A skilled email marketing agency can take your business to the next level. More than that, they can achieve measurable results quickly and scale your marketing operations efficiently.
Partnering with the right email marketing agency is like hiring a full team of writers, designers, developers and deliverability specialists with decades of collective experience all at the same time.
But how do you find the agency that’s right for you?
How can you ensure that your needs align with the agency’s goals? Or that the agency will stay true to your vision? Or that your money will be wisely spent?
Hiring outside help can be intimidating, especially when you’ve worked so hard to build up a business from scratch. But just because it’s intimidating doesn’t mean it has to be hard. In fact, when you find the right agency, it should make everything easier for you!
In this guide, we’ll walk you through some tips on finding the right email marketing agency for your business.
Ask To See Their Work
Most email marketing companies will have a portfolio or case studies that showcase their successful campaigns. This can help you determine whether they’re able to put their money where their mouth is.
- Do you have past email examples that I can look at?
- Do you have any case studies that show the results of your work?
If the company has experience in your industry, that’s a huge plus. They may already have a good idea of how to produce effective campaigns for your audience.
You should also ask if they have any client testimonials that they’re willing to share. Or do the work yourself and check out their reviews online.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask About Pricing
Ask for their prices early on. Be direct about your budget expectations and find out what they have to offer in that range. This can help you rule out agencies that aren’t in your range, saving you tons of time and energy.
- How much will this cost me on a monthly basis?
- Do you offer set pricing or will the amount fluctuate?
- What deliverables can I expect for that amount?
One word of caution: don’t go with the lowest bidder just because they’re cheaper than anyone else out there. There’s a reason they’re so cheap…
Look At Their Toolkit
Chef Morimoto once said, “a kitchen without a knife is not a kitchen.” The same is true for an email marketing agency. If an agency truly has the experience they claim to have, then they should know about the most popular tools in their industry (and have preferences).
Ask about their email marketing toolkit.
- What is your preferred email service provider?
- How do you handle reporting?
- What other third-party tools do you use?
- Do you have any proprietary software?
If an email marketing agency can’t answer these questions, then their operation is probably just smoke and mirrors.
Figure Out the Details
When you’re vetting multiple companies, it’s important to ask some detailed questions about their process. This allows you to compare apples to apples when making your final decision. In this case, the questions will directly pertain to what the email marketing agencies can do for you.
Include general questions about their business that allow you to get to know their company. You may find that you gel better with certain agencies and representatives than others.
Ideally, you should tailor your questions to your brand, products or services. However, here are a few questions to help you get started:
- Can you help us integrate with our CMS?
- Are your email templates mobile responsive?
- Where do you source your images?
- How do you communicate with your clients?
- What kind of response times can we expect?
- What does the timeline for rolling out new campaigns look like?
- How do you measure performance?
Here are a few notes on the answers. Mobile responsive emails are key since most of your customers are likely to perform their searches on their smartphones and tablets. Original images are also important because you don’t want to use the same images clients see on a competitor’s website.
Not all agencies are going to be available 24 hours a day. However, it’s important to find companies that give you a single point of contact and a response time as part of your service level agreement. How the company measures its own performance will say a lot about whether it will provide meaningful insight via analytics and reporting.
Time for a Test Run
Once you have narrowed down your choices, you can give them an example promotion and ask how they would put together an email marketing campaign to get the word out to your target demographic.
Nobody works for free, so you won’t get fully-fledged email copy with mocked-up analytics.
However, they should be able to speak to you in broad strokes about their process and how it can help promote your products or services.
Find Out Who You’ll Be Dealing With
All companies are made up of team members. Often, the right combination of people can make a company stronger.
Include a few questions about their company culture and ask for information on the people who would design and implement your email marketing campaigns.
- Who will I be working with on a regular basis?
- How many people work at your agency?
- Who will be working on my project?
- Do you outsource work to freelancers?
Choose a company with strong team dynamics and an effective communication model. How they run their company is a direct reflection of the type of work you can expect from them.
Why Company Values Matter
Since you (hopefully) plan to have a longstanding relationship with the company, it’s important to understand whether they share your ethos when it comes to dealing with clients and employees.
- Why did you (or the owner) start this company?
- What are your company values?
- What are your client retention rates?
Partnering with a business that values quality over quantity can result in effective email marketing campaigns with faster results. If you come across an email marketing agency that wants to generate tons of emails without any real rationale behind their decisions, be wary of the outcome.
There are no guarantees, but a business that shares your values may help you produce the best possible campaign that reflects your brand.
What, Why & How?
Every email marketing agency has a different approach and process. Before you hire a company, make sure you understand the what, why and how behind their methods.
- What is your approach to email marketing?
- How do you execute your campaigns?
- Why do you send the emails that you send?
If a company can’t articulate what they do, how they do it, and why they do then that is a huge red flag.
At Quantum, we specialize in data-driven lifecycle marketing strategies for growing ecommerce stores.
What’s lifecycle marketing? Well, we could talk about that for hours (seriously, download our ebook to learn more). But to put it simply: we connect with customers at all stages of their lifecycle. In more poetic terms, we plant seeds and nurture those seeds until they blossom.
Connect with our sales team to learn more.