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Home » Jane Portman – The SaaS Email Marketing Maven: Mastering Product Positioning, Crafting Engaging Email Campaigns & Balancing Founder Life TMMF #018)

Jane Portman – The SaaS Email Marketing Maven: Mastering Product Positioning, Crafting Engaging Email Campaigns & Balancing Founder Life TMMF #018)

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“I don’t like decorative stuff too much. I like stuff that’s useful.”

— Jane Portman

In this episode, we explore the world of SaaS email marketing with Jane Portman, the co-founder and CEO of Userlist. With a background in UI/UX design and years of experience helping SaaS businesses craft effective email campaigns, Jane shares her insights and strategies for success.

We dive into the importance of product positioning, finding the right language for your target audience, and creating email campaigns that engage users and drive product adoption. Jane also shares her thoughts on leveraging behavioral data for personalization and finding the balance between automation and human touch.

As the host of two popular podcasts, UI Breakfast and Better Done Than Perfect, Jane discusses how these shows have helped her build relationships and gain industry insights. Finally, we explore how Jane balances her family, passions and hobbies with the demands of running a SaaS company and being a mom.

Whether you’re a SaaS founder, marketer, or email enthusiast, this episode is packed with actionable advice to help you elevate your email marketing game.


Listen to the episode on your favorite podcast platform. Watch the interview on YouTube here.

Want to learn from another founder? Check out our interview with Foti Panagiotakopoulos to learn how he immerses himself in customer research and embeds the insights into his product.

What was your favorite insight or lesson from this episode? Share your thoughts in the comments below.



  • 01:44 Jane’s Journey: From Creative Director to SaaS Founder
  • 03:51 Building Userlist: Challenges and Learnings
  • 06:46 The Importance of Positioning and Messaging
  • 21:28 Effective Email Marketing Strategies for SaaS
  • 26:03 Effective Pricing Models and Visual Guides
  • 26:46 Behavior-Based vs. Time-Based Emails
  • 27:46 Tailoring Messaging for Different Personas
  • 29:50 Challenges in Consistent Messaging
  • 31:08 Overcoming Email Marketing Obstacles
  • 32:18 The Role of Podcasting in Marketing
  • 36:46 Researching and Preparing for Podcast Guests
  • 43:54 Balancing Personal Interests with Professional Life
  • 45:54 Conclusion and Where to Find More


  • “With the B2B SaaS it’s much closer to the money. The typical clientele was established businesses who managed to succeed without having a smashing design, which is my favorite.”
  • “What we’re doing is basically like cutting edge, everything, what we’ve learned throughout life, all the talents employed multiplied by extreme effort all the time.”
  • “In depth content is really hard to find and we really kill it. It started as an SEO tool. We covered like most keywords and it started working, but what we did then was make the articles. It’s even better for humans and turn them into real guides.”
  • “It all sounds perfect in theory, you know what you’re doing great, but just finding the right words that don’t just qualify the people well enough. It’s hard.”
  • “You’re living so much money on the table. So we just need to find ways to overcome the friction and allowing them to tap into this growth channel.”
  • “The biggest obstacles are mentally. It’s mentally hard to just get going, to brace yourself into, to explore the unknown, to figure out the first steps, to start tracking the data, to trust the data because you’re never sure the data correct is not.”
  • “It’s all right to hit send. It’s all right to launch because sure the only person who doesn’t make mistakes is the one who doesn’t do anything.”
  • “Podcasting is not bringing direct ROI ever. I am yet to see a company who will say, Oh, my customers come from podcasts.”
  • “It’s still a crucial way for me personally to make friends, to have an excuse to reach out to any celebrity I like and invite them and they will like 95 percent say yes, and then pick their brain for an hour. That’s brilliant.”
  • “For UserList we use this as a research tool to talk to industry experts, get knowledge from them. So that this kind of simmers, and then we can write our own stuff on the topic because we have learned from them.”
  • “I love narrow topics versus like how to grow teams. That’s not a good topic. That’s very broad and every, everybody can contribute to this. I’d love to see an angle, how to grow teams with X and how I did it or something like that.”
  • “I think the confidence has definitely increased and I have grown to love talking to people and interviewing them, asking questions that are maybe provocative but not hostile necessarily, but just like leading weaving conversation, balancing who says what, and it’s just so enjoyable.”

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