A good email marketing agency can be the difference between “survive or thrive” for e-commerce. Email Marketing Agencies undertake all the functions that pertain to the retention of existing customers, expanding their lifetime value, and even growing the email list to multiply revenue. Many businesses go to great lengths to find an ad management agency or an SEO agency, but unfortunately, email marketing services more often than not end up being an afterthought. In this blog post, we’ll have your work cut out for you and help you take you through the factors that will help you choose the right email marketing agency for your online business.
But first, you must ask yourself Should we do our email marketing in-house or outsource it to an agency? The answer should be based on these leading factors:
Is there anyone in the company qualified to do email marketing?
This would be someone with experience in running email marketing campaigns, automation, and platforms to send emails and drive good results from them. Check if you know what the industry benchmark for healthy email performance is. These are some of the metrics companies usually check their email marketing against. If the answer is yes go in-house, if the answer is no you’ll want to consider hiring an agency with a team of qualified experts that you can use to help you run your strategy.
If not, do I have time to learn the principles of email marketing?
You and your team can always learn about email marketing, however, this takes time until rocking the briefing process, figuring out what time suits your audience best to engage them, and how to analyze effectively the indicators of performance. In the current cutthroat e-commerce world, every minute costs, and the time you spend learning is time you could have spent already driving results if you opted to partner with an email marketing agency.
Do I have enough time and people to run my email marketing strategy?
From creating the copy and design of the templates to tracking email performance, email marketing is a lot of work and is time-consuming. It may end up being too much to handle unnecessarily. Email marketing agencies tend to have a team of experts with a copywriter, a designer, a platform expert, and the head of the account. So instead of all the work falling on one person, you can have multiple people handling your campaign for a stress-free experience.
If after thinking about the in-house vs. hiring an email marketing agency you decide to go with the second option then it’s time to determine the factors you need to evaluate an email marketing agency on:
1. The agency has a focused email marketing team
Your strategy needs to be in the hands of experts, it’s important to be assigned a team that includes an Account Manager (head of the project), a copywriter, a designer, and also a platform expert. Since this team specializes in handling email marketing alone, they’re clued in with all the industry best practices, have access to the latest email technology, tools, and trends, and gain from their experience of working with other companies. For example, AB test results from a similar brand’s email marketing could derive important signals for your brand without much risk.
2. The agency has experience in building automation
Usually, email flows or automated flows are the backbones of a strong email marketing ecosystem. This is one area that most businesses end up messing up. A robust set of flows is nearly for the lifetime of a business and can be responsible for driving 10-20% of the overall revenue, but the converse is also true. Automations with errors or bugs will not only continue to be a pain point but will cost you huge in revenue. Look for agencies with demonstrated results in building effective email flows that are proven to increase conversions, including the 5 basic flows namely: Welcome, Post-Purchase, Browse Abandonment, Added to Cart, and Checkout Abandonment respectively.
3. Expertise with campaigns your customers will love
Email marketing is part art, part science and mastering both reflects in the design and execution. Once the flows are built and triggered certain user behavior, there also needs to be regular communication and engagement by way of email and SMS campaigns that drive healthy revenue regularly. The email templates need to marry the best of visual aesthetics as well as tactical best practices for delivery, readability, and conversion. Check if the agency has a strong body of work in email campaigns. Ask for samples of design as well as case studies and actual emails that have been done for their clients.
4. The agency is well-versed in A/B Testing and optimization
Optimizing based on an industry-leading, data-oriented approach is essential. A good data-focused agency relies on frequent testing and data analysis to ensure your results keep improving the longer the agency works with your store.
5. The agency sends you comprehensive and timely reports
It’s crucial to always be in the loop about where your email marketing stands and how our efforts are landing. To that effect, providing timely and regular reports that are comprehensive and present hygiene metrics like email revenue, campaign, and flow revenue, as well as insights into segmentation, customer response, future strategy, and learnings, all in an easy-to-follow format is essential A good email marketing agency will send reports that cover all of this, even the not-so-pretty parts and send them on a timely cadence, without being needed to follow up with.
6. The agency has nailed ‘Deliverability’
The difference between an average email marketing agency and a market-leading one is not just a difference in email aesthetics but it’s also technical strength. There’s a lot more to email marketing than putting together a bunch of visuals and an offer. The actual work starts even before a single email is sent out to make sure it goes to as many inboxes as possible and doesn’t land in spam. The agency should be able to test every campaign sent to gauge its deliverability in advance and should have a track record in improving their clients’ email deliverability.
7. The agency offers transparent pricing
The agency should be able to send you a clear pricing structure along with a breakup of individual components. The pricing should also involve clear timelines and inclusions and exclusions. Ideally, the agency should also be able to justify the prices of the hours required by the specialists for the services. Moreover, the prices you’ve been offered should be the prices you get in your invoices. It’s not ethical to receive surprise changes in rate or extra amounts for something you just found out.
8. The agency has testimonials and case studies
It’s one thing for an agency to talk about its credentials and laurels, and quite another to have it vetted by past and current clients, as well as their results. A good email marketing agency should let its customers and case studies do the heavy lifting of promotions. Here’s a 5-point checklist for you to evaluate an agency’s credentials:
- Real client testimonials: What do the clients say about the agency? Are these real clients? Look them up.
- Is the agency well-reviewed on agency aggregator sites like Clutch?
- Has the agency won any awards in its category?
- Are there case studies of actual client results along with real screenshots that corroborate the claims?
- Will the agency be able to provide a client reference on request?
There are a lot of eCommerce email marketing agencies to consider, and while price matters, remember to find the agency that can best deliver what you need based on the above criteria as well as any other factors that are specific to your business. This can take some searching if you’re not sure what you need. If you want to boost your revenue and experience continual growth online, and looking for a top-rated e-commerce email marketing agency that will help your business grow, look no further and book a call with us. We have a global team and count on them to bring multicultural knowledge and experience.