Userlist Review: behaviour-based email automation for SaaS businesses

UPDATED 9 APRIL 2019

Stuart Goulden

@StuGoulden

Userlist is a tool that triggers automated, behaviour-nudging emails based on the exact actions your SaaS users take. Put your user onboarding and engagement on autopilot but with a personal touch.

  • Rating N/A
  • Price $BETA
BETA ACCESS
Userlist.io - UI
  • LOVED
  • Laser-focus. Minimalist UI.
  • Automation possibilities. Email templates.
  • LOATHED
  • Too early to say: still in beta.

What is Userlist?

Userlist is an onboarding automation tool with superpowers. Its laser-focused features, built exclusively for post-signup SaaS companies, makes user onboarding and activation as simple as possible by sending event-based emails based on individual user actions.

Unlike other automated customer engagement tools, it’s only focus is messaging users at the best possible moment to help them on their journey. This keeps their back-end from getting bloated and saves the customer from inbox overload.

Set-up requires some technical know-how but with ready-made email templates and suggested customer lifecycle triggers, it won’t be long before your entire user journey is on autopilot.


Userlist features.

Users

Your homepage within the app is a directory of your users. You can add filters or dive straight into them one by one, where you can see all their events and actions. There are no bells and whistles here, making it refreshing easy to view and manage users.

Automation

Setting up email workflows can be a bit of a minefield. Userlist gives you a headstart with templates and worksheets, covering common scenarios such as trial users, free users, paying customers, customers who need reactivating, or are taking new or repeat actions. These cheatsheets cannot be imported but they’re useful guide to getting started to behaviour-based emails.

Journeys

Setting up email workflows on speculative scenarios is all very well but does it actually reflect reality? See individual user journeys and respond to what people are actually doing (or not doing) in your SaaS app. The intel is kept high level, allowing you to easily spot conversation starters and compare their behaviour to that of other customers.

Snippets

Find yourself using the same phrases again and again in your emails? Snippets are custom bits of text to be quickly reused across all your campaigns and broadcasts. It could be product benefits, intros, sign-offs or referral requests. Save yourself from typing it out each time.


Things to consider.

Getting started

How do you onboard the onboarders? On top of the worksheets and templates, Userlist is welcoming its beta users with a free onboarding consultation with its founders. Use this time as you want, whether it’s to ask a question about technical setup or some strategic advice about your email automations and user onboarding.

 

Pre-signup clashes

Userlist is very clear it’s for only interested in your customers and responding to their behaviours inside your product. Prospects will need to be served by another email service. However, occasionally an existing user will take actions that resemble a new prospect. For this reason Userlist recommends keeping the new user in your marketing software, but unsubscribing them from any marketing and sales nurture campaigns.

 

Incredible flexibility

Drip campaigns are an effervescent onboarding tactic and for good reason, however they can be too rigid. We’ve all had the emails that prompt us to do tasks we’ve already completed or fly through the setup stages at too rapid a pace. Userlist is designed as a more fluid alternative, using smart logic to respond to individual user actions and skip any irrelevant messages. If the success of your SaaS product relies on retaining high value B2B customers it’s worth putting that little bit of extra in for.


Userlist pricing.

Basic

14-day free trial then
$49per month
  • Up to 1,000 users
  • Up to 20,000 emails/month

Growth

14-day free trial then
$99per month
  • Up to 5,000 users
  • Unlimited emails

Scale

14-day free trial then
$229+per month
  • Up to 20,000 users
  • Unlimited emails

All plans come with a 14-day free trial. Annual plans come with a 20% discount.


Verdict.

It’s important to remember it’s very early days for Userlist. The service is still in paid beta ahead of a public launch, so we were privileged to get a sneak peek. To grant us access at this stage also signals the confidence the Userlist team have in their service and its potential. Until its full launch, I’ll resist the urge to give it a rating. That said, there’s no doubt in my mind it can already work wonders for any SaaS business serious or curious about behaviour-based email.

Userlist is exclusively focused on managing and messaging users who have already signed up for your product. Nobody else. It serves this narrow niche with a set of features that are simple to setup (if you’ve custom development to hand) yet rich in insights. Its ready-made email templates and walkthrough worksheets really do demystify the whole world of behaviour-based email and provide a quick copy-and-paste option to get going. SaaS businesses using Userlist to good use will find it’s a more flexible, focused and capable complement to catch-all drip campaigns.

It will be interesting to see how Userlist evolves over time. New features are inevitable but they seem keen to avoid mission drift as they try to sign-up and satisfy more users. Our interview with Userlist’s founder, Jane Portman, gives some clues as to what the future holds. We wish them well and will watch on with interest!

USERLIST.IO

Founder of future-led marketing agency and start-up studio, Like No Other.