Yesterday, I received a reactivation email from Yoast – a SaaS helping you to rank your website higher through SEO.
I paid for the PRO version a while back and can’t remember why I didn’t renew. The email didn’t make me want to use it again. So I improved it to convert (me) better!
DISCLAIMER! I believe Yoast is a great company, with awesome products and killer content! They are by no means bad at marketing – quite the opposite. The only reason I picked them to pick on, is because the email fell into my lap.
What’s wrong with this email?
The only reason for anyone to STOP paying for your SaaS is that the perceived value to them is lower than what they have to pay.
In short: they don’t think it is worth the cost.
This is not a question about price.
I.e, you don’t solve this by lowering the cost of your product.
You solve it by raising and concretizing the value it will provide.
A time-limited discount can be an additional incentive – but only if you help them visualize their goals and give them a map to get there.
How I would create the perfect reactivation email
The main rule is to make it less about you and more about your customers’ needs, pain points, and goals.
No one gives a sh*t about you. They only care about how it will add value to them.
Understand and define your audience’s problems and needs.
Then talk about it!
There are several copywriting frameworks when you want to persuade someone. Most of them contain these three parts in some way:
The problem or pain they are having.
What life would look like if solved.
How to solve it.
Do this right, and it will increase the perceived value of your product, for your audience.
How to give more value for longer
Timing is a big factor when it comes to sales.
If someone is not ready to buy at the exact moment you present the offer – they won’t “come back to it later”.
By creating drip content (content that’ll be delivered bit-by-bit, during a longer time frame) – you can engage a lost customer for a longer period of time and deliver more value.
When you know what they want (their goal) you can help them get there faster.
In this example with Yoast, I suggest a week-long email course that’ll walk them through and give them a clear win at the end.
A drip course like this has several benefits.
People very seldom have the time or ability to focus to go through a 5000 word e-book.
It’ll remind them of you and your company’s name during several days – bigger chance of them remembering you.
You’ll deliver value more than once. This will build trust and teach people that an email from you means “great stuff inside!”
Make sure to give your absolute best content during the first 3 to 4 days. Don’t even talk about your offer in the first emails.
In the end, you present your product as an easier/faster/cheaper way to get there.
Having your newsletter following a defined and clear format not only makes it easier for you to write it. It also makes the value in it much more apparent for people on the verge of signing up for your newsletter.
By showing how you deliver the value makes it easier to see what’s in it for them. Promising “industry news,” “curated links,” or “business tips” is very vague and doesn’t give them a clear image of how they will gain from signing up to your newsletter.
? News from the climate movement
✅ 5 thought-provoking environmental articles each week
By using a specific format – how you structure the content in the emails – you show them the exact value they’ll get.
Before you start
Each newsletter needs a clear niche. A defined audience it targets. Writing for “everyone” won’t work because you don’t have the time or money to reach everyone.
Newsletters are having a renaissance, and to stand out you need to narrow down. The more defined your target subscriber is, the more value you’ll deliver to them. If you know them well, you can help them solve their problems better.
? Define the topic
The topic – what you are writing about – is most certainly already there. It is probably the reason for starting a newsletter in the first place.
Make this as narrow as possible (you can always expand on it later). When you think you have your topics set, ask yourself if you can narrow it down even more.
“Marketing for startups.”
“Marketing for no-code startups.”
The fewer people you write for, the more value each of them will get.
??? Define your target audience
Know who you are writing for. The easiest way is to give them a title or position. It could be CEO, environmentalist, stay-at-home mom, product person, or no-coder.
Again, when you have your audience persona, try narrowing it down even more.
“Environment advocates in the USA.”
8 ways to structure your newsletter
The amount of work you’ll have to put in will differ significantly depending on the format you choose. Make sure you aren’t taking on too much in the beginning.
A good idea is to create the first newsletter before you have any subscribers. This will give you an understanding of the maximum time it takes to put it together (the first one will always take much longer than the next ones) – and also gives you something to show potential subscribers.
The Digest contains a lot of content in a very condensed way. A short description and a link to the full content make it easy to skim and find what you want to read.
Great for curate and share lots of different kinds of content – blog posts, news, videos, podcasts, etc.
When to use this:
Suitable format if you run a community of some sort (Slack, forum, Telegram) and want to keep people updated on what is happening.
? Divide into sub-sections (e.g., topic or type)
? Use lots of white space
? Write short, explanatory texts
Example: No-Code Founders
(Click image to see the full e-mail)
Slightly different from The Digest is The News. Here, you share fewer links, but with each piece of content, you add your take.
The idea is to give the “full” story in a few paragraphs, and then allow the reader to read more by clicking the link.
It is crucial when using this format to make it easily readable. Use pattern breaks such as bullet points, titles, images, and colored links to make it easy to skim the content.
When to use this:
If you write about an industry where a lot is happening, giving your subscribers a way to keep themselves updated will provide them with a lot of value?
5️⃣ Limit the number of articles
??? Write with your personal touch
? Use titles, spacing, and bullet-points
? Add images and gifs
Example: The Hustle
Even though email is seen as a text-based medium, using visuals works excellent in a newsletter. We are very visual creatures, and images that aren’t just there for eye candy – but add to the story – will increase the value to the reader.
When to use this?
Some audiences are more interested in visuals than others. If your audience is in any kind of digital industry, visuals will most certainly add to the narrative and be appreciated.
?♀️ Use a common design style
? Keep the image size to a minimum
➕ Each image should add, not repeat.
Example: Product Person
We also seem to love everything that comes in 3’s. Finding three sub-topics within your topic and sharing one thing from each will make it easier to deliver emails for a long time.
In No-code Coffee, you get a person, tool, and a project from the No-Code world. It becomes much more concrete to the potential subscriber than just promising “3 things about No-code”.
It is also very easy to expand your content later on, to more than 3. For my side-project, Vanlife Buzz, I share four things from the van-living universe.
When to use this:
Thanks to having clear limitations, it’ll be easy for you to find the content. It’s also simpler for your subscribers to share their tips on what you should feature – because they know exactly what it is about.
? Choose three unique sub-topics
? Have a system to save ideas
Example: No-Code Coffee
The Trend Report
Email is an excellent format for diving deep into one specific field. One of the most valuable things to know as an entrepreneur is what will be the next big thing in the industry.
Choose one specific part of the industry, and go all-in. Share problems and solutions, innovations and releases, thought and predictions from experts, etc.
When to use this:
This format is one of the most time-consuming because it needs to be entirely factual. Dru Riley spends 10-15 hours for each report on Trends.vc.
The upside is that the content is often evergreen – valid for much longer than what you send in The News email.
This means you can re-purpose it for other platforms, such as blogs or social media – to get more ROI on the hours you put in.
? Keep a list of sources to trawl
? Send short, templated emails to experts
? Cross-post on other platforms
What could be better than getting the idea together with the entire action plan? The Idea format gives the reader a complete (if yet compressed) blueprint.
Share the concept, why it is a good idea, how to set it up, how to monetize it, and how to grow it. Add and subtract as fit.
When to use this:
If you have more ideas than time to execute it, this is the perfect format. If your audience are freelancers, entrepreneurs, business owners, or anything similar – you’re spot on.
? Keep an idea log
⚒ Be extremely concrete
? Include the ‘Why,’ not only How
Example: Startups from the Bottom
Learning from others is what most people get the most value from. In The Lesson, you share what others have done to succeed (or fail) in steps that are easy to follow.
This is an excellent way for you to get to know thought leaders in the industry because it will need you actually to interview the people you write about.
When to use this:
Also, quite a time-consuming format but much appreciated if you are in an industry where a lot of inspiration is taken from those that have done it before.
? Interview though-leaders
⌨️ Write the interviews out
? Find the most relevant parts
Example: Growth Lessons
Just as listening to what others have done to succeed, seeing what they have done is a learning experience. With The Break-Down format, you pick apart a particular piece of content, product, or process and emphasize the parts that made it successful.
When to use this:
If your industry focuses a lot on what is produced and how. Works best for digital industries, but would probably work equally fine for physical products.