4 Examples to Inspire Your Email Marketing for SaaS

Melanie Balke
November 22, 2023

I’ve covered banking, hospitality, and retail.

Now, it’s time for something new!

While we’re all familiar with B2B email business communication, I’m sure some readers will be surprised to learn that they can also use email marketing for SaaS companies! It’s the perfect way to convey your brand’s values without breaking the bank, after all.

But what does it look like?

In today’s blog post, I’ll be breaking down some amazing examples of SaaS email marketing. I’ll dissect each example thoroughly, discussing every nuance to ensure you understand how this marketing channel can amplify your brand’s customer journey.

So, let’s get started!

Why Is Email Marketing for SaaS So Effective?

A 1940s army truck with supplies in the bed. “The Basics: Why SaaS Email Marketing Works.”

Okay. Fine.

I lied.

First, I want to explain why SaaS email marketing is so valuable.

Anyone running a SaaS company can tell you the complexities of its marketing funnel. You’re juggling more than one marketing funnel. In many cases, you’re juggling more than two customer journeys! Not only do you have those lead nurture campaigns, but you also have customer loyalty campaigns, flows for free trial users, flows for paying customers, and email automation schedules for prospective customers. It’s a lot of work, and it’s why SaaS email marketing is 3× more complex than other email marketing strategies.

So, why do people bother with it?

Well, despite all the work required to run a successful email marketing strategy, it remains one of the most cost-effective ways to connect with customers. And there are plenty more benefits, too, such as…

Nurture Your Customer Relationships

One of the best traits of SaaS email marketing is its outstanding adaptability. On the surface, it’s a simple way to deliver truly unique content. In many cases, it takes little more than a few drag-and-drop actions to implement richly personalized email marketing. Yet, at the same time, users can combine different elements to create entirely new ideas.

Both automated email sequences and personalized emails allow for SaaS email marketing to easily adapt to any audience. Dynamic content blocks can display a wide variety of information, improving a brand’s ability to nurture users at every stage of the customer journey. More importantly, this versatility gives marketers the tools to fashion a unique, laser-focused marketing funnel.

Improve Your Software’s Reputation

And I didn’t even mention the psychological benefits of email marketing!

All those emails add up to brand awareness, and brand awareness is your fastest ticket to exponential growth. After all, your brand’s reputation directly reflects your SaaS business’ standing, and few can afford to be anything less than remarkable. Your reputation even powers your email marketing metrics, giving birth to better customer retention and boosting the effectiveness of your referral campaigns.

Meet Your Business Goals

However, for all these perks, the most remarkable benefit of email marketing is its multifunctional nature. There are as many email campaign possibilities as stars in the sky, and each glimmer is an opportunity to win new customers.

But you don’t have to stop there. Unlike other marketing channels, email marketing works on every level, pushing beyond the barriers of that initial discovery phase. It’s an affordable way to encourage users across your entire customer journey to engage and interact with your brand. Yes, you can certainly take charge of your revenue with some savvy email marketing campaigns.

But you can do so, so much more.

The Places You’ll Go With SaaS Email Marketing

A 1920s YMCA postcard. Young men stand around a table, watching each other write letters home. Overlaid text reads, “The Potential: How You Can Use SaaS Email Marketing.”

As a whole, email marketing’s serviceability has earned decades of respect.

But what about the specifics?

I could dedicate multiple blog posts to the many uses of SaaS email marketing, but I know we’re all busy. Being a business owner is a full-time job! So, instead, I’ve broken this remarkable marketing tactic into four overarching categories:

  • General emails
  • Incentivized email campaigns
  • Informative email marketing campaigns
  • Timely reminders

You can tailor these categories to fit any target audience, but you must understand their inherent goals before you do so.

The “Catch All” General Category

My first category is more of an umbrella term, so don’t think of it as an authoritative academic classification! These emails won’t have the same message, nor will they even target the same users. Nonetheless, your “general” email campaigns are as essential as any other.

This is the bread and butter of your marketing strategy. If you’re a fan of LEGO bricks, think of these emails as that big, flat baseplate. They’re foundational messages with various goals, and I can’t possibly list every example in a single blog post. Nonetheless, I can point out some of the most important examples, including…

  • Behavioral Emails: Behavioral marketing campaigns are sent after certain actions are taken.
  • Transactional Emails: This formally recognized subset of email marketing focuses on the monetary side of your sales funnel. Examples of transactional email campaigns include post-purchase flows and automated receipts.
  • User Onboarding Emails: These emails are for new users. They often blur the lines between general email marketing and informative campaigning.
  • Welcome Emails: We’ve all received a welcome email! These first impressions are the basis of your SaaS email marketing strategy. They set your customers’ expectations and open the doors to your sales funnel.

Incentivized Email Marketing Campaigns

Time to expand our horizons!

Incentivized campaigns give customers something of value. Many of these campaigns offer free trials or discounts. However, you can also incentivize customer feedback and user-generated content. As with general emails, these customer communications can target anyone.

Here are some examples:

  • Customer Loyalty Emails: These emails may include incentivized micro-conversions or upgrades. Though often sent to new paying customers, they can also push established users into higher subscription tiers.
  • Referral Programs: These targeted messages build on customer success. Happy customers are likely to spread the word about your product. Why not make it worth their time?
  • User-Generated Content Campaigns: These are tricky to manage, but they’re a great way to lower your marketing costs. Succeeding with these campaigns grants marketers access to customer success stories and worthwhile reviews, which can be used in other email marketing campaigns.
  • Upgrades and Upsells: Upselling is nothing new, and both new customers and longstanding users are prime targets for these highly profitable promotions.

Informative Email Marketing for SaaS

In some ways, incentivized campaigns overlap with informative marketing. Both categories offer something of value. However, informative email marketing often focuses on educating your audience.

Most SaaS email marketing strategies frequently integrate informative content into other emails. As an example, many major SaaS companies sprinkle informative bits into their welcome email. Similarly, you’ll often see SaaS email marketing campaigns use branded blog and FAQ links. The lines blur often, so this category often bleeds into the others.

Nonetheless, there are some SaaS email marketing campaigns that exclusively fall into the “informative” category, including…

  • Automated Help Emails: One of the best ways to optimize the internal affairs of your SaaS business is to implement an automated help line. These email marketing flows give the illusion of live support without the associated costs. These are not promotional emails; they don’t earn SaaS companies much money. However, they build customer trust and ease the customer journey.
  • Product Launches: Need a way to celebrate your newest feature? Look no further than email marketing! SaaS email marketing is a centralized way to inform everyone — whether they’re free trial users or paying customers — of your service’s latest additions.
  • Testimonial Emails: While this can also be considered a general-use email, many of these campaigns focus on informing and educating new customers. The best examples of testimonial-based campaigns use plenty of user-generated content — including publicly available reviews, user-generated content, and enthusiastic customer success stories.
  • Update Alerts: SaaS email marketing is the perfect way to inform users of new features. Cross-channel marketing amplifies this effect by giving your SaaS business a convenient way to educate existing customers. Many update emails include links to a service’s blog, website, or updated FAQ landing page.

Timely Email Marketing Campaigns

The last category focuses on customer retention and satisfaction.

Timely reminders span the full range of your sales funnel. Some serve existing customers, while others remind free trial users of upcoming deadlines. In some ways, these, too, are the basis of many SaaS companies’ marketing strategies.

A few examples of such campaigns include…

  • Account Alerts: Automated emails may inform users that their free trial is ending soon. Alternatively, your brand may want to announce new features in higher-paying subscription tiers.
  • Customer-Centric Dates: Birthdays, anniversaries, and major holidays are perfect for sending cordial email messages. These may not boost your revenue, but they often increase customer retention.
  • Customer Data Alerts: If your service has functional limits, timely email marketing can make a world of difference. Nobody wants to be paywalled halfway through an upload!

SaaS Email Marketing to Inspire Your Strategy

A cactus flower. “Examples: Email Marketing Campaigns to Inspire.”

So, what do these emails look like? What do they sound like?

I’ve found some of the best SaaS email marketing examples and compiled them for this blog post. Moreover, I’ll be starting each example with a quick and easy breakdown of its overall structure. The four-part dissection will look like this:

  • Audience: This first bullet point is an at-a-glance breakdown of the campaign’s target audience.
  • Campaign Type: This tells you if the campaign is a general marketing email, incentivized offer, informative email, or timely reminder. If the email falls into multiple categories, they’ll all be listed.
  • Goal: Here, I go even deeper into the campaign. I peel back the surface and see its core goals.
  • Highlight: Each example is unique. Think of this final point as the “what to learn from this email” segment of the analysis.

So, with that in mind…

Let’s dig in!

1. The Gold Star of Drip Email Marketing Efforts

A color-inverted identification plate for a Fokker biplane, dated 1918. Overlaid text reads, “Example #1: Drip Marketing for Everyone.”

I’ll start with a brand you (probably) already know.

Shopify has become the de facto e-commerce vendor, and it’s only expected to grow. However, that success didn’t happen overnight. It required plenty of networking and campaigning. Thus, it’s only appropriate that I begin our examples by looking at this massive brand’s SaaS email marketing strategy.

As promised, here’s your at-a-glance breakdown of this email marketing push:

  • Audience: Anyone!
  • Campaign Type: General, Informational, Timely reminder
  • Goal: Customer service, Education
  • Highlight: Customer-centric marketing

Getting Ahead of the Customer Inquiries

The beginning of a Shopify email. The header reads, “Explore Shopify’s Summer ‘23 Edition: 100+ product updates that make the impossible possible.”

We all know the pain of updating. Even the smallest updates can cause massive confusion. That’s where email marketing software comes to the rescue! Your campaigns are your customer service team’s first line of defense, and this email showcases the path to success.

Formally, this is known as a drip campaign. This example is meant for everyone, but you can also personalize email messages. Regardless of the target audience, the ultimate goal is the same. These campaigns aim to boost customer satisfaction and increase customer success rates. In fact, there are many benefits to such a campaign, including:

  • Decreased Customer Service Costs: Proactive informational email campaigns ensure your SaaS business’ customer service center only gets the most dire help tickets.
  • Increased Brand Awareness: SaaS businesses need brand awareness, and drip marketing emails are the perfect way to build that trust. These campaigns may not earn much money, but they win the hearts of your audience.
  • Increased Customer Satisfaction: Update alerts tell your users that you care about their success, providing a comradery that many promotional and education emails lack.
  • Reduced Customer Acquisition Costs: Savvy use of your email marketing tools lowers customer churn. On the surface, you have more satisfied customers. But let’s dig deeper. A happy customer is more likely to recommend your service, less likely to leave, and more inclined to upgrade their subscription.
Three panels in the Shopify email. Each features a bright blue CTA and headline. From top to bottom, the sections read: “Summer ‘23 Edition walkthrough,” “Updates include,” and “Get ready for BFCM.”

At its core, this example is the intersection of promotional and educational emails. It promotes Shopify’s new services, hoping to entice free users to spring for a paid subscription. At the same time, it educates every user on its new features.

I want to specifically call out the embedded video! It’s a delightful and functional addition that shows how well this SaaS company knows its audience.

Remember: Everyone learns differently! It’s not enough to have an all-text FAQ landing page. You must cater to everyone in your audience, and videos are the perfect way for SaaS businesses to provide hands-on demonstrations of their services.

An Eye for Expansion

The Spotify email’s footer. White text against a black background reads, “Explore all updates.” The blue CTA reads, “View Summer ‘23 Edition.” Below is a row of social media icons.

And I can’t pass up a chance to showcase the gorgeous footer.

This simple ending may not say much, but it shows a lot. Email marketing is powerful, but it can’t do everything.

A truly successful strategy pulls customer data from every source, including social media. Here, we see that winning mindset. Shopify boldly showcases its presence across today’s major social platforms, inviting readers to join its journey of growth.

Note, too, that there’s no coy messaging. Shopify isn’t begging for audience engagement; rather, it’s inviting readers to join the discussion. While playful wording works for some SaaS businesses, it often causes more harm than good. Summarily, most brands should steer clear of “follow us now, please” messaging.

2. The Perfect Welcome Email for Any SaaS Company

A Nintendo Entertainment System controller. The directional input pad, select, and start buttons are visible. “Example #2: The Welcome Email You Must See.”

Next, I want to explore the most important message you’ll ever send.

Your welcome email is your customer’s first impression of your brand. It can convert free users to loyal, paying customers. Or, if poorly implemented, it can break relationships entirely! Don’t let the latter happen to you. Invest in top-notch email marketing and take some pointers from this Typeform welcome campaign.

What’s there to know about this slice of Typeform’s SaaS email marketing strategy? Well…

  • Audience: New customers
  • Campaign Type: General
  • Goal: Educational, Welcome
  • Highlight: Segmentation

The Big, The Bold, The Beautiful Call-to-Action

The beginning of the Typeform email. A large block of forest green emphasizes the header and CTA.

First, I want to admire that CTA.

It’s not a conventional setup, but it’s worth the build. “Grow together,” the header invites; “OK” is the simple answer. Then, subscribers get the pitch: “Learn about question types, design, Workspaces, and more in this crash course.” And — again — they’re given an effective, active call to action: “Make your Typeform.”

A Welcome Email to Amplify Your SaaS Email Marketing Strategy

All those links (and those that follow) take advantage of the power of the welcome email. Welcome campaigns get 30% more engagement on average, vastly outpacing any other email marketing campaign. Here, Typeform placed its most prominent must-see links at the top, highlighting them with bold CTA buttons. However, it also sprinkles plenty of supporting links throughout the campaign.

The body of the Typeform email contains multiple headers and informative text. Sections describe design, implementation, layout, and visualization.

As a whole, the message is clear. Typeform cares about its customers.

However, that doesn’t make this campaign wholly conversational. This is far from a parasitic relationship.

Scrolling down further, readers see an eye-popping factoid: “Rated 4.5 out of 5 from over 600 reviews on G2.com.” Again, we see a gentle push to accrue more customer data. Typeform offers its social links and emphasizes the importance of its software.

The end of the Typeform email includes social links and facts. The CTA reads, “Make your first typeform.”

Now, the brand has fulfilled its users’ expectations. The user onboarding is complete. Why not use the last bit of space to remind subscribers of the software’s benefits?

A Quick Word About Segmentation

Now, before I move to the next example, I want to emphasize the importance of segmentation. This common feature of email marketing software allows companies to divide audiences into separate groups based on specific parameters. From there, emails can be scheduled for these groups, guaranteeing each campaign reaches its intended audience.

I won’t dwell on this topic; it’s a complex process, and there’s not enough space in this blog post to fully explain its potential. Nonetheless, it would be a crime for me to ignore its functional benefits.

Segmentation may sound like a fancy sorting tool, but it’s much more powerful than that. When paired with skilled email automation, optimized segments have the power to streamline your marketing. That customization gives you the power to target specific users — as we’ve seen — and hone in on their pain points.

You get all the perks of personalization without the complex behind-the-scenes coding. And as a result, you get more satisfied customers and fewer inactive users.

3. Delight Paying Customers With Newsletters

An old newspaper article. “Example #3: What Your SaaS Newsletter Needs.”

If Typeform was too obscure for you, I have another high-profile example. You’ll have a hard time finding someone who doesn’t recognize Spotify, and its newsletters just so happen to be top-notch examples of informative email marketing!

Pay close attention to this example; it may just shape your future email marketing efforts.

  • Audience: Anyone!
  • Campaign Type: Informational
  • Goal: Education
  • Highlight: Design, Newsletter use

The Beauty of Email Campaigns

The Spotify email. The header reads, “Rec Room.” Below is an article about podcast segments.

Take a second to appreciate the beauty of this campaign.

The designers know what they want users to see. This is both an informative newsletter and a veiled user onboarding experience. Spotify — like any other SaaS business — wants its customers to succeed. Its email campaigns reflect this hope, and the content of this newsletter really hammers it home.

The further a reader gets in this email, the more beautiful it gets.

Two more sections, each with alternating colors. One section covers news; the other, community events.

This stacking effect highlights the email’s eye for visual hierarchy. Designers know that users read left-to-right and top-to-bottom. Thus, the most important information is placed at the top, and everything else follows.

The Perks of Email Newsletters

Now, look beyond the email.

The content is nice, but the goal is a template for other SaaS companies to follow.

Obviously, this email will help recipients improve their podcasts. However, it’s also a way to smooth out Spotify’s customer acquisition. It answers key questions that new customers might have, cleverly utilizing its email marketing platform as a customer support tool.

Moreover, as with drip campaigns, newsletters cater to every demographic. Both paying and freemium users can enjoy the content of this newsletter. This may not convert many subscribers, but it plants the seed for that shift. It reminds viewers of Spotify’s many perks and sows the seed to traverse the gap between being a free and paying customer.

4. The Versatility of Email Marketing for SaaS

A city street. “Example #4: The Versatility of Email Marketing.”

Finally, I want to examine a multifaceted campaign from Adobe.

Yes, the powerhouse behind Photoshop has some incredible marketing automation. Its marketing strategy is one of the most robust examples of SaaS campaigning on the planet. It’s impossible to avoid its influence, making its inclusion an inevitability.

So, what does one of the largest SaaS companies have up its sleeve?

  • Audience: Anyone!
  • Campaign Type: Informational
  • Goal: Education, Engagement
  • Highlight: Multitasking

Hiding the Depth With a Clever Header

The header of Adobe’s email. “Adobe DITAWORLD 2023. Check out the on-demand recordings.”

Your first impression of this email is likely simple. “It’s a run-of-the-mill informational newsletter,” you’re probably saying. “What’s so special about it? What makes it different from the last example?”

Well, if I scroll down a few lines…

7 testimonials with linked videos. Interviewees include, respectively, Neil E. Young, Mayo Clinic, KONE, Hunter Douglas, Ciena, Ariel Corporation, and Blackberry.


This email is about so much more than Adobe’s 2023 DITAWORLD event. Clearly, it’s been underestimated.

Remember that user-generated content I mentioned? This is how to use it.

Current customers already know the power of Adobe’s software. They understand the importance of its multifunctional platform. This section isn’t for them; it’s for new users! It’s a signal to free trial participants that paying for the service is well worth the cost.

“Product Updates.” A section details updates to Adobe’s FrameMaker 2023. A link reads, “Check out the release notes here.”

As I venture deeper into the email campaign, we finally get a glimpse of informative content.

Both inactive users and daily designers have a lot to gain from this link. In this way, it’s the perfect way to win back lapsed consumers without alienating current and prospective clients.

The Lead Magnet Stinger

At the end of the campaign, readers get the chance to download Adobe’s Experience Manager Guides.

The end of the Adobe email invites users to download the Adobe Experience Manager Guide.

Though informative, these downloadables also function as positive marketing. They’re brand awareness amplifiers with a functional spin, formally known as lead magnets.” They’re powerful tools to promote customer trust and establish a brand’s reputation.

Now, in Adobe’s case, the brand is already established. This is little more than an expected addition to the brand’s robust lineup of customer support tools. Nonetheless, that tiny touch adds a massive amount of goodwill between the brand and its customers. It also accrues plenty of eager website visitors, some of whom may opt to upgrade their plans while they’re visiting.

Amplify Your Impact

Regardless of how you choose to construct your SaaS email marketing strategy, there’s one final secret to share: Email marketing doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long process of researching, understanding, and fulfilling your audience’s expectations. It’s a simple endeavor for massive brands — like Adobe and Shopify.

But what about the upcoming leaders of their industry?

Email marketing may be more than you can afford to handle right now, but that doesn’t make it any less important. You still need email marketing, and I have a solution…

Schedule a free strategy session today and see how my team of pros at The Email Marketers can deliver the best content on demand. Worry less about your email marketing and invest your time where it’s needed! The power of digital marketing is in your hands, and it’s just a few clicks away.