Entries from December 2016 ↓

3 Emails Every Early-Stage SaaS Should Be Sending Right Now

This article is a guest post by Christoph Engelhardt of SaaSEmailMarketing.net.


Today I’m going to show you 3 emails that can change the trajectory of your SaaS business. The emails I’m highlighting here are easy to set up and pack a punch – ideal for early-stage products.

You’ll learn how to:

  • increase your signup conversions by 15%
  • improve your “trial-to-paid” conversions
  • prevent payment-related churn

The best part? You can combine the three emails for a multiplicative benefit

In today’s article you’ll learn exactly how to leverage those emails.

Use the Signup Abandonment Email to increase your signup conversions by 15%

The concept of the Signup Abandonment Email is something I learned from Rob and the Drip team and implementing it had a dramatic impact on my signup conversion rate.

The idea here is very simple. Take any two step signup process like the one from Drip here:

03_drip-signup-step-1

04_drip-signup-step-2

Did you know that roughly 60% of signups will drop out on the 2nd step? Me neither.

Now the good thing is that you’ve already got their email address, so there is nothing stopping you from reminding them via email that they should sign up. So that’s exactly what you’re going to do. Look at Drip’s signup abandonment email:

07_drip-signup-abandonment-email

If you want to learn more about this and even more advanced tactics I’ve written an extensive case study on signup abandonment emails.

Convert more trials into paying customers with trial extension emails

Another problem most SaaS products encounter is that roughly 50% of trial signups do not start using the app and do not convert into paying customers – and often it is even more.

While it’s depressing to realize, this is also a great opportunity as you can rather easily pump that conversion rate up with good onboarding and some email marketing.

One easy to implement, yet effective tool in your email marketing toolbox is the trial extension email. Imagine the following scenario:

Bob, the CTO of ConstConvSoft, signs up for your app, starts the 30 day trial, looks around a bit and gets distracted by the CEO/his wife/an alien invasion. Now, he totally wanted to use your app, but he got distracted and then forgot about it. Next time he remembers your app is when you inform him on day 31 that his account got cancelled, at which point he just thinks “meh”.

Ideally, you (/your app) realize on day 15 that Bob is failing in his trial, e.g. by comparing their usage of the app to successful customers. Then it’s just a matter of sending Bob an email on day 15 and offering him more time to check out your app – along with some help (videos or 1-on-1 call) – for a decent chance to convert Bob into a successful (and paying) customer.

Here’s a great example of such an email:

09-rebump-trial-extension

This tactic is easy to implement. You don’t need a link that extends the trial, you can do that manually after Bob replies. All you need is an email template and a method to filter for failing trial users.

Prevent payment-related churn with great dunning emails

The last topic I want to touch on is payment-related churn. This is a fancy way of saying “a customer’s card didn’t go through and we have to cancel their account”, which happens way more often than you’d think.

Granted, this isn’t as much of a problem when you’re very early on, because people tend to give you up-to-date credit card info during signup. But after a year or so you’ll see more and more cards near their expiry date – and subsequently fail payments. Even before that you’ll see the occasional failed payment as the credit card balance may run low.

Payment-related churn can make up to 50% of your overall churn, so it is well worth addressing. After all cutting your churn rate in half will fast-track your growth like nothing else.

Getting dunning emails exactly right is an art, but you can get 80% there by heading a few simple rules:

  1. Do not ask users to update their credit card details BEFORE payments start to fail
  2. Do NOT immediately retry a credit card the next day after a failed payment
  3. Make updating the credit card details as easy as possible

Most payment providers (like Stripe) will update expiration dates behind the scenes without any payment failures. So asking customers to update their expiration date creates unnecessary friction for them.

Additionally, you shouldn’t retry a credit card immediately on the next day, because the credit card may have reached its limit and the customer is waiting for a deposit on the credit card to go through. If your first charge fails on a Friday, you retry on Saturday, and again on Sunday, your customer won’t be able to balance their credit card before you cancel their subscription.

The folks at Churnbuster wrote a detailed article on how to get dunning emails right – check it out to learn more!

Learn even more email marketing tricks

If you apply just those three email tactics in your SaaS you’ll get more trial signups that will more likely become paying customers and churn at a lower rate once they are paying customers. How’s that for a nice triple whammy?

Of course there are even more email marketing tactics that you can use to accelerate the growth of your SaaS. If you want to learn more, I’m writing the SaaS Email Marketing Handbook where I share everything I’ve learned from years of running my own SaaS and consulting other SaaS businesses on email marketing.

Head on over to SaaSEmailMarketing.net to read get a special discount.