A guide to offering Email Marketing services to clients

5 Comments 12 February 2010

A guide to offering Email Marketing services to clients

By Ros Hodgekiss,
Com­mu­nity Man­ager
at Cam­paign Monitor

Pitch­ing a new ser­vice to your clients is never easy, regard­less of how com­pelling you per­ceive the case to be. When the ser­vice is email mar­ket­ing, there’s an addi­tional twist—often your intro­duc­tory con­ver­sa­tion will not so much con­sist of explain­ing what it is (‘a com­pelling way to get in touch with your cus­tomers’), but decon­struct­ing what it isn’t (‘spam’).

So, how do you bring your clients around to see­ing the value in email mar­ket­ing? What can you charge for? Per­haps most impor­tantly, what’s in it for the designer? In this arti­cle, we’ll go through some of the core sell­ing points you can pitch to your clients and the range of ser­vices that you can offer.


Why should my clients be inter­ested in email?

If you have the bless­ing of tech-savvy clients, then get­ting them to be involved in email mar­ket­ing, or even self-manage cam­paigns shouldn’t be a great stretch of the imag­i­na­tion. Even if your clients are dis­tinctly hands-off, here are some rea­sons why they should con­sider col­lect­ing sub­scribers and send­ing campaigns:

It works

Regard­less of the size of your clients’ enter­prise, email mar­ket­ing is a chan­nel that con­sis­tently deliv­ers return on invest­ment, for com­par­a­tively lit­tle cost or effort. In fact, on aver­age it deliv­ers almost $44 in rev­enue for every dol­lar spent. Your client can use email to facil­i­tate a rela­tion­ship with their cus­tomers using per­son­al­ized mes­sages and rel­e­vant con­tent, sup­port other mar­ket­ing chan­nels such as social media and print, or sim­ply widen their sales fun­nel to receive more inbound enquiries. What’s bet­ter, you only send to peo­ple who have expressed an inter­est in hear­ing from your client, unlike the pay-and-pray approach of plac­ing an ad in your local paper (that inevitably ends up in the com­post heap).

It’s tar­geted and measurable

One of the great advan­tages of send­ing email is that the results are read­ily available—and fast. Your clients can look at reports and dis­cover what’s work­ing and what’s not, then rapidly make tweaks. As we touched on ear­lier, email is targeted—if your client believes a cer­tain seg­ment of their sub­scriber list will respond bet­ter to an email pro­mo­tion or mes­sage, then they can send to that group only, or run split tests to iden­tify what tac­tics work best. That can’t be said for a lot of other mar­ket­ing channels.

It’s easy to use

It doesn’t usu­ally take much effort to set up an account in an email mar­ket­ing appli­ca­tion and let your clients access reports, or edit email tem­plates them­selves. Web appli­ca­tions like Cam­paign Mon­i­tor, MailChimp and My Emma han­dle the admin­is­tra­tive nig­gles such as unsub­scribe and bounce man­age­ment, main­tain­ing deliv­er­abil­ity and even invoic­ing. This allows you and your clients to sim­ply get on with the fun stuff — design­ing sweet email cre­atives and opti­miz­ing your campaigns.

It’s flex­i­ble

The beauty of email is its flex­i­bil­ity. Does your client want to pro­mote time-sensitive events like hol­i­day pro­mo­tions or prod­uct releases? Or do they value com­mu­ni­cat­ing with their cus­tomers based on their inter­ests or pur­chas­ing habits? With email, you can tai­lor your mes­sage to spe­cific audi­ences, land your cam­paign in cus­tomers’ inboxes at exactly the time you want and drive engage­ment in cre­ative ways. Get your client excited by sug­gest­ing they use email to tie in with new or exist­ing cam­paigns like cus­tomer sur­veys and sea­sonal sales. Or look at their mar­ket­ing pain-points—if your client is con­cerned about their car­bon foot­print, intro­duc­ing email newslet­ters or cat­a­logs is a great way to lessen their depen­dence on print media, while pro­vid­ing cus­tomers with a more con­ve­nient (and timely) way to keep in touch.

It’s hands-on

Get your client involved by send­ing them a demo newslet­ter fea­tur­ing their brand­ing, giv­ing them access to an account in an email mar­ket­ing appli­ca­tion, or set­ting up an email tem­plate that they can cus­tomize using an in-app visual edi­tor. If they can take a part in the cam­paign life­cy­cle, or sim­ply view post-campaign reports, they will not only see how man­age­able it is, but be reas­sured that the money they spend pro­duces quan­tifi­able results.

If this isn’t enough to con­vince your client, take a look at Beau­ti­ful Email Newslet­ters or Cam­paign Monitor’s email design gallery to find fresh ways email is being used to drive cus­tomers to a site, sup­ple­ment pro­mo­tions or sim­ply get in touch. For a lot of folks, HTML email is syn­ony­mous with spam and slow-loading graph­ics. Show them that it can be done legally and pro­fes­sion­ally and you may have a new con­vert on your hands.

Your email tem­plates can be just as beau­ti­ful as your land­ing pages


Charg­ing for email marketing

Just like any web design project, pro­vid­ing email mar­ket­ing comes with its own set of poten­tially bill­able tasks. Regard­less of whether you bill at a fixed-rate or by-the-hour, here are a few of the ser­vices you can charge for:

Tem­plate design

In a sim­i­lar vein to design­ing and build­ing a site or land­ing page, you can charge your client for cre­at­ing and test­ing an email tem­plate. If done right, a solid tem­plate can also save you a lot of recur­ring work in the future, too—your more savvy clients will be able to use the tem­plate to insert their own con­tent and send cam­paigns with lit­tle inter­ven­tion, time and time again.

Cam­paign review and consultation

Pro­vid­ing insights into cam­paign results and sug­gest­ing email opti­miza­tions doesn’t have to be some­thing that you trade for a cup of cof­fee – you only need to read a case study on A/B test­ing to real­ize that it’s seri­ous work. Develop a mature email mar­ket­ing strat­egy by try­ing dif­fer­ent approaches to the use of sub­ject lines and email con­tent, devel­op­ing key learn­ings from cam­paign results or div­ing into Google Ana­lyt­ics to track conversions.


Client-issued changes are often the bane of a designer’s life. A lot of folks offer a few rounds of amends as part of the nor­mal test­ing and sign-off process, but as soon as you start amend­ing email tem­plates based on your rec­om­men­da­tions, or sub­stan­tially refac­tor­ing cam­paigns, it becomes a bill­able item.


Deliv­ery is poten­tially one of the more obtuse line items you can include when billing a client. If you’re on a monthly plan with a ser­vice provider like MailChimp, then it effec­tively costs you noth­ing on top of what you would usu­ally pay. When billing your clients, how­ever, it’s often used to charge for tasks like pro­duc­tion and testing.

Using Cam­paign Monitor’s inter­nal billing sys­tem, you can set your indi­vid­ual clients’ deliv­ery and per-recipient send­ing fees as you see fit, pro­vid­ing the oppor­tu­nity to come up with flex­i­ble pric­ing schemes while still hav­ing these marked as line items on system-generated invoices. For exam­ple, if you’re offer­ing a com­plete design-and-send ser­vice, your deliv­ery fee can be marked-up high enough to cover pro­duc­tion costs, or if your clients are send­ing on behalf of them­selves, you can set your prices com­pet­i­tively to encour­age fre­quent sends. Alter­nately, you can bill inde­pen­dently of an in-app invoic­ing sys­tem, say, by sim­ply a charg­ing a monthly fee for your ser­vices. It’s entirely up to you.

Charg­ing your clients markup on top of Cam­paign Monitor’s base rates also pro­vides the oppor­tu­nity to gen­er­ate pas­sive income. If your clients send their cam­paigns them­selves, any amount they pay above the base rates will be sent to you each month as profit. Cam­paign Mon­i­tor is rebrand­able and all invoices are white-label, so your clients won’t know that they’re pay­ing any­one but you.

You can rebrand and cus­tomize Cam­paign Mon­i­tor to make it your own

For more tips and advice, take a look at this com­pre­hen­sive arti­cle on charg­ing your clients for email mar­ket­ing.


Lets get the party started

The great news is that if you’re already devel­op­ing sites com­mer­cially, you’re ready to offer email to your clients—most of the tools required are free to use, plus there’s an abun­dance of resources to help you on your way. Fur­ther­more, you can set your own prices, offer your clients every­thing from tem­plates, to com­pre­hen­sive cam­paign man­age­ment and not dra­mat­i­cally change your busi­ness model while you’re at it. If you’re going to add to your ser­vice offer­ing this year, give email mar­ket­ing a try—not only will it clear your clients’ mis­con­cep­tions, but it could pos­si­bly bring a new rev­enue stream to your busi­ness, too!


Your Turn:

Do you pro­vide email mar­ket­ing ser­vices to your clients? If so, what types of ser­vices do you charge for—template design, con­sul­ta­tion, delivery?

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Neil Brown

Neil Brown - who has written 16 posts on Freelance Show.

Neil Brown is the founder of the Freelance Show and runs Brown Advertising, LLC, a successful graphic design studio.

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Your Comments

5 Comments so far

  1. Neil Brown says:

    Thanks Ros for the ter­rific guest arti­cle! I offer email mar­ket­ing ser­vices to my clients in my free­lance business. 

    I find some clients want me to han­dle every­thing from ini­tial tem­plate design to lay­out and deliv­ery of each newsletter.

    Then some like for me to design the ini­tial tem­plate and set it up so they can cre­ate each newslet­ter and send them­selves. Some­times they’ll run into ques­tions along the way, so I offer sup­port and con­sul­ta­tion to them. 

    And I encour­age every new client to get started with email mar­ket­ing. I think it’s one of the most effec­tive meth­ods of mar­ket­ing for many indus­tries and a great way to com­mu­ni­cate directly with their customers.

  2. Melissa says:

    I’ve done tons of email mar­ket­ing for my clients, and I think one of the things they like about it the most is the abil­ity to track clicks, replies, etc right there within the cam­paign. Peo­ple love the imme­di­ate feedback.

    Plus, like you said, it’s very flex­i­ble. If X didn’t work, next time we’ll try Y. And I’m always amazed in look­ing at the stats, when clients click on a link that I really didn’t think would get much traf­fic. It’s like a lit­tle puz­zle you get to fig­ure out based on the statistics.

    And, best part, it’s prob­a­bly one of the least expen­sive, fur­thest reach­ing medium my clients can use (as long as you’re using a clean opt-in list). I think it’s a GREAT part of a mar­ket­ing plan.

    Loved the article!

  3. Stephanie says:

    This is a really infor­ma­tive arti­cle. We are just start­ing to offer email mar­ket­ing solu­tions to our clients, and have started using Cam­paign Monitor. 

    We bill them for the tem­plate design and often for set­ting up the first sub­scriber lists as our clients often pre­fer us to do that.

  4. We offer email mar­ket­ing to our seems that every body what to use it… i think they like it because they can use their exist­ing data base with lit­tle money com­pare to other methods.

  5. Email mar­ket­ing is quite effec­tive in lead gen­er­a­tion. i made a cou­ple of affil­i­ate sales by email mar­ket­ing alone;,*

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