A Case For Doing Work That’s, “Beneath You”

Why Delegating All The Tasks You Don’t Enjoy (Or Are Below Your Pay Scale)… Can Hurt You In The Long Run

I see this advice everywhere. I’ve heard it at business conferences, read it in blog posts about time management and found it in almost every course promising to help grow your business.  

Delegate. Delegate. Delegate.

The idea is that as your business grows, your time is best spent on the highest level tasks that actually make you money. So, you should delegate to employees or outsource all the menial (but necessary) tasks that take up time but don’t directly generate increased profits. Enlightened advice givers will also point out that spending your valuable time on tasks you don’t enjoy will actually suck your energy faster and reduce your overall effectiveness.

I have experience both as an employer (I own a bagel shop and have managed up to 25 employees at a time) and as a freelancer. I understand in both situations, the importance of delegating tasks in order to keep business moving. In fact, for my entire career I have been meticulous about tracking time for every task, updating our written systems to accommodate new hires, and off loading work from my plate to allow me to grow my businesses. 

However, I’ve always made a point to keep some of the tasks that I could delegate, on my own to-do list. Whether I’m running a 7-figure bagel enterprise, or growing a 4-figure solopreneur venture, I still value the simple tasks that aren’t directly making me money. Today I want to make a case for all business leaders to reserve a not-insignificant portion of their time on what others may consider “menial tasks.”

“Why the president should clean the toilet”

According to Christianity, Jesus Christ is the Son of God. In this capacity Jesus healed the sick, performed miracles and traveled thousands of miles giving speeches. However, when Jesus wanted to show his quality as a leader, he chose to humble himself with tasks that other religious leaders of his day would have thought “below them”. Jesus washed his disciples feet, an act of service that astonished everyone, but made clear Jesus’ intentions. Jesus spent extended time ministering to chatty, wild, simple-minded children, devoting himself to what was considered “women’s work.” Many people recognize the kindness and integrity of the Christian Jesus, but few understand how much his humble lifestyle and actions were crucial to his ministry.

The humility of bible stories connects in interesting ways to present day life. The President of the United States, or of a company, is no more valuable than Jesus himself, or than any other person alive today.  Even the newest employee (or subcontractor) hired for the lowest paying, simplest task, has the utmost value as an individual. The concept of justice is built on this idea that every individual has equal worth as a human being. Entire countries have been built on this same lofty principle. And while we don’t ever see this value lived up to in reality, it is still a principle that people intrinsically understand and respect.

That is why it is important for leaders to not only show, but fully believe that they are not better than those who work for them. Taking on menial tasks, like cleaning the toilet, taking someone’s coat, or even just the humble act of actually listening to another person, is how a leader demonstrates this value, to themselves and to their followers. 

By its very nature, humility does not show itself off. There are, however, what I’ll call “side effects” of humility that you may recognize.  If you think back to a boss you had that was “always there for you” or a team that “looked out for each other” or a leader who “seemed like just a regular person,” you are probably witnessing the by-products of a humble leader. In business, humility is rarely looked at or spoken of as important. The truth is, to be an effective leader, humility is essential. 

“Don’t Forget Where You Came From”

How many movies hit their climax when the hero is forced to face his past. We see a young single mother in a roach infested apartment, a neighborhood of scraggly kids with an ‘up to no good’ look in their eyes, or a dimly lit mail-room swarming with sweaty, tattooed ex-cons and possibly homeless old men. Our hero is forced to choose between what benefits himself, and his new found community of rich, powerful folks, or doing right by those people who knew him before he rose to the top. The “good” hero doesn’t forget those who helped her get where she is today. 

These ideas work in fiction because they are too often ignored in real life. Getting ahead is synonymous with not having to do the shit you don’t like anymore. No more eating generic brand food. No more scrubbing floors. No more paper pushing or answering to bosses you can’t stand. But some of the things we don’t like doing, are important for us to keep on doing even when we don’t HAVE to.

While there is value to outsourcing tasks that suck up your time and energy, some of those tasks are still incredibly important to the health of your business and the morale of your staff. If you aren’t filling your time with at least one menial but still important task in your work, you WILL forget where you came from. As a result your employees will lose respect for you, the quality of their work will decrease, and your own inflated sense of yourself will infect your entire operation, possibly incurably. 

“You have to know it to believe it”

The third reason I have for including menial tasks in your work week is much less lofty and simpler to explain. Many tasks should not be delegated completely because a leader needs to stay familiar with how their business runs on the “ground level”. Before you delegate, you should do every task at least once, so that you know the basics and can better manage those who take it over. But even after you’ve delegated, it’s important to keep coming back and spending time doing all of these tasks so that you can make sure the systems are working up to their best possible potential.

As your company grows, or if you own multiple companies, you won’t have time to check into all of the tasks that make your business run. However, spending time each week in different departments, doing the work of your employees will help you understand fully how the work is done and will ultimately make you a better leader.

Bonus: “Idle hands…”

My last idea is a bonus idea, because it is only a matter of my opinion (and experience). I believe doing menial tasks that include manual labor are the most important to incorporate into your work week. Nevermind the fact that sitting at a desk all day wrecks havoc on our health and stress levels. But performing manual labor as a part of our work also brings a tangible aspect to our success. 

As the owner of my bagel shop, I can analyze numbers, develop new income streams, or create marketing material all day long. Each of those tasks brings money directly into my business, allowing me to pay my employees a fair wage, grow the business profitably for my family and our future, and offer something valuable to my community. However, it’s not until I get my hands dirty in the dough room or mix the cream cheese flavors or break a sweat in front of the oven, that I actually understand what makes my business money. Spending time on the physical, tangible activity in my business is what fuels all of the ideas I need to do the rest of my work.

In my job as a copywriter, there are far fewer tangible jobs. However, I still incorporate walks into my creative process because nothing helps me distill my ideas better than physical exertion. I also incorporate handwriting into my work week because the physical act of handwriting, whether it’s hand copying someone else’s sales email I found to be effective, hand writing the first draft of my novel, or jotting down my daily to-do list on a notepad, the physicality of the task energizes a necessary part of my brain. 

If you can find a place to incorporate manual labor into your work week, then I believe you will see cognitive and emotional gains which will boost your productivity and the overall quality of your life. 

You Are What You Do… Repeatedly

When I talk about incorporating menial tasks into your work week, I’m suggesting this become a regular practice, a part of who you are as a leader, and as a company. One of my favorite SaaS companies, Bonjoro, exemplifies these ideas beautifully. They are a Customer Relationship Management system for recording short, personalized videos to send out to customers. When you sign up for a Free Trial with Bonjoro, within a day, you will receive a personalized video from the company’s CEO, Matt Barnett. Every single person who signs up gets one. These aren’t even paying customers, and yet Matt is such an incredible leader that he takes the time to record these first impression videos himself, and he’s been doing so for years. He is able to communicate his excitement for his company, and for your new arrival in it as a prospective customer. But I’m sure this does more than create high levels of customer loyalty. I’m sure that it keeps Matt, the CEO, dialed in on a physical, emotional level, to the essence of what his company does. He can’t ever get lost in meetings, growth strategies or paid time off, like so many leaders do, and forget what the company is all about. He is, it seems daily, connecting back to the most basic tasks that make Bonjoro run. And I will also predict that his team has a high level of respect for their leader, as well as motivation to do their best, because they see him doing it.

This is just one of countless examples of companies who have humble leaders driving their success. Take a second to think of your favorite company, and I bet you’ll find that some of the same activities I’ve discussed in this article are an essential part of the leadership team’s daily practice. Now it’s time to start making it part of yours too.

Hi! I’m Annie Aaroe, a b2b email marketing strategist. To find out more about story-driven, conversion email copy and strategy that’s tailored for e-com apps and SaaS brands, visit my website, aaroewriting.com, or shoot me an email at annie@aaroewriting.com.

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SaaS Email Breakdown: Featuring Bonjoro

Today I’m giving an in depth email breakdown of a welcome email from one of my favorite SaaS companies, Bonjoro. Bonjoro is a company worth studying. Not only do they offer a unique, effective and user friendly software solution to their users, their marketing is on point. They do a great job with brand personality, building a connection with their audience, and they communicate frequently, and effectively, using email marketing.

If you are a SaaS company, e-com app developer or an agency looking to increase visibility and conversions with email marketing, you can learn a lot from today’s email breakdown.

About Bonjoro

Bonjoro is a customer experience SaaS solution that gives brands a unique way to connect, human-to-human, on digital platforms. Bonjoro provides an intuitive CRM (customer relationship manager) tool where brands can record personalized videos with embedded links in customer emails. 

The Bonjoro platform allows brands to identify key moments in the customer journey such as website browsing, first purchase, benchmark CLVs, re-engagement etc., and alert the team when a customer has triggered these events. Then, someone from the brand records a quick, completely authentic, personalized video, and sends it off to the customer in an automated email.

Bonjoro’s innovative tools boast incredibly high success rates, however the solution naturally brings up immediate objections for prospective buyers. The most common objection is… “Is recording personalized videos worth my time?” Bonjoro uses their own tool, as well as effective email marketing strategy, to answer these objections, communicate their brand values, educate leads on how to succeed using their tool, and ultimately drive conversions to their paid plans.

Bonjoro’s Welcome Email 

You can view the entire welcome email from Bonjoro here or just read along as I break the email down into its parts. I’ll explain why and how this email achieves key objectives.  But first, I want to highlight a few overall notes about why email is exemplary of SaaS email marketing done right.

  • The email is from a person at Bonjoro and uses a familiar, friendly tone, immediately making the prospect feel as though they are a part of the Bonjoro “family.”
  • The email is mostly text, with a few graphics added in for the purposes of framing.
  • The email gives plenty of specific details about Bonjoro, but in every paragraph, the information is communicated in such a way that’s relevant to the prospect reading.
  • The email is set in a specific place and time and includes both 1. Calls-to-action for the prospect who is ready to act now and 2. Future pacing for the prospect who needs to be nurtured in future emails before they’ll be ready to act.

Free Trial Opt In

Before I get into the email copy, some background on how a prospect ends up with this email in their inbox. 

On Bonjoro’s homepage you are immediately asked to start a free trial by filling out a simple, 3-field form. Bonjoro allows their email automations to nurture and qualify their leads for them, without the risk of wasting unnecessary sales energy or turning perfect prospects away at the “door.”

SIDE NOTE: I can not tell you how many SaaS companies and e-com app websites over complicate their opt-in form. They are trying to filter out bad leads, bots and spammers by qualifying their opt-in traffic. But the result of such heavy, laborious opt-in procedures (and I’m calling anything with more than 4 fields to fill out, and any questions beyond basic identifying questions, heavy and laborious) is that many good leads and slightly warm prospects give up before ever making a connection with the company.

I’m not sure how Bonjoro is bringing in cold and warm leads to their website, but a quick search in the facebook ad library yields “0” results, so my guess is Bojoro is using plenty of cold email and organic social.

Email Breakdown

Section 1: From and Subject Line

This email came to my promotions tab in gmail, which isn’t the best. So that’s a deliverability issue Bonjoro could work on for the future.

The subject line “A Beary Warm Welcome” stands out while still being straight forward, and it is wonderfully “on brand”.  Not every company can get away with spicing up an otherwise boring subject line, but this speaks to the benefit of having a clearly defined brand, and in this case, a playful one. 

This email comes from a real person, “Simon” from Bonjoro. I love how they do this with all of their emails. This is a great way to personalize emails without having to identify a single personality in the company who is ostensibly writing all the emails. However, “from Bonjoro” provides continuity for the reader across their entire email marketing strategy.

Section 2: Lead (and optional logo)

I support the choice not to use my first name in the salutation. There are differing opinions on the use of personalized fields in email automations. I think if you can adequately personalize the email without using the reader’s first name, you’ve won the day.

I like how the logo is small enough to allow the full lead to show on both desktop and mobile. When your copy and branding is right on target, a huge logo distracts. This email strikes a perfect balance.

This might be one of my favorite welcome email leads ever. It’s a fairly common opening, they paint a scene of the workers at “brand” getting excited over your appearance on the scene. This gets the reader’s attention, but can run the risk of getting an eye roll… Most prospects know better.  

However, this one feels realistic. The scene is 100% believable but it still achieves the goal of making the reader feel like their addition to the brand is a big huge deal.

Section 3: Key Argument: Setting Expectations

One of the basic rules of email copywriting is that every email should have one single objective, getting the reader to take the next step, either mentally or actively. 

This Bonjoro welcome email follows that principle fairly well. The purpose of this email is to let the reader know, take a mental step, what we can expect from the company in the next phase of our relationship. In this case the phase is the duration of the free trial, and we are promised guidance by Bonjoro throughout the course of our trial. 

We aren’t just shown that single, clear concept with words… We’re even given a cartoon to illustrate the exact same point.

Notice how they slip in a line about the benefits of using their product here: “building next level relationships.”

However this line is in service of the larger goal of the email and it adds to and supports the core messaging.

This is beary, beary well done!

Section 4: Bullets

Every SaaS email has one thing in common. Bullets. 

When you have a complex technical product, bullets are great way break up a wealth of information into impactful but easily consumable portions.

But these are no standard, dry and boring SaaS bullets. We’ve got:

  • personality (in the parentheticals)
  • Copy that focuses on YOU, the reader 
  • Future pacing where the reader can visualize something truly rewarding coming their way on their journey with Bonjoro
  • A bright turquoise call to action smack in the middle!
  • Even these bullets have bullets… keeping the information organized and clear.

I do notice that all the personality and visionary copy kind of drains out from these last two bullet points… they kind of feel like an afterthought. I’ll go into this more below, but I would actually leave out the second section of bullets, I think it distracts from the main objective of the email.

However, white space is a good thing, especially in the first email in a sequence. You don’t ever want to confuse your reader, you want to entice them and keep them coming back for more.

Section 5: The Close (with CTA)

The button copy in this email is very well done. Not only are we given big bright buttons, but the copy itself tells you exactly what will happen if your press those buttons, and it persuades you to want to take that next step. 

But we’ve already been treated to a large CTA in the last section, so why throw in a second? If these were spaced out in the email, one link embedded in the ext, and the second as a button at the end, I would say this is a smart move. But these two CTAs don’t even go to the same place.

This first CTA follows along with the main objective of the email, getting the reader ready to engage with Bonjoro. It lands the reader on a welcome & tutorial page within the Bonjoro platform.

This second CTA connects with the second set of bullets and leads the reader to start recording those specific types of videos mentioned in the bullets.

I think all this extra information and multiple buttons may distract or worse, overwhelm the reader. I would suggest taking out all the information about the testimonials (the second set of bullets) and adding a second link in the text “above the fold” perhaps the word “guide” in the beginning of section 3.

I’m not a fan of the text portion of the “close” of this email, which isn’t a close at all, but rather it races on to an entirely new idea, one that could live in a follow up email all on it’s own.

But then they give us this adorable, on brand, on message, hopeful graphic that warms my heart and makes me think, 

“awwwww shucks… what next?!”

Section 6: The P.S.


There is no P.S. in this email, but I think this is a missed opportunity. I mentioned above that the testimonial information from the second set of bullets, and the corresponding CTA could live in it’s own email. But an even better idea would be to place the information in the P.S.

Something like, “P.S. Ready to begin right away?” and then write the copy about the testimonials and throw in the button below.


If you are a SaaS company building out your welcome sequence, Bonjoro is a great company to study. They bring a strong brand identity, personalization, humor, humanity and credibility into their marketing strategy. 

Even if you are a much more buttoned up brand and cartoons and puns are not really your style, email is a perfect chance to show your audience a softer, more personal side. With emails like the one above, your brand can begin to build a relationship with your prospects, one that convinces them you are the best solution for their current needs… as well as keeps them connected and loyal to your brand for many renewals to come. 

Hi! I’m Annie Aaroe, a b2b email marketing strategist. To find out more about story-driven, conversion email copy and strategy that’s tailored for e-com apps and SaaS brands, visit my website, aaroewriting.com, or shoot me an email at annie@aaroewriting.com.

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How I Craft b2b Cold Email Campaigns for SaaS: Process Breakdown

I recently recorded a video for a prospective client detailing my process for creating winning cold email campaigns. The client was a web development agency who had been using email as their primary source of outbound leads and needed to increase their response rate, especially as they were expanding to new, more competitive, segments of their market. I outlined for the client all 4 stages of my cold email writing process. What follows is the transcript of that video, and below that, an accompanying outline. 

Some of the items in both the transcript and the attached outline were added specifically for this client because of a few unique aspects to their project:

  • They’ve had incredibly high conversion rates from their sales calls, even after their cold email response rates tanked in the fourth quarter of 2021. I found this detail, shared with me during a brief 15 minute zoom call where I met the client for the first time, extremely important. Sales calls are often most effective when they are a result of an active funnel that “warms” the prospect up, so to speak, making sure they have all of the necessary beliefs in order to be ready to move forward with the company. However, this client’s sales calls continued to work extremely well (close to 100%) even when their cold emailing campaigns had a very low response rate.  They were essentially only capturing the 3% “ready-to-buy” portion of their market and effectively converting those cold prospects into customers. That means the transcripts of the sales calls are a copywriter’s holy grail. My plan was to reverse engineer those 8 successful sales calls in order to determine the pain points, fears and desires that would be the most effective at the top of the funnel (initial outreach emails) and what beliefs needed to be in place before a prospect arrived at the sales call.
  • They were actively seeking larger companies (Series C & D specifically) and new segments of the market in their cold outreach.  This means that the internal transcripts of sales calls would not help me reach these whale clients as effectively as I needed. Audience research on this new target market, provided by the client, would most likely not be “juicy” enough to make my cold emailing campaign beat their control. Great marketers do not make great copywriters, which is why their cold emailing campaigns were largely failing so far. My solution was to dig deeply into researching competitors, an essential part of every project, but even more critical in this case. I also discovered that podcasts featuring key decision makers in their target audience was a great way to understand the psychology of this audience as well as gather key words and phrases I could re-use in my copy. 

The other benefit to using podcasts for research… is that you can do it while cleaning your tub, running the kids to and fro… or petting your cat.

  • The cold emailing project included several unique segments of the market that needed to be addressed separately, without dramatically increasing my time investment in the project. This objective was not unique to this client, however combined with their aggressive growth goals as described above, the need for segmented targeting was a key request and something I focused heavily on when planning out my approach. The key here was to map everything out before writing any copy. Usually I combine the “planning” stage of my process with the actual writing, however for a project of this scale and specificity, the planning stage would happen completely separately from the writing. During this stage I would use a spreadsheet to map out each specific step that a prospect, within each segment of the market, needs to take to go from the first time they hear of my client, all the way to when they book (and close) the final sales call. Once this map is completed, I can begin to see which pieces of copy can be re-used across different segments, and repeated within each email funnel. Then I use my research to overlay exactly what the copy is needed in order to move the prospect to the next step. After mapping out all of this information, I begin writing the copy in segments (I use this same process whenever there are a lot of variables in a project. It works for cold emails, launch copy and post-click automations). Finally, I piece those segments of copy together like a puzzle, and compile emails that are ready for the editing step that comes next.

Transcript of me explaining my “cold email writing process” to a b2b client

Stage 1: Research


“The first stage of the process is the research. There’s kind of two parts to the research portion. 

The first is the in-house research where I’m looking at all the data you have on your existing customers, as well as any data you have on prospects that you’re trying to bring in with new business, (targeting new types of companies, series C companies, series D companies).

Then for you guys specifically, I would really dig into the transcripts of these sales calls that I hear are so effective, that you have such a high rate of conversion, and find out what it is that’s happening in those sales calls; what objections are being answered, what is exciting people about your company etc.

The other part of the research is looking out into the world wide web and just getting a sense of “voice of customer.” Looking very in depth at what your competitors are doing, what words they’re using, and what’s working for them.

I also jump into forums. Probably with you guys as a client, I would spend a lot of time on podcasts because especially with the new business that you’re trying to bring in, and these bigger companies, a lot of those key decision makers are gonna be appearing on podcasts. Podcasts are a great way to get a sense of how they talk about their problems, how they talk about what excites them and begin to pull out the specific phrases they are using, but also understanding more deeply their psychology.”

Stage 2: Planning


“Then I move into the planning phase. The planning phase is where I’m figuring out exactly which emails need to be sent. More importantly, [I’m figuring out]  what are the objectives of those emails. 

So now I’m looking at things from my research like what are the different beliefs that need to be in place before that prospect gets to the sales call?

I’m also beginning to figure out, within your different segments, what’s the awareness level. Are they aware of the problem, you know, that they need a new website, or are they updating their website every six months no matter what.

Also, how aware are they of client company specifically, but also the specific solutions that you offer. Are they even aware that these are solutions that are available?

So I’m mapping all of those things out into a spreadsheet and beginning to look at what lead types in the email are gonna work for these different types of customer avatars. What call to actions need to be in place to bring people along this journey to ultimately book a sales call.

And are we gonna send three emails out, you know, with this initial objective in mind before, before we get a response and then we’ll send another. I’m making space and trying to think through how many emails need to go out to whom, what they’re gonna say, and what their objective is.

Then I move into the writing phase.”

Stage 3: Writing


“Now for a cold email campaign like this. I do not write all the emails from start to finish.

I’m actually writing all these different parts separately, because I can reuse a lot of the copy across different segments and across different emails.

So I’m gonna write out different sales arguments. I’m gonna write out different call-to-action copy. I’m gonna write out different lead types. I’m gonna write out answering specific objections. 

And then I’m going to have all of that mapped into the spreadsheet I created during the planning phase and begin to think, okay, this would work well here, in this part of the plan.

Then I can compile all of those parts that I’ve written into emails themselves. And that’s where we move into the editing phase.”

Stage 4: Editing


“So in the editing phase we have a completely written email and I’m editing for flow, I’m editing for brand voice, and for grammar, of course.

But also I’m also looking for where I can punch this up with direct response copywriting techniques. Where I can add in scarcity, where I can agitate the pain point, where I can really make sure that the emotion is what’s being, you know, being spoken to.

And also this is where I’m gonna, as often as possible, open with a story. Now there’s gonna be a story lead type all on its own. For example, a case study that is really story driven. However, even when it’s a very offer based email, that’s like, we want this person to just understand that we’re offering something and take an action, almost all the time I’m gonna edit it for a story lead because I just find it creates an open loop. It draws people in.

Especially with cold emailing, it’s never used, like very few companies are opening with a story. [But] it’s so effective because we’re just hardwired to wanna read a story and to wanna find out what happens next.”

Stage 5: Testing & Analysis


“After the editing phase, we go into the testing and analysis. This is where we look… I forgot to say during the planning phase, we’re gonna pick out, [well] I’m gonna pick out, but with your direction, specific KPIs, that match the objectives of each email.

So then in the analysis phase, we’re saying, okay, did we meet these objectives? And then what can we change? What can we switch out? Where can we add in a separate link to make this perform better?”

And then I’m just gonna go back through that writing, editing analysis phase over and over again.

Outline of my “cold email writing process” for a b2b client

    • What’s working well?
      • What is getting clients to close during the call portion?
      • Look at best performing emails and try to determine why
    • Gather customer stories, case studies, pain points (rants)
    • Competitor research
      • Look at ads currently running
      • Pain points
      • Emails
      • Words that stand out
    • Broad audience research
      • Interviews
      • Feedback
      • Sales call transcripts
      • q&a
      • Online forums
      • podcasts
    • Customer beliefs
      • What does the customer need to believe in order to book a call
    • Goals
      • What goals (next steps) do we have for each email in the series
    • Map out plan for emails
      • Segments
        • Target audience
        • Goals
      • How many emails per segment
      • Order of emails (customer journey as described above)
      • Lead types
      • Determine KPIs for different segments/emails
    • Write basic sales messaging for each action above
      • Write Sales message
      • Write leads
      • Write 3 subject lines per lead
      • Write out supporting sections
        • Future pacing
        • Guarantee
        • Objections
        • Features & benefits
    • Compile emails 
    • Edit emails for voice & brand consistency
    • Edit for flow
    • Edit for grammar
    • Add individual emails to spreadsheet and record data
    • Analyze results over all
    • Analyze results for split tests
    • re-test

Hi! I’m Annie Aaroe, a b2b email marketing strategist. To find out more about story-driven, conversion email copy and strategy that’s tailored for e-com apps and SaaS brands, visit my website, aaroewriting.com, or shoot me an email at annie@aaroewriting.com.

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Reduce Your Subscriber Churn by Half

<<Calling all subscription based SaaS companies! If I could help you reduce your churn by 50% with my 30-day retention email marketing formula… Helping you educate, inspire and retain your existing customers. Would you be Interested?>> ? 

If you have high rates of churn within your monthly subscriptions, then you are most likely failing to nurture your customers after they buy from you. I am going to teach you how to use email to continue to educate, inspire and retain your customers so that they are much less likely to ever cancel your subscription. Without a robust post-purchase marketing effort, you are literally throwing money away bringing in new customers when instead you could be making money by keeping more of your customers with you for longer. 

Email marketing is essentially about building relationships with your audience. Email remains one of the most intimate forms of marketing, and it provides a platform to have effective one sided and two sided conversations with your prospects and customers. While these attributes make email ideal for qualifying leads and nurturing warm and cold audiences towards a sale… they are possibly even more ideal for the warmest audiences of all… those people who have already bought from you, and now need to hear all the reasons to justify their purchase. 

If you are a SaaS company and your product is subscription based you need to be even more focused on providing your audience with recurring education, community building and relationship nurturing on a predictable, ongoing basis so that your subscription becomes a necessity, and never gets sent to the chopping block.

If you opted in above for my 60-day retention email marketing formula then please keep reading because this is where I’m going to break down the different types of emails that fit into my 60-day plan. My approach to retention emails, more broadly referred to as “broadcast emails”, separates emails into three basic categories: Customer Spotlights, Features Highlights and what I call “I-You” Emails. 

Read on while I break down each of these categories of retention emails and let me know if you’d like early access to my 90-day email retention plan which will tell you exactly when and why to include these emails and reduce your churn by next quarter.

Customer Spotlights (Anecdotal stories, Case Studies, Q&A)

These are emails in your customer retention plan that help your customer see how others have used your subscription service to grow their own businesses. These emails are a great way to help your customer see where they could be in the near future… which gives them an added incentive to stay connected. Here I’ve identified three types of Customer Spotlight emails that I use regularly.

Anecdotal Stories

WHAT:These are any stories that you draw from either your sales team, content team, customer feedback forms or simply in passing, that you can tell to your email audience featuring one of your brand’s customers.
HOW: These stories can be short, used to introduce a specific feature or benefit of your product, or then can be lengthy. 

BENEFIT: These are usually not intended to make a sale, but rather to make your customer feel the human side of your company. These can be quick and fun to write and they should definitely be fun to read.

OBJECTIVE: Boosts open rates and builds trust

Personality Based Case Studies

WHAT: Case study emails can be a short before and after story, or they can be a  lengthy, scientific breakdown of one of your customer’s successes with your products. 

HOW: If you already feature case studies on your website, re-purpose that content but make it a bit more conversational when adding to an email broadcast list. 

BENEFIT: The point here is to show transformation of one of your customers and how they reached specific goals and objectives by utilizing your brand’s solutions. 

OBJECTIVE: Inspirational, visionary, provides social proof


WHAT: These emails can have a short lead to capture the audience, but the buik of the email is an actual Q&A format, like an interview. 

HOW: The content of these emails can come from customer feedback surveys, customer interviews, or any one-on-one conversations you want to share with your wider audience.

BENEFIT: Provides in-depth information presented in an easy to read format. These emails give insight into specific features of your product and how other clients have benefited in the past, but presented in a non-threatening, easy to digest outline.

OBJECTIVE: Credibility, Relatability

Features Highlights (New Offers, FAQs, Problem-Solution Stories, also Case Studies)

These are emails that highlight specific features of your subscription based product or service. These emails are incredibly important for SaaS companies because they provide ongoing education for your customers to ensure they are getting the most benefit out of the subscription, and tailoring your product to their specific needs. Below I walk you through three different kinds of features driven emails and how to use them to educate and inspire your audience.


WHAT: These emails are designed to answer lingering objections about your product which can creep up, even after your customers have already bought from you. 

HOW: These emails can be laid out just like an FAQ web page, addressing anywhere from 5 to 25 FAQs. Or the questions can be embedded in a narrative style email where you address only one or two objections (FAQs) at a time. For lengthier FAQ emails, formatting is extremely important so that the audience can skim easily and find the questions that interest them the most. 

BENEFIT: Because people buy from emotion and justify with logic, FAQ emails can help your customers justify their purchase decisions while also providing an easy reference for common problems, which done well, can take a load off the customer service team.

OBJECTIVE: Satisfy objections

Problem-Solution Stories

WHAT: These emails focus on a new angle of a problem your audience is having, and position a certain feature of your product as the solution

HOW: The first part of the email describes one core problem your user base can relate to currently. Once you establish the problem and get your reader feeling their pain acutely, the email turns and provides your product as the solution. These emails work best as story based emails because your audience will most likely have heard similar arguments in the front end of your funnel, so you want to re-package the same message in a story driven email.

BENEFIT: These emails really get at the emotional reasons that people buy your product, and can help build trust in your brand. 


Features Based Case Studies

WHAT: These emails feature a case study by focusing less on the who and why, and more on the what and how. These emails are similar to problem solution emails, except they focus on a specific example.

HOW: You can use these emails as a part II of a personality driven case study email, or as a stand alone email. Use this email to get into the nitty gritty of the core problem in the case study, and how your product solved that problem.

BENEFIT: These emails can help teach your audience about more technical features of your product through a relatable real-world example.

OBJECTIVE: Education

I-You Conversations (9-word Emails, Surveys, Direct Offers, Anecdotal Brand Stories, Vulnerability Emails)

These emails are aimed at building up credibility and trust in your audience by creating a familiar feel and making your company relatable. The five different types of emails I’ve outlined below should actually take up the bulk of your email marketing retention plan because they make your brand stand out in the hearts and minds of your customers. However, these are usually the least common types of emails that companies send because they are personality driven and relationship focused, which is the opposite of what most companies spend their time thinking about. However, adding any one of these 5 email types into your retention plan will likely give you a sizeable reduction in churn rates, so ignore these types of emails at your own peril.

 9-Word Email (℅ Dean Jackson)

WHAT: This is a simple, text only email that asks a very specific and very direct question of your audience

HOW: Figure out what you want to know from your customers, and ask them directly in a one sentence (roughly 9 words) email. For example: Are you still interested in reducing churn in your business?

BENEFIT: These emails get huge response rates

OBJECTIVE: Qualifying your Audience, Segmenting, Responses, 


WHAT: An email that links to a survey of your customer base.

HOW: Develop a survey on google forms, typeform, etc. and send an email with an incentive for your customers to fill out the survey.

BENEFIT: Surveys can be fun for the customer which boosts engagement and the know, like, trust factor for your brand. Surveys also give you incredible insight into your buyer’s mindsets, as well as direct language you can repurpose in your outbound marketing.

OBJECTIVE: Engagement, feedback

Direct Offers

WHAT: These emails make a direct offer for a product that is not built into a formal launch or seasonal release. 

HOW: These emails should be short and direct. It should be clear from the subject line forward that an offer is being made. Most often, direct offers need to include some incentive such as a clear result, a discount, or provide special access. 

BENEFIT: Evergreen offer emails are directed at people who are ready to opt in immediately without any more information.

OBJECTIVE: Conversion

Anecdotal Brand Stories

WHAT: These are the most under-utilized emails because they don’t generate sales. However, they are incredibly important for building customer loyalty and lifetime value. Story based emails about almost anything related to your company and the people in it (this includes both customers, employees, suppliers, even investors)

HOW: There are not rules to these emails except to write them from one person to one person, and make them sound like you are writing and email  to a friend. However the basic structure is 1. Tell a story 2. Draw a lesson or value from the story and 3. Remind your reader that you are here to serve them. 

BENEFIT: These emails are going to make your company feel like a long lost friend. These emails show the human side of your company and help your audience find themselves the bigger picture of your brand’s story. These emails also will make you stand out in your customer’s minds FAR above  your competition.

OBJECTIVE: Loyalty & Know, Like, Trust

Vulnerability Emails

WHAT: Similar to the anecdotal story emails above, these emails can take many forms, but the key factor is to show not simply the human side of your company, but specifically your fallible nature as a human run company.

HOW: When there is a chance to be honest about a mistake of any magnitude, from an embarrassing typo in an email… all the way to a botched rollout of a product update, DON’T SHY AWAY from the problem. 

BENEFIT: Take these mistakes and see them as opportunities to be honest with your customers. Get ahead of problems by being open in your email marketing from the start.

OBJECTIVE: Build Trust, Relatability & Connection

Build An Email Marketing Retention Plan

You can opt-in to my 30-day email retention formula for a more in depth explanation of exactly how to diagnose the cause of your high churn rates and how to use email marketing to boost retention and reduce churn. But generally speaking, you want to use the three types of emails I’ve explained above and make them work together. You can even mix and match different aspects of these email types inside one email, for example leading with a customer focused story, and ending with a direct offer. And once you’ve identified the leading reasons that customers are canceling their subscription, you can use these emails to basically “plug the leaks” in your customer satisfaction cycle for good.

Hi! I’m Annie Aaroe, a b2b email marketing strategist. To find out more about story-driven, conversion email copy and strategy that’s tailored for e-com apps and SaaS brands, visit my website, aaroewriting.com, or shoot me an email at annie@aaroewriting.com.

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