Customer Engagement Marketing for SaaS: Definition, Strategies, and Examples

Customer Engagement Marketing for SaaS: Definition, Strategies, and Examples cover

In SaaS, acquiring customers through marketing is not enough for sustainable growth. That’s why customer engagement marketing is an essential pillar, as it provides the building blocks for making customers stay, engage, and eventually become loyal advocates for your product.

That said, we’ll go over how to build a strong customer engagement strategy that cultivates trust and unlocks product growth.


  • Customer engagement is the level of involvement and interactions that customers have with a brand’s product or service.
  • Customer engagement marketing is about the strategies and communication tactics for building a solid customer-product relationship through an engaging customer experience.
  • Reasons to care about customer engagement include decreased customer churn; enhanced customer retention; and positive word-of-mouth.
  • There are five steps to create a customer engagement marketing strategy:
  1. Define your engagement objectives and use the SMART goal framework to define it.
  2. Craft a user persona based on quantitative and qualitative research.
  3. Create a customer journey map including every single stage, milestone, and touchpoint that your users must engage with in order to achieve success.
  4. Design an engagement tactic for every touchpoint in the customer journey, and pull everything together into a strategy.
  5. Select engagement metrics that align with your goals so you can measure customer engagement success.
  • Now let’s go through 14 customer engagement tactics that you can apply in SaaS:
  1. Use welcome surveys to gather data and design a personalized onboarding experience right from the start.
  2. Implement interactive walkthroughs to present your product features in an interactive way.
  3. Trigger onboarding tooltips to introduce relevant features to users as they engage with them.
  4. Add in-app checklists to guide customers through different tasks and lead them to realize the value of your product.
  5. Create growth loops to compound your product growth by generating outputs that lead to more inputs.
  6. Trigger new feature announcements on a segmented audience based on feature engagement, feature requests, or user personas to encourage existing users to engage with them.
  7. Engage users with educational content such as webinars, slideouts, or tutorials when you roll out a new feature.
  8. Use AI tools to analyze data, create chatbots, predict user behavior, and write marketing messages.
  9. Embed educational microvideos in the UI so users can visualize exactly how to use your product.
  10. Build a public product roadmap where customers can provide feedback and collaborate in the development of your app.
  11. Leverage feature tagging and event tracking to create highly personalized upsell strategies based on customers’ feature preferences, behaviors, and engagement patterns.
  12. Segment disengaged users and send personalized re-engagement campaigns to enhance their product experience.
  13. Implement an in-app resource center as a channel for self-service support and prevent users from disengaging.
  14. Set up loyalty programs where you can reward your customers for leaving feedback, reviews, and bringing in referrals.
  • Since you’ll need software to implement the strategies above, why not book a Userpilot demo for engaging customers?

What is customer engagement?

Customer engagement is the level of involvement and interactions that customers have with a brand’s product or service. Its goal is to foster continuous two-way communication and interactive experiences that meet customer needs, enhance their brand perception, and encourage loyalty.

Tactics such as interactive content, personalized messaging, and real-time support are used to increase engagement levels— therefore driving repeat business, revenue, and customer advocacy.

What is customer engagement marketing?

Customer engagement marketing is about the strategies and communication tactics for building a solid customer-product relationship through an engaging customer experience.

Just like customer engagement in general, its goal is to enhance customer satisfaction, repeat purchases, and positive word-of-mouth as drivers for product growth.

Why do you need customer engagement marketing strategies?

Is customer engagement important? No SaaS business can survive without retaining customers. Closing sales is only the first step, and to continue strengthening your ties with customers and cultivating loyalty, you need a solid customer engagement marketing strategy.

Plus, there are even more reasons to care about customer engagement:

  • Decreased customer churn as engaged customers become loyal customers.
  • Enhanced customer retention as a result of prolonged customer relationships.
  • Increased brand advocacy, with satisfied and engaged customers promoting your brand through positive word-of-mouth.
  • Boosted product adoption as users start engaging with your app.
  • A more in-depth understanding of your customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviors as you start interacting with them and gaining insights from customer analytics.
  • Increased revenue coming from more renewals and upgrades.
  • A customer engagement strategy creates up-selling and cross-selling opportunities as users engage with your product.

How to build customer engagement marketing strategies?

Keeping users around is not so straightforward, you need to follow a strategic approach that’s effective and provides you with feedback.

That said, let’s go over five steps for building a solid customer engagement strategy.

1. Define engagement objectives to set your goals

Your first step is defining your strategic North Star.

What are you aiming to achieve with more engagement? It could range from increasing product adoption to boosting user satisfaction.

A best practice for this is to follow a goal-setting framework like SMART (that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) to align your goals with the results your business needs.

For example, a SMART engagement goal could be: “Increase in-app customer interactions by 25% over the next quarter by implementing targeted email campaigns.”

smart goals customer engagement marketing
SMART goal framework.

2. Craft your user persona and find pain points

Crafting comprehensive user personas is necessary to follow an engagement strategy that clicks with them.

To do so:

  1. Collect qualitative and quantitative data from existing customers. This can come from customer interviews, product analytics, surveys, heatmaps, and more.
  2. Segment customer information into key categories such as demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals, and use these ascertainable traits to outline your user personas.
  3. Identify and dig deeper into your customers’ pain points and jobs-to-be-done. Look at their feedback and figure out why they’d choose your product over the competition, why they used specific channels to find out about you, and why your product is the best option to satisfy their needs.
  4. Pull all the insights together into a user persona sheet (like in the screenshot below). Most SaaS businesses have around 2-3 personas, so use them as a tool when creating your customer engagement marketing strategy.
user persona customer engagement marketing
User persona example.

3. Map your customer journey to identify touchpoints

For customers to get engaged, they need to go through a user journey that includes many stages and touchpoints (a.k.a. interactions between your customer and your brand).

To help customers engage in this loop, you need to map out the entire customer journey and include every stage and touchpoint in it:

  1. Drawing out the different stages in the customer journey, starting from the moment they sign until they become brand advocates.
  2. Identify the milestones that users need to achieve to advance through the journey.
  3. Add every touchpoint required to complete each milestone, including the channel (website, app, support, etc) and the element they engage with (feature, an agent, etc).
  4. Pull everything together into a journey map document.
  5. Set customer journey KPIs to keep track of your user’s success and spot gaps where customers might drop off or disengage (e.g. lack of product education, friction, etc.).

4. Plan to implement customer engagement strategies at each touchpoint

Now, to design a customer engagement strategy, you need to start looking at each touchpoint to find opportunities for improvement.

Why? So you can start working on existing problems instead of moving aimlessly.

That said, break each stage of your customer journey, then outline the engagement strategies that best correspond with each stage. An example could be creating personalized emails or loyalty programs for the retention and advocacy stages.

Once the tactics are outlined throughout the journey, you’ll get a solid strategy that you can start implementing right away.

activation playbook customer engagement marketing
User activation strategy example.

5. Choose metrics to track your customer engagement strategy

To complete your customer engagement strategy, you need to carefully select engagement metrics to measure your success.

These metrics should align with your SMART goals, as well as fit with your customer’s path. For instance, metrics like feature adoption rate and product stickiness are a good fit if your goal is to increase product adoption.

This way, you can accurately gauge the effectiveness of your strategies and make data-driven decisions.

14 Customer engagement marketing strategy ideas for SaaS

As you go through the process of making a customer engagement strategy, you may feel lost at step four as you run out of ideas to implement.

That said, let’s go over 14 engagement tactics that you can apply in a SaaS business:

Use customer data for a personalized onboarding process

Customer data from sign-up flows represents an opportunity to design a personalized onboarding experience and drive engagement right at the start.

You can use a welcome survey to gather information such as the user’s industry, their role within their organization, or their main motivation for using your product. And with that info, craft an onboarding path that addresses their specific jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) and responsibilities.

This could mean, for example, presenting features that a CMO would find valuable, or automatically skipping others that an engineer might not need.

welcome survey for customer engagement marketing
Disclaimer: This welcome survey wasn’t built by Miro, it’s a hypothetical example to show how easy it is to use Userpilot’s Chrome extension to build a welcome survey.

Use interactive walkthroughs to engage customers with relevant features

Another way to engage customers is to present your product features in an interactive way.

So instead of showing a generic product tour that users are likely to skip, you can implement an interactive walkthrough to:

  • Hand-hold users step by step with progressive onboarding.
  • Respond to in-app behavior in real-time.
  • Avoid overwhelming users with information they won’t retain.
  • Enhance their learning experience.
interactive walkthrough for customer engagement marketing
Kommunicate’s interactive walkthrough.

Implement tooltips to provide interactive educational content

In-app tooltips are highly effective when introducing features for specific use cases.

To use them, identify the features that are core to your product and align with your user’s jobs to be done. Then create small, concise messages to educate customers about each of these features. And finally, set them up to pop out when a customer starts engaging with said feature.

Remember, these messages should be brief, directive, and contain practical instructions that users can follow immediately. For example, if data visualization is one of your user’s JTBD, you can trigger onboarding tooltips when a user first accesses the “visualization tool”—highlighting how to import data, customize charts, etc.

onboarding tooltips for customer engagement marketing
Building an onboarding tooltip with Userpilot (not Miro).

Drive key feature discovery and adoption with checklists

Adding in-app checklists is a proven customer engagement strategy. They can drive feature discovery and product adoption as they guide customers through different tasks and lead them to realize the value of your product.

Plus, you can also use it for secondary onboarding as users explore advanced features. For example, if you want to introduce a scheduling feature to active users, you can add a checklist to guide them through creating a schedule, adding tasks or deadlines, and activating notifications.

onboarding checklist customer engagement marketing
Creating an onboarding checklist with Userpilot.

Create growth loops to drive potential users to your product

Growth loops are a compounding cycle that can effectively attract customers to your business and self-generate more inputs. It consists of three parts that lead to compounding growth:

  • Input. Input is the strategies you use to acquire new users, such as ads, social, SEO on different search engines, email marketing, etc.
  • Action. Action is the process a user takes to get value from your product, such as testing it out for the first time or exploring new features.
  • Output. Output is the compounding effect you get from the user’s action. This is the key moment as it should continue to create more input to refeed the cycle.
growth loop framework
Growth loop framework.

Trigger new feature announcements contextually to existing customers

In-app notifications are powerful for announcing new features and encouraging existing users to engage with them.

However, notifications can be annoying if not done right. That’s why they should be triggered on a segmented audience based on feature engagement, feature requests, or user personas (like in the screenshot below).

For example, if you just launched a new auto-translate feature for multilingual teams, you might want to announce it to multinational organizations using your app so they’re encouraged to engage with it right away.

new feature announcement targeting
Targeting a new feature announcement to a segment with Userpilot.

Offer helpful content when introducing new features

Educating customers about your product is a constant, never-ending task. When done well, it will keep users engaged with your app as they find success with it.

That said, one great trick is to engage users with educational content such as webinars, slideouts, or tutorials when you roll out a new feature. So instead of expecting users to learn by themselves, you can provide them with the information they need, when they need it.

For example, suppose you’re introducing an “auto-translate” feature that’s highly relevant for a specific user segment (e.g. multinational organizations). In that case, you can take it as an opportunity to add a webinar invitation where they can learn how to use the new feature effectively.

new feature webinar
Userpilot’s new feature webinar example.

Use AI to enhance customer experience

AI can dramatically enhance customer experience by adding depth to customers’ interactions.

But with so many AI tools, where do you start? Here are some ways to use AI:

  • Use AI to analyze data and offer relevant content recommendations tailored to individual user behavior and preferences.
  • Create AI chatbots to respond to customer grievances, troubleshoot common problems, or guide users through complex tasks.
  • Predict user behaviors based on users’ historical data and personalize your promotions, offers, and messaging to resonate with individual users.
  • Ask AI writing tools to refine marketing messages, whether in-app or in any marketing material (like in the screenshot below).
AI writing tool
Userpilot’s AI assistant.

Embed microvideos into your product experiences

Embedding educational microvideos into your product can significantly improve engagement.

So instead of introducing features with plain boring text, create informative yet concise video content where users can visualize exactly how to use your product.

As for incorporating it in the app’s UI, make sure to trigger the videos so it doesn’t disrupt the product flow and only shows up when it’s valuable for the user. This could be during the onboarding process, within tooltips, or when a new feature is introduced (think of Tolstoy’s microvideo example below).

Tolstoy’s microvideo example
Tolstoy’s microvideo example.

Build a public product roadmap to generate buzz and interest for your future release

A public product roadmap can become a channel to generate hype and boost user engagement consistently.

Building it is simple, use a roadmap tool to create a graphic representation of your product’s timeline showing key milestones, feature additions, and expected product updates. And then make it public so anyone can see it and share it.

But that isn’t enough, you also need to distribute it. Upload your roadmap on your website, share it in your newsletters, or post it on your social media platforms. And then invite customers to add valuable feedback, listen to them, and include their requests in the roadmap.

For example, Gleap features their product roadmap right in the in-app resource center. This way, their users are able to follow what’s in progress or already released, as well as vote on features that are in the plan:

public roadmap
Gleap’s public product roadmap.

Leverage historical customer interaction data for upselling triggers

If someone buys something with regularity, they’re very likely to buy it again. That’s why historical data is extra valuable to find upselling opportunities.

In SaaS, you can use feature tagging and event tracking to record how frequently customers interact with features. This data analysis is super useful for creating highly personalized upsell strategies based on customers’ feature preferences, behaviors, and engagement patterns.

So if, for instance, a customer frequently engages with a pro feature during their free trial, you can trigger an upsell message that’s relevant to said feature (e.g. unlimited usage, seats, etc.) to encourage the user to upgrade.

historical data
Tracking in-app events on Userpilot.

Send personalized messages and offers to drive customer retention

Resurrecting users is a key part of sustaining healthy engagement levels.

To start, identify disengaged users by segmenting them based on their survey responses, behavioral patterns, and qualitative feedback. Also, look for unusual patterns like sudden drop-off in usage, reduced engagement with your emails, or any decrease in other metrics.

Then, formulate personalized assistance to enhance their product experience. Said targeted help can involve developing any customized content that addresses their specific problems—think of personalized emails, video tutorials, or even one-on-one consultations when feasible.

re engagement flow targeting
Targeting a re-engagement flow with Userpilot.

Build a knowledge base to offer self-help resources

A great opportunity to offer a top-notch customer experience is through an in-app resource center. Since it prevents users from leaving your app to solve their issues (experiencing friction in the process), customers are more likely to stay engaged with your app.

The process for creating an effective knowledge base is simple:

  1. Identify common issues that make customers drop off and disengage.
  2. Survey your users, review your support tickets, and examine your usage data to see what’s causing friction and pushing customers away.
  3. Create help resources in different formats to directly tackle these challenges. It can include FAQs, tutorial videos, step-by-step guides, or help articles.
  4. Organize your resources in content modules so users can find resources that are relevant to them (instead of having to browse through messy documentation).
  5. Include launch messages for announcements, updates, and patch notes to keep customers informed 24/7.
in app resource center
Userpilot’s in-app resource center.

Reward customers for leaving feedback or reviews

One way to boost customer engagement is to reward your customers for leaving feedback, writing reviews, and bringing in referrals.

This could involve setting up a loyalty program where customers are awarded points each time they take a desired action and those points can be exchanged for credits, free months, etc.

To encourage participation, communicate clearly about what’s in it and ensure that the process is simple and straightforward. Also don’t forget to follow up regularly to remind them about what they can get with their points, current offers, etc.

loyalty program example
SurferSEO’s chatbot promoting a survey.

Examples of successful customer engagement strategies in SaaS

Now, let’s see some of these strategies in action from other SaaS brands:

Userpilot incentivizes loyal customers to write reviews

Getting customers to write a review for you is hard in itself, let alone positive ones.

But Userpilot has a trick for this, they follow up with users to write a review after they’ve answered an NPS survey with a 9+ score—targeting loyal customers exclusively instead of detractors.

userpilot review
Userpilot’s follow-up message.

Miro offers a free trial for a business plan to drive account expansion

Products with freemium models tend to be harder to monetize.

But instead of expecting freemium users to upgrade by themselves, Miro offers a limited trial for their business plan.

This way, users can experience the difference between plans and feel more motivated to upgrade once they’ve realized its convenience—leading to increased product-led growth.

miro business plan free trial
Miro’s business plan free trial.

Evernote uses a growth loop to increase new users

Evernote’s referral program is generous yet powerful. It incentivizes users not to upgrade, but to try out their premium plan so they can experience its value and become premium users eventually.

This process feeds their growth loop as more people bring more people—compounding their user base growth over time.

evernote loyalty program
Evernote’s referral program.

Amplitude introduces feature updates as customers engage with it

Users are often engaged with their work and are unaware of updates and new features—without mentioning how frustrating it can be to relearn a feature you’ve been using for some time.

Amplitude solves this by introducing updates when a user engages with the said feature, preventing them from feeling lost or misusing it.

amplitude new feature introductions
Amplitude’s feature introduction.

Notion announces new features with a microvideo

Instead of adding long, boring text explaining the intricacies of a new feature, Notion uses microvideos to educate users more effectively.

This way, users will face less friction whenever there’s a new release and be more likely to engage with it.

notion video tutorials
Notion’s video tutorials.


In SaaS, customer engagement marketing is essential for fueling brand growth and creating customer loyalty.

Whether you’re crafting engaging interactive walkthroughs, leveraging AI for an enhanced user experience, or gathering customer feedback, every step is needed to keep your business healthy.

And since you’ll need a customer engagement platform to implement the strategies above, why not book a Userpilot demo to experience how you can provide an engaging user experience?

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