SaaS Marketing Blog

3 important tactical practices for testing email marketing for inbound SaaS lead generation


17th March 2016

It’s a long game so never stop testing!

There are some, particularly those that are new to marketing down the channel, that feel email marketing is a lot of effort and cost for a poor return. Unfortunately many are just missing the point.

Email marketing to stimulate inbound lead-gen is a long game. Just because people aren’t clicking doesn’t mean they are not ‘listening’ to the email channel. All email marketing is part of an overall prospect nurturing strategy.

In the workplace people at all levels are time-poor. This means that even though you may hit the right person with the right message they probably won’t click unless they have an immediate business problem that needs to be addressed.

Successful email marketing requires you to keep touching your database with relevant and useful information. However, you need to prevent it from going stale and continually test what works and what doesn’t to enable you to maximise the numbers of people that are engaged down your email channel. Never stop testing!

3 tactical practices for testing email for your SaaS solution

Here are three of the most important email marketing testing tactics for maximising engagement and inbound lead-generation (lead-gen):

1. Subject lines

Split test subject lines. If you’ve paid the money for data, the email marketing software and the content, you have got to the inbox of your targets. The last thing you want is to discover your subject line is wrong. To help prevent this, adopt the practice of testing two subject lines. Develop a differential message for each of them. Perhaps make one a special offer and the other more abstract by focusing on a thought leadership idea.

Some email marketing applications let you test for a period of time to a percentage of your database and then send the one that has received the most opens (the winner) to the rest of the data. However, the numbers coming back may be too low to really prove meaningful. If your email software is basic and doesn’t support split testing like this you might consider switching.

Another approach is to split the entire database in half and then send a different subject line to each half, something you can do with basic software.

2. HTML vs. Text

Test HTML against text email formats. Conventional thinking is that HTML cannot be controlled well enough to make your message consistently display correctly. This largely because what recipients see varies from email client to email client. Settings might prevent HTML ‘calling’ or block attached graphics and images.

Also different email clients parse the HTML in different ways leading to inconsistent rendering of the fonts/layout/colours/graphics/images. The best way to determine the messaging effect of both types of email formats is to test them.

3. Content

Test content in the body of the emails. Email campaigns where there is a good open rate and a poor Click Thru’ Rate suggests that the content of the email body failed to capitalise on the interest stimulated by the subject line.

Keep the subject line and change the content to see if this stimulates more (or less!) clicks. Vary the payload – any attached or linked content. Mix it up. Try personalising, benefit-led and time limited special offers to see what works and what doesn’t.

Sharpen up email for inbound lead gen with Xander Marketing

Fundamentally, SaaS businesses are digital businesses. Consequently email marketing is an important part of an integrated digital channel strategy which works the media that the people you want to reach are listening on.

Make sure your email marketing strategy includes the tactical practices for testing email designed for inbound lead-gen. Simply contact us today to see how we can help with any aspect of SaaS marketing.

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