How to Fix Low SaaS Email Engagement

Let me paint you a picture: your SaaS company is sending out emails up the wazoo, but nothing seems to be happening. Your engagement isn’t increasing…or worse, it’s plummeting.

Does this sound familiar? If so, take heart—you’re not the only one. Many SaaS and tech companies struggle with low open rates and even lower click-through rates in their email marketing In fact, according to our recent survey tech marketers say that only 10-25% of their database is actually engaged with email content.  

So, what’s the deal? Why is this happening? And more importantly, how do you fix it?

Well, we’ve got some answers for you. Keep on reading for our take on some of the most common mistakes SaaS email marketers make, and how to remedy them.

Write emails that will help your user, not just promote your product

You’re writing emails to promote your business, so you should send out lots of product update emails, right? Wrong.

You want everyone to know about your product updates. But does everyone else want to know about your product updates? Probably not.

Instead, your email copy should focus on your users and what they really care about–again, not what products you want to push.

To get back on track, try asking yourself questions like, “Does this email answer user questions?” or “Does this address user pains?” If there’s no tangible answer or value in it for your user, don’t send that email.

In conclusion, don’t be that guy–it’s NOT about you. 

Get serious with your segmentation

According to our recent email marketing survey, 72% of tech companies are segmenting their emails. 

Is your company among them? If so, great…but are you doing enough?

We cannot stress enough the importance of segmentation. Per Mailchimp, on average, segmented email campaigns boast a 23% higher open rate and 49% higher click-through rate than unsegmented campaigns.

If you’re sending the right emails to the wrong people, what’s the point?

At a minimum, segment your emails by creating active lists based on 1) industry, 2) persona and/or 3) lifecycle stage. (And yes, this requires a neat n’ tidy CRM!) For even more segmentation ideas, take a look at “The Essential Guide to Email Segmentation” from SendGrid.

Dial up the personalization

We know you know that customers like personalization. However, if your version of personalization is “Hi [name],” you’re not doing enough.

You need to invest your time in more in-depth contact tokens, cultivating lists with personalized contact details including but not limited to:

  • Company name
  • Persona 
  • Job title 
  • Industry 
  • Annual company revenue
  • Buying role (More on that here)
  • Where they are in the lifecycle stage
  • When they reached said lifecycle stage 
  • Location (city, state, country, region, etc.)

Want to know more? To deep-dive into this subject, we highly recommend that you head over to our BFF HubSpot, and check out their list of default contact properties

If you’re ready to get started, also try their personalization guides for general content and email subject lines.

Show some personality

We hate to be harsh, but the truth is that a lot of SaaS companies repel email readers because their content looks boring and/or generic…nobody likes a basic 🐝 (except maybe if they’re wearing a cardigan, listening to Folklore and drinking a PSL). 

Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to liven up your content. All you have to do is show some personality. 

“How do you do that,” you ask? 

  1. First and foremost, know your brand’s voice, and use it every time. 

  2. Next, have some fun(!) It’s 2021–time to toss in those emojis and gifs (within reason).
  3. Also, don’t subject your readers to the torture of large text blocks—capture their attention and convey your point clearly with bullet points, applicable images and easy-to-skim paragraphs (no longer than three lines).

Pro-tip: Don’t forget to optimize for mobile users. Make sure that your emails look just as good on a PC or laptop as they do on a cell phone. 

Test your CTAs

During our latest Email Marketing in the Real World survey, we asked what tech companies like yours are using for CTAs. The answer? The most popular CTAs are the generic “contact us” and “learn more,” followed by a SaaS company favorite: “get a demo.” Only one of you listed “buy now” as your go-to CTA.

But what if you ran an A/B split test and spruced up the wording of your CTAs? Would your engagement jump? Try it!

For example, you could test:

  • Contact Us vs. Get in Touch
  • Learn More vs. Get More Info
  • Get a Demo vs. Get Your Personalized Demo
  • Sign Up vs. Sign Up for Free

Spoiler alert: here’s a cool study about CTA language conducted by Ometrics. They tested “Request My Demo” vs. “Schedule My Demo” vs. “Get My Demo”—and “Schedule My Demo” had a 64% lift. Why? Schedule implies the visitor has control over when the demo will happen…and that they can postpone a decision until later. A small change to wording made a quantifiable difference…and that’s a tech marketer’s dream!

Straighten out your junky contact list

Have you looked at your contact list lately? Is it full of outdated and unengaged contacts? If so, clean it out.

For example, HubSpot labels unengaged  contacts are those who meet the following criteria:

  • They’ve never opened a marketing email from you and haven’t opened the last 11 emails you’ve sent in general
  • They’ve opened a marketing email from you before but haven't opened the last 16 emails you've sent them

If you continually send emails to subscribers who don’t click or open—even if they previously opted in to your emails—you will lower overall sender score. This will increase your chances of getting sent to the spam folder, which will lower your engagement rates…it really is a self-fulfilling prophecy.


To fix this problem, just create an exclusion list for unengaged readers so that you’re only emailing your most engaged subscribers. (If you use HubSpot, the platform automatically checks this box, but you can also manually unenroll contacts.)

A final word of advice…

When in doubt, perform split testing to find out what works and what doesn’t. Not sure where to start? We like—you guessed it—HubSpot’s A/B Testing Kit. You can also try any of these tools. 

And that’s it! Go forth and follow our advice, and you’ll soon see your email engagement campaign turn around. Bonne chance!

Interested in even more email stats and strategies? Download our free "Email Marketing in the Real World" report to see how your email marketing campaigns stack up against other tech and software companies.

Download "Email Marketing in the Real World"