You Might Need an Email Marketing Agency If…

This post is intended to be a resource for those who, admittedly, know that they could be deriving more value from the email channel. No matter if decide to hire outside professionals, such as an email marketing agency, or in-house talent; this guide will help you to assess and reevaluate your current email marketing efforts.

Let’s Look at the Numbers

Email has been the marketing workhorse for a decade, and that’s unlikely to change in the near future.  It allows targeting because it’s data driven. It drives direct sales. It builds relationships, loyalty and trust. It also supports sales through other direct channels:

  • According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing generated an ROI of $43.62 for every dollar spent on it in 2008, that’s twice that of the first runner-up.
  • A recent summary by MarketingSherpa states, “Those that see the effectiveness of their email programs diminishing are much more likely to have short-sighted organizational attitudes toward the tactic. Organizations with investment-oriented views of email reap the rewards.”
  • The CMO Council’s Marketing Outlook ’08 Report reviewed the plans and opinions of 650 marketers. Email marketing was the top target area for investment.
  • In a 2008 survey of retailers, Shop.org stated that “E-mail is the most mentioned successful tactic overall”.

Handle Email Marketing In-house?

If you don’t have an existing agency relationship or do have sufficient in-house talent, consider this:

  1. You (meaning you or your team) know your business; are you also well-versed in email marketing?
  2. If yes, do you have time and energy to optimize the effort?
  3. How does your integrated marketing and CRM compare against your competitors?
  4. Does your email marketing drive sales, build loyalty, and reduce marketing costs?
  5. Is your email program founded on research and/or historical data?
  6. Does your in-house work save or cost you money?

Already Have an Expert?

If you already have a marketing agency or other outside help, ask yourself:

  1. Do they specialize in email or are they “full service”?
  2. Do they generate an ROI that’s in-line with the findings above?
  3. Do they think about us without being prodded?
  4. Do they understand our target market and business processes?
  5. Have they explored and monetized all the options?
  6. Is their work for fresh, exciting, and reflective of best practices?

Pieces of the Email Marketing Equation

Email marketing can involve customer acquisition, lead nurturing, client reactivation and retention, and of course direct sales, which means that a host of processes and services are potentially involved, including:

  • Strategy & Research
  • Editorial & Promotional Planning
  • Copy Writing & Content Development
  • Design & Coding
  • List Growth & Community Building
  • List Segmentation & List Enhancement
  • Behavioral & Customer Profiling
  • Message Delivery & Deliverability Monitoring
  • Cross-channel Integration
  • Email Service Provider (ESP) or In-house Mailing Solution Evaluations
  • Lead Nurturing & Direct/Up/Cross Sales
  • Multivariate Testing & Program Optimization

If the list above encompasses more than you’re doing, this may be a strong indicator that you’re under-utilizing this lucrative channel. Perhaps it’s time for a fresh marketing partner or maybe you need to reallocate budgets and/or provide your in-house team with more training?

If you’ve (officially) determined that you need help, stay tuned. In the second and last installment we’ll discuss HOW to find and evaluate qualified talent that fits your unique needs and meets your budgetary restrictions.

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