What to Look for in an Email Marketing Agency

Melanie Balke
May 31, 2022
A photo of typewriters keys with overlaid header text, which reads, “What to Look for in an Email Marketing Agency.”

Of the many kinds of marketing strategies that are in use today, none are as essential as email marketing. Every day, millions of people around the world turn on their phones and tap on that little envelope, sending them directly to their inbox. With the right email marketing agency, your business can be one of the first things that they see when they wake up!

As a strategy, email marketing has a massive amount of effectiveness. In fact, a successful email marketing campaign can easily net upwards of 3,500% ROI! Who doesn’t want a slice of that green pie?

However, not all email marketing campaigns are the same, and not every email marketing agency can deliver the results that you want. To find the right email marketing company, you’ll need to do some research. You want an email marketing agency that knows what it's doing and understands what its job is.

What is Email Marketing?

A photo of a phone screen displaying the app badge for the email app. Overlaid text reads, “What Is Email Marketing?”

To truly understand how these marketing agencies work, you need to understand what they create. The best email marketing agencies know the ins and outs of the medium that they’re working with, and they know how to properly utilize all of their marketing channels.

While there are plenty of sites that promise to offer you a truly innovative email marketing tool, the truth is that there is no automated service that can match the power of a full-service email marketing agency. Unlike many SAAS companies, email marketing agencies know how to connect to new customers and deliver relevant content.

What Are the Benefits of Email Marketing?

Compared to other marketing channels, email marketing is a highly effective mix of digital marketing and direct marketing. Its adaptability lends itself to a variety of functional uses, such as:

  • Building and boosting brand awareness
  • Improving business practices through surveys
  • Incentivizing more sales through increased loyalty
  • Establishing a business relationship with new and old customers
  • Finding new clients
  • Reaching new customers’ inboxes

What You Should Know About Email Marketing Efforts

With these business objectives and potential areas of growth in mind, many of the best email marketing agencies also need to know about rules, regulations, and email service providers. A truly great email marketing agency will know how to run campaigns and gather actionable insights without overstepping boundaries or landing your email marketing campaign in your clients’ spam folders.

This requires an innate understanding of the modern email program, which automated tools and cheap content marketing agencies often lack.

What to Do Before You Start Looking for an Email Marketing Agency

An aerial photo of Los Angeles. Overlaid header text says, “What to Do Before You Start Looking for an Email Marketing Agency.”

So, I've explained what email marketing is and how marketing agencies work. Now that we're on the same page, let's dig into how to find the right email marketing service for your business.

There are plenty of email marketing companies out there, and they all claim to provide the same service. They all want your business to invest in their business, and they promise business growth in return. But how do you trust them? How can you tell a good email agency from an underachieving email marketing program?

If you want to get the most from your digital marketing manager, you need to understand what your business goals are. So, before you jump directly into searching for who to recruit to make some kick-ass email campaigns, you need to dive into your own business.

What I'm saying is that you need to ask questions!

Research Your Target Audience

As much as every marketing agency wants you to believe it, they very rarely cover every base. Some marketing agencies specialize in certain types of email marketing services, and others will be more adept at emulating certain tones and styles. When you're building your email marketing platform, you want to do your homework.

Learn what type of email campaigns you want to run. Consult with your digital marketing team to decide what the best email marketing solution will be for your company.

Know What You Want from Your Email Marketing Campaigns

A screenshot of campaign analytics. The main tabs are: “total clicks”, “total impressions”, “average CTR”, and “average position”. There is a line graph underneath of the tabs.

Even the right email marketing software can fail you if you don't have a plan for your promotional emails. When you’re starting your digital marketing journey, you want to prepare yourself. Dig into your company’s goals, audience, and business objectives. If you really want to see huge business growth from your email campaigns, you have to understand what you want and need from your email marketing agency.

That’s hard, and it’s a job that your digital marketing team will need to tackle before they start looking for an email marketing service.

My Email Marketing Agency Checklist

To help you create a truly successful marketing strategy, I've compiled a list of questions you should ask during this planning stage of your journey toward the right email marketing software.

  • Do I have an existing team for content creation, or will I need a full-service email marketing agency?
  • Do I have my own software for monitoring my marketing efforts?
  • Do I need a complete email marketing strategy, including a welcome email?
  • How many landing pages do I have on my site, and where should I direct customers?
  • How much marketing automation do I want?
  • What does my ideal email marketing process look like?
  • What is my current ratio of existing customers to new clients?
  • Will my email campaign be more traditional, emulating older direct mail campaigns?
  • Will my emails tie into a blog post?

Know How You Work

No matter what size your business is, you need to have the right email marketing strategy to get results. You can’t experience true business growth without knowing how you’re going to tackle the problem.

A photo of someone working at a computer. Overlaid header text reads, “Know How You Work.”

As I’ve worked in the digital marketing industry, I’ve seen plenty of people making mistakes—even large businesses! Choosing the wrong email marketing services for a company’s business model is a problem that I see happening constantly, and I want to fix it. So, I’m going to let you in on a little bit of expert advice.

Are you ready?

My advice to you is simple: know what you need before you choose your email marketing company!

Full-Service Direct Marketing Companies

This is the first of the two models of digital marketing. In this model, the marketing agency takes on a majority of the work that needs to be done. When you choose to work with a full-service marketing company, you’re handing over the digital marketing reins to an outside group.

A full-service company will take care of nearly everything you need done, including:

  • Campaign creation and brainstorming
  • Handling all of the essential tools and email programs
  • Managing and maintaining a campaign monitor
  • Marketing automation
  • Tracking analytical data and campaign results

Obviously, this won’t be the best fit for everyone. Some companies, particularly those that are already well-established, will already have their own marketing team. In that case, they may turn to the second marketing agency model, which is…

Email Marketing Software

In the second model of digital marketing, your company is given a set of email tools to utilize. Exactly what kind of tools you get will depend on which marketing company you choose.

Some marketing agencies will offer a basic package for every new client. This may include services such as template design and campaign brainstorming. The company can supplement this offer with additional services, such as in-house campaign monitoring and analytics. Ideally, you’ll be given a dashboard or central hub, with which you can easily access whatever email templates or email tools you may be subscribed to.

When a company takes this approach, it usually means that they already have an established internal marketing team. This team may be able to handle whatever campaigns are being run, but they may need a bit of help to keep their email marketing division running smoothly.

Under the email marketing software approach, a company has a very hands-on role in the creation and distribution of its email marketing campaigns. The company must handle the delivery and creation (be it manual or automated) of content on its own. In many cases, an email marketing agency will tempt existing clients with an offer to upgrade their involvement, so that it covers tasks such as campaign monitoring and marketing automation.

How Do I Spot Good Email Marketing Agencies?

A photo of downtown Los Angeles, where The Email Marketers is located, with overlaid header text: “How Do I Stop Good Email Marketing Agencies?”

Now we know about the content creation process, the benefits, and the questions you’ll need to answer when you’re looking for a content marketing agency to create emails for your brand.

What’s next?

It’s time to dig into how to find the right agency to put your product into plenty of subscribers’ inboxes.

Fully Customizable Email Services

The first thing you want to see in an email marketing program is the ability to fully customize your email templates. A funky, whacky welcome email for a sneaker company isn’t going to work well for a company that sells formalwear. Likewise, the uptight language of a legal firm isn’t going to entice many clients when you’re trying to sell part balloons.

Everyone—from small to large businesses—has their own business needs. Everyone has a different target audience, and most email marketing agencies understand that. The kicker is that every marketing agency is different, and every email marketing program will have a slightly different tone from the others.

The Meaning of “Fully Customizable”

You need the right tools and the right language to pull in new clients. You want people to see your emails and click through to your landing page.

For example: The Email Marketers provides full-service marketing to companies of all sizes and kinds. Clients can pick and choose which services they need, and they can opt-out of unnecessary tools and add-ons.

When I say “fully customizable”, I mean it!

You want the right email marketing agency, and that means that you need an email marketing company that understands your goals.

If your plan is focused on a more hands-on marketing approach, then seek out a marketing company with a user-friendly interface and rich, useful insights.

If you need a more hands-off and indirect agency, then start looking for a full-service platform.

Amazing Results and Testimonials

You wouldn’t let any random company patch a hole in your roof. (At least I hope you wouldn’t!) When you need something important done in your personal life, you dig as deep as you can. You do your research, and you ask for past testimonials and reviews. You want to do the exact same thing when you’re hunting for an email marketing company!

A shareable graphic with a colorized photo of downtown Los Angeles and overlaid text. The header reads, “Pro Tips: Finding a Good Email Marketing Agency.” Beneath this is smaller body text, which says, “The best email marketing services will have a track record of amazing results. Whenever you visit an agency's website, take the time to navigate to the testimonials and case study sections.” A gap separates this from the second paragraph: “Some agencies will also have a list of current clients! Don't be afraid to take a look at these clients, as their content will show you what to expect from an agency.”

Take it from me: you never want to hire a company that dances around and ghosts you when you ask for examples of their work. The best email marketing companies are proud of what they’ve done, and they’ll be eager to show you their case studies and testimonials.

If you want an example of what an amazing email marketing agency’s testimonials look like, check out The Email Marketers! This is what you want to see: an email marketing agency that proudly and loudly exhibits all of its successes.

It isn’t enough to have good reviews, though. Every company that’s on the market for an email marketing partner should be digging into those amazing reviews.

As you browse case studies and testimonials, I want you to ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Are these brands similar to mine?
  2. Are these the kinds of results that I want for my business growth?
  3. Does this marketing company understand what kind of campaigns I want to run?

Yes! I want you to ask them in that order, too!

When you’re looking at marketing agencies, you want a company that has experience in your field. As amazing as all of those reviews from Shoes ‘R’ Us may be, they won’t really help you if you’re trying to sell baby strollers!

If you’re a particularly big or established brand, you may already be working with an email marketing company. If so, you want to scrutinize the results and make sure that what you see is better than what you’re currently getting. Switching marketing agencies is a huge hassle, and moving to a different company when you didn’t need to is always a bad move.

They Have Their Own Team

Here’s another big problem I see all the time in the industry.

Let’s say that Company A wants a new email marketing company. They go to Marketing Agency B, and they enlist their help. Up until now, Agency B has hit all the major checkpoints. They have a fantastic track record, and they have plenty of experience. But here’s the kicker: Agency B doesn’t have its own in-house team.

You don’t want to hire a company, you want to work directly with your email marketing company.

A photo of people in a business meeting.

Whenever you’re checking out an email marketing company, go to their “About Us” page and look at their staff. Do they have all of the people they would need to properly run a company their size? If not, run!

Aside from the hassle of the endless ladder of outsourcing, hiring an agency that employs overseas workers or freelancers will always result in less fulfilling email marketing campaigns. The outsourcing slows down their response times, and you are never guaranteed a deadline.

Ditch the outsourcing!

Go directly to the source, and hire a company that creates its own email marketing campaigns.

Stunning Presentation

It may seem obvious, but you want to hire a team that presents itself right. You want your company to be backed by the right tools, and you want to know that every email campaign you get is in line with your vision.

To do that, you need to do something that everyone tells you not to. You need to judge a book by its cover.

One of the biggest indications that you’re looking at a good agency is a stunning home page. When you see a modern webpage, you know you’re working with an email agency that knows its stuff.

Of course, you don’t want to trust the webpage alone. Be sure to factor in all of the other major points of interest when you’re hunting down leads for your next email marketing campaign, and be sure to ask around!

A Can-Do Attitude

Finally, you want a marketing agency that understands your brand. If you walk away from a consultation with a little bit of an “oh, ew!” or “hmmm…” feeling, then you probably didn’t find your dream agency.

The right agency will be one that wows you from the beginning. They’ll make email marketing campaign creation easy, and they’ll feel like an old friend.

When you’re on the hunt for a new agency, always take note of first impressions. These are essential pieces of the digital marketing puzzle, and it often pays to follow your gut. Never compromise when you’re searching for a new marketing partner. Instead, stick with what you know.

What’s the Bottom Line?

The word “marketing”, displayed in multicolored capital letters.

At the end of your search, you want a digital marketing company that really knows its stuff. They should be masters of the fine art of the email marketing campaign, and they should be more than ready to offer you testimonials, case studies, and reviews.

Here’s the real problem with finding a marketing agency: there are so dang many of them out there that it’s often hard to tell the rocks from the gems.

That’s why it’s so important to see more than one agency.

You need to hit up every agency you can, and you want to gather all of the information you can find. Think of it like a spy novel. You’re on the hunt for intel, and every little fact is of dire importance.

Never settle for anything less than perfection when you’re looking for a digital marketing agency. Likewise, if you’re looking for something more specific, like an email marketing company, always make sure you’re getting what you want out of the deal.

Hopefully, at the end of the search, you’ll round back to the best email marketing agency in the business, The Email Marketers. Email marketing campaigns are all that we do, so we know how to optimize your campaigns. Our in-house team is more than ready to craft you the email marketing campaign of your dreams, and we promise to deliver stunning results.

So, what are you waiting for?

Get out there and start searching!