Have you considered an ecommerce email marketing management service?
While that’s a bit of a mouthful, it describes a company that takes care of the email marketing function for you.
What does that look like? That’s an important question to define for your own business first. What exactly do you need? Are you looking for a company that will provide “full service” and takes over your entire email function? Or do you just need someone who will write some effective campaigns for you while you put them into action?
Consider what you really need in an email marketing management service, then check out our seven tips for finding the right one.
What to Look For in an Email Marketing Management Service
Here are some meaningful points to look for in an ecommerce email marketing management service:
#1. Check Out Their Processes for Learning Your Business
First of all, if you’re handing your email reigns over to a managed service, you need to know that you’ll get the personalized attention that your business needs to make an impact with email. The foundation of successful email campaigns is that they are authored and set up by people who know your business well and the target audience you’re hoping to attract.
Any email marketing management service you hire should have a developed process for learning your business and customers very well. Look for them to ask good questions and gather information to help them better target your emails. They should know about your goals, as well as the needs of your audience.
Some large email marketing services seem to lack the personal touch important when creating campaigns for a business. Not all ecommerce businesses or their audiences are the same. You need solutions tailored to your business.
#2. They should fit in well with your business
What does “fit” really mean? It’s a few things. Firstly, the service should mesh well with your business in terms of values. An email marketing management service tends to be a long-standing partnership once you form it, so the company needs to be one that yours can work with well and will generally be on the same page.
Secondly, “fit” can be around how they do things. If you’re a company that prefers to operate entirely remotely, but the service you’re looking at prefers sit-down, in-person meetings, it may not be a good fit. Look at how they organize your work and communicate with you, too - does that fit your expectations?
Quality is another aspect of fit. Does their idea of quality match up with yours? Quality can cover many areas that have the potential to become sources of frustration. Do you like examples of their prior work? Are they on time? Do they call when they say they will?
#3. What is their background and expertise?
Ecommerce email marketing is not the same as email marketing for the financial industry or a nonprofit. As an ecommerce company, you need an email marketing service with background knowledge and expertise in marketing for ecommerce.
The company’s portfolio is a good place to start gathering insights into its work. Some services will list ecommerce as an area they work with but don’t necessarily have the portfolio pieces to back that claim up. Or, sometimes the email management service does try to do everything, but the reality is you’d prefer someone with more specific ecommerce experience.
Check for examples specific to your industry when you look through their portfolio. While that may not be absolutely necessary, it’s a bonus to partner up with someone who already knows your vertical and can write well for it.
#4. Understand their process
One of the secrets to successful partnerships with any “done for you” service is that they should be highly process-driven. They should create a plan specific to your business - you don’t want anyone who is just “winging it!”
How do they develop a strategy specific to your business and designed to help you achieve your goals? They should take an approach that covers the various stages of the email marketing lifecycle and drives results for each stage.
For example, here at SmartMail, strategy is a core part of our service. We look at the company's specific needs around acquiring customers, engaging them, converting them, and retaining them. The diagram below shows key areas of strategy that we work with:
#5. Do They Incorporate Email Design?
This may or may not be a consideration for you. Some ecommerce companies already have their own templates designed that they’d like an email marketing management service to use. If you don’t, though, you might want to work with a service that includes design.
How important is email design? It can make a big difference in getting engagement from your emails. We know people have very busy inboxes and tend to skim information. They’ll generally abandon emails that don’t offer value at a glance or appear too dense or “wordy.”
An email marketing management service that provides design should also have insights into how to design to boost engagement. They should take a strategic approach that will resonate with your particular audience and produce a custom design.
#6. Check for Reviews or Testimonials
What do past or current customers have to say about the email marketing management service? Are they prepared to come forward and talk about how the company has helped them or what it was like working with them?
Look for reviews and testimonials that are genuine. By that, we mean you should be able to see that a real person working for a real company left the review. You may even want to find that person or company online and check in with them.
Testimonials can be another clue as to the types of businesses the company has previously worked with. Look to see that other ecommerce companies with similar needs to yours have worked with them before.
#7. How Is Pricing Managed?
Pricing has huge variations across different email marketing management services, so look into exactly how it is structured and what that price covers. For example, some services will want you to sign up for a contract over a fixed period, while others will work with you on a monthly basis.
Some services will charge per project and vary depending on the type of email work you want them to do. One-off campaigns can range from $400 - $1900, with the most basic campaigns falling at the low end. You can expect to pay at the top end of the range for campaigns that include design work and custom coding.
Ask for limitations, inclusions, or exclusions if you’re paying a fixed monthly rate. For example, some companies will charge for a certain number of campaigns per month. Some will include reporting to track progress, while others will not.
Importantly, sometimes you might not quite be ready for a particular service, depending on how they work.
These seven aspects are some of our top things to look for if you consider working with an ecommerce email marketing management service. Working with a service has several benefits, including taking back some of your time to focus on other things!
The right email marketing service will have a specific ecommerce experience and be a good overall fit for your team. You’ll work fairly closely with these people, so that aspect is essential.
If you’re ready to try “done for you” email marketing with a team of ecommerce marketing professionals, SmartMail is here to help. Check out our resources on our website and book your free consultation here.