When Should You Outsource Your Email Marketing?

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Most marketers see the value in email marketing, but if you’ve never done it before, you may have some trouble figuring out how to get started, or who should do the work.

With the right software, email marketing isn’t necessarily difficult for most organizations. Some businesses invest in a specialized email software provider to help execute digital marketing campaigns. Every business has different needs, begging the question ‘should you outsource or do your own email marketing?’

There is no one right answer. Sometimes it makes sense to do it entirely in-house while others find value in outsourcing their email marketing efforts. Many times businesses find a balance using a combination.

To make the best decision to either outsource or do your own email marketing for your company, consider the following:

What are your goals?

What do you want to accomplish? Who are the people you’re trying to attract?

Before launching an email marketing campaign, it’s important to have a strong understanding of your short and long-term goals, regarding both your email marketing plan and your big-picture targets. Is email marketing something you plan to use once in a while, or consistently?
What metrics and data do you want to be able to track?

Once you set your goals, you an determine if you have the ability and resources to accomplish these goals in-house, or if outside software and services are needed.

Be realistic about your time

Does your team have enough time to focus on an email marketing campaign?

Email marketing can be a powerful tool, but its success depends on the amount of time and effort you put into it. Many marketing teams – big and small – juggle a lot of projects and might not have the bandwidth to focus on email.

Outsourcing can allow your team to focus on their core marketing tasks, which is a an opportunity more companies are beginning to take advantage of. According to the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) National Email Benchmarking Report, email service providers (ESPs) reported that they manage 32 percent of the email campaigns for their clients.

In addition to specialized software, there are ESPs that also provide customers with strategy and design services. Those providers can be a perfect choice for the small- to mid-market companies lacking the manpower of a robust marketing department.

Size does matter

If you have a small marketing team (or no marketing team at all) it can be difficult to develop, implement and manage a successful email marketing campaign on your own.

Companies with larger marketing teams may feel more comfortable managing email marketing, but they may still need additional resources or expert guidance. For example, your marketers may have the creative messaging down, but have a limited knowledge of important email tools.

No matter the size of your company, outsourcing to an email marketing proficient email marketing agency can give you scalability. You can ramp-up your email marketing to start and when you need to. Then cut back when you need to, without having to add or cut staff.

Your team’s email marketing expertise

According to the recent national email client report, 79 percent of marketers manage their email marketing campaigns in-house. However, the majority of professionals who manage these in-house campaigns rate their competence level in email marketing as intermediate.

So, how competent is your team in email marketing? If your team has only a basic understanding of email marketing tools and strategies, you will want to research out-sourcing options that can assist and develop your team.

Here is a list of skills your team will need to succeed:

  • Copy writing,
  • Graphic design,
  • HMTL coding,
  • Data administration,
  • Analysing performance metrics (open-rates, click-through rates, etc.) and
  • A/B testing.
  • Perhaps your team members have experience in email marketing and feel comfortable in some or many aspects of launching a campaign, but no one is quite ready to add “proficient in HTML coding” to their resume.

    Stephanie Hecklinski sales executive at Walker & Associates Insurance Agency about her experience:
    “We have a very talented marketing team. When we set out to launch a new email marketing campaign, we thought we had the skills and knowledge to do it on our own, but when we came up with a list of the insights we wanted to gain, which included learning more about our current customers and best practices to gain new ones, we knew we could use some help. Outsourcing our email brings in help from field experts and allows for our team to stay focused on our core marketing work.”

    Many ESPs provide email templates that save you time while allowing you to send emails in a creative layout. They can also create custom email templates for an additional cost.

    In addition to helping with the creatives, an ESP can track analytics and dive into customer data, making your email marketing one of the most effective strategies for growing your business.

    With the use of analytics, you’ll be able to gather vast customer data to help you better tailor email messages and also conduct A/B testing to make sure you’re sending out the right messages at the right time.

    Use a Combined Approach

    Outsourcing isn’t an all or nothing solution for companies of any size. You might decide you want to handle some tasks yourself and enlist an outside firm to focus on a specific goal or point. For example, maybe you need a detailed analysis about the performance of subject lines, or you want to find out which social channels are most likely to connect you with customers.

    You can divide and outsource marketing tasks in any number of ways. An outside firm could set up a process for campaign reporting, but provide enough training for internal employees to build an understanding of how to implement it.

    Email marketing is an essential element to building an effective marketing strategy that provides new leads and potential sales for your business. If you can’t adequately orchestrate your own email marketing, take a look at how you could use a third party’s software and services to reach your objectives.

    Neil Berman

    About Neil Berman


    Neil Berman is the founder and CEO of Delivra, an email marketing service provider and strategic consultancy. With nearly 20 years in the software industry, Berman continues to be driven by a passion to find innovative solutions that help clients win in their industries.

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    • http://stephanhov.com/ Stephan Hovnanian

      Don’t forget automation as an important skill for your marketing team. It’s one thing to analyze campaign performance, send emails, design, write, etc., but those are all basically one-off components of a successful email marketing program. Adding in the automation, and how subscriber behavior informs your ability to nurture them, takes things to a whole new level of performance and even profitability. That’s actually where I feel consultants are the best fit for companies who are already managing their own emails. Great piece, Neil.

    • Neil Berman

      Absolutely Stephan! We find that our mid-market prospects rarely have the in house talent to effectively implement automation. And as importantly analyze results and adjust accordingly.

    • Bower House Digitial

      I think in regards to the skills your team need to succeed – you also need to include:
      Campaign Deployment – Actually setting up the campaign and getting the ‘send sweats’ when it is time to deploy.
      QA – Making sure all permutations of the content are correct, links work, render fine etc

    • Bower House Digitial

      I think in regards to the skills your team need to succeed – you also need to include:

      Campaign Deployment – Actually setting up the campaign and getting the ‘send sweats’ when it is time to deploy.
      QA – Making sure all permutations of the content are correct, links work, render fine etc

    • Neil Berman

      QAing your content is a given and it is surprising how often problems are overlooked Bower House. Having a process or checklist handy is helpful.

    • Marek Pronkowski

      I’m in position that I’m looking for contractors. We can be helpful in described above “Combined Approach” as we usually work with marketing teams making technical stuff for them so: graphic design, HMTL coding (including responsiveness), data administration, analysing performance metrics (open-rates, click-through rates, etc.) and A/B testing. W are small company based in Cracow in Poland which allows to cut costs a bit but not losing any bit of quality. Mostly working with companies from UK and US for more information please go to http://luvemails.com We will be happy to help you grow :)