If you’re thinking about outsourcing your email marketing then you’re in the right place.
In this Ultimate Guide to Outsourcing Your Email Marketing we’ll help answer all your questions and give you as much knowledge as possible so you can make the best possible decision on how to move your email marketing program forward.
When you get it right, outsourcing your email marketing can be the answer to all your prayers. It can send your ROI through the roof, free up your time and capacity, and help you get the edge on your competitors. If you get it wrong (and we’ve seen this happen) it can suck up time, energy and budget that you simply can’t spare.
We’ve put this guide together to help make sure you get it right. We’ll cover:
- Why you should outsource your email marketing
- When you should outsource it
- What elements you can outsource
- Whether you should use a freelancer or an agency
- Understanding your requirements
- Deciding on a budget
- Choosing the right agency
- Monitoring success
The best email marketing programs are a mix of art and science. Then blend together business strategy, the use of data and creativity to consistently deliver results. And they don’t happen by accident. They take time, expertise and knowledge to pull off.
Finding all three of these in internal teams is easier said than done…and it’s here where the journey towards successfully outsourcing your email marketing begins.
Why should you outsource your email marketing?
Have you ever thought your email marketing could be performing better? Or wished your team had the time to give it the attention it deserves? Or is it simply a struggle getting a strategy in place to make sure you’re sending the right messages to the right people at the right time?
Email marketing is full of success stories and consistently delivers the highest ROI of any other marketing channel – digital or otherwise. Of course you’re going to want your email marketing program to perform.
But creating brilliant email marketing campaigns takes a huge amount of work. Even if you’re using templates you still have to worry about how your emails look, whether they work properly across all devices, the content in them, the calls to action, the send time, the data the campaign is being sent to – the list goes on. It isn’t a quick job. If you don’t have the resources, expertise or time in-house then outsourcing becomes an attractive and viable option.
But it goes deeper than this.
If you find the right email marketing agency to work with they can help with strategy, data management, deliverability, analysis, reporting and more. All while provisioning you with a bespoke service tailored to your needs and helping you take advantage of the latest trends and innovations in the industry.
When is the best time to outsource your email marketing?
Well, as the old saying goes, there’s no time like the present! But, truth be told, there’ll never be a perfect time. Like so many things in life, it’s easy to fall into the trap of waiting until everything is ‘just right’ before taking the leap and committing to doing it. Reality paints a different picture and there’s always going to be things in your way that make it easy to put off the decision to outsource your email marketing.
But, think of it this way, can you really afford not to?
If you know your email marketing program should be performing better but lack the time or expertise to give it the dedication it deserves then every day you put off making the decision to outsource is a day lost. And you could actually be harming your brand by sending email marketing campaigns you feel don’t live up to your expectations.
From a practical point of view, if your email marketing has become an afterthought or a rushed job, if the capacity of your team is stretched, if you know you should be doing more but don’t know where to start, then all the indicators point to it being the right time to outsource.
What elements of email marketing can be outsourced?
If you find the right email marketing agency then anything and everything to do with email marketing can be outsourced.
In our experience, we tend to find there’s two types of clients looking to engage our services. There’s the type who want us to look after every single aspect of their email marketing and the type who want to use our expertise for a specific task.
The typical email marketing services you can expect from a dedicated email agency include:
- Email Marketing Strategy & Consultancy. They’ll identify and create the right email marketing programmes for your business across strategy, planning and cross channel integration.
- Email Marketing Automation. They’ll develop email marketing automation programmes for your business, creating always on, resource light email campaigns.
- Data Management. They’ll keep your email marketing database in good health with data audits, list growth and management, and ensuring you don’t fall foul of data privacy regulations.
- Reporting. They’ll use past results to inform future improvements, providing you with statistics, infographics, reports and support so you can see what your email marketing results really mean.
- Deliverability. The best email in the world is useless if it doesn’t reach the inbox. From email authentication to monitoring email reputation, an email marketing agency does all the technical magic to make sure your email campaigns reach your recipients.
- Design & Development. Forget standard templates, an email marketing agency will work closely with you and your team to create bespoke templates designed to make your engagement soar.
As mentioned earlier, the best agencies can look after your whole email marketing program for you. They’ll devise a strategy, set up any automations, design your emails, make sure they’re delivered, manage your data and provide you with reports and recommendations.
The alternative approach is to select what services you need to give your email marketing lift off. For example, you might need a data audit and cleanse to get your data fit for purpose or you might need some expert help setting up complex automations.
Whatever you need, the best email marketing agencies out there will be able to help you.
Should you outsource your email marketing to a freelancer or an agency?
There are pros and cons to both choices. Ultimately, you need to find a partner that’s the right fit for you. For your email marketing program to be successful, you’re going to have to forge a strong relationship with whoever you choose to work with. It’s important you understand them and how they work as much as they understand you.
Freelancers can seem like an attractive choice because they are cheaper than agencies. However, what you save in cost you often pay for in time. Because good freelancers are busy freelancers, it can take them longer to get work done and they might not necessarily always be on the end of a phone for you to talk to. Furthermore, given all the different aspects involved in successful email marketing, it’s rare you’ll find a freelancer who is an expert in data management and segmentation as well as being able to design and build cutting-edge email marketing campaigns.
The best email marketing agencies on the other hand have a wealth of talent working for them – and you get expertise across all areas of email marketing with the experience and reputation to back it up. For example, at Jarrang we have a specialist design and development team working alongside our dedicated Client Success Managers. All your bases are covered. What’s more, with an agency you can guarantee that there will always be someone on hand to help, you won’t have to worry about things like someone going on holiday and, because you’re not relying on one single person, there’s less risk involved as all your eggs aren’t in one basket.
Our advice would be to do your research. See what’s out there, see what works best for you and, most importantly, find a partner you know you can build a great working relationship with.
Understanding your requirements
When you outsource your email marketing you should have a solid understanding of what you want to achieve and what your success factors are. For example, you could approach an email marketing agency and say ‘we want to send out better campaigns’ but, if you took this further, and added ‘we want to improve engagement and increase conversions by 10% in the next quarter’ it gives you and the agency a goal to work towards.
Understanding your requirements is a two-way street. You need to understand what you’re trying to achieve and you need to communicate this in a way that makes it easy for the agency to understand too.
There’s a much better chance of achieving the success you’re looking for when everyone is on the same page.
Deciding on a budget
There’s so many factors involved in setting a budget for your email marketing.
You need to consider where email fits in your overall marketing mix, whether you’re going for a complete overhaul of your entire email marketing program (or just need support with a specific area) and what outcomes you want and expect to see.
Your budget will also be defined by what you require. If you need high-level, sophisticated automated and triggered emails then it’s going to cost more than say a redesign of your email templates.
When you’re deciding on a budget you should also consider the potential returns and value your investment in outsourcing your email marketing will create. £10,000 is a significant sum to invest but if it generates £100,000 in additional income then it’s a worthy investment. Because email is highly trackable, it’s relatively easy to see what impact your spend is having – especially when you work with an agency who provided you with in-depth reporting and analysis.
Don’t forget, the total cost of your email marketing will also be influenced by the email service provider (ESP) you use and the volume of emails you send.
How to choose the right email marketing agency
Finding the right partner in any walk of life is tricky and email marketing is no different. Committing to any kind of relationship involves a leap of faith – but this leap can be made much easier if you ask the right questions.
- How much experience do they have?
- Do they have industry-specific experience?
- What do their customers say about them and what are their success stories?
- What’s their culture like and will they be a good fit for you?
- How do they bill and what are their terms of business?
- How important is research and development to them and do they stay on top of the latest trends, tech and innovations in email marketing?
In short, find an agency to work with that you feel is best positioned to help you solve your problems, make your life easier and deliver the success you’re looking for.
How to monitor success
Success factors will be different for everyone but, at its core, you should monitor success by:
- Seeing how your campaigns perform against your targets
- Benchmarking to see how you compare to industry averages
- Getting insight into engagement and conversions
A Jarrang, we help you find the ‘so what?’ form your email marketing results. We won’t just tell you what happened, but use this insight together with our industry expertise to provide the story behind the data. Our clients rely on us to advise and inform future planning from past learning.
We use Google Analytics alongside the email marketing software to provide comprehensive reporting, which includes a range of different data (from open rates through to device usage and conversions) to help you make better, more informed decisions when it comes to your future email marketing. We then use our expertise to act on our analysis, make recommendations and provide commentary on how to improve future campaigns, spot trends, and tailor your approach.
As you’ve seen, there’s a lot to consider when you’re outsourcing your email marketing. With the right diligence and research on your part it has the potential to be one of the best marketing decisions you’ll ever make and can help you take your email marketing to a level you’ve only ever dreamed of.
The right agency at your side can give you the time, capacity and expertise you need to ensure your email marketing program delivers the results you want time and time again.
If you want to find out more about outsourcing your email marketing, we’d love to help.