UPDATED May 17, 2023

Decoding the Perfect E-commerce Email Marketing Agency: Top 10 Must-Haves

In the competitive world of ecommerce, selecting the right Email Marketing Agency can be the difference between merely surviving and truly thriving.

Below are 10 must-haves to consider when choosing an agency.

1. Look for someone who can provide custom solutions.
2. Value and Transparency
3. Their Past Work
4. Your Budget vs. Agency Pricing
5. Look for an agency that keeps its work in-house.
6. Not afraid to push their team front and center.
7. They come (highly) recommended.
8. What kind of content are they providing for their website visitors?
9. Strategy vs. Execution
10. How do you feel about them?
1. Look for someone who can provide custom solutions.
There are no generic problems in email marketing, so there can't be any generic solutions either.

Agencies offering easy fixes at an affordable price might seem like they are a dream come true, but this dream can quickly turn into a nightmare when you realize they are trying to jam a triangle into a square-shaped hole, or worse.

Be careful not to choose an agency that will have you changing your plans every other day because they don't understand your business goals. Instead, look for an agency that will solve your problems with solutions tailored to your brand and your strategy.

At Essence of Email we provide custom solutions based on each client's email marketing needs for their ecommerce businesses. Our flexible arrangements last for as long as you need them to - 30 days, 60 days, 6 months, or even several years of constant success!
2. Value and Transparency
Stay away from agencies who are eager to get more than they are eager to give.

Watch out for clever salesman and make sure the sales pitch focuses on what is important to you: how the solution will improve your business, the processes, return-on-investment (ROI), reports and communication.
3. Their Past Work
Always ask to see examples, or case studies at the very least, of the work the agency has previously done.

Do the results and the work suit you? Does it look like it will be an improvement over what you have right now? Is the ROI along the lines of what you expect? Those are some of the questions you must keep in mind in the process of choosing the right email marketing agency for your business.
4. Your Budget vs. Agency Pricing
Email marketing is an investment.

Some businesses can dedicate a big budget, while others look for something smaller in scale. Most email marketing agencies have scalable services, but those worth your time will have a transparent billing practices and provide quotes based on your business needs.
5. Look for an agency that specializes in ecommerce
While there are many aspects of email that apply to all businesses, look for an agency that has worked with ecommerce brands before.

However, just because an email agency has worked with another brand in your niche before, doesn't mean they will be successful with you.

Email Marketing has a lot of factors that can determine success and even two competitors can have very different founders and philosophies that wouldn't copy all that well between them.

While an agency should have experience in ecommerce, focus on other factors after that.
6. Not afraid to push their team front and center.
A great email marketing agency is made up of a team of diverse talents and expertise.

Always be sure to check the "Our Team" page. Does it even exist on the website? Can you find the team members on LinkedIn? Your future partner should be proud of their team, and shouldn't be afraid to put it front and center. The team should be multi-disciplined, with unique experts in their respective fields - back-end, design, copywriting, project management, etc.
7. They come (highly) recommended.
Check the reputation of agencies on groups and forums to get an insight into their performance. Make a good research, read case studies and testimonials and look for reviews.

Once you find an email marketing agency that comes recommended as someone who can solve problems and help you get your show on the road, you've discovered a good prospective partner for months and years to come.
8. What kind of content are they providing for their website visitors?
While this doesn't seem overly important at first glance, the content your prospective partner provides can be a very important clue about their approach to your brand and the email marketing challenges it will pose.

If an agency's content is stale, outdated, and just not of very good quality, you might want to move away because they either don't care to share their knowledge with you, or they can't be bothered to work on their image, something a serious marketing agency would never do.

Do they consistently offer internal assets (eBooks, blog posts, webinars, etc.) that convey their thought leadership and expertise? Externally, do they contribute to industry publications and share helpful industry-related insights? Do they present at industry events? Are they maintaining their social media platforms well? If so, it is very likely they will take good care of your business, too.
9. Strategy vs. Execution
While some agencies may convince you with their analytical and strategizing skills, ask for evidence that they are strong on the execution side as well.

Sure, being strategic can be of tremendous value, but if an agency doesn't have the capacity to execute, all the nice looking reports in the world aren't going to do anything for your channel.

Conversely, focusing solely on execution will quickly result in a complete chaos in the long term, with your campaign results boiling down to luck or divine intervention. This is why it's important to choose a partner who can focus equally on both.
10. How do you feel about them?
Finally, when all is said and done, you have to give yourself a minute and compile all these impressions into a clear vision of how you view your partner.

Look for an agency that will make this process easy for you, where after each conversation you'll feel content, inspired, and valued, rather than confused, disappointed, or even frightened.
While you'll ultimately be the sole judge of how good a fit an email marketing agency will be for your brand, we feel these 10 tips are a good place to start when making a decision. Whether you want to take them at face value and go through them as if they were steps, or you're just looking for fresh perspective before committing, these 10 properties are what separates the best from the rest.
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