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SaaS Cold Email Marketing: Is It Still Relevant in 2023?

cold email marketing for SaaS

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Have you ever wondered which marketing strategy could cost you pennies and provide returns in thousands of dollars? 

Any clue? 

That underdog is cold email marketing. In fact, it is one of the cost-effective ways to lead a successful SaaS lead generation campaign. 4 out of 5 online marketers say they can give up social media but not email marketing. 

So, here is the complete detail on how cold emailing works and its effectiveness in the SaaS business.

Understanding Cold emailing  

If you are going to approach cold email marketing, know that you'll be voluntarily sending emails to prospects who don't even know your brand. The aim is to establish a relationship with these new recipients. 

Cold emailing is a highly targeted outbound marketing strategy that helps you reach target audiences interested in your product or service. 

But does cold emailing work in SAAS marketing? Let's explore its importance in the software business: 

  • Cold emailing has a significant role in helping businesses gain customers. Stats suggest that cold emailing is 40x more effective in generating leads than other approaches. 
  • Businesses wanting to reach a larger audience can use cold email outreach strategy as it allows you to target prospects based on a specific geography. Thus, reaching potential customers through cold emailing is the best way for SaaS businesses to convert them. 
  • You can pitch your SaaS products to top decision-makers with cold emailing, which is usually difficult to do with other marketing strategies. 

Hence, it is clear that you can get more SaaS customers with cold email, but ensure to be aware of misconceptions around it. They may harm your marketing approaches. Let's discuss a few of them here: 

Myth 1: Using Email Templates Boost Response Rates: 

To be honest, it does boost your email response rate, but not always. Why? It's because most businesses copy the exact cold email template. Thus, they appear mediocre instead of giving a unique impression to potential customers. Customization and uniqueness is the key in this case. 

Myth 2: Including Everything In The Email 

Long email messages consisting of every single detail are a big NO! Additionally, most people open their emails via mobile phones, which makes being brief in emails even more important. So keep it concise, precise, and action-oriented. 

Myth 3: It's Okay To Send The Same Message To Everyone 

Not segmenting your email list and sending similar messages to everyone is outright spamming your recipients. Instead, offer them something valuable by creating highly targeted messages. 

Myth 4: Personalization Is Expensive 

Though it can be costly compared to generic emails, the payoff is always great. The profits overshadow the expense of personalized cold emailing. Plus, you don't have to personalize every message, do it only for high-value accounts. 

Now that you have learned about myths, let's take a quick look at the key benefits of a successful cold emailing campaign: 

  • Cold emails can reach users where they spend most of their time. 
  • These emails are persistent.
  • It enhances valuable networking for your SaaS business. 
  • It is an excellent way to generate leads. 
  • Cold emails effectively boost brand awareness. 

Effectiveness Of Cold Emailing In Saas: Examples 

Around 89% of businesses agree that emails are their primary lead-generation source. Thus, if you aren't using tactics and strategies to get more SaaS customers with cold email, you should begin with it as soon as possible.  

Let's take an example of Lemon.io, a freelancing platform that filters trusted developers for businesses. The company was not known by its target audience, so it leveraged cold emailing best practices such as:

1. Irresistible subject lines made recipients open the email. 

"Your new Upwork profile"
"I set your fee to $82/hour"

The company made them wonder why this particular sender has set their Upwork profiles without them knowing. 

2. It immediately talked about prospects' pain points

" You need qualified hires, but how can you tell if the candidate is telling the truth."

3. Next, it highlighted numbers,  solutions, and Lemon's offering for them. 

  • " Happy 500+ customers"
  • "41% Lower start-up rates than other platforms"
  • "A 24-hour guarantee to find fitting devOps"

18% of prospects responded to the first email, and 27% responded to 6th email. 

B2B Saas Cold Email Framework For 2023

1. Identifying Your Target Audience And Defining Your Goals

  • Take a survey of your target customer base by taking client interviews. 
  • Perform market research to find out what similar products are laking so that you can optimize your products better. 
  • Know whether your competitors are focusing on the supporters or decision-makers. 
  • Define your clients' persona based on the general demographics, target customers' needs, and personalities. 
  • Regularly interact with your customers and collect more data to understand the target audience better. 

2. Determine The Types Of Cold Emails You Send Based On The Value Proposition

A. Bait emails- For SaaS products without significant differentiation 

In this type of email, you present your SaaS product to prospects alongside a valuable piece of content or information. When you bait a response from your prospects in exchange for offering them something for free, ensure the free content should be better than the cold emails they usually receive. They should feel like your content is something they can pay for. Ensure to implement the following in the email structure: 
  • Applicable in the near future
  • Easy to consume
  • Industry-specific
  • Product description in 1-2 sentences
  • Account-specific 
  • Clear CTA
  • Short
  • Solves a real problem

Examples of effective bait email content include SERP marketing data and PPC collection of your prospects' competitors, recent industry statistics or research, fact sheets, etc. Make sure to test the bait emails’ performance regularly.  

B. Fact-based emails- For SaaS products with a differentiated solution 

If your SaaS product has the edge over your competitors, then fact-based cold emails work best. You will have to mention what major areas you lead against your competitors in the market and how your product differs. These types of emails don't require much research to present an offer in front of the prospects; however, ensure to make them personalized. Follow the below-given structure for fact-based emails:
  • Short
  • Use 3-5 brief pointers explaining major areas of differentiation.
  • Explain how taking the next step will benefit your prospects (ex., A discovery call)
  • Clear CTA.

Ensure your cold emails are not too pushy. Instead, provide a no-string attached introduction, and offer a meeting or a discovery call.

3. Research And Build A Targeted Email List

When creating your targeted email list, start by specifying what data you want and dividing the search criteria as: 

Buyer personas: Do the research as detailed as possible. You can use these elements to create your buyers' personas: 

  • Who do you want to target
  • Target industry 
  • Area or regions
  • Prospect's position or job title
  • The company's size 

Pedigree Information: It includes all the details you want for your cold emailing campaign. It will enable you to build a personalized email list. Use the below-given elements while collecting pedigree information: 

  • Prospect's name and surname
  • Job position
  • Company's official website
  • Prospects' Linkedin profile
  • Company's Linkedin profile
  • Region 
  • Contact number(s)

4. Avoid Sending Attachments

Before sending an attachment in your cold email, try to put yourself in your prospects' place and ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Do I have the time to download the attachment file to the hard drive and read it?
  • Will I feel comfortable opening an attachment sent by a stranger, or will it be safe?

In most cases, prospects don't consider opening mail attachments due to the risk of malware. So, if you have important information to share with your prospects, include it within the email's body or use a hyperlink. 

Additionally, if sharing particular information with prospects is unnecessary, don't add it in the mail. Remember not to share all of your services and products immediately. Instead, begin with understanding the prospect's interest, followed by a discovery call. Learn how you can help them and which of your SaaS service or products will fit best. Next, tailor sharing of the expertise and info accordingly. 

5. Don't Be Overly Formal

While performing SaaS cold email marketing, avoid being too formal when approaching your prospects. For example, don't use Dear Madam/Sir or sign off with Sincerely. Don't use abbreviations or colloquialisms specific to your industry. Present your offer in simple language that's easy to understand. A study found that messages with a 3rd-grade reading level are 36% more likely to receive a response than messages written at a higher grade level. 

6. End Every Email With A Question?

Most business emails contain something like "Happy to hop on the phone if that sounds good" or "If you find it interesting, let me know!." The problem with this ending in a cold pitch is that recipients are usually too busy to think of a proper response. Thus, you must add an offer with a relevant Yes or No question at the end of your email to make it easy to respond to your prospects. 

You can ask something like: 

  • Can we connect on a call next week?
  • Is that something your team would be interested in?

Additionally, ensure to add the question on every email you send your prospect, not just the first one. It will keep the conversation going. 

7. Mention Past Brands Of Your Potential Clients 

If you send a cold pitch to 1000 prospects, finding a subject line suitable for each lead is difficult. However, a little research on the past brands your potential customers have worked with can be helpful. Go to your potential prospects page to extract the relevant data. Here's an example of such a subject line: 

Do you need an [benefit of your product]? Found you through [name of the past brand]. 
Further, you can continue with the introduction: 
We found your website and noticed you have worked with (Past Brand), and we just had to reach out. 

This way, you can easily point out that you are not affiliated with the brand while making the recipients read halfway through the mail. Thus, you successfully hooked them up for a while, and there's a high chance they will continue to read and consider your offer. 

8. Crafting The Perfect Cold Email

Crafting a compelling subject line and email copy

Subject line: 

  • Keep your subject line for about 5 to 7 words and under 40 characters. 
  • Trigger the recipients' curiosity by asking open-ended questions in the subject line. 
  • Create a sense of urgency to compel readers to polarize your email by adding a deadline in the subject line. 
  • Identify what solutions your subscribers might seek and add something valuable in the subject line accordingly. 

Email copy: 

  • Prefer a conversational email copy.
  • Write in active voice and add strong action verbs.
  • Make a compelling email preview text under 35 to 140 characters.
  • Avoid using multiple exclamation marks and all caps to avoid looking spammy. 
Creating a consistent, professional email signature
  • Emphasize your affiliation, such as your company's name to showcase its importance to recipients.  
  • Share secondary contact information, such as your website, to open lines of communication with prospects. 
  • Choose one or two consistent colors with dark text for your email signature. You can use subtle highlights on the signature that matches your branding or logo. 
  • Use design hierarchy by scaling the company's name to a larger font to fetch readers' attention. Pick important information and highlight and bold it to automatically guide people's eyes to it. 
  • Check whether the links added to your email signature are making an impact and attracting clicks. Make the links trackable for the analysis. 

Personalizing your emails with recipient information and relevant insights

  • Collect prospects' data by asking prospects about their interest, preferences, pain points through surveys, feedback forms, polls, or preference centers. You can also use your ESP's analytics to track prospects' interactions with your cold email campaigns
  • Create prospects' segmentation based on the collected information on the above parameters. 
  • Use relevant data to create personalized cold emails such as offers on special occasions, product recommendations, thank you emails, address unique pain points, etc. 

Making a strong call to action and offering a next step
  • Using strong command verbs for CTA helps you get more SaaS customers with cold emails. 
  • Create a CTA button that clearly describes the desired action you want your prospects to take. 
For example: 
a. CTAs for your SaaS website: Subscribe, Buy now, Pay-as-you-Go, etc.
b. CTAs to promote a white paper or newsletter: Subscribe, Download.
c. Want prospects to request more product/ company information: Find out how… or Fill out a form for.
  • Provoke prospects' enthusiasm or emotion with CTA phrases. For example, "Get 50% off with yearly subscription" 
  • Give an appealing reason to your recipients why they must take your desired action. For example, you can add the USP of your SaaS product in the CTA. 
  • Use FOMO effects in your CTA to make prospects aware of a sale or special offer for a limited time period.
Testing and refining your email format and messaging 
  • Use a reliable email format and messaging testing tool. These tools usually take details like your specific target audience, industry, and preferred employee count of target organizations. Next, you'll have to enter the page's URL or upload the image of the messaging. Finally, the tool will analyze the inputs and provide detailed messaging performance results. 
  • Check HTML email against text-only email to find out which converts better. 
  • Test the performance of varied offer types in your messages.  
  • Check the effectiveness of the landing page you'll be linking in your cold email and make necessary changes. 
  • Run audience segmentation tests to check which email formats and messaging work best for different audience groups. 

9. Staying Compliant With Email Laws And Best Practices

Cold email and general email marketing come with certain rules and regulations that every SaaS business must follow. So, ensure to meet the email laws and best practices as follows: 

1. Your email marketing must fulfill the requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act. These include:

  • No use of misleading or false header information. 
  • An accurate domain name and email address must be used while adding routing information like To, From, and Reply-To. 

2. Keep your email list hygienic and honor opt-out requests. 

  • Identify disengaged email subscribers: Keep a separate list of your disengaged subscribers from the inactive ones. Filter a common theme for them and plan a strategy to regain their interest. 
  • Identify reasons for bounces: Identity the hard bounce (inactive users) and soft bounce (temporary issue as full inbox). Eliminate the emails with hard bounce but keep an eye on the soft ones. 
  • Remove subscribers that have listed your emails in their spam filters.
  • Check for typos and duplicates on your email list.
  • Provide an opt-out option to your subscribers to let them choose how often and what types of emails they want to receive from you. 

10. Measuring And Optimizing Your Campaign

Setting KPIs And Tracking Your Email Open And Response Rates

Email open rates are basically the number of recipients who opened your email in a given time. It is expressed in terms of percentage. At the same time, the response rate refers to the number of recipients who took some action after opening your email. You can measure these by using a comparative metric. For example, you can compare this week's email open rate to the last week.

Analyzing And Refining Your Email Strategy Based On Campaign Performance

There are numerous methods to measure your cold email's performance, but these are the most important ones aside from open and click-through rates: 
  • The bounce rate of your cold email campaign
  • Email open rate
  • Email list growth rate
  • Email Conversion rate
  • Share/forward rate for each email campaign

11. Keeping Track Of All Interactions And Nurturing Leads Through The Sales Funnel

By using email tracking tools you can track real-time notifications when recipients click or open your emails. These information can boost your email lead nurturing campaign. 

These automated campaigns send scheduled email pitches to potential leads depending on their interaction with the emails. These highly customizable campaigns consider variables like analytics, data, and user behavior research. As a result, you can make your lead-nurturing emails personalized, targeted, and engaging, encouraging valuable prospects to take the next steps through the sales funnel.


Cold email marketing is a great way of outbound marketing for SaaS lead generation to get in direct contact with potential prospects, allowing you to forge real relationships from the beginning, which can go a long way toward ensuring future conversions. When used as part of your SAAS marketing strategy (such as being integrated with strategic advertising through social media), cold emailing can help you stand out in an increasingly competitive environment. 

If it's not part of your SAAS sales strategy already, it's a good idea to integrate this useful sales tactic into your overall plan. Each time you want to send a cold email, think about what you can add to make it more effective, and you'll be on your way to increased profitability and growth.

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