How much does email marketing actually cost before it becomes effective?
Agencies love to share how much you can make, focusing solely on the ROI. But they're neglecting a critical fact. If you don't have enough cash flow to get started, you're not going to see the ROI they're bragging about.
What's worse, if you spend your money on the wrong techniques and services for your current needs, your marketing efforts will move in the wrong direction.
It's this reason SmartMail looks at your eCommerce company as a complete picture, so we can see what's best for your business now. It's also why we want to share what you'll actually pay for email marketing agency services in 2020, because we want you to have an accurate picture before hiring.
The True Cost of Email Marketing Agency Services in 2020
First, there won't be a large variance in the cost of email marketing from 2019 to 2020. However, there are details you should understand if you hope to make the most of your marketing efforts.
For example, the average business spends $9 to $1,000 a month on email marketing. That's a huge variance, and many companies wonder why they should spend so much when some are getting by with so little.
We'll cover the reasons below, but the most significant factor that comes into play is the size of your contact list. This is two-fold. On one front, you're paying more per contact. On the other, if you have a small list, it's less cost-effective to spend a large portion of your budget on email marketing. You simply don't have enough people reading your messages.
Instead, you should focus on growing your list. A good number to aim for is 10,000. When you have a list of that size, your email marketing can be far more successful.
Still, you should start budgeting out what's necessary for your strategy. A list under 10,000 doesn't stop you from marketing to the contacts you do have. You just need the right approach to get the most from your money.
1. Full-Service Campaigns
There are a lot of discrepancies when it comes to the cost of a campaign, but it can be narrowed down based on your needs. For instance, SmartMail can deliver a "done for you" (DFY) automated campaign, completed with strategy, copy, templates, rule sets, automation rules, frequency capping, and so much more. Full-service campaigns and management starts at $500/month and includes setting up and implementing a handful of these automated campaigns.
What's great about this offer is that it's automated. You could pay the same elsewhere for a single campaign that's not. With the latter, it means you get one email blast to your entire audience, and it's over. An automated campaign will keep firing so long as new contacts trigger the automation.
When you're looking at the entire customer lifecycle, it makes sense to use automations. It makes your email marketing much more "hands-off" and doesn't restrict you to a single instance of your message.
There's a time and place for non-automated emails as well, though, like special promotions and news. The range of prices for a single campaign could cost anywhere from $350 to $1,500. These prices mainly depend on the resourcing around any imagery and design work, as well as custom coding. But, if you're just looking for a basic campaign, the lower end of the range is what you can expect.
2. Your Platform of Choice
An email marketing platform is critical to your success in eCommerce. A good platform is one that doesn't restrict what you can do with its services, allowing you to send emails when and how you want.
Some agencies will roll the platform into their pricing. This inclusion is useful because if you choose a platform that the agency doesn't work with, you're limiting who you can hire. By having the platform included, you can hire the agency and let them take care of the rest.
Alternatively, some agencies will work on any platform you want. If you choose this direction, the possibilities are endless. We compared two of the top email marketing platforms in an article titled, Klaviyo vs. MailChimp: Which is Best for eCommerce.
If you're managing a list of 20,000, you'll pay $375 with Klaviyo and $189 with MailChimp. We recommend reading the article to see which platform's features best meet your needs.
Along with list size, the rates will also fluctuate based on your volume of sends. Most platforms cap the number of emails you can deliver, charging more when you go over the limit.
3. Types of Emails
We touched on the types of emails briefly, but it goes much deeper than the number of images in a message.
If you're looking for a basic template that requires little coding and design, you can expect to pay around $350. As the templates grow more complex, the price increases. If you're adding interactive elements and custom artwork, it's not unheard of to pay up to $2,000 for a template.
The majority of campaign templates you'll find will run you between $350 and $1,000. If you only request coding, the cost will lean toward the bottom of that range. When you add copywriting and design work, the rate increases.
SmartMail will strategize and deliver emails that include the coding, design, and copy for $350. Given that we also set up the emails for automation, our service provides an incredible ROI for our clients.
Can You Afford Email Marketing Agency Services?
If you already have strong revenue, you should be able to afford email marketing. There's no exact number you should be earning, but we've found companies with fewer than 10,000 subscribers on their list aren't ready for SmartMail's services. We recommend focusing on building your list until then.
For those who are making enough, consider SmartMail as an option for your email marketing services in 2020. You can schedule a consultation where we'll look at your specific situation and determine how we could help you take your email marketing to the next level.