Being as connected of a society as we are, the majority of us use email every day as our main method of communication. It’s the first thing we look at when we wake up, and it’s one of the last things we look at when we go to bed.
According to EmailStatCenter.com, 94% of daily email users have subscribed to marketing messages. This indicates a large opportunity for organizations to engage with potential consumers. But many do not use email marketing effectively, understand its full potential, or simply don’t have the time necessary to dedicate their efforts towards improving their existing email marketing programs. This blog post discusses the topic of when to hire an agency to help with your email marketing, or when to continue going it alone.
Email Marketing is a Skill
Just as your company has specialized in something, so have email marketers. They have taken the time to get to know email platforms inside-and-out and know best how to use them to provide results to their clients.
Most email marketers will also have a background in HTML and CSS programming, and understand how the technical aspects of email platforms work. This allows them to manage email marketing projects from start to finish, and generally provide their clients with account set-up and technical considerations, template creation, email distribution and reporting.
Perhaps you’re well rounded in one or a few of these skills but may need help with another? Or perhaps you’re looking to learn more about these skills to one day perform them for your own company? An email marketing agency will be able to help you develop skills in areas you feel are lacking, or take over your entire email marketing project from start to finish. Either way, the agency should be able to step in, take over and provide expertise in the areas you require.
Do You Have the Time?
Email marketing requires a specialized set of skills. Do you have time to devote to learning the set of skills it would take to fully manage email marketing campaigns?
If so, great! Learn the skills from blogs, expert forums or online resources (MailChimp has some great ones!). You could also hire an email marketing agency to train you in the areas you require.
In many cases, however, individuals don’t have the necessary time available to learn all of these skills. Some agencies specialize in only some parts of email marketing, such as content creation, so ensure you find an agency that can provide all services required in an email marketing campaign execution.
What are Your Email Marketing Goals?
Often, organizations will hire an agency expecting them to create the goals for them. True, they can help out, but the goals of your marketing efforts should already be present within your marketing plan. How does email marketing fit into your plan? What revenue do you expect to generate? What’s the current value of your subscribers? Do you want to increase their value? Or are you simply trying to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry by providing amazing content?
Your goals need to be defined before an agency will be able to effectively work with you to develop a strategy that will ultimately achieve your email marketing goals.
What Services do You Require From an Agency?
Now that you’ve established whether or not you have the skills necessary to continue managing your own email campaigns, decide how you want an agency to help you out.
Will they be managing each campaign from start to finish? Only specific pieces you require help with? Or do you want them to train you on a specific platform so you can manage your campaigns in-house?
If you are keen on keeping your efforts in house, but need help determining a strategy or analyzing how you can improve on your existing efforts, perhaps hiring an agency to provide analytics consulting or strategy creation services is a good idea. A well-rounded agency should be able to provide the individual services their clients require or entire projects from start to finish.
If you do not have experience with HTML or other programming languages then hiring an agency is likely the best option as this is one of, if not the most, important skills an email marketer will have. I can’t stress this enough that properly programmed emails are the key to email marketing success! If they’re not programmed correctly, it’s 100% guaranteed that your subscribers will not receive your emails or have them render properly in order to communicate the message.
- Email marketing strategy
- Vendor selection
- Account set-up
- Template design
- Campaign creation & execution
- Database development**
- Deliverability recommendations
- Analytics & reporting
- Integration with CRM and other technologies.
Help the Agency Out
It’s amazing the number of companies that don’t provide creative briefs to their agency partners. This is where goals and messaging can get lost, and the project and relationship can go astray.
Providing a creative brief is a huge help to an agency and will ensure that your goals are clearly outlined so everyone is on the same page.
Once you’ve decided….
Here are a few tips to solidify your agency decision:
- Check out their previous work, especially any that are relevant to your company
- Meet and greet not only your prospective Account Manager, but other key stakeholders at the company.
- Get testimonials from their website or other companies they’ve worked with.
- Ask questions – what are their core services? What other services do they provide? How else can they help you down the road?
- Communication – ensure you stay in touch with your agency. Communication is so important! A weekly “touch base” phone call should be sufficient unless your needs require more.