If you’re an eCommerce brand or online retailer preparing to take your email marketing program to the next level, there’s a number of things to consider when structuring your email marketing team.
Do you want to hire a full-time email marketing team in house or does outsourcing to an specialist email marketing agency make more sense?
There are a lot of things to consider, many which you may not have even thought about just yet.
In this post we’ll outline the functional skill sets you need to launch a successful email program from scratch and the true cost of hiring in-house versus outsourcing your email marketing program to a company like Rejoiner.
Full disclosure: Rejoiner is an outsourced email marketing agency & eCommerce email marketing software solution. We understand one option may be more suitable than another depending on your current situation.
How To Build An Email Marketing Dream Team From The Ground Up
At Rejoiner, this is the email marketing team working for each client to help create, launch and optimize their email marketing strategy on an ongoing basis.
This setup works well for our clients because it gives them access to a full team of specialists that would otherwise take a lot of time, money and resources to source together themselves.
If you have the time to build an email marketing team in-house, then this is also the perfect guide of who you need to hire and what skills they’ll need to have or what you’ll need to train employees up on.
The strategist is the person who understands the economics of your business and your customers and has a core understanding of lifecycle email marketing. Lifecycle emails are targeted to specific customers at crucial points in their relationship with your company.
A strategist will understand how to implement triggered emails that address each stage of the customer lifecycle:
At Rejoiner, our strategists have gained experience from setting up thousands of campaigns for eCommerce companies in a number of different industries. Although they like to continually read and learn, they aren’t learning on the job or from reading blog posts.
They are very methodical about the campaigns they set up with the goal of implementing the highest ROI email campaigns first and working backwards from there.
The strategist helps you to:
- Understand where the revenue generation opportunities are
- Understand how, where and when offers can be employed profitably
- Identify high margin product categories or areas of the business where we can be more aggressive with trying to win orders
If someone knows what to set up and sets it up correctly the first time, you’re going to be way ahead of the game versus someone who gets it wrong or makes mistakes along the way. If you’re looking to expand your growth and maximize revenue from customers, the last thing you want to be doing is annoying customers or leaving ‘money on the table’.
The Ultimate Email Designer
The designer isn’t just any designer, it’s someone who understands how emails are consumed on different devices (desktops, mobiles and tablets), is aware of the design constraints created by modern email clients (Gmail, Outlook etc.), they know how to blend different elements of visual design and personalized content, how to use typography (specifically for email) and they have an understanding of how it affects conversions.
The ultimate email designer will understand how to use the color, white-space and contrast to present your products, brand and ultimately the offer designed to convert a reader into a sale.
The Technical Team
THE FRONT-END DEVELOPER
With so many different devices and apps to consume emails on these days, you need a Front-End developer who knows how to create responsive email templates that render well across all devices & email clients.
Email Developers play by a different set of rules than Web Developers who focus on building pages for modern browsers.
The rendering engines used by email clients are built on technology that is far less accommodating than the modern web standards we use to build web pages. To make matters worse, there are no rendering standards across email clients, creating a situation where something may look fine in Apple Mail, but terrible in Outlook. Email Developers have to resort to a stash of “hacks” that can only be gathered through the pain and anguish of experiencing and resolving these issues first hand.
Great Email Developers embrace these constraints and revel in the challenge. An interview topic we love to discuss with development candidates is, “Tell us a story about the last time you tried to push the bounds of what’s possible in the email inbox.” A real email developer will have many war stories to share.
QUALITY ASSURANCE (QA) TEAM
If you’re going to be sending a high volume of emails, you want to ensure your email campaigns work on the huge variety of apps and devices available in this day and age.
Our QA team uses tools like Litmus to preview email campaigns across 50+ apps and devices such as:
- Apple Mail 8
- Outlook 2013
- Outlook 2016
- iPhone 5s
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPad Air
- iPad Pro
- Android 4.4
And the list goes on.
The biggest conversion killer in email is bugs, not bad copy.
If your emails don’t work on different devices and apps, look strange or if CTA buttons don’t work, people won’t click back to your store no matter how persuasive your copy is.
Having a QA team in place helps ensure campaigns are running smoothly across multiple devices and apps without any issues.
We don’t just want words in your email campaigns, we want words that sell.
Having a copywriter in place can help you…
…increase the open rates, click-through rates and conversion rates of your campaigns.
Writing copy for emails is different than writing copy for pages on your website. The attention span is different and the way people read your emails are different. Think about how someone will read an email in a cafe waiting for their coffee versus reading an email at home on their desktop computer.
That’s why having a copywriter who knows how to write copy for emails can greatly benefit your campaign results.
You’ll want your copywriter to at least have read the following (to name a few):
- Breakthrough Advertising (Hard copy now costs $375)
- Scientific Advertising
- The Gary Halbert Letter
- The CopyHackers Blog
We’ve previously written about how we A/B test our clients abandoned cart email campaigns to maximize results.
You’ll want to ensure your team has a process for testing each type of campaign (welcome series, cart abandonment, win-back etc.) to increase the amount of revenue each campaign generates.
Do you start testing…
- The offer
- Subject lines or pre-header text
- Body copy
- Number of emails sent (2, 3 or 4 emails)
- Strategy of the campaign
- Personalization in emails
Having a team with a optimization system to follow means they can run each email campaign through the system to continuously test, tweak and optimize your campaigns over time and improve your results.
That’s what we believe goes into building a rock star email marketing team.
Now we’re going to take a deeper look into the true costs of hiring in-house versus using an outsourced email team like Rejoiner.
Cons of hiring in-house
If we look at research from PayScale.com we can see that the salary for an ‘Email Marketing Specalist’ ranges from $37,171 – $70,360, with the median being $49,863 USD.
Marketing Terms shows that the average salary for an Email Marketing Specialist can range from $51,000 – $74,000 USD.
Whereas the average salary for an Email Marketing Manager can range from $52,000 – $93,500 USD.
If we take the highest salary ($93,500) and the lowest ($37,171) and average them out we get: $65,335 (rounded to the nearest dollar).
If we break that down to a per month basis ($65,335 / 12), you’re looking at $5,445 per month for just one new team member – an email marketing specialist.
Are they amazing at what they do and have a track record?
You won’t really know until you hire them and have them working for you for a few months.
If you want a more experienced person with a track record, you’ll need to be paying something on the higher end which will be closer $90,000 per year / $7,500 per month.
And remember, that doesn’t include:
- A designer for putting together campaign creative
- A copywriter that knows how to sell in email
- An HTML developer to code templates and make them responsive
- QA team to test campaigns across 50+ devices and apps
- Multiple team members to help you implement on-going A/B tests over time to improve campaign performance
One person could do this all, but it will just take them a lot longer than a specialized team that only focus on one specific task all the time.
One person will likely be weak in one or two areas, and that’s why it’s usually better to have a team that gets really good at one specific task and completes it over and over.
Think of the Henry Ford assembly line and why it’s so effective.
THE TRUE COST OF EMPLOYMENT
When you hire in-house you need to take into account the ‘true cost’ of employing a new team member which goes far beyond their annual salary.
Other things include:
- Hiring and recruitment cost: Searching for, filtering, interviewing and finally selecting the right team member takes time and energy.
- Training cost: Yes, they might be an expert in email marketing, but they still need time to understand your company, it’s processes and the tools you use which may be new to them.
- Performance reviews: For the first few months you’ll want to watch this new hire closely to make sure they’re a great fit for your company. This takes time and keeps you from focusing on other activities.
- Paid holidays: This is more about opportunity cost. If you’re paying someone to be on holiday (which is good for them), it means that someone isn’t working on your email marketing campaigns for a few weeks.
- Equipment cost: New team members need a place to work and something to work on, you’ll need to take into account additional resources such as office furniture, hardware and software.
- Cost of mis-hires: This is one of the bigger issues with hiring in-house. If you hire the wrong person:
- You need to identify that the person is off track
- Then you will need to talk with them, re-train and monitor their performance to see if they’ve improved
- Next you need to figure out if re-training has helped improve their performance
- If re-training doesn’t help, you’ll likely have to let them go and pay out any entitlements
- Then you’ll have to rehire and go through the whole process again!
Hiring in-house obviously isn’t all negative. Having an in-house team member means you can really integrate them into your company culture, they’ll be able to learn about different parts of the business faster and have access to specific insights that an outsourced team may not be able to see.
Now let’s look at some of the benefits of hiring an outsourced email marketing team like Rejoiner.
Benefits of Hiring an Outsourced Email Marketing Team
By using an outsourced email marketing team you get access to a team that take the Henry Ford assembly line process for launching eCommerce email marketing campaigns from scratch.
You have a complete team:
Each team member focuses on doing the task they’re best at.
- The strategist focuses on helping customers set up a campaign strategy that is best for their target market and industry.
- The designer focuses on crafting creative to match your brand’s look and feel, but to also help get the subscriber back to the website and convert.
- The copywriter focuses on writing email copy that converts.
- The developer ensures email templates are coded to be responsive.
- The QA ensures your emails work on over 50+ devices and apps.
- The optimizer runs your email campaigns through an A/B testing process with the goal of improving campaign performance over time.
One person can do all of this, but at Rejoiner we like to specialize and focus on getting one person really good at each specific task because that’s how we can get more effective (and efficient) at getting you the results you’re after.
The more effective we are, the better your results will be.
Not having to hire in-house means you save money on recruiting, training, salaries, and benefits.
With Rejoiner you pay one fixed monthly fee depending on the package you choose. No hidden costs or additional surprises.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT
We’ve setup thousands of campaigns for a number of happy eCommerce companies and online retailers in a variety of different vertical industries, helping them generate $97,000,000.00+ in revenue (see the live updated figure on our homepage).
All day, everyday (except weekends) we’re creating, launching and testing campaigns for eCommerce companies, we know what works and how to get you results and a return on your investment within 30 days of you signing up.
It might take you 30 days just to find the right candidate.
Next Steps For ‘Outsourcing’ Your Email Marketing
If you’re looking to move fast and start getting results right away, outsourcing your email marketing to a company like Rejoiner may be right for you.
We usually start off helping our customers recover lost sales by implementing an abandoned cart email strategy with our cart abandonment software.
From there we implement our email marketing methodology to target customers at different stages of the customer lifecycle.
If we’ve held your attention to this point, then outsourcing your email marketing to Rejoiner may be right for you, allowing you to focus on other areas of your company.