I'm Dennis Ebris (Debris, get it?), and I'm an internet marketing veteran of over 10 years. I love teaching and sharing my experiences.
You want customers for your business and perhaps you’ve heard the phrase: “the money’s in the email list.” This is true, but here’s another truth: email marketing is hard. That is why many marketing companies offer a service called an “email marketing package.” In this article, you will learn:
- A short overview of what goes into a quality email marketing campaign.
- How using a service can make your life so much better.
- How to know you’re getting good value out of an email marketing package.
- How you can find the best marketing agency for your needs.
What Is a Quality Email Marketing Campaign?
In short, a good campaign will provide value for both your readers and your business. How is this accomplished? The people on your list should have opted-in (that’s email marketing industry lingo for “they added themselves to your list willingly”) and be interested in the type of information you have to offer.
Next, you have to provide information to them that they will actually want to help build a trusting relationship between them and your business. Finally, after you’ve built that trust, you need to make an offer that your customer will find attractive.
Quality email marketing is about building a trustful, mutual relationship with your customer, educating them, and finally offering them a solution that will delight them. Is this a lot of work? Yes, but it’s also one of the most time-tested ways of growing your sales online.
How Can Marketing Agencies Make Your Life Better?
In addition to the obvious: they do the work for you, why should you consider hiring a marketing agency to manage your email marketing campaigns? Here are a few reasons we’ll discuss more fully:
- Legal compliance
- Email list maintenance
- Copywriting assistance
- Industry expertise
- Tracking success
- Making life easier
The internet is only becoming a more complex place. Because of this, businesses in the United States now have to comply with laws in countries they don’t even have a presence in! That’s right! If your potential customer is located in the European Union, you better be ready to comply with a privacy law they passed in 2016. This 88-page law covers how your customers’ data should be protected, how you will disclose the use of their data, and even how you will handle requests for their data to be removed from your system!
If you have that covered, then don’t forget that different countries have laws about what elements should be present in an email. For example, the United States CAN-SPAM law states that emails should contain your address as well as a link to unsubscribe from your list (among many other requirements).
As you can see, legal compliance is not a small matter in email marketing (people really don’t like unsolicited, commercial emails!).
Professional email marketing packages will offer you the ability to match your branding. If you spent lots of time and money cultivating a recognizable brand, do you really want poorly formatted emails going to your customers’ email inboxes? Of course not!
You want visually appealing emails that bring your brand into your customer’s email. This reinforces the legitimacy of your business and helps your customer remember you. A customer not recognizing your brand is like an express ticket to be reported as spam!
Email List Maintenance
Stale email lists might be one of the most dangerous things to your business’ email marketing. A “stale list” is when you haven’t communicated with your customers in a long time. If your customers don’t recognize you, then they might mark your email as spam. If you get too many of those reports, you might get blacklisted by the major email services, or your email service provider might even ban you from their service!
A quality marketing agency will ensure that your list is kept fresh, engaged and they’ll honor unsubscribe requests, bounced emails, and any other complaints in a professional way. Keeping your list maintained is vital to your success in email marketing.
Email marketing is more than just typing words into Outlook. Have you ever known someone who was really bad at something, and you didn’t have the heart to tell them? Good marketing services will help you, if not write your marketing campaigns for you.
When you send an email, it costs you money whether your customer opens it or not. Even if they open your email, if they don’t get past the first sentence, what good was the effort? Excellent copywriting is the answer. The subject will get your customer to open your email, and each sentence will get them to read the next sentence.
You want your customers looking forward to your next email!
Email marketing is an industry unto itself. You know your business’ industry inside-and-out. Do you really want to learn all of the nuances to the email industry? You’d have to learn things like:
- When is the best time to email my customers?
- What is my industry’s average open rate?
- Will my customers open emails with a question for a subject line?
- When is a good time to introduce a call-to-action in my email campaign?
- Should I A/B test my call-to-action?
Another nuance of the email marketing industry is deliverability. A lot of people think they can just install a newsletter software on their web server and start emailing their customers. You could do that, but your customers won’t likely ever see your emails.
Why is that? Most web hosts have already been blacklisted by the major email services (Gmail, Yahoo, Live, AOL, etc). This is because spammers have already abused the web host companies in the past and sent emails from them that people didn’t want.
In the industry, this is referred to as “deliverability.” Quality email marketing packages will include sending from a high quality, trusted source that hasn’t been blacklisted by the email providers.
In addition to this, they’ll make sure messages are sent that will continue to maintain the good reputation your email server already has. This will result in a higher percentage of customers seeing your email in their email inbox, rather than junk mail folder.
How do you want to track your success? Naturally, everyone thinks “more sales of course!” And, maybe that’s the right answer for you. What if you aren’t trying to make a sale though? What if you want people to show up to an event, or download a whitepaper, or simply build brand awareness?
Your email marketing agency will help you define your definition of a success and they’ll then track your campaign to ensure they’re meeting your expectations. While a high open-rate is a positive thing, it may not actually reach your true goals.
Making Life Easier
Summarizing this section: a good email marketing package will make your life easier. By hiring an expert, you will remove the learning curve to email marketing so you can focus on what you do best: serving your customers.
Seth Godin: Permission Marketing
How to Know You’re Getting Good Value Out of an Email Marketing Campaign?
Hiring an agency can be scary. It’s kind of like taking your car to a mechanic. How do you know you’re getting a good value?
That’s something your marketing agency should help you define. They should help you define what a successful campaign looks like and they should provide reporting that shows whether your targets are being hit or not.
There are tons of ways to track sales, sign-ups, traffic, clicks, or whatever your goal might be. These are called your “key performance indicators” or KPIs. When your goal is achieved, this is called a “conversion.” If a company can’t provide a reliable way to tie an email click to a sale, or event sign-up, then run far away. There are many ways of tracking this data and a good agency can help you do it.
Never rely on a company to tell you if you’re doing well or not, they should have reports to back it up and you should have sales, or attendees to verify their reports against. Out of the gate, a campaign may not be profitable, that’s OK. The marketing agency should help you with a plan of action for improving the conversions to get your campaign profitable. Perhaps it will be fixed through testing headlines, or different offers. Whatever the plan, your email marketing should make you a profit, or hit whatever other goals you might have in mind.
How to Find a Good Marketing Agency for Your Needs?
At this point, I bet you think I’m going to try to sell you my services. Well, you’d be completely wrong. I’ve been in internet marketing for over 10 years, and I truly love teaching people, but you might be surprised to know that I don’t offer marketing services.
There are many companies that offer email marketing packages, and I’m not going to suggest a single one to you because I want my information to be completely unbiased. There is no slant here, I’m not promoting a company and I’m not selling a service. What I will tell you is what you should look for.
They Share Your Values
A good marketing agency should share your values as a business. If they don’t respect your customers the way you respect them, then what good are they to your business? The marketing company will be helping to shape your voice to your customers, so they must care about your customers the way you care about your customers. You must not lose your customers’ trust!
They Are Transparent
Your email marketing provider should be transparent in their pricing. It should be predictable. Perhaps it is based on the number of emails sent, the number of people on your email list, or a flat monthly fee. They’ll probably have separate fees for their bespoke services such as copywriting and template customizations, but ultimately, their pricing should be in the ballpark of what you are quoted.
They Shouldn’t Just Do What You Want
What? You mean your marketing agency shouldn’t just listen to you? No! There comes a time when we all recognize that we don’t know it all. If a marketing company is willing to challenge your desires because they might know better, then this is the mark of a good company. It’s kind of like when you’re teaching a teenager to drive. You can’t let them call all the shots. Your email marketing service should be gently guiding you to the right decisions.
They Should Listen to Your Goals
While they should protect you from yourself, they should also listen to you about what your goals are. Some people might be happy with a lot of email opens, whereas you might only care about people watching a video in full, or buying a product. If your marketing agency only pushes open rate, or click-through, but seems unwilling to commit to sales conversions, then you might want to look elsewhere.
In the end, their job is to help you reach your goals. If they aren’t willing to, then you’re just one Google search away from a company that will help you reach your goals.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.