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Are you starting up with a smaller outfit that needs to focus on its email marketing to best reach its audience? If you are a newly minted entrepreneur, chances are you and your team can quickly get overwhelmed by trying to handle and juggle everything. You can benefit hugely by looking to augment your in-house team’s capability and outsourcing part or whole of the process.
Apart from getting invaluable insights, a third-party perspective, and industry-facing external expertise, you can also (most importantly) save on time and efforts. But how do you outsource email marketing? Here’s a six-step guide to consider when you are planning to look outwards to boost your email marketing function.
To begin with, define very clearly the parts of your email marketing workflow you wish to outsource. This could be the entire gamut or just particular tasks like email template production or email automation. These could be tasks beyond the comfort levels of you and your team. Or, it could just be that your starter team is great at certain functions but only good at others. So, you could consider taking some of that pressure of yourself and your team and still make sure your email marketing game is at the A-level.
Repetitive, common tasks, such as updating mailing lists and gathering relevant analytics, for instance, can definitely be offloaded to an offshore email campaign manager. So also tasks that you just don’t want to do while executing larger marketing strategies for your business. If you are looking to entirely outsource email marketing, make sure you have the complete strategy and every single operation mapped out—either by yourself or the professional you are outsourcing to.
Depending on the extent of outsourcing you are considering, the next step is to narrow down your resource requirements. If you have already onboarded a competent and experienced team, you should look at bridging the lacunae through the outsourced processes. Do you need an in-house designer, a copywriter, or an HTML developer to round off your team’s core competencies? Or would you be best served by tapping into external and professional experts for all these three roles? These would be key questions to ask yourself, ensuring you are considering all possible key roles needed to execute successful email marketing campaigns. You could also look outside for a ‘big picture’ expert such as an email campaign manager or an email automation manager and leave the other tasks to your qualified in-house team.
Speaking about qualified, make sure you have the role profiles and expectations outlined precisely before you go resource hunting. Be clear on the kind of resources that can align well with your needs, vision, and organization. Freelancer, agency, or large-scale outfit? You also need to know where to look to get the best results from outsourcing your email marketing, as every option involves unique pros and cons.
As mentioned earlier, a key aspect of outsourcing your email marketing function is charting out the strategy and the processes involved. You can get as precise with this as you can and want to or leave it to your external experts with broad-scale directions alone. But, one aspect that you definitely shouldn’t outsource is your campaign goals. These are best delineated by yourself as you would have the clearest vision for your email marketing strategy. Get right down to the minutiae in defining your email marketing goals. These would have to be both at the larger level and for individual campaigns. For instance, if you are looking at starting with the automation of your email marketing, then focus on that goal and break it down. If you are considering templatizing, then define what that would involve and how you can still shoot out personalized email communication to your customer segments.
Also, are you in dire need of improving your open and clickthrough rates with specific campaigns? Or, are you looking at ramping your customer experience journey by sending out personalized leader-level emails? Outline your objectives clearly, and decide the metrics to measure. Goals can guide your decisions to a large extent, but you will obviously have to follow up with analytics. These need to be regularly churned out and self-reinforcing.
Once you have mapped out your email marketing strategy and defined the goals quite exactingly, the next step while outsourcing is to communicate. This begins with the goals, and it might need to be done for every part of the process. Or, you may choose to be quite hands-off and only communicate your broader strategy and objectives. This can save you a lot of time and effort that you can otherwise use to strategize and drive your business operations in your early-growth stage.
In any case, clearly define the amount and periodicity of communication between you and your outsourced experts. Share with them your expectations. Also, make it clear that you are always available to consult, even if it’s for details of a particular email marketing campaign. If you are expecting them to mine and present key performance data, then let them know when you would like them to table (or zip and email) reports, what form they should take, etc.
Often, you might find it easier to define and drive your email marketing processes yourself and only outsource email marketing execution. This is because you might find it more effective and essential to tap into your data and insights and hit the ground running with campaigns, especially if you have a small team. In such cases of only outsourcing tasks like template creation, automation of personalized campaigns or email blasts, etc., the software is a crucial aspect to consider.
If you are outsourcing your entire process, you can leave it to the experts as they are constantly in touch with the trends. But, if, on the other hand, you have decided to be precise about the path your email marketing should take, also be clear on the software and platforms you wish to and should leverage. While choosing your email marketing tools, automation and integration are two crucial elements to keep top of mind these days. Communicate any particular requirements to your outsourced team. You can also define the use cases as you see them, but these would be best entrusted to the experts. Last but not the least, how much does it cost to outsource email marketing? Make sure costing is covered in your discussion, so you don’t end up spending too much on unnecessary software. Tapping into the external experts’ PoV might prove very helpful in this regard.
The final thing to consider while deciding to outsource email marketing function is identifying what you wish to retain within your ambit. You might want to directly supervise certain parts of the process from start to finish. This decision could also be helpful to figure out your in-house hiring and training requirements for the foreseeable future.
An effective way to make this decision is to build a time vs. cost matrix for varying aspects and different degrees of outsourcing. The point that offers you the largest trade-off would be your best bet. But, be aware that these definitions could constantly change as your entrepreneurial journey progresses or with fluctuations in external factors and trends. Always try and define and decide only for the immediate term and be prepared to pivot.
So, that was a quick but intensive six-step guide for the new-age entrepreneur looking to outsource their email marketing function. Remember, you stand to gain more than lose by leaning on external experts, especially while starting out. In most cases, you should keep them as much in the loop as you would an internal team member. Only then are they going to be the most effective link to your final touch-point: the customer.
Looking to outsource email marketing services? We can help.