Email Marketing Agency Pricing: The Comprehensive Guide

Written by: Scott Cohen

Published on: 25-04-2024

Scott is the CEO at InboxArmy and has more than 20 years of experience in email marketing.

Email marketing is a powerhouse when it comes to reaching mass audiences and nurturing customer relationships. But executing effective campaigns requires more than just hitting “send” — it demands expertise and strategic finesse.

That’s why many businesses partner with dedicated email marketing agencies. But how much does professional email marketing cost from an email marketing agency?

On average, email marketing agencies charge between $2,500 to $10,000 per month, or more.

The cost of hiring an email marketing agency isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. It varies based on several factors, and email marketing agencies offer various pricing models tailored to different client needs. Let’s help you decode the world of email marketing agency pricing.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Email Marketing Agency?

The price you receive from an email marketing agency will depend on a myriad of factors, including the scope of services, campaign complexity, subscriber list size, and industry expertise.

A great example of the range this myriad represents is this: The cost of crafting a single email can range between $250 and $1,000, depending on length and quality of content and content.

Email marketing agencies employ a variety of pricing models, including these popular pricing structures:

– Per Hour

– Per Project (one time setup)

– Retainer Service (scope-based)

– Revenue Share

– Hybrid Model


How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Email Marketing Agency

Email Marketing Agency Pricing Per Hour

The hourly pricing model is generally offered by freelancers and is based on time spent rather than specific deliverables. Often, you’ll find freelance email marketers who offer their services on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr charge between $15 and $40 per hour. Depending on the expertise and range of services offered, these rates can climb up to $250 per hour or more.

It may seem simple, yet many established email marketing agencies forgo using hourly rates because these rates often reflect factors like experience level or geographical location rather than the true value added to your business.

Email Marketing Agency Pricing Per Hour

This model can be more cost-effective but can also become costly because tasks may require more time than anticipated, leading to unexpected, more expensive invoices.

Email Marketing Agency Pricing Per Project

Email Marketing Agency Pricing Per Project Banner

The “Per Project” structure, like all other structures, has pros and cons.

The benefit of this approach is straightforward: you receive a complete quote upfront for the entire project, minimizing the risk of unexpected costs. With a clear payment agreement, you know how much of your budget to allocate and exactly what deliverables to expect and when.

This pricing approach is typically employed for specific tasks like setting up one-time automations–your welcome emails, onboarding flows, or cart abandon emails, for example. Costs vary, of course, by complexity and scope, but you can expect the setup of a 3-email automation to cost in the range of $1,000 to $5,000.

This approach is more predictable and more transparent than billing by the hour. One potential drawback here is the possibility of project delays, which can impact the timelines of your desired deliverables.

Email Marketing Agency Pricing Scoped-based (Retainer Service)

Email Marketing retainer service cost Banner

In a retainer service pricing model, pricing is a predetermined flat rate based on a defined scope and volume of work that’s expected over a period of time.

Many email marketing agencies favor this approach, especially for clients who require ongoing monthly email marketing campaign management. Why?

The retainer model allows for agencies to develop deeper relationships with their clients, leading to better communication, mutual understanding, and alignment to goals. Clients benefit from this dedicated level of access to continuous support and expertise from the agency.

Generally, retainer fees for email marketing services typically fall within the following range:

Small to Mid-Sized Businesses: Retainer fees typically start at around $1,000 to $3,000 per month for smaller businesses or those with straightforward, smaller volume email marketing needs.

Mid to Large-Sized Businesses: Medium to large businesses with more complex email marketing strategies and larger subscriber lists and email volume needs can expect retainer fees ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 per month or more.

Email Marketing Agency Pricing by Revenue Share

Email Marketing Agency Pricing by Revenue Share

In a revenue share model, the agency charges a percentage of the revenue generated directly from email campaigns. This model aligns the agency’s incentives with the client’s business objectives, in theory motivating the agency to optimize campaigns for maximum effectiveness and conversions.

This method isn’t as popular as you might think. Attributing revenue directly to email marketing can be complex due to existing traffic and revenue sources and therefore creates a murkier picture that can be fought over in terms of how much revenue should be shared. The sharing percentage can also vary depending on industry, campaign complexity, and expected outcomes.

Email Marketing Cost of Hybrid Models

Email Marketing Cost of Hybrid Models

The hybrid model, as the name suggests, combines elements from different pricing models mentioned earlier.

Let’s say, a client pays a fixed retainer fee to ensure ongoing support and access to the agency’s services. On top of that, there are additional charges for specific projects or campaigns that fall outside the retainer scope.

This approach offers flexibility, allowing you to customize your service package based on your client’s unique needs and the demands of individual projects.

Another popular hybrid model combines elements of fixed pricing with performance-based incentives. 

Clients typically pay a base monthly fee (fixed price) for essential services, such as campaign management, email design, and reporting. Additionally, there may be a commission-based component tied to performance metrics, such as revenue generated from email campaigns.

For example, an email marketing agency might structure its hybrid model with a fixed monthly fee of $3,000 plus a commission of 5% on all revenue generated above $50,000 from email-driven sales. 

This incentivizes the agency to maximize campaign effectiveness and directly ties its compensation to the client’s success.

The hybrid model offers clients cost predictability combined with performance-driven outcomes, making it a compelling choice for businesses seeking results-oriented email marketing services.

The Realistic Costs of an Email Marketing Agency

You’re going to encounter a wide range of pricing models and options when researching email marketing agency options. The questions you’ll have to answer for yourself are the balance between cost and quality. After all, you may find an agency that offers a retainer service for as low as $500 per month.

To understand the rationale behind all of these pricing models, it’s crucial to also understand the makeup of a proficient email marketing team. Typically, a solid email marketing team comprises three to five specialized roles:

– Strategist or Success Manager

– Email Designer

– Email Developer

– Platform/Email Operations Expert

– Quality Assurance (QA) Specialist

You can also throw in a copywriter as a dedicated or shared role across your marketing function. 

It’s unrealistic to expect one person to excel in all of these roles–or have the time to cover all of these roles. Even if someone claims to possess diverse skills, they may overlook crucial details or fail to recognize their own mistakes.

Reputable agencies charge higher fees because they employ a team of experts in each of these specialties and assign these experts to your account. Assuming 

The reason reputable agencies charge higher fees is that they employ a team of three to five skilled marketers dedicated to each account. The average salary of one email marketing manager can be around $91,000 per year. Do the math.

Yes, these costs will be spread across multiple accounts. That’s what enables agencies to charge a reasonable rate and still offer a team-focused approach to your email marketing program needs. If you see an agency offer a remarkably low price, it’s likely indicative of a high volume of accounts each member of your agency team is managing simultaneously.

Ultimately, understanding the underlying costs and resources involved will determine the true value of partnering with an email marketing agency.

Let’s assume each team member earns around $2,500 per month.

What Impacts Email Marketing Prices?

What Impacts Email Marketing Prices

In addition to human capital, email marketing agency pricing is influenced by a number of other factors, including:

Service Offerings

The range of services offered by email marketing agencies can vary widely. Basic packages typically include email campaign design, automation setup, list management, and analytics. If you want more comprehensive services, you may be also looking at content creation, A/B testing, segmentation strategies, and advanced reporting.

Experience and Expertise

Agencies with a proven track record and specialized skills in email strategy, creative design, copywriting, and advanced automation techniques typically command higher rates. The value of their expertise often translates into more effective campaigns, improved deliverability, and better ROI for clients.

Campaign Complexity

The complexity and scale of your email campaigns will directly impact pricing. For instance, a simple monthly newsletter sent to a small subscriber list will cost less than a sophisticated, multi-segmented campaign targeting a large audience with personalized content.

Factors that affect the complexity of your email campaigns could be the number of segments, level of personalization, frequency of sends, A/B testing, integration with other marketing channels, and more.

Platform or Email Marketing Software Used

The choice of an email marketing platform or software can also influence pricing. Some platforms are more robust and more time-consuming to use than others and may factor in the pricing of retainers, hourly rates and more.

Some agencies also will specialize in and/or resell a specific email service provider, and therefore offer preferred pricing for their “preferred” platform and higher rates for other platforms. (This is a question you should ask if you find a potential agency partner pushing one platform over others.)

Subscriber List Size

Subscriber list size in and of itself may not play a role in pricing. But with a larger list comes more email marketing program complexity, more email send volume, more infrastructure requirements, more strategy, and more audience management requirements–all of which can factor into pricing.

Frequency of Campaigns

How often you plan to send out campaigns matters. Agencies might charge differently for a few monthly campaigns versus weekly or daily campaigns.

Additional Features

Some agencies offer add-on services, such as marketing automation integration, CRM synchronization, or custom API development. These extras can add to the overall email marketing agency cost.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. How much of your marketing budget should you allocate to email marketing?

How much of your marketing budget should you allocate to email marketing

Email marketing platforms generally do not represent a huge cost to your bottom line, especially compared to other, more expensive acquisition-focused marketing channels. As a general guideline for most businesses, you should expect to allocate no more than 10% of your total marketing budget to email marketing, inclusive of your agency services.

  1. How is email marketing cost calculated?

Email marketing costs are typically calculated based on various factors, with the average cost per email ranging from $250 to $1,000. Total pricing is influenced by campaign complexity, scope of work, size of the subscriber list, and desired services. Additionally, agencies may offer different pricing models, such as flat-rate packages, pay-per-email, or retainer-based agreements, tailored to meet specific client needs and objectives.

  1. How much does email marketing cost for a large company?

Large enterprises with extensive subscriber lists and complex campaigns can expect to pay upwards of $10,000 per month or more. This investment covers expenses related to email campaign management, automation, content creation, analytics, and ongoing optimization efforts to drive engagement and conversions. However, the actual cost can be tailored based on the company’s budget and desired outcomes.

As you go through the process of evaluating an email marketing agency, ask yourself:

  • What are your email marketing needs?
  • How will an email marketing agency help you solve for those needs?

From there, you should expect an email marketing agency to provide you with proven results along with the support and reliability of a team of resources. If you need help, get in touch with InboxArmy.

About Author

Winner of the ANA Email Experience Council’s 2021 Stefan Pollard Email Marketer of the Year Award, Scott Cohen is a proven email marketing veteran with nearly 20 years of experience as both a brand-side marketer and an email marketing agency executive. He brings to our clients a unique blend of experience building and managing larger CRM and retention teams, sending millions of emails and SMS per week, and award-winning copywriting chops. For more information, follow him on Linkedin

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