The client-first email marketing agency pricing guide

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“How much does email marketing cost?”

This is probably the top question a brand considering an email marketing agency will ask — and they should. After all, staying within their marketing budget is crucial for businesses, especially smaller businesses with limited resources.

But the value that your email marketing agency can offer these businesses is with its weight in gold. You can help increase the number of contacts in their email list, drive conversions, improve open rates, strengthen the company brand, and more.

So, how do you charge for all of these wonderful services to increase your margins? Pricing can be a tricky subject — you want to charge what you’re worth, while also remaining competitive and maintaining your client relationships.

We’ve put together everything you need to know about building a pricing strategy.

How much should an agency charge for email marketing?

The short answer is that there is no short answer. Agency pricing isn’t clear-cut, as it depends on numerous factors like services offered, specific experience, and their documented track record.

A single email can vary from $250-$700. In addition to the factors mentioned above, pricing drivers are things like:

  • Email length

  • Number of sections

  • Links

  • Graphics

  • Calls-to-action

  • Amount of required testing

Simple, short emails with stock images will typically be priced on the lower end, while complex, tailored ones will charge pricing toward the upper end.

Types of email marketing services (and how they should be priced)

Email marketing includes several smaller-picture services typically priced separately (unless the agency offers bundled pricing structures). Understanding email marketing pricing means drilling down into the provided services. 

There are the five most common types:

Campaign strategy and planning

Companies benefit from approaching their email efforts strategically instead of just sending emails willy-nilly or bombarding their contact list too often.

Working with an agency to develop a thoughtful, consistent campaign strategy is a smart business move that helps your clients reach their goals faster.

Campaign strategies are more in-depth than simply creating a one-off email. Overarching strategies include market research, targeting, and segmentation to give them the best chance of reaching their target audience. They are multi-step processes, so they obviously cost more.

Email marketing campaign strategy and planning are usually priced per project. It can range from:

  • Around $600 upfront

  • $600-$3,000 or more for the ideas and roadmap delivery

On the rare occasion that agencies price this service by the hour, it can range from $75-$250.

Email design and development

When brands want a killer design for marketing like an email newsletter, e-commerce sales promotion, webinar invitation, or other high-value blasts, they may hire an agency like yours to design it for them.

Investing in high-quality email designs is a cost-effective way to:

  • Avoid starting from scratch with every email.

  • Maintain message cohesiveness.

  • Elevate the company brand.

Email design includes services like creating templates, designing graphics and layouts, and coding HTML. A branded email design is typically priced by project and costs anywhere from $500-$1,000.

Copywriting and content creation

Some brands may have in-house content creators, but small businesses may not have the bandwidth to produce the amount of copy needed to execute a successful email marketing strategy.

This service may include things like:

  • Copywriting

  • Blog writing

  • Editing

  • Sourcing or creating images

  • Email template design

  • Creating a complete email marketing campaign

As with most services, an email marketing agency's cost for copywriting and content creation depends on the complexity of the service being provided.

The pricing typically starts at $500 per month for a basic content creation service with few bells and whistles. A feature-rich copywriting project with several pieces of content and images can increase the expenditure to $2,000 per month or more.

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Campaign execution and deployment

“Pushing the button” (which is far from that easy) may be included as part of the pricing in a project-based fee.

However, if your email marketing agency is charging by the hour, campaign execution and deployment can range from $75 to $300. The cost depends on if the client is already using intuitive marketing automation tools or toiling with manual processes, and the scope of the campaign.

Analytics and strategy

These components drive an email campaign’s success or failure. 

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for brands to fluff over the strategic planning portion of a campaign and ignore the metrics of a completed one. Failing to give attention to both of these elements may doom a campaign, regardless of how fantastic the content is and how awesome the graphics may be.

Hiring marketing experts within your agency to help formulate the strategy and measure analytics is critical when working with clients that don’t have the in-house marketing resources to handle it. 

Agencies can track email performance metrics like:

  • Open rates

  • Click-throughs to landing pages

  • Conversion rates

  • Bounces

  • Unsubscribes

These services are usually priced between $700-1,200, depending on how deep into the metrics the agency digs.

Take advantage of Teamwork, the only project management software platform built especially for agencies.

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Pricing models for email marketing agencies

We’ve lightly touched on the different ways a marketing agency may build a pricing strategy for its clients for email campaign services. Understanding the foundation of what the pricing is built on is vital for companies to find a cost-effective, budget-friendly solution that still fits their needs.

Let’s dig deeper into the most popular pricing models.

Hourly rate

Since this model is the way many employees and freelancers get paid, most people are familiar with an hourly rate. The agency tracks the time it spends on an email marketing campaign and bills the client the agreed-upon amount.

The good thing about setting an hourly rate for work is that it’s transparent and straightforward: The client pays for the time they receive from the agency. 

The drawbacks of this pricing solution are that clients may urge agencies to rush the work or feel like work is being finished slower to “milk” the hourly rate. Additionally, the client may focus more on the hourly rate than the goals they’re using the agency for in the first place.

Pricing by the hour is a good strategy when competitors also use it, as it lets clients compare pricing apples-to-apples. It’s also acceptable for agencies that tackle simple, straightforward projects where time is easy to track.

Project-based pricing

Agencies frequently figure out the cost of email marketing on a project-by-project basis by looking at the project's scope and calculating the time and resources it will consume. 

Project-based pricing is attractive for clients that want to know upfront how much of their budget they should designate for the specific objective. 

Package-based pricing

This pricing model plays on the concept that the more you buy, the less you pay. Big box stores have made this pricing strategy a cornerstone of their success — but it has a place in marketing agencies, too.

Through conversations with the client, the agency determines everything needed to deliver the project. Then, instead of pricing the services a la carte, they are “bundled” as a package.

Using a package-based pricing model gives clients a feeling they got a good deal and saved money. 

Flat fee pricing

This strategy centers around a set price, as do the previous two pricing models: Agencies offer a price that covers everything laid out by the client.

Flat fee pricing works well if the client and agency are forging a long-term arrangement and the client is interested in consistently paying for monthly or quarterly services.

Retainer pricing

The final top email marketing pricing model, retainer pricing, is the approach where the client pays a set fee to get on the agency’s client list. Retainer agreements work best for consultancy-type relationships.

For example, if a marketing agency provides SEO, lead generation, or other strategy services to the client regularly, the client may pay a retainer upfront to ensure the agency can be available at any time.

Is a powerful project management software platform what's missing in your marketing stack?

Key factors that can affect your agency’s pricing

Pricing will never be a one-dimensional pursuit. Several crucial factors go into building a workable, competitive, fair, and competitive price for your agency. We’ve narrowed the many elements of pricing influencers to the top eight.

1) Level of experience and expertise

Agencies with more experienced and skilled professionals may charge higher prices for their services. If marketing experts have documented proof of successful projects that have delivered big results and a slew of happy clients willing to recommend them, clients should expect to pay top dollar.

On the other hand, newly minted marketers with little hands-on experience won’t cost as much.

2) Services being offered

Different agencies may offer different packages of services with varying levels of support and customization. The average cost of an email marketing agency with end-to-end solutions and personalized support will be more than an agency that only provides basic, skeleton services.

3) Composition of the team for services

The bigger the team, the more expensive the pricing will be.

If marketing agencies are paying graphic designers, content writers, SEO specialists, and email marketing strategists for their work, those wages will be factored into the email marketing cost.

If the project is basic and the company already has the content or is working with freelancers outside the agency to develop it, the pricing will be lower.

4) Platform or software used

There is a wide variety of email marketing tools available that streamline campaigns and increase email automation, like:

  • Hubspot

  • Mailchimp

  • Constant Contact

If the client already has helpful email marketing software in place, the cost may be lower than if the agency has to handle the campaign manually.

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5) Size and complexity of the client's email marketing needs

Larger, more complex campaigns may require more resources and time, resulting in higher prices.

Factors affecting the price can be anything from A/B testing and subject line generation, to the number of emails created and level of campaign analysis the client wants.

6) The client’s target audience and industry

Some industries and target audiences may require more specialized or personalized campaigns, which carry a heftier cost. Factors include:

  • Number of subscribers

  • Amount of required list segmentation

  • Level of customization

7) Customization and support provided

More hands-on support and customization, like brainstorming, check-in meetings, and extensive edits, will add to the overall project costs.

While every client will expect the email campaign to be branded and professional, uniquely designed graphics, messaging, and other high-level customization will cost more than a simple campaign that requires little tailoring.

8) Overhead costs

Finally, an agency’s overhead costs must be covered for a pricing strategy to make sense.

Expenses like the office’s rent, sales people commissions, agency software fees, and marketing and advertising material costs need to be factored in. Expansive agencies with large offices and big salaries may need to charge more, while small, work-from-home agencies can usually charge less.

How to determine your agency’s pricing

Accurately determining competitive but profitable pricing is essential if you want to stay in business.

Your email marketing agency should make these three considerations when deciding on  a pricing model:

Pinpoint your ideal client

Identifying the best buyer for your business helps avoid wasting time and resources on non-starters.

For example, smaller agencies may want to work with small clients that require strong support and simple campaigns, while larger agencies may target more complex clients who need a wide array of services.

Trying to serve everyone spreads agencies and their pricing too thin.

Analyze previous pricing strategies

Agencies should look at data from completed email campaigns and measure what worked and what fell short. By avoiding starting from scratch, pricing is more likely to hit the mark with the client and end up making the agency money.

Review competitor pricing

Unless an agency offers something unique from its competitors, its pricing should align pretty closely with competitors. If your pricing is too high, you might lose lucrative projects. If it’s too low, the clients may wonder what’s wrong with your services.

Make it a point to perform consistent competitor analysis and comparisons to keep your pricing in line with the market.

Optimize your agency’s workflows with Teamwork

Developing an email marketing pricing strategy that works for your agency and your clients is imperative. Clients should feel like they got their money’s worth, and your agency should enjoy profits from your efforts.

Setting up a pricing model means taking many factors into account and staying focused on the project at hand. Doing this successfully is easier with a powerful project management software platform like Teamwork. 

By visually building and watching timelines, scheduling resources, monitoring budgeting, and proactively addressing obstacles, Teamwork helps agencies meet deadlines — while avoiding scope creep and keeping an eye on sneaky one-time costs.

If you haven’t started using the project management platform built especially for agencies, reach out to Teamwork today. We’ll show you how we can streamline your processes, elevate your team communication, and more easily manage every facet of your project.

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