How Much Does Email Marketing Cost?

Melanie Balke
March 18, 2024

Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels.

That’s not an opinion; it’s a fact!

Today, email marketing produces remarkable results. Users report average ROIs of 3,600–4,200%! That means businesses make $36–$42 on every dollar spent. Those are some amazing results!

However, one question still remains: How much does email marketing cost?

Like most things in business, your prices vary. You’ll find email marketing for as little as a few dollars per hour to as much as hundreds of dollars per hour! Your final tally depends on many factors, including your email marketing agency of choice and the depth of your marketing campaigns.

In most cases, you can expect email marketing pricing to be $15–$250 per hour.

That’s a huge price range, though! So, let me break things down. Keep scrolling to learn more about email marketing pricing.

3 Factors That Determine the Cost of Email Marketing

A beach boardwalk. “The Basics: The Cost of Email Marketing.”

I’ll start with the basics.

Email marketing is a complex part of your digital presence. It can be as simple as sending a few newsletters as monthly subscription perks. Alternatively, it can be a complex and involved process of crafting regular, personalized updates.

Now, you needn’t worry about your email marketing software. Today’s marketing tools can easily handle whatever you throw at them. No, the concern is whether or not your marketing budget is up to snuff!

1. Email List Size

Start with your email list.

More subscribers mean more money — and that works both ways!

Although you can gain more, you must also account for the increased cost of monthly subscriptions. Each email you send costs something, albeit a fraction of a cent! As more people join your mailing list, your brand’s burden on your email marketing platform increases. It’s only natural for those services to increase prices accordingly.

Note, too, that companies spend more on frequent email campaigns. While maintaining constant contact is a virtue, you must consider its impact on your marketing budget.

2. The Email Service Provider

And what do those fees fund?

Some of the cost of email marketing is funneled into email marketing platforms. These holistic services act as a visual intermediary between your marketing team’s ideas and your subscribers’ inboxes. Think of them as an email marketing tool suite.

Today, most platforms include all the basics (e.g., automation, scheduling, and segmentation) alongside streamlined user interfaces. Think about how Microsoft PowerPoint makes it easier to prepare presentations. Email marketing platforms do the same thing for emails.

Notably, that email marketing service is also paying for support. That flat fee to your email marketing platform of choice pays for additional services, such as:

  • Customer support
  • Image hosting services (otherwise, you’d be responsible for your images!)
  • Integrations with other marketing channels
  • Legal considerations (e.g., internal links and email verification)
  • Negotiations with email service providers
  • Programming support (e.g., automated campaigns and triggered interactions)
  • Research and development
  • Server space (useful for storing those detailed analytics)

… And Don’t Forget Those Add-Ons!

Depending on your chosen email marketing platform, you can add additional services to your marketing plan. These additions aren’t necessary for maximizing your email marketing ROI. Nonetheless, they’re handy tools to have at your disposal.

Most modern platforms offer tiered pricing, wherein each additional tier adds more features and list space. Pricing plans may even include costly plans for “unlimited emails.”

The variety and scope of these specific services varies. Some platforms, like Klaviyo, offer paid users near-unlimited access to their entire toolkit. Others lock advanced tools behind more expensive subscriptions.

Some of the most common add-ons include:

  • Additional email marketing tools
  • Additional integrated services (e.g., hosting for signup forms and landing pages)
  • Advanced automation features
  • Content creation services (often provided by third-party contractors)
  • Educational online resources (often promoted as “academies” or “crash courses”)
  • In-depth campaign analytics

3. Your Email Marketing Strategy

Your email marketing cost is also subject to your personal vision’s limits.

More advanced email marketing efforts require greater investments.

You won’t get lust visuals and interactive content creation services from free plans. (That’s not to say you can’t create a successful email marketing campaign. Even simple marketing campaigns can be cost-effective business boosters. They just won’t be as gorgeous as they were in your head.) Additional images and content require server space and implementation time, and email marketing agencies must price services accordingly.

As you search for a marketing agency or service, consider these points:

  • Are you integrating your marketing with other platforms? Adding links to your social media platforms is easy. Crafting integrated modules that let your multiple marketing channels interact seamlessly is hard.
  • Are you involved in the content creation process? You don’t have to dictate every email. However, having a basic outline for your brand’s needs will reduce your marketing team’s workload.
  • How developed is your email marketing strategy? A less coherent marketing strategy means your marketing agency has to work harder. Even knowing the basics of your target audience can take a chunk out of your marketing budget.
  • How much additional content will be used in your email campaigns? Emails with images and videos cost more to manage. Consider building a portfolio of professional imagery before shopping for an email marketing agency. Your designers will appreciate it!

Email Marketing Pricing Models

A top-down view of a city. “Pricing: Different Pricing Models for Emails.”

Think of that as your pocket-sized introduction to email marketing costs.

Now, I want to investigate the specifics of email marketing pricing.

Most email marketing agencies charge for services based on set pricing plans.

This guarantees a fair and equitable distribution of labor. A small business gets everything it needs without cannibalizing the resources needed to support a mid-sized business. In many cases, these pricing plans also allow for greater flexibility and scalability.

Today, most email marketing agencies use one of four pricing models.

1. The Monthly Retainer Pricing Model

The most common way to handle email marketing costs is the monthly retainer model.

Much as its name implies, this pricing model is based upon a monthly billing cycle. The client pays for a set number of monthly email development hours, and the email marketing agency charges a flat fee.

It’s an overall cost-effective setup. Each client gets the same treatment and flexibility, and hours can be adjusted as needed. Email marketing services can be added or removed as required. Retainer pricing also allows for plenty of variation in your email marketing budget.

2. The Tiered (Packaged) Pricing Model

Tiered (or “packaged”) pricing is the second most common way agencies charge for services. It’s also the most common way to determine your email marketing software price.

With tiered pricing, you pay for different bundles of services. For example, you may pay for 1,000 monthly emails with advanced insights and email verification. It’s an efficient way to manage multiple marketing channels, particularly for a mid-size business.

However, this pricing model leaves room for unscrupulous email marketing agencies. Dishonest marketers may try to push unnecessary services onto their clients. What may seem like a reasonable price will hide countless useless add-ons! Even the smallest expenses can make a huge difference when you’re tallying your annual revenue, so pay close attention to the specifics of your agency cost.

3. À La Carte Pricing Models

A less common method, the à la carte model, charges clients for individual services.

For example, you may pay separate flat fees for access to your campaign monitor, automated emails, and content creation services. These prices are often determined by the size of the digital marketing agency and its capacity.

While enticing to newcomers, à la carte pricing models (also known as “menu” pricing) often cost more than they’re worth.

4. Project-Based Pricing

Finally, project-based pricing charges clients for each project. These fees include access to your campaign monitor and add-ons, but they only extend until the end of a project.

This is a great pick for anyone seeking a one-off campaign. It’s particularly useful for expansive projects, which would otherwise be unsustainable for both the marketing agency and its client.

Nonetheless, using project-based pricing plans for all your email marketing is a bad move. You’ll quickly balloon your email marketing costs!

Stop Worrying About Your Email Marketing Costs

Of course, there’s no definitive way to answer the question.

How much does email marketing cost? It depends on many factors. Your email marketing campaigns are unique, and so are the digital marketing services you may require.

Regardless of your needs, you’ll find everything you need at The Email Marketers. My hand-picked team of email marketing experts understand the industry and know how to optimize your marketing strategy.

Don’t believe me? Schedule a free strategy session to see how my company can amplify your marketing efforts. I’ll show you how my team can help your brand reach beyond your initial target audience. You’ll get a customized plan for your business — not some generic template. I’ll even review the specifics of how my company’s email marketing agency pricing works.

You’ll do more than send generic email marketing campaigns with The Email Marketers. You’ll wow audiences with exemplary email marketing services. Better yet, you’ll get the best marketing cost breakdown. Our prices are designed to help every business grow, regardless of its size and needs.