The secret to SaaS emails that convert

is sending the right message, to the right person, at the right time.

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As trite as that sounds, doing so has allowed me to solve some tricky user onboarding and retention problems for companies like Hubspot, Pinterest, Drip, Workamajig, and more.

Problems like:

How to onboard users based on their access to specific features in the app.

How to move thousands of paying users to the new version before support for the old version stopped

How to get users to reach a milestone to qualify for a white glove service

Solving these problems led to some pretty big wins.

A jaw-dropping 100% user retention

With a single email sequence, Samar helped us engage even the staunchest holdouts and make sure no one got left behind after the Flash phase-out.

Using that campaign, we were able to get people to join the webinar and engage with support to make the move. It did a really good job.

We were delighted with the outcome, but not at all surprised.

Samar spends a lot of time getting to know our clients. She’s able to then jump in and come up with a really good strategy to help us accomplish our goals.

Esther Cohen, Director of Marketing, Workamajig.

Read the full case study here.

Email is a long game (and a team sport)

Emails that convert aren’t created in a vacuum — they require strategy, planning, execution, and teamwork.

That means figuring out what problem we’re solving and creating an email strategy for it.

That means mapping out your user’s email journey and creating a top-notch customer experience.

That means figuring out what email to send when (and to whom) so that your users feel seen and supported.

All of this takes time.

I was able to get my client (Workamajig) 100% user retention for a number of reasons:


We’d been working together on their emails for 2 years.

By the time we worked on this email campaign, I’d already helped them increase their open rates from ~20% to ~60%. How? By creating and following an email strategy that focused on building a relationship with their users and subscribers first.


Like me, Workamajig believed in email being a long game.

They’d started investing in email long before they needed the kind of results I got them. When they first reached out to me, their goal was to build a better relationship with their customers and create a stellar email experience for their users. We started off by creating a welcome sequence for new subscribers and weekly newsletters to engage existing subscribers.


They trusted my expertise and followed my advice when it was time to execute.

Not having enough time to do customer research didn’t mean I skipped on it. When I proposed an unconventional method of getting the customer research we needed, they trusted my expertise and gave me the support and resources I needed.

I’ve been in the game long enough to know that the result I got for Workamajig is an outlier.

But you know what’s NOT an outlier?

My approach to SaaS email marketing and my process for creating emails that convert.

It’s worked for SaaS companies of all sizes and will continue to work for one simple reason: I’m not solving email problems. I’m solving SaaS business problems. 

Email’s just my weapon of choice.

Solving SaaS problems with emails

When we get on a call, one of the first questions I’ll ask will be:

“What’s been happening to make you feel like you need email help?”

When it comes to Saas emails, my philosophy is simple (and two-fold)

Onboard with long term retention in mind

No user left behind

Here’s the thing…

You don’t need 100% user retention.

Even a 5% increase in customer retention can increase your company’s revenue by 25-95%. (Bain & Co)

It always blows my mind how retaining a small % of your customers can lead to huge wins.

Here’s how I’ll get you there: 

1. First comes customer research

SaaS emails that convert start with getting inside the customer’s head. The right messages come from understanding:

  • What customer care about (their pains, objections, aspirations, etc.)
  • What job do they want your app to do
  • What they need to see, experience, or believe to want to use your app

…before we write a single word.

When Orchid first reached out to me, the working hypothesis was that mental health practitioners would choose their software because it was the only platform offering an all-in-one service. It eliminated the need to cobble together multiple software to run an online practice.

However, customer research showed that while all that was great, it wasn’t why mental health practitioners were choosing Orchid.

They were choosing Orchid because it gave them the freedom to run their own private practice hassle-free — and on their own terms.

On the surface, it looks like the difference between “potayto” and “potahto”.

Using an app that lets you run your private practice without connecting multiple different apps to manage scheduling, video sessions, billing, payment, notes, forms, etc.

Using an app that lets you start your own private practice and make running and managing it easy and hassle-free

Customer research allowed us to figure out what that difference really meant.

Mental health practitioners were excited by the prospect of starting their own business. They were signing up because it gave them the freedom to set their own hours, manage their client and patient load, and keep a bigger share of their fee instead of splitting it with another practice, clinic, or hospital.

It made all the difference to the copy angle of our onboarding emails.

When we talked about benefits, we didn’t talk about how Orchid was an all-in-one platform for running a private practice (although that’s exactly what it is.)

We talked about how signing up for Orchid would help them start their own business, set their own hours, and empower them to help more people.

Doing the customer research allowed us to get in our customer’s mind and find out what really mattered to them.

2. Then comes the (email) strategy

As a SaaS email expert, I specialize in creating emails that do what they’re supposed to: increase conversions and reduce churn.

When you work with me, we’re not just increasing email conversions, we’re looking at how to retain your customers long-term.

And that requires strategy.

This is the part where I use our customer research and figure out how to get the conversions we need.

Fun fact: There’s often more than one way to get the results we’re after.

When I present my strategic recommendations, I always ask one key thing:

Which of these recommendations can you realistically implement?

The reason I ask this question is because I don’t believe in creating strategies my clients can’t use. No matter how great my email strategy is, it won’t translate into great conversions if it isn’t implemented the way it’s meant to be.

Every SaaS company I’ve worked with has had reasons they couldn’t use some of my recommendations. Sometimes it’s because they don’t have the resources, other times it’s because they don’t have the time or the tech stack.

It’s why I always offer multiple strategic recommendations and why I need to know which of my recommendations you can realistically implement.

Once I know that, then it’s my responsibility to find a way through to get you the conversions you need.

I presented Hubspot with 4 strategic recommendations. Each recommendation was supported by the customer research we’d done.

Out of the four, Hubspot told me they could only implement one. The rest, while all valid, were out of the purview of their chain of command.

Those recommendations were tabled for their yearly meeting.

The one recommendation we could implement?

That was all I needed.

3. Email copywriting comes last

When it comes to email copywriting, I like to keep things simple.

My emails are known by their “Rule of One.”

  • One message — the core message you want to communicate
  • One reader — the person reading your email
  • One (type of) call-to-action — the action you want your user to take

It goes without saying that as a SaaS email marketer, I’m obsessed with creating emails that turn your subscribers into buyers, your free trials into paid subscriptions, and your existing customers into loyal, raving fans.

I do that by:

Whether I’m creating onboarding emails, behavior-triggered emails, retention-focused emails, pre and post-event emails (webinars, in-person training, workshops, etc.), re-activation emails, or content emails… there’s a method to my madness.

And that method’s worked for multiple SaaS companies.

And while email marketing isn’t magic, when done right, the results can definitely feel like it.

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