As a small business, boosting your visibility and ensuring that your products and services reach the maximum number of people possible is perhaps at the top of your priority list. With a breathtaking ROI of 4200% and a total number of 4 billion users worldwide, few channels are as equipped to give shape to your ambitions as email marketing. From helping you foster strong and long-lasting customer relationships to consolidating your brand’s image and identity, email marketing is a gift that keeps on giving.
However, before you start reaping the benefits of email marketing services, there’s one question that you need to address- do I hire an in-house email marketing team, or do I outsource my email marketing services to an agency? While both the options will, of course, allow you to avail of the choicest email campaign services out there, several other factors come into the picture, which makes this argument a lot more nuanced than what meets the eye.
This article walks you through them all. In our experience, we’ve observed that small businesses tend to benefit significantly more when they choose to outsource their email marketing requirements. By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll have a solid idea why.
Typically, email marketing outweighs other channels because of its incredible cost-effectiveness and the rich ROI that it provides despite that. And while there’s no doubting that, there can be a substantial difference in the margin of costs when it comes to deploying the best email marketing campaigns via an in-house team compared to outsourcing the email marketing services to a separate agency altogether. For a small business, this margin can make all the difference in the world.
If you decide to hire an in-house email marketing team, you’ll have to broadly contend with these two costs- technology and talent pool. Technology involves everything from ESPs (Email Service Providers), automation tools, and CRM (customer relationship management) software to other tools that provide post-campaign analytics and support. Sure, you always have the choice of choosing an ESP that already has in-built automation tools, but that’s pretty much the only cost-cutting scenario over here. Next comes staffing.
Planning and developing an email marketing campaign is no ordinary task. The average email campaign think tank comprises a copywriter, designer, developer, and marketer; this is just talking about the best possible bare-bones arrangement. Now, for every talent you recruit, you’ll have to factor in the “True Employment Cost” associated with each.
True employment cost refers to the additional expenses that an employee exacts from a company besides their salary. These include:
- Unemployment insurance
- Equipment, office space, and other infrastructure costs
- Federal and state income taxes
- Paid vacation and sick time policies
- Retirement policies
- Medical insurance
According to most reports, this cost is typically 1.25 to 1.4 times an employee’s salary. Supposedly, you manage to rope in every member of your email marketing team for $40,000; you’ll actually be spending somewhere between $50,000 and $56,000 for each of them. Let’s say you decide to keep one email marketing specialist instead of a team. What does the math look like over here? The median salary for such a role in $62,150, without the true employment costs. But, an email marketing specialist will just cover the strategizing and implementation aspect of your campaigns. You’d still need a developer to give shape to the templates. So, come to think of it, you won’t really be saving all that much.
Outsourcing your email marketing campaign services to an agency saves you from all these costs. Of course, the amount you pay will depend on many factors such as the number of subscribers on your list, the platform you use, your campaign frequency, and the kind, but on average, you’ll get your requirements fulfilled by shelling out anywhere from $500 to $2000 per month. Moreover, suppose you’re willing to put in some work yourself. In that case, you can only outsource certain specific requirements such as custom email design and coding, email template audit, and modular email template production (among others) rather than bearing the sum of full-service campaign management.
Accelerated Rate of Production and Faster Delivery
Here’s a reality check- assembling an in-house team is only the job half done. The real challenge lies in showing them the ropes and bringing them up to speed with your other marketing operations. In a small business, where everything tends to be very hands-on, finding the time (or the resources) to impart end-to-end training to a new team can prove to be extremely overwhelming. Additionally, suppose your in-house email marketing team cannot provide relevant insights or work in cohesion with your other marketing departments. In that case, it can severely undermine your overall outreach and visibility.
On the flip side, entrusting your email marketing management services to a reputed agency with demonstrable experience is a much more viable alternative for you. Such an agency is likely to have prior familiarity with the kind of campaign you have in mind and the necessary skillset and expertise to pave the path for immaculate campaign management, execution, and delivery. With their help, you can dramatically speed up your production time. Moreover, you can also ensure that your campaign complies with all established quality standards, courtesy of the rigorous QA (quality audit) testing processes that most of them follow.
Designing an email campaign is not just about writing a winning email copy and coming up with pixel-perfect templates. Sure, they are incredibly vital components, but do you know what’s equally important? Ensuring that your emails are flawlessly reaching your subscribers’ inboxes. This factor assumes all the more importance if you are a small business. So, how do you make sure of this? By getting on top of your email deliverability.
Email deliverability is a complex entity and requires you to keep several factors in mind. For starters, consider asking yourself the following questions to check whether you are on track or not:
- Am I scrutinizing my emails for probable errors through robust A/B testing processes?
- Am I complying with the constantly changing ISP (Internet Service Provider) requirements?
- Am I filtering my emails with the help of the latest tech tools?
- Do I have measures in place to counter risks that could potentially trigger permission-based email blocking?
If you’re drawing blanks to the majority of these questions, then you might have a reason or two to worry about. You might not experience the consequences of poor deliverability immediately, but in the long run, they’ll lead to reduced open rates and click-throughs. Subsequently, this will have an adverse impact on your sales and conversions.
Small businesses often have to contend with budgetary restrictions that keep them from assembling an in-house email marketing team that can look after all aspects of an email campaign. The best course of action, thus, is to outsource your requirements to a group of experts who will improve your email deliverability, improving your sender reputation in the process.
Making The Most of Every Opportunity
The best email campaigns are those that are engaging, thought-provoking, and above all, relevant. No, we’re not just talking about delivering relevant emails to your customers by adding personalized content; we’re talking about crafting campaigns relevant to the market sentiment and society at large.
In this era of digital and social media advertising, moment marketing has become the new rage. But, what is moment marketing? Simply put, it refers to taking stock of every trending moment or event around us and coming up with a marketing campaign around it. For instance, the recently concluded Tokyo Summer Olympics saw a lot of brands coming up with email campaigns wherein brands leveraged their products and services while using the games as their backdrop. Similarly, last year, many brands had voiced their solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement by delivering thoughtful campaigns that promoted representation and castigated racial injustice and discrimination.
Such campaigns experience immense success because they capitalize on sentiments and emotions running high at the time. However, pulling off moment marketing campaigns is highly challenging. Since you can’t really plan in advance for these “moments,” your team must be alert at all times and have the ability to think on their feet as and when such instances occur. More than creative ability, though, it ultimately boils down to whether or not your in-house team has the bandwidth for executing such campaigns. Chances are that their hands are already full with their daily duties and responsibilities; side-stepping those for the sake of a moment marketing campaign isn’t a sensible choice either. Hence, much against your will, you’re forced to overlook such opportunities.
But, what’s stopping you from outsourcing these campaigns to an agency? After all, who better than a group of vetted email experts to design and develop a campaign aimed to captivate the attention of the masses? The best part is, depending on your requirements, you can outsource different campaigns to different agencies and capitalize on every trending event!
Wrapping It Up
As a small business, once you’re able to tap into the true potential of email marketing, your brand is almost assured of becoming unstoppable in its pursuit of excellence. Outsourcing your email marketing campaign services gives you a realistic shot at that, thereby sealing the growth and success of your endeavor.