If you offer WordPress consulting services to small businesses (or plan to) then you’re probably already offering a range of services to clients, including website development, branding and hosting. You might also be offering some a la carte extras like site maintenance, SEO, and social media marketing.
This is a typical service model for agencies, developers, and freelancers alike who compete for clients in a crowded market.
Usually, site development and branding are one-off projects, while hosting, maintenance, SEO, and social media tend to be services that clients need ongoing — and can help you retain clients and keep your monthly recurring revenue looking good without requiring you to win new business every month.
But there’s one more essential service that many consultants often overlook: email marketing.
In this post, we’ll walk through why offering email marketing services is a good idea, how it will benefit your WordPress business, and how to pitch, package, price it. We’ll finish up with some tips on how to execute it with your clients.
Should you offer email marketing services? TL;DR: Yes!
Email is a natural complement to the other digital services you’re already offering.
The fact is, clients don’t come to you because they simply want a website. They come to you because they want what a website can do for them. They want WordPress sites and WooCommerce stores that can help them get more clients and sell more products — and they need the right people visiting their site.
This is where email marketing can help, providing an essential channel for businesses looking to make a connection with their clients or customers.
So what does this mean for your WordPress agency or consultancy?
Offering email marketing services is another avenue for steady, recurring income.
Email marketing continues to outperform other marketing channels by a long shot
For every dollar that businesses invest in email marketing, they receive $42 in return, according to recent Litmus research into email marketing ROI. That’s up from $38:1 in 2018.
Email has the highest ROI of all marketing channels and by most measures, it’s roughly twice that of other digital channels.
Despite the growth and prominence of social media, and messenger and chat apps, email is an integral part of daily online life. In 2018, the number of global email users was 3.8 billion, according to Statista, and is set to grow to 4.4 billion users in 2023.
To put that into perspective, there are 2.41 billion Facebook account and 330 million Twitter accounts. That means there are 39% more email accounts than there are Facebook and Twitter accounts combined.
To put these stats — and more! — into perspective, here’s an infographic you can share with your clients:
Email marketing can help you retain existing clients
If you only offer website development, you’re no doubt constantly chasing new clients. Wouldn’t it be nice to have clients coming to you for work instead?
When you’re spending time drumming up new business, you’re losing precious time you could be putting back into billable work. Unlike site development, which is essentially a one-off project, email marketing allows you to work with clients on a retainer basis, long after you’ve built their website.
That means you can earn revenue for compiling email strategies (which you can emulate for each client), every email campaign you send, and tracking and reporting results.
Email marketing can help you earn recurring revenue, and increase profit margins
You’ll need to decide for yourself whether providing email marketing as a service is a good fit for your business. But for many agencies and consultant, it makes sense and is a natural extension of what you’re already offering.
There are a few different pricing strategies you could experiment with and implement (as we’ll explore below). Ultimately, it’s up to you how much you want to charge, and what best suits the needs of your clients.
The point is, you are the expert. You know more about email marketing than many of your clients, so don’t take that for granted! Even clients who are well-versed in email marketing are often happy to pay good money for the time you save them having to do it themselves.
How to package your email marketing services
There are various moving parts when it comes to email marketing, including initial set up (e.g. strategy, email platform) and ongoing content creation, tracking, and reporting. What should you include as part of your email marketing services? It’s entirely up to you and the resources at your disposal, but I suggest giving your clients the flexibility to choose the services they need.
Let’s take a look at some of the email marketing services you could offer clients. Below, you’ll find an example email package, together with typical time and price estimates based on a $50 per hour rate.
1. Create an email marketing strategy
An email campaign without an email marketing strategy is like a bunch of ingredients without a recipe. Too often, businesses jump straight into the “cooking” and start sending emails without having a clear strategy in place.
Creating strategies for clients allows you to define the what, how, and why of their email marketing.
A solid email marketing strategy should include the following analysis and information:
- Current email situation. Are they already sending emails? Do they already have an email list? What are their challenges?
- Goals and objectives. What does the client want to achieve with email marketing?
- Target audience. Who is their existing target audience? Who do they want to target? This includes research into their demographics and behaviors.
- Competitors. What emails are competitors sending? How frequently? What kinds of content are they using?
- Marketing plan. Does the client have an existing marketing strategy? How will email fit into this strategy? What kinds of emails do they want to send and how frequently?
- Resources. How does the client want to proceed? This includes who will manage their email marketing, planning, execution, content creation, and evaluating performance metrics.
- Key performance metrics (KPIs). Clear KPIs will help the client determine how to measure the success of their email marketing. This might include increased site traffic, conversions, positive reviews, etc.
- Timeline. When will everything happen? Does the client need emails to fit in around holidays or other special events?
- Review. Set checkpoints or dates for when you and the client can review the email marketing strategy and the results of email campaigns.
Using the above information as a starting point, or template, will help speed up the strategy process. The first few strategies you create for clients will take a bit of time to put together, but in time you’ll find that it will become quicker.
Time: 4-6 hours.
2. Set up email service provider, templates, and branding
You’ve likely got a lot of technical and design expertise under your belt — after all, you develop WordPress websites! So helping clients get set up with an email service providers (ESP) and completing any necessary integrations for their site will be a piece of cake.
This particular service may involve:
- Recommend and create an account with an ESP. You may already have a preferred ESP (like MailPoet).
- Add subscriber forms to website. Your client may also require forms on landing pages for special email campaigns.
- Design email and newsletter templates. Create templates for the various email campaigns defined in the email marketing strategy. This may include a default template, a newsletter template, and designs for promotions and autoresponders.
- Integrate with analytics, CRM, and other apps. Set up any necessary integrations to help your client track email lists and measure success.
- Train client. Depending on how your client wants to move forward with aspects of their email marketing, you may need to train them in how to use their ESP, how to create content, and how to send and measure the results of email campaigns.
How long this step will take will mostly depend on how much training your client needs. To automate this step, you may want to invest some time in creating video tutorials.
Time: 6-8 hours.
3. Clean existing lists before you start sending
Your clients will want to send their newsletters to a maximum number of possible contacts because they are convinced everyone will be thrilled to read their emails. This attitude is common — and it’s also the primary reason ESPs ban users from using their services.
After having invested so much time setting up an email tool and other things necessary to start sending emails, being given the boot by an ESP is the worst feeling.
This is where your know-how will keep your clients out of trouble:
- Review existing lists. Check over any existing lists the client may have and ensure that these subscribers have been asked and have given explicit consent to receive emails from your client.
- Clean lists that are 1+ years old. It’s important to practice good email hygiene. Clean lists that are more than 12 months old using third party subscriber verification tools, such as those in our post 20 Best Tools for Testing Emails.
- Be extremely wary of lists that haven’t been used in over 6 months. These lists may contain many invalid email addresses. Spam filters pay close attention to this factor.
- Send an email to subscribers in a list or address book from a personal inbox before you bulk email them. This is called reconfirming subscribers.
- The first time you email a list, only send to a small sample of the list. Send to only 200-500 email addresses. If the unsubscribe rate is over 1% and the hard bounce rate if close to 5%, you’ll need to reconfirm all subscriber emails.
Your client make thing the above is a waste of time and not worth paying for, so you’ll probably need to stand your ground when discussing the importance of list hygiene with your client. It’s critical that you educate your client on best practices and ensure that if they want to risk it, they know it’s their responsibility, not yours!
Time: 2-3 hours.
4. Set up autoresponders
As your clients’ businesses grow, so too will the amount of work they need to do. Fortunately, much of their email marketing can be automated with follow up emails, also known as autoresponders.
Email automation is increasing in popularity. In fact, many of the emails you receive from businesses are probably automated — from the welcome emails you get when you sign up to an email newsletter to the reminder emails you get when you abandon a shopping cart, online businesses are making the most of what automation has to offer time-poor business owners.
In fact, according to Email Monday, 55% of ecommerce marketers use software to automate at least part of their email marketing.
Automated emails that are sent at the right time can help your clients provide personalized journeys for their clients and customers — essential as part of the email marketing lifecycle.
You can set up any number of autoresponders to help drive results for your clients:
- Welcome emails. Every site should have an automated email that welcomes new subscribers when they join a list.
- Abandoned cart emails.
- Lead nurturing emails. A series of autoresponders that are sent to people who make an inquiry about your client’s products or services.
- Win back emails. These emails can help re-engage customers who have lost interest in your brand, and help generate immediate sales.
- Birthday emails. Surprise and delight customers on their birthday with a personalized email. After all, who doesn’t like receiving a coupon on their birthday?
- Refer a friend emails. Leverage the power of word-of-mouth marketing with referral emails. There’s a good chance your happy customers will tell their friends about you, but an automated email might be the push they need to take action.
- Review emails. Collecting reviews from customers can help your clients determine their strengths and weaknesses, and serve as social proof to encourage other customers to make a purchase.
- Product recommendation emails. Recommending similar products is a simple yet effective way to sell to existing customers by encouraging them to add more products to their orders.
You’ll need the talents of a copywriter to help create content for these emails, though if your client enjoys writing they may want to have a go at crafting the content themselves.
Time: 1-2 hours per email.
5. Assist with content creation
Emails require content, and depending on your clients’ email marketing goals and business resources, you can work with them to identify the right content they should send to get the results they want, and how they can create it.
Writing the actual content for emails can be a roadblock for businesses that stops them from getting started in the first place. They may not know where to start or what to include in emails. If you can take away this roadblock by offering content creation, you’ll instantly make email marketing easier and more accessible for your clients.
Content creation typically includes:
- Writing regular newsletters
- Creating content for promotional emails
- Creating content for autoresponders
- Writing subject lines
While some clients may want to offload content creation, others who are more adept at writing — or have their own in-house or contract copywriters — may want to take care of it themselves.
Here are a few tips to help you direct clients when it comes to content creation:
- Write for the target audience. Who are you writing for? What stage are they in the customer lifestyle?
- Focus on a single goal. When someone opens your email, what action do you want them to carry out?
- Use conversational language. Use simple, friendly language. There’s no need to be formal (unless your brand is really serious).
- Keep the message simple. Get to the point already! That’s what your users might be thinking if your emails are too long.
- Stay on-brand. What’s your organization’s brand voice? Is it fun and cheerful or professional and stuffy? Be sure to incorporate the language your business uses into your email marketing.
For more writing tips, check out 10-Point Checklist for Writing Amazing Blog Posts.
Time: This will depend on your client’s content needs, and your ability to provide content creation.
6. Track and report results
One of the benefits of email marketing is how easy it is to track and measure your results. For example, for every campaign you send you can view statistics on how many people:
- Opened the email,
- Clicked links,
- Clicked your CTA and, ultimately,
Email platforms like MailPoet provide in-depth stats so you can get a quick overview of your campaign performance, and drill down into the exact parts of your email that subscribers interacted with, such as which links they clicked the most.
On top of that, adding UTM tracking tags to URLs will enable you to track what subscribers do when they click a link and what happens when they arrive on your client’s site.
A/B testing can also help you optimize campaigns for maximum results. Some of the elements you can test include:
- Subject lines
- Sending times
All of the above will provide valuable information, which you can regularly report back to clients. This will show the value of your email marketing efforts and allow clients to compare campaign stats against KPIs.
Other tasks you may want to carry out as part of this step include:
- List maintenance. Regularly removing inactive subscribers and will ensure your client’s email list is clean. For more, read Stop Sending Emails To Your Inactive Subscribers Now. Here’s Why.
- Segment lists. Over time, as your client’s initial email list grows, it’s important to segment subscribers and start sending more targeting campaigns. For more: The Beginner’s Guide to Email Segmentation.
Time: 3-5 hours.
How to pitch email marketing to your clients
Ready to sell your email marketing services to your clients? Here are some tips:
1. Sell results, not “email marketing”
If you sell email marketing as another service to clients, they’ll see it as an added expense. You need to paint a picture for them that highlights the benefits over the features.
That means telling clients you can set up email campaigns for them that will drive 3x more customers to their online store, for example, or increase their conversions by 300%.
2. Upsell alongside your existing services
After you build and launch sites for clients, do you offer them complementary services that help drive traffic such as SEO and social media marketing? If so, email marketing is a natural fit.
Email marketing will slot with into your existing service offering and be an easy upsell for clients who want to grow their brand new site.
3. Give your clients what they want
Design your email services and packages based on what your clients need, not what you think they need. How do you do this? Ask them.
For example, some clients who prefer to go down the do-it-yourself route might want you to create an email marketing strategy and set up an email platform and templates so they can take care of the content creation and sending.
Other clients might want you to take care of everything, from strategy development to campaign and content creation and reporting.
4. Show, don’t tell
Email marketing can be a tremendous asset for reaching, connecting, and selling to customers. But many clients won’t immediately understand the value until you show them.
To address this, try showing clients a case study based on another client you’ve worked with. Or, better yet, show them what you can do for them.
For example, you could put together a mock design for an email newsletter using the client’s branding, complete with promotional information about their business. When you send it to the client, include links containing UTM codes so you can track how they interact with it. Then you can email them afterwards with stats about which links they clicked and further ideas for emails campaigns.
5. Reach out to past clients
It’s easier, not to mention more profitable, selling to someone who has already worked with you. According to Bail & Company, increasing customer retention by just 5% boosts profits by 25% to 95%.
So reach out to clients you’ve previously worked with, even if you completed work for them a couple years ago. Ask them how their site is doing and find out if they need help growing their audience. Email marketing might be just what they need.
Offering email marketing services has many benefits. It can help drive revenue for your WordPress business, increase the value you’re providing, and drive results for your clients. A win-win-win!
Sending emails is never a one-off marketing endeavor for businesses. Since marketing strategies evolve, content always needs to be created, and goals change, you can charge your clients a monthly retainer or ongoing fees to help them develop their email strategies over time.
Finally, selling email services works perfectly with a retainer pricing structure and is more predictable income than one-off work. Agencies and consultants need more than the one-time deliverables, like websites development and hosting — and email marketing is the answer.
Are you already selling email marketing as a service? What’s working and what’s not? Share your wisdom in the comments below!