From social media campaigns to paid ads and influencer marketing — there are multiple ways to reach your target audience. But there’s one strategy that stands most effective: Email marketing.
Email marketing is an incredible way to share your message, build customer relationships, and enhance engagement with your brand. In fact, research shows that 90% of customers prefer to receive brand updates via newsletters, while 10% prefer updates on social media. Further, McKinsey & Company found that emails are 40 times more successful at acquiring new customers than either Facebook or Twitter.
A SaaS newsletter is an email that offers subscribers insights about your content, announcements and promotions, builds brand authority, and helps you better communicate with subscribers at every stage of their customer journey.
Since an average person checks their email 15 times per day or every 37 minutes, these can provide SaaS businesses endless opportunities to get their content, products, and services in front of the audience.
In this blog post, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about creating an interactive and beautiful newsletter for your SaaS brand.
How to create an engaging SaaS newsletter?
1. Know your audience
You might invest a lot of time and money in writing a SaaS newsletter. But, how do you ensure you’re delivering the right message to the right people at the right time?
Knowing your target audience is the foundation of creating a successful SaaS newsletter. This means understanding your ideal subscribers and what they want to know more about.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Understand your reader preferences. Some people subscribe to your newsletter to receive exclusive deals, while others sign up to read your blog posts and stay informed. So, establish user personas — fictional characters used as a placeholder to represent real customers and clients.
- Conduct competitor research to get an idea about your target audience’s interests. Further, gather insights from your blogs and other resources to figure out what information your audience is looking for.
- Let’s face it; you can’t please different customer groups with a single email. So, segment your ideal users by breaking them down into smaller groups who’ll receive personalized emails. Such emails have higher click-through rates, lower unsubscribe rates, and generate 18 times more revenue than generic mass emails.
- For SaaS businesses that don’t have the time and resources to conduct any research, the easiest way to get essential data about your audience is to add questions to your subscription form. Some examples include industry, company, their biggest challenge, and what they’d like to know about.
The above strategies can make your SaaS newsletters more engaging and help guide you towards what topics and content types you should include in your newsletters.
No matter what you’re going to include in your SaaS newsletter, the majority of your subscribers will be interested in how valuable and relevant it is to them. Deliver useless or promotional content, and you’ll likely lose subscribers and damage your brand reputation and growth opportunities.
If you need ideas to keep your SaaS newsletter fresh and relevant, consider these tips:
- Understand the proper format for your newsletter. Some companies send super short newsletters highlighting their latest posts, while others send long ones where readers can consume more content without visiting the website.
- Decide on a monthly theme for your newsletters. This way, you can include your old content that fits the theme or even ask your team to come up with new material.
- Your SaaS newsletter should be focused on your brand, but you can also use it to address your audience’s pain points. For example, if your monthly theme is customer support, you can cover their concerns in this field and provide valuable solutions with relevant blogs, videos, Twitter threads, and more.
- Avoid pushy sales copy and promotional offers that can frustrate your readers and get your emails caught in spam filters.
Here are a few types of content you can include in your SaaS newsletters:
- Links of your top blog posts
- Event highlights
- Top industry news that is very time-sensitive
- Evergreen learning resources, both free and paid.
- Software updates or a major product release
- Marketing messages like special promos, deals, partnership announcements, and more.
3. Stay consistent
Consistency is another crucial factor in creating a SaaS newsletter that users will be excited to open and read. It doesn’t matter how many newsletters you send per week or month. What really matters is consistency.
Your subscribers should know the exact day when your newsletter will land in the inbox. If you send your newsletter four times in the first month and disappear for the next three months, your open rate will fall dramatically when you restart.
On the other hand, being consistent enables your users to care more about your newsletter. Plus, you establish a connection with them, making them stick with you for a long time, and share your newsletter with their peers and colleagues.
Determine how often and when you will send your newsletter, and stick to it. Many SaaS businesses don’t create a newsletter unless they have significant news to share. Avoid this approach as it allows too much time for your subscribers to forget about you and your work.
Also, remember that consistency and quality matter more than frequency. Even if you deliver one newsletter per month, make it packed with content that your audience will find valuable. Create a realistic publishing schedule that you know you’ll be able to follow. And, you can always increase your frequency as you go.
4. Consider the design
Design is the most overlooked component of a SaaS newsletter creation process. Optimizing the design of your newsletter is crucial as it can not only make it more attractive but also improve its readability and increase click-throughs and engagement. In short, your valuable content won’t matter if the design doesn’t make it accessible enough.
Nowadays, email marketers rely on well-designed templates for their SaaS newsletters to simplify the designing process. So, choose a template that adheres to your newsletter guidelines. Plus, you should be able to customize the template as much as possible to ensure it’s capable of achieving your goals.
In addition, incorporate these design elements to make your newsletter stand out:
- Concise copy is vital as your subscribers don’t want to read your email all day.
- Use white space to eliminate the cluttered feel and make the newsletters easy on the eyes.
- Evoke your brand feeling by using design templates similar to those in your logo and other marketing materials. A consistent design develops trust and brand credibility with subscribers as they can easily recognize the email’s sender solely from the design.
- Last but not least, use fonts and colors that are easy to read across different devices. Using your brand colors is a good option, but not all colors provide a good reading experience. So, avoid bright colors that are difficult to read and colors that wash out your text. Further, use a unique, readable font related to your brand.
5. Include necessary elements
Creating a must-read SaaS newsletter is tricky. Now that you’ve planned out its design, it’s time to make sure your newsletter has these five components:
Even if people sign up for your newsletter, there’s no guarantee they’ll open it once they receive them. This is where writing an interesting subject line helps.
The subject line is undoubtedly the most crucial part of your SaaS newsletter. It is the first piece of information your subscribers see which determines whether or not they will open your email. If it’s not enticing enough, they will just ignore it, and all the time spent on crafting your newsletter will go to waste. In fact, 69% of email subscribers report email as spam based on subject lines alone.
Here’s what you can do to craft click-worthy subject lines:
- The subject line will appear differently depending on the user’s device. So, it’s recommended to keep it as short as possible — preferably 25-30 characters.
- It should give a glimpse of the topic or information your reader will find in the newsletter.
- 56% of brands say that adding an emoji boosted their open rates. So, experiment with emojis, but don’t overuse them unless you want to look unprofessional. For example, Morning Brew’s early-morning newsletter on sets the tone with the coffee cup emoji:
- Personalize your subject line by adding the user or company name. This makes the readers feel like the email is written specifically for them.
- Ask a question in your subject line to get the readers curious about finding the answers.
- Capitalize the word(s) that you want to stand out. For example, “Real success stories from SMALL online businesses”.
Preview or preheader text is the snippet of the email content that subscribers can see before reading the whole SaaS newsletter. Basically, it is the extension of your subject line that teases the reader about the newsletter’s message. Done right, it can have a powerful impact on your open rates.
Some tips for writing effective preview texts are:
- Preview text appears differently in different email providers, such as Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc. Plus, mobile readers see less of your preheader text compared to desktop readers. Therefore, a good rule of thumb is to keep it between 40 and 100 characters. If it’s too short, email clients may pull in text from your email’s main body.
- By default, the first line of email text will appear as the preview text. But, you always have the option to fill out unique, engaging preheader text that compels your readers to open it.
- Your subject line should always be different from your preview text. This is because if your subject line isn’t enticing enough, the preview can be your second chance at reeling your subscribers in.
- Add a call-to-action in your email preheader to get more people to open it. For example, “You should open this — there’s a good deal in…”.
- Make sure your preheader text pairs well with the subject line. When they work together, it builds curiosity among subscribers. Check out this example by Kommunicate:
Next comes the main body of your SaaS newsletter. It provides an overview of different topics at once. So, it’s important to break it down into separate sections for each subject. Even though each section is about a different topic, they’re unified under a common theme. This way, your subscribers can quickly scan your content for the details that attract them.
Naturally, the newsletters are longer than sales emails. Some studies say that newsletters with 50 to 200 words have the best click-through rates. However, we recommend considering your readers’ habits to determine the correct length. For example, busy working moms don’t have much time to spare, and therefore, cannot read long newsletters. But, SaaS marketers may prefer a long weekly digest.
Whatever length you choose, make sure the newsletter is as crisp as possible but also contains everything you need to convince the reader to take an intended action.
Research about your audience to see what topics might interest them. Include relevant and credible links from blogs, highlight company events and webinars, and provide free resources. Further, avoid filling your newsletter with too many ads unless you want it in the trash.
Take Morning Brew’s Newsletter as an example. This newsletter takes the prize for converting the most topics in a single mail. The best thing? All topics are organized under specific sections, without confusing the readers. Plus, it mentions multiple article links and explains their relevance before clicking them.
You might have created a fabulous newsletter with valuable information and a beautiful design. But, if it doesn’t guide the reader towards the next steps, it’s a dead end. This is where a call-to-action (CTA) comes into play.
A CTA is a button or hyperlinked word or phrase that prompts a user to take the desired action, such as visiting a blog, watching a video, filling a form, and so on. These simple yet powerful buttons are the difference between good newsletters and great ones. Plus, it ensures an ongoing interaction between the SaaS brand and the consumer.
Follow these tips for effective CTAs:
- You don’t have to bombard your subscribers with multiple CTAs. Using at least one CTA is enough to spur some engagement. However, the number of CTAs you mention depends on the length of the email, the number of products or blogs you’re promoting, and more. These can be social sharing buttons or links to your website or blog posts.
- Use colorful CTA buttons that pop off the page by using contrasting colors. You can also use whitespace around the CTA to make it attention-grabbing.
- Whatever number of CTAs you include, make sure to mention one main CTA that should clearly outline the action you want your subscribers to take.
- Use powerful words like “Get started” and “Yes, sign me up!”. Create a sense of urgency and FOMO with trigger words like “now” and “ends soon”. And, don’t forget to keep them short.
- Since mobile screens are smaller than desktops, include shorter CTAs that fit on one line.
- Readers typically read from the top left to right. So, make sure to place your CTA buttons towards the bottom or to the right of the newsletter.
For example, Airtable uses a subtle way to draw your attention to their CTA button. Plus, both the graphic and the CTA button link to the same video.
An email footer is the last and most overlooked component of a SaaS newsletter. However, it’s as essential as the beginning because it contains plenty of information about your brand that can direct your readers towards the intended action. In short, they improve the quality of interaction with your brand.
Here’s what a footer should include:
- An unsubscribe button
- Option to manage newsletter preferences
- Social proofs like social profile links, certifications, etc
- Your website or blog link
- Ways to get in touch with you — via live chat, social media, WhatsApp, or email.
Take a look at this email footer of Zapier’s newsletter:
6. Use striking visuals
Imagine you’re selling plane tickets to Paris. Sure, you’ll tell them about the flight details and the price. But, what will win people over and excite them are the photos of the beautiful cafes, museums, and the famous Eiffel Tower.
That’s exactly what images can do for your SaaS newsletter. They support your message and help your subscribers connect with your content — making your writing more impactful and boosting your click-through rate. Visually-enhanced newsletters also enable your readers to understand your product and brand better.
So, make sure not to keep your newsletters text-heavy and strategically place images, infographics, videos, and charts.
Here are some best practices:
- Images of people personalize the bond between you and your readers. And not just any people — photos of your employees, clients, and C-suite executives.
- Though stock images are copyright-free, avoid using them unless you want your newsletter to look too much like a stock website. Plus, they can appear spammy and make your brand look less authentic. If you must use them, choose images that don’t look like stock or personalize them by adding your company logo. Or, you can even use moving images like GIFs and memes to jazz things up.
- Hyperlink your images so that if the readers click them, you can direct them to pages relevant to the image, saving them some steps.
- Often, people won’t have images enabled in their emails. Use alt text to convey to the readers what the image is about. This is especially important if your CTAs are images — you want to make sure your subscribers click the button even if the image is missing.
- Don’t overuse pictures. A good rule of thumb is to make the ratio of 20% images to 80% text. This is not only more appealing for the user but also makes your newsletter look more professional. Also, make sure the size of each image is under 1MB — as low as possible (100KB or less).
Check out the different types of images used in this newsletter by Monday.com.
7. Time your newsletters well
You’ve worked so hard to design and create content for your newsletter — came up with a powerful copy, an engaging subject line, and a strong CTA. And yet, why do your emails still have a low open or click-through rate? It might be that your timing is not correct.
People receive hundreds of emails every day, and the ones at the top of the inbox get better engagement than those at the bottom. Therefore, sending your SaaS newsletters at the right time is just as important as its content and design.
A badly-timed email will lose its value and will likely be ignored by your subscribers for other newsletters. On the other hand, sending them at the right time can boost your open rates and click-throughs as your readers will likely see and open them.
But, what is the right time to send a newsletter? How can you find the right time that aligns with your newsletter strategy? Consider these tips:
- Understand the time zone your readers live in. For example, if your subscribers live internationally, you must send your newsletters at a convenient time for them rather than choosing a time that suits you.
- Next, finding out when your customers check their emails is crucial to picking the right time for sending your newsletter. Do they check their inbox when they wake up, during the lunch break, or at night? Do they engage more during weekdays or weekends? Are they more likely to check the emails via phone or laptop?
When choosing the best day to send newsletters, do some A/B testing on your list. Come up with some hypotheses based on engagement data, open rates, and click-through rates. Whatever day you select, make sure to send your newsletter at the same time. This builds trust and makes your audience expect your content at the same time.
8. Choose the right newsletter platform
Earlier, people used Excel sheets connected with Outlook to manage their subscriber list and send emails. But today, it no longer cuts the mustard — you need something more efficient to streamline your newsletter strategy.
This is where newsletter software comes into play.
A newsletter platform enables you to write, design, and send SaaS newsletters to a group of people and manage subscribers, measure performance, and more. It comes with many features such as A/B testing, smart content, analytics, and customizable templates.
However, not all newsletter platforms are the same. Ultimately, you need to select the one that aligns with your unique needs. Here are a few factors you must consider:
- Integration: Make sure your newsletter software integrates seamlessly with your customer relationship management (CRM) tool. This will enable you to manage valuable content and customer data. Plus, you can get an overview of key metrics (open rates, click-through rates) to see if your newsletters are performing well.
- Price: This one goes without saying, but make sure you select software that fits your budget while providing all the necessary features.
- Features: If you’re a newsletter newbie, you’ll want a tool with a simple interface and easy-to-use features. However, software with robust features is suitable for expert email marketers.
- Subscriber limit: Many providers provide different pricing plans based on the size of the database or the number of emails you send monthly. So, consider the number of your subscribers and the rate at which you want to grow.
9. Send a welcome email
Creating a good first impression is highly crucial in email interactions. A welcome email can go a long way here.
Welcome emails are sent to new subscribers to introduce what your brand is all about and how often you’ll be in touch. In fact, 74% of the email subscribers expect a welcome email. So, make sure you send it to make your newsletter stand out and boost subscriber engagement naturally.
Since it’s your first interaction with your readers, use it to show your personality and make them feel that there’s a real person behind the brand. You can give some juicy content upfront, so your readers don’t have to wait. Plus, you can use it to tell them how to whitelist your emails, leading to the delivery of your newsletter right in their inbox folder.
Here’s what you can include in your welcome email:
- Set clear expectations about what your readers will receive and when.
- Allow them to share the newsletter with their colleagues and friends.
- Encourage them to add your email address to their contacts so your newsletter can land into their primary folder.
- Don’t start selling your products or services right away — unless it’s a special time-limited promo. Doing so can result in high unsubscription rates and low click-throughs. However, you can use this email to promote your useful blog posts and content.
- It can be tempting to include as much information as possible, but make sure to keep your welcome email concise and straightforward. Further, stick to one main CTA that matters most for your business.
Check out this welcome email by Later:
An email newsletter is a fantastic SaaS marketing strategy for engaging with your prospective customers and persuading them to take the desired action. If you’re not already taking advantage of its power, you’re losing a huge opportunity to foster a relationship with your audience and build brand authority.
But an unattractive SaaS newsletter won’t grab anyone’s attention, while an organized one can boost your revenue, drive more people to subscribe to your mailing list, and ensure steady traffic influx to your website and social media channels.
Once your newsletter is ready, spend some time testing it. Send it to a colleague who can give you helpful feedback. Further, check it on a desktop and a mobile screen to ensure the design works flawlessly on all devices.
Pratik Dholakiya is the Founder of Growfusely, a SaaS content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO.