Podoliako
Vladyslav Podoliako
Founder & CEO
Vlad is a Founder & CEO of Belkins and Folderly, a series entrepreneur and investor with over ten years of management expertise in companies with 100 million evaluation. Vlad has years of experience building and growing service companies and SaaS startups in SalesTech and MarTech. He is skilled in creating successful businesses from the ground up and building top-notch teams that drive all ventures to the top of their industries.

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