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6 SaaS Companies with Inspiring Email Campaigns

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6 SaaS Companies with Inspiring Email Campaigns

You can adopt many lead generation and nurturing techniques, but running effective email campaigns lies at the heart of it all. You can nurture leads with the help of email marketing, connecting with customers meaningfully by adding more value.

A report suggests that 29% of marketers consider email one of the most effective marketing channels — ahead of social media, content marketing, and SEO. Also, eMarketer analysis reports that email marketing ROI is 122% which is four times as high as every other digital marketing medium.

Before we explore ways to plan email marketing campaigns and know about inspiring email campaigns, let us take a quick look at the basics.

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is a marketing tactic that essentially involves building an email list and nurturing it with value-add content or offers that drive them to convert.

Your email marketing campaign can have everything from discounts promotions to informational content that educates your audience. Every email marketing campaign should be geared toward fostering long-term relationships.

How to plan email marketing campaigns?

You will need to answer some key questions before starting a new email campaign. For instance, ask, who is your target audience? Why should this email matter? Here are some of the key steps to consider before running an email marketing campaign.

#1. Define objectives and goals

Determine the intent behind running an email marketing campaign. For instance, you can use it to create brand awareness, boost sales, nurture or generate leads, and engage your customers consistently.

You need to have the right email service providers (ESP) in place along with email lists, and campaign objectives are in sync. First, split your email list into groups according to the demographics or activities of each subscriber. And then, you can send out emails to encourage recipients to respond by taking appropriate action. Your ESP can help you schedule, send, and monitor campaigns automatically.

#2. Plan the email sequence

Your email sequence consists of a series of emails sent to prospects and customers. Scheduling is possible with ESPs that help automate sending emails based on triggers.

You can adopt several ways to start warming up cold leads. This includes sending an email sequence to those who have signed up for a webinar, blog post, or subscribed to your newsletter. It is better to start with three emails in your welcome email sequence and then expand to 5-7 emails depending on the open rates and responses.

#3. Create the content required

The success of your email campaign depends on how well you define and place your call to action. This should be backed by regular follow-up emails, meaning you need to plan your content well in advance. Create actionable content that induces recipients to click on the call to action. Make sure the tone of your language remains consistent throughout the campaign.

#4. Plan the visuals and design

Given its simplicity, many designers would think of HTML email as a one-page website. HTML and CSS are all that’s required, after all. The text content of your email would rarely take as much space as other more eye-catching elements — headline, images, and calls to action buttons.

Also, at least half of your subscribers will read your emails on their mobile devices, so keep your email design mobile-friendly. This will impact the look and feel of our email, as well as the information that is included inside it.

6 SaaS companies with inspiring email campaigns

Checking out some of the most successful and well-designed email templates can certainly help you plan better. Here, we are sharing six such inspiring campaigns by SaaS companies that leveraged emails to drive more traffic, engagement, and conversions.

#1. Shopify

This email was sent as an event reminder to the participants who opted to attend this online event. The goal was to ensure the highest possible turnaround of attendees interested in Shopify’s live-stream event.

The tone of this email is confident and professional that focuses on driving more attendance than evoking other responses. This email copy incorporates a visual design that is appealing and eye-catching.

It is also a great example of visually guiding through the CTA, which stands out. As a result, Shopify’s click-through rates have risen due to the color decision.

In the end, it also incentives subscribers to share their ideas on social media that add more value for users registered for the event.

#2. Dropbox

This was Dropbox’s email meant to re-engage their users.

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Such a skillfully crafted email template and design can instantly draw users’ attention to Dropbox’s child-like pictures and sorrowful expressions. Dropbox avoids boredom by reminding consumers in a lighthearted manner about the benefits of using their service.

An interesting thing about this copy is the lack of buttons, keeping the email clutter-free. It has a single link guiding users to take a tour and start with Dropbox.

#3. Zapier

Zapier sent out this email to invoke a prompt response from readers. This email aims to promote a limited-time deal by writing a catchy title to demonstrate that the deal is valid for a limited time. The cherry on the top was their integrated countdown timer, making readers act promptly.

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Another brilliant touch in this email was the inclusion of a list of four reasons why upgrading would be advantageous. Readers were compelled to upgrade to Zapier’s premium subscription as soon as possible after reading this email. This email works to persuade your subscribers to take advantage of an offer.

#4. Airtable

This email by Airtable was again time-bound, asking users to act sooner. It was sent to create awareness of their B2B trial which was ending soon. The goal was to let on-trial users to prolong their trial period and discover the true value of services.

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Trials are a great way for SaaS businesses to acquire and retain more clients. This email by Airtable was again time-bound, asking users to act sooner. It was sent to create awareness that their B2B trial is ending soon. The goal was to let on-trial users prolong their trial period and discover the true value of services.

Here, Airtable sends out an entertaining email to encourage trial members to make the most of their time with the service. Airtable’s email opens and click-through rates are boosted thanks to the inclusion of personalized content and formatting. Visually, the lack of pictures does not detract from the email’s attractiveness and rather helps keep things simple and  focused.

#5. Hootsuite

This email by Hootsuite is for a blog update with the aim to drive blog traffic and educate subscribers about the latest happenings.

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This email by Hootsuite is for the blog update to increase the blog traffic and educate the subscribers about the latest happenings. Here, Hootsuite uses a simple yet effective layout and language that asks direct questions to pique the interest of its audience.

The aim is to lead readers to click on the “Start Now” button. There are two more pieces of information sent out with the primary content — redirected readers to more materials and a webinar with different CTA buttons.  

#6. Zendesk

This email by Zendesk aims to educate their existing leads through engaging content.

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Promoting blog content to subscribers is one of the proven ways to ensure engagement and stay visible. Zendesk does so with a purpose with this email to promote ebooks while nurturing their leads.

You have this two-paragraph email layout when it comes to the text. The first part highlights the problem, while the second offers the solution.

Before the reader reaches out to CTA, this email has an additional link to boost click-through rates and ebook downloads. In terms of aesthetics, this email uses a quality picture that catches the eye, compelling readers to follow the content in the right order, from subject line to CTA.

Conclusion

After looking at all these SaaS companies rolling out emails that entice readers, now it is your turn to get started. Remember, you will need an email marketing platform that offers an easy-to-use builder and adaptive email templates to pick out the best sample that works for your message.

Now that you know how successful SaaS businesses do their emails, determine the right approach for your business. Each of the emails mentioned above has unique qualities that make them exceptional.

These emails are tailored to satiate their audience’s tastes. Use these examples as inspiration to create your own email campaigns that your subscribers will love.


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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

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So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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